But times are changing. In the (Cork) Examiner last friday there was an article on Japan's aim to increase their own food security. Here is a quote from another reference:
While Japan faces the possibility that large quantities of foreign agricultural products will penetrate its markets in the future, there is a strong public outcry for raising the nation's food self-sufficiency rate. In fiscal 1965, Japan's calorie-based self-sufficiency rate was 73 percent. By 1998, however, it dropped to 40 percent and remained at the level ... through fiscal 2005. The government seeks to raise the rate to 45 percent by the end of fiscal 2015.
In a December government poll, about 80 percent of those surveyed expressed worries about Japan's food supply in the future because of possible changes in the world situation.... The largest segment of those surveyed, 49 percent, put the desirable self-sufficiency rate at 60 to 80 percent.
While the Examiner article (from the farming section) seems to broadly support the plan, more sites online see it as anti-globalisation (see reference aboe). Full text of Examiner article here.