Japan 2023 Food Exports Reach 1 Tril. Yen at Record Pace

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

TOKYO, Nov. 7 (Jiji Press)—Japan’s exports of agricultural, forestry and fishery products and other food items exceeded ¥1 trillion in the first nine months of this year, the fastest pace on record, government data showed Tuesday.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, such exports in January-September rose 5.8 % from a year earlier to ¥1,053.1 billion.

Exports to China alone, however, plunged 47.4 % to ¥13.9 billion in September, with exports of fishery products to the country plummeting 90.8 % to ¥800 million.

This reflected China’s introduction of a blanket ban on imports of Japanese fishery products in late August after Japan began releasing treated water containing small amounts of radioactive tritium into the sea from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan.

“We will continue to work to encourage (China) to immediately remove its restrictions,” agriculture minister Ichiro Miyashita told a press conference on Tuesday.

According to the ministry, exports of both scallops and sea cucumbers to China were zero in September.

Meanwhile, the 800-million-yen fishery exports to China, including those of pearls, corals and “nishikigoi” ornamental carp, suggested the ambiguity of the scope of the Chinese import ban.

Japan’s overall farm, forestry, fishery and food exports in September climbed 3.1 pct to ¥117.6 billion, up for the first time in three months.

Such exports to the United States jumped 40.6 pct, reflecting efforts to bypass China to export scallops directly to the country.

Exports to Hong Kong also surged 42.4 pct, led by pearl shipments, despite its ban on imports of fishery products from 10 Japanese prefectures.

Japan’s annual exports of agricultural, forestry and fishery products and other food items topped ¥1 trillion for the first time in 2021.

Last year, annual exports reached the 1-trillion-yen mark in 10 months and totaled a record ¥1,414 billion.

While the ministry has maintained its goal of boosting such annual exports to ¥2 trillion in 2025 and ¥5 trillion in 2030, a decline in exports to China could dampen the upward trend in such exports.