Early extension efforts in japan
Extension work in Japan was first started by
farmer’s organizations and later it was taken up by
Before the second world war, the cooperatives used
to be the main agency for agricultural extension.
They employed the agricultural expert who worked
directly under village cooperative. He looked after
most of the needs of the farmers.
After the world war, an extension organization on
the American pattern has been introduced in 1948.
three principles followed in extension organisation are
1) A complete separation of the regulatory and service
duties from the educational aspects of extension.
2) Giving prominence to the Home Improvement
3) Joint financing by the National and Provincial
Subject Matter Specialists (700)
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishries
( MAFF )
Research division Education division
1.Extension division (National Agril Extension Council)
2. Women & Life division
Coordinates the work of prefectural Directorates of Extension
Prefectural Directorate of Extension(47)
Prefectural Agril Extension Council
Agril Extension centres (600)
7 agril advisors
and 1 home
advisorRural local leaders, village councils and cooperatives
National level : The Ministry of Agril and Forestry is responsible for
conducting research, extension information collection, land
reclamation, policies on agril product’s exports, imports and other
The extension division has three sections: 1. Extension 2. Extension
Education 3. Home improvement
The Extension division coordinates the work of prefectures and
runs 54 training centres for farm youth. Main function is pre- service
and in-service training and rural youth programmes.
The extension division takes charge of affairs such as the qualifying
examinations for Subject Matter Specialists, Production of slides and
films, radio programmes and evaluation of the local work.
The home improvement section covers food, clothing and home
Prefectural level: Responsible for the planning, training
and appointment of the local advisers.
Supply of equipment, plans for extension work and
deals with administrative matters of local functionaries.
SMSs are paid from the national budget. They belong to
one of the 23 special fields like rice, soil, livestock, etc.,
they are the link between the farmers, farm advisors and
SMS are placed in Perfectual directorate of Extension.
Farm advisors and home advisors are local
They are paid half by local and half by national
Extension work in Japan Is organised for what is
called ‘area’. An ‘Area’ consists of about 3,000 families
with about 7,000 acres of land.
The local staff assist and guide the farmers in farm
management and all aspects of home economy.
The village local leaders are selected to be the
promoters of the extension work.
Japan’s 13 national research institutes have networks with 255
prefectural research institutes and experiment stations through six
national agricultural experiment stations.
Since the national government does not directly offer extension
services, agricultural research–extension linkage in Japan
operates at the prefecture (state) level.
It is a bottom-up management system in which decisions on
linkage activities are taken at prefecture level without the direct
involvement of national officers.
Research–extension linkage involves the use of subject-matter
specialists, technical committees, joint study meetings, and staff
exchanges between prefectural research and extension
Farmers’ problems and needs are compulsorily sourced by
district extension centres from farmers, agro-cooperative
societies, schools, and town/village administrative offices.
Local needs identified by extensionists are supplemented with
those identified by researchers and subject-matter specialists.
In general, decisions on the selection of farmers’
problems/needs as annual research themes are finalised
at prefectural level by a committee comprised of
researchers, administrators, subject-matter specialists,
extension workers, farmers’ representatives and
Although national officers are not directly involved in
this process, they make input by putting forward
unresolved research themes that have been referred to
them and by highlighting policy directives on research
themes from the National Ministry of Agriculture,
Forestry and Fisheries.
The Japanese research–extension system is
characterised as a bottom-up approach with
Japan’s research–extension linkage system offers a
range of opportunities for farmers’ participation in
joint decision-making on research themes at the
The strong research–extension linkage in Japan can
partly be attributed to the exchange of staff between
agricultural research and extension organisations
enabling personnel to work for a specified time in each
Role of Agril Extension Service in Japan:
1. To improve agricultural production
2. To improve the standard of living in rural areas
National government financially supports 40% of
prefectural extension services
Extension information centre: Started in 1988.
• It was established from the need for information
management within the agriculture extension service.
• The Central information centre manages a computer
net work system called Extension Information
At prefectural level also information centre is
The database contains :
News related to farm and home, market, weather,
research results, statistical information, chemicals,
fertilizers, machinery database useful for Ex.Advisors
Main features of extension in Japan
Due to high rate of literacy , extension teaching is
readily accepted by the farmers.
It functions through the agency of a department of
Agriculture and has no direct links with the research
organisation except at the prefectual level through SMS
who are under Extension Directorate.
Extension is done by a team of farm advisors(7-9), in
each of the local area.
Each person serves on an average about 600 farm
households. This permits a close contact between them
and they can discuss problems of common concern
and receive inspiration and help from each other.
The representatives of local bodies have little
control over extension, but adequate contact is
provided informally through cooperatives which are
powerful and comprehensive in nature.
Extension is entirely educational and democratic
with no coercive approach.
Rural boys and girls, after completion of their nine
year’s compulsory education, may enter one of the 54
youth training farms for one or two years of practical
training in farm, and may become youth club leaders
in their home communities.
• As of 2005, there are approximately 9,000 extension
personnel working all over Japan at about 450 agricultural
extension centers,research institutes of prefecture level, etc.
In recent years, the number of extension personnel,
however, has drastically dropped because of the difficult
financial situations of both at the central and prefecture
• Under the changing situations above, the formulation of
extension information activities by using computers has
been more important than before for promoting efficient and
effective extension activities. In order to improve the
situations above, Japan Agricultural Development and
Extension Association (JADEA) established the system that
could share information possessed by most extension
advisors in 1975.
• One function of the systems is to collect the “Case
Information of Extension Activities (CIEA)” that is
information on the achievements of extension activities
information on extension methods,
information on the technologies developed by
information on research findings, etc. from
•Another function is to provide information above to
• According to this system, extension advisors can quickly
receive information on technical matters and information on
extension methods from advisors in other prefectures.
• Besides, farmers can also look for the informative sites in
other prefectures, and receive specialized technical
information from extension advisors in other prefectures.
•On the other hand, the methods of both collecting and
providing information have been drastically improving for
about 30 years. Up until today the methods of providing
CIEA have been changing from snail mail, fax, and
personal communication network to Internet.
Basic flow of collecting and providing CIEA and usage
of snail mail
The basic flow of collecting and providing CIEA from 1975
to 1990 is drawn and are explained as follows:
1. JADEA collects CIEA from extension advisors through
prefecture governments once a year. Each prefecture
government provides CIEA to JADEA after having selected
CIEA including information about special products that
should not be informed to other prefectures.
2. JADEA stores CIEA after having classified CIEA with
the categories such as crop, vegetable, fruits, etc.
3. The publications with the lists of CIEA were made by
JADEA. Afterwards, the publications were delivered to all
prefecture governments and extension centers.
4. Extension advisors and subject matter specialists
request CIEA, which they wanted to receive, by using
telephone and letters after they had checked the
5. The copied CIEA was delivered to the extension
personnel by snail Mail
Usage of fax
Around 1985, the use of fax started in many offices in Japan.
Usage of personal communication network
•The closed network, which was called “FVAN” (Fukyu;
extension in Japanese, Value Added Network) and whose
main purpose was communication among extension
personnel, started in 1988
•The rented space of the computers owned by the
networking company was used for FVAN until 1991, so that
the main services of FVAN were mail service and bulletin
board services (BBS).
In 1992, JADEA developed “Extension Information Network”
(“EI-NET”) system that is a personal communication network
system. JADEA has had its own host computers and has
been providing database services.
Usage of Internet
•In 2000, the new EI-NET system started, so that users can
access the system through Internet.
•At that time, many functions were added including “i-mode”
services, which users can access by using Internet services
of mobile phones. Besides that, users can search CIEA with
a thesaurus and receive CIEA attached with pictures and
•In addition to the database services, BBS services
are actively used at present in the new EI-NET.
•A lot of technical information is exchanged among
extension personnel that is one example of “question
and answer” on the countermeasures.
Ex: information on the preventive measures for pests
and diseases are frequently exchanged by attaching
the pictures with actual situations of crops, with the
Current situations of Local Network system
As of 2005, there are around 4,000 farmers participating in
the Local Network system all over Japan.
The system has been in operation for 10 years. This
system enables farmers not only to receive the specific
cultivation information such as crop growing information,
pests and disease forecasting, information, etc., but also to
communicate with extension advisors and farmers in other
prefectures by using the nationwide forums
Home pages managed by extension centers, prefecture governments
•Besides the Local Network system, most of the extension centers in Japan
are providing information to farmers, consumers, etc. on the home pages of
extension centers or prefecture governments.
The examples of provided contents are for farmers -
the technical information such as cultivation techniques, usage of
chemicals, weather information, etc.,
for consumers - the public information such as the roles of extension
systems, the activities of extension advisors, how to cook farm products, etc.
• On the other hand, an increasing number of
experienced farmers, have recently been setting up their
own home pages in order to make their farms’ cultivation
situations more transparent such as the usage of
chemicals, selling farm products through Internet,
to directly communicate with consumers, and so on.
PROBLEMS OF EI-NET, LOCAL NETWORK SYSTEM
The number of CIEA collecting and providing has been
moderately decreasing for 30 years. As the result, it is
feared that they can’t maintain the system, which enables
extension personnel to possess the common information.
This is because extension personnel tend to receive
information unilaterally, so that they have little intention of
exchanging information with other extension personnel.
The decline of usage of EI-NET system
The amount of usage of EI-NET such as EI-NET
connection and article registration has also been
declining. It means that the need for EI-NET among
extension personnel has been also decreasing
The reasons for the decline of usage of EI-NET are
considered as follows:
• Extension advisors can receive information to some
degree by using only Internet search engines such as
Yahoo, Google, etc.
• No one had been taking care of most forums of EI-
NET so that the system of board operators in most
forums was abolished.
•The user interface of the new EI-NET, which started in
1999, has become worse with the low performances
such as the slow speed of database search.
•Inactive communication between extension advisors
2. The Local Network system and the home pages
managed by extension centers
The number of the farmers participating in Local
Network hasn’t increased so much; moreover the farmers
participating in most prefectures are very limited.
As for the home pages, the contents provided by some
extension centers are poor and information has not been
frequently updated by some extension centers, so that
there is no full time staff responsible for the
maintenance of the homepages.