Keywords: hilly mountainous areas, Japan, less-favoured areas, direct payment policy, terraced paddy field farming, endogenous rural development, new rural governance, rural management, European Union, agricultural policy, agriculture
Direct payment policies for the regeneration of less-favoured areas: a comparative study of the EU and Japan
This paper evaluates the constitution, significance and limitations of direct payment policy to farmers in hilly mountainous areas (i.e., Japan's less-favoured areas), where small-sized terraced paddy field farming is predominant. A significant period of depopulation and the successive aging of the rural society have resulted in the decline of farming output and the abandonment of farmland. As a result, a direct payment system to farmers in LFAs was introduced in 2000 by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan (MAFF). This paper discusses the significance and limitations of the current system compared to the same policy in the EU, and make suggestions related to the system for new rural management systems.