Japan Eyes Scallop Processing in Vietnam amid China Ban

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Scallops from Hokkaido, Japan

Tokyo (Jiji Press)—Japan is considering building a system to process scallops in Vietnam for export to the United States to ease the impact of China’s blanket ban on imports of Japanese fishery products.

The government will shortly invite businesses to join a delegation to be sent to Vietnam next month at the earliest to inspect processing facilities in the Southeast Asian country.

It aims to diversify export destinations for Japanese scallops, many of which were shipped to China until the ban was introduced after Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. began releasing tritium-containing treated water from its meltdown-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant into the sea in August.

The value of exports of Japanese scallops to China dived to zero in September.

Previously, an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 tons of Japanese scallops in terms of raw shells were exported to the United States annually after they were shelled at facilities in China.

The ban has made it necessary for Japan to find alternative processing facilities for export to the United States.

In Vietnam, Japan hopes to select sites the delegation will visit mainly from 19 facilities introduced by the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, with the aim of facilitating business negotiations between Japanese and Vietnamese companies.

Japanese fisheries minister Ichiro Miyashita expressed his gratitude for the U.S. support in a meeting with U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel on Friday.

The Chinese ban is not a matter of public health or safety but economic intimidation, Emanuel said, adding that Japan and the United States are friends.

“We’re beginning to overcome the damage from the import restrictions (by China and others) by diversifying our export destinations and increasing domestic consumption,” Miyashita told a press conference Friday.