Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture offered on Tuesday to buy a total of 179,343 tonnes of food quality wheat from the United States and Australia in a regular Thursday-closing tender. Japan, the world’s sixth-biggest wheat importer, keeps a tight grip on imports of its second most important staple after rice and buys the majority of the grain for milling via tenders typically issued three times a month. Details are as follows (in tonnes): COUNTRY TYPE QUANTITY U.S. Western White 34,150* Hard Red Winter 24,580* (Semi-hard) Dark Northern Spring 32,517* (Protein minimum 14.0 pct) Australia Standard White 24,650** (West Australia) Standard White 28,700** (West Australia) Standard White 34,746** (West Australia) Shipments: *Loading between Feb 21 and March 20; **Loading between March 1 and March 31 (Reporting by James Topham; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)