Butter rationing in modern Japan

Reading the JustHungry food blog, I discovered that there’s a serious shortage of butter in Japan. The author and commenters speculate on reasons why, but fail to mention the one I thought was obvious: import tariffs. After all, New Zealand is practically made of butter, and it’s a major trading partner.

Sure enough, dairy is a protected industry, and there’s a 35% tariff on imported butter.