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Toyota brings 'kaizen' production philosophy to Japan's ailing farms

Automaker's efficiency improvements boost agriculture's rep among younger workers

Japanese farms are struggling to attract workers, and many farmers set to retire do not have successors. (Photo by Yuichiro Takagi)

TOKYO -- What does one of the world's leading automakers have in common with a farm in the countryside? Quite a bit, as it turns out.

Toyota Motor has brought its successful kaizen philosophy, which focuses on continuous improvements in efficiency, to agriculture. The company launched its Hosaku Keikaku service -- meaning a plan for a bountiful harvest -- in 2014, and it has spread to 90 farms across the country.

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