Rice consumption is a major source of cadmium and arsenic for the population of Asia. We investigated the effects of water management in rice paddy on levels of cadmium and arsenic in Japanese rice grains. Flooding increased arsenic concentrations in rice grains, whereas aerobic treatment increased the concentration of cadmium. Flooding for 3 weeks before and after heading was most effective in reducing grain cadmium concentrations, but this treatment increased the arsenic concentration considerably, whereas aerobic treatment during the same period was effective in reducing arsenic concentrations but increased the cadmium concentration markedly. Flooding treatment after heading was found to be more effective than flooding treatment before heading in reducing rice grain cadmium without a concomitant increase in total arsenic levels, although it increased inorganic arsenic levels. Concentrations of dimethylarsinic acid (DMA) in grain were very low under aerobic conditions but increased under flooded conditions. DMA accounted for 3-52% of the total arsenic concentration in grain grown in soil with a lower arsenic concentration and 10-80% in soil with a higher arsenic concentration. A possible explanation for the accumulation of DMA in rice grains is that DMA translocates from shoots/roots to the grains more readily than does inorganic arsenic.