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Japan to Delay Tenders to Buy Rice, Wheat, Barley
Sept. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Japan, Asia's biggest wheat importer, deferred tenders to buy rice, wheat and barley until measures are taken to shield consumers from tainted products as the farm minister resigned over sales of contaminated foreign rice. Grain contaminated with mold or pesticide will be destroyed or shipped back to the country of origin, Masaaki Okuhara, director general at the staple food department of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said today in an interview. No date has been set for tenders to resume. The country has been hit by a scandal over sales of tainted imported rice to domestic food companies and restaurants. The ministry, which sold the grain on condition it must be used for industrial products such as glue, discovered this month that some rice was sold for human consumption by distributors. ``The measures the ministry wants to take may hinder flows of grain from overseas to Japan,'' Nobuyuki Chino, president of Tokyo-based Unipac Grain Ltd., said today by phone. ``If tainted grains have to be shipped back to origin, nobody will want to sell as exporters don't want to take such a risk,'' he said. Agriculture Minister Seiichi Ota and his deputy Toshiro Shirasu left their posts, the farm ministry said today. ``I have decided to step down to make it clear that the ministry as a whole is responsible for the incident,'' Ota told reporters in Tokyo today. Tainted rice was imported from China, Vietnam and the U.S., according to the ministry. The ministry controls imports and domestic sales of rice, wheat and barley. Tender Canceled A tender to buy 55,000 metric tons of U.S. milling wheat was canceled yesterday because of protests over contaminated rice. That move followed the scrapping of an import tender Sept. 17 for 25,000 tons of rice. ``Our system for grain imports is now under question,'' Youichirou Tomiyoshi at the ministry's grain trade division, said yesterday in an interview. Still, ``we have received no reports of contaminated wheat and barley being sold in Japan for human consumption.'' Japan holds a tender almost every week to buy milling wheat from the U.S., Canada or Australia. The ministry may not be in a rush to import wheat after covering requirements up to November, said Derek Sliworsky, general manager at the Tokyo office of the Canadian Wheat Board, by phone yesterday. CWB, the world's largest wheat seller, exports the grain to Japan through the ministry's tenders.
MGR Archive 25.9.2008
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Russia Rapan $ 700
USA Jupiter Rice $630
USA Calrose #1 $830
USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
EU Prices Baldo €660
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