Japan, the world’s largest corn importer, made its biggest purchase of European grain in at least a decade, seeking a cheaper alternative to U.S. supply.

The country bought about 800,000 metric tons from Ukraine after it removed a tax on exports last month. The purchase, made by five Japanese trading companies, was for shipments in November to March at prices that were about $20 a ton cheaper than U.S. corn, Nobuyuki Chino, president of Continental Rice Corp. in Tokyo, said in an interview today, ForUm learned from Bloomberg.

Japan, which sourced almost 90 percent of its corn last year from the U.S., the biggest exporter, is seeking different options after a drought hurt the U.S. crop, driving annual prices to an all-time high and curbing global food supplies.

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