Japan's agricultural ministry graded the current rice crop situation index as rather bad on average nationwide, the ministry said on Thursday.

The averaged crop situation index of rice as of Sep.15 marked 97. It was below 100 index level of average quality for the first time in 2 years. Most regions in Japan have had less sunlight than in a typical year, while in southern island Kyushu, the recent typhoon inflicted further damage on growth of rice, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan said in a release.

Prefectures including Fukuoka, Nagasaki, and Saga had severe damage in their rice fields when a typhoon flooded vast areas. Owners of rice fields in their costal areas gave up harvesting for this year. Rice in Saga was graded 74, or bad.

The Kanto region and northern Japan have suffered due to less sunlight. Rice growth in central regions was about the same the average year

The index was rated 105, or good in northern island Hokkaido because of warm temperature and much sunlight.

The ministry expects the demand of rice will be 8.44 million tons during a year from July 2006, while it said that amount of rice harvest would reach 8.53 million tons if the current situation remains. [Even if the crop situation becomes worse in Kyushu,] we would most likely have enough rice for the demand, the ministry stated.