TOKYO — Agriculture ministers from the Group of 20 major economies gathered in Japan on Saturday to discuss food security and the use of innovative technology in farming.
The two-day conference in Niigata Prefecture, a famous rice-growing area northwest of Tokyo, kicks off a series of ministerial meetings to be chaired by Japan in the run-up to a G-20 summit to be held in late June in Osaka.
Japanese farm minister Takamori Yoshikawa is expected to call on G-20 members including China and South Korea to ease restrictions on Japanese food products imposed in the wake of the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Issues to be discussed at the meeting include reduction of food waste and ways to enhance resilience to natural disasters, Japanese officials said.
The use of innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence and robots to boost productivity is also likely to be on the agenda. The ministers are expected to adopt a joint statement after the meeting pledging cooperation.
Food security is a pressing issue as the global population continues growing at a steady pace. According to U.N. data, in 2017 an estimated 821 million people, or one in nine, did not have enough food to lead active and healthy lives.
The G-20 includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
It will be the first time for Japan to chair the G-20 summit.
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