World leaders looking for ways to ease global food shortages may have found one answer in warehouses dotted around Japan where a rice mountain is standing idle. The United States is considering relaxing a trade agreement between the world's two largest economies to allow Japan to sell imported US rice on the global market. Tokyo is already preparing to ship 200,000 tonnes to the Philippines, but that is just a fraction of the 1.5 million tonnes of imported foreign rice that is stored in sacks piled high in air-conditioned government warehouses. "We have a big stockpile of Japanese rice, so we can export rice for poor people worldwide to save their lives in an emergency," said Nobuhiro Suzuki, an agriculture professor at Tokyo University.