INTRODUCTION In the Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture, concluded in 1993, Japan and South
Korea agreed to open up their rice markets by allowing minimum market access, despite strong opposition from local farmers’ groups. In a special clause to the agreement, Japanese rice is exempt from tariffs for the period 1995-2000. Under its rice import commitments, Japan had to initiate minimum access for rice imports in April 1995 equivalent to 4 per cent of domestic rice consumption, to increase by 0.8 per cent annually until the year 2000, when 8 per cent of domestic rice consumption must be imported. Korea, which participated in the Uruguay Round Agreement as a developing country, has been granted a ten-year rice import scheme, covering 1995-2004. According to its provisions, Korea must import 1 per cent of domestic rice consumption in the base year as the minimum market access. The annual increments of the import quota are 0.25 per cent for the years before 2000, and 0.5 per cent thereafter. By 2004, the import quota for rice in Korea must reach 4 per cent of base year domestic consumption.