The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) reports that the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan inundated 1.5 percent of the country's total rice area.  There was no immediate impact on production as rice was harvested last fall.

It is too early to know the extent to which salinization and infrastructure damage will affect this year's planting, which begins in late April.  Increased planting elsewhere in the country, however, could offset any production loss in the affected area.

The report adds that an escalation of rice imports is unlikely as Japan holds sufficient stocks, currently the highest in a decade.