Japan’s highly respected Marubeni Research Institute has published a report warning that Japan is losing out in the competition for western food staples such as meat and cereals because of increased demand from developing countries.

The institute’s director Akio Shibata wrote that China in particular poses a threat to Japan’s continued access to food imports forcing it to fall back on its traditional consumption of rice, fish and pickles in the future.

Japan imports a massive 40% of its food, mainly from the USA. Shibata points out that with the US forced to feed its growing population this will lead to a squeeze on the supply of grains from the States, forcing up prices at home.

Already Japan is feeling the effects of the increase of demand for cheese products particular from China. Retail prices have risen by 10% over the last year as cheese supplies tighten worldwide.