Ask not what your country can drink for you, but what you can drink for your country.

On 21 December, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida held a press conference to address the nation about growing concerns over the Omicron variant of COVID-19. His message outlined the steps his administration is taking both to fight the spread of the disease and to assist both people and industries being affected economically by it. And with regards to helping affected businesses, PM Kishida gave all the people of Japan a very specific example of what we can do to help:

“I am asking the people of Japan to use milk in cooking and to drink cups of milk always through the New Year’s holiday in order to prevent a mass disposal.”

And so, the gauntlet has been thrown down, but will the citizens answer the call to drink and cook with more milk than ever before? To find out we checked online comments in response to the news.

“I hate milk.”
“How about you make it half price?”
“Just make cheap butter with it.”
“If you sell it at a discount, then you won’t have to throw it away.”
“I don’t want it. Why don’t they make cheese with it or something?”
“Make it 100 yen (US$0.88) per liter and it’s a deal.”
“Why is milk getting the support of the Prime Minister?”
“They need to lead by example. I want to see every member of Parliament drinking a tall glass of milk in session.”
“I like soy milk better, but if they made yogurt with it I’d be interested.”
“Drinking milk straight is gross, but I’ll put it in my coffee as much as possible.”

That last person is on board at least, but it seems the public has spoken and the public mostly wants to haggle. They have a point though. I mean, I’m no economist but it seems when there’s a surplus of something, selling it at a reduced price would be the best way to minimize waste and cut costs or even turn a profit if done right.

The other questions are also valid, such as why they don’t just make one of the many possible dairy products with all that extra milk. Japan tends to undergo periodic butter shortages and this could be a good way to set up a reserve supply. 

▼ Now might be a good time to bring back milk ramen in a big way

It’s unclear exactly why this isn’t being done but according to PM Kishida the decrease in demand due to the pandemic has become severe, so perhaps the problem is so bad that a glut still exists even after making a bunch of butter and yogurt.

All I know is that I’m willing to do my part. In fact just the other day I used a whole lot of milk to make some rice pudding with the family. Doing so taught me a lot about myself too, like the fact that I suck at making rice pudding.

I will not stop there either, and am strongly considering rekindling my love affair with breakfast cereals. I will do this not because it’s delicious and sometimes comes with free toys, and not because it’s a good source of vitamins and minerals and is part of a balanced breakfast. I will do this because it is my civic duty.

Source:, The Sankei News, Itai News
Photos © SoraNews24
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