Japan Flour Millers Association celebrates milestone

by Arvin Donley
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2018 Japan Flour  Millers Association Anniversary
Masayuki Kondo (center), Chairman of the Japan Flour Millers Association and President of Nippon Flour Mills, accepts a gift recognizing the association’s 70th anniversary from Mike Miller (third from right), chairman of USW and Vince Peterson (second from right), president of USW. Behind Kondo is Masaaki Kadota, who is retiring after many years as the association’s executive director. Wataru Utsunomiya (far right), USW Country Director for Japan, served as interpreter at the ceremony Jan. 23, 2018, at the association’s headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. 
Photos courtesy of USW.
ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, U.S. — Several representatives from the U.S. wheat industry joined members of the Japan Flour Millers Association to help celebrate the association’s 70th anniversary in Tokyo on Jan. 23, according to the U.S. Wheat Associates.


Senior managers from USW, as well as state wheat commission representatives and farmers from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana participated in events commemorating the anniversary.

Japan has purchased significantly more U.S. wheat than any other country since 1949, when the Oregon Wheat Growers League first organized a trade delegation to investigate opportunities for expanding U.S. wheat sales there. Today, the Japanese domestic milling and wheat foods industries are highly advanced and demand consistent, high quality wheat and flour, the USW noted.

Mike Miller, chairman of USW, and a farmer from Ritzville, Washington, U.S., told members of the association that U.S. farmers are very proud to supply much of that wheat every year.

“It is good to know that our wheat is an essential ingredient in the wonderful wheat foods the Japanese people enjoy — and an essential ingredient in the success of these flour millers,” Miller said. “I reassured them that to honor their achievements, farmers will continue to invest in trade service and technical support in Japan, and to improve the quality and wholesomeness of our wheat to meet their needs in the future.”

Vince Peterson, president of USW, added, “It was a great pleasure to congratulate the association’s chairman, Mr. Masayuki Kondo, president of the Japan Flour Millers Association, and the members of the association in person on their important anniversary. We were also able to thank our respected friend and colleague, Mr. Masaaki Kadota, who is retiring after many years serving as the association’s executive director.”

2018 Japan Flour Millers Association Anniversary
U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and U.S. wheat industry representatives joined Chairman, Mr. Masayuki Kondo (holding a ceremonial gift plate), Nippon Flour Mills President and Chairman of the Japan Flour Millers Association, to celebrate the association's anniversary.
With support from state wheat commissions and USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, USW focuses on providing up-to-date market information and collaborating with Japanese industry groups to demonstrate the quality and value of U.S. wheat. The mills provide purchase specifications to Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry (MAFF) based on the strict characteristics their wheat food customers demand. Japanese grain trade organizations act as intermediaries between MAFF and overseas sellers. Then MAFF carries out all milling wheat purchases and sells the wheat to Japanese flour mills.

“It is difficult to express how much we value our partnership with Japan’s flour millers and the rest of the wheat foods industries,” Peterson said. “We have developed a deep level of trust by maintaining an open dialogue with them. That has been so important to our mutually beneficial, long-term trading relationship and we confirmed our commitment to continue our partnership in that spirit.”

USW said U.S. farmers continue to earn the largest market share in this well-established and quality conscious wheat market. MAFF issues consistent weekly tenders for U.S. hard red spring (HRS), hard red winter (HRW) and Western White, a blend of soft white (SW) and up to 20% club wheat. As a result, Japan has purchased an average of 3.1 million tonnes (about 114 million bushels) of wheat annually the past five years.