Effectively Market Japan’s Agricultural and Fishery Products to Promote Exports

Japan’s high-quality agricultural and fishery products should be sold more across the world. The government needs to take a close look at the needs of each country and region, and boost exports in an effective manner.

The government has compiled a strategy to expand exports of agricultural, forestry and fishery products and processed foods. In March last year, it set a goal of increasing the export value by more than five times the current value to reach ¥5 trillion by 2030. This strategy sets out concrete measures for achieving that goal.

The strategy listed as priority items 27 products, including apples and scallops, as well as beef, which is popular overseas, and rice and Japanese sake, which are attracting attention due to the popularity of Japanese cuisine. Monetary goals are set for each country and region. By the end of this fiscal year, the government intends to select production sites for exports by item and provide intensive support to these sites.

While the domestic market is shrinking, there is an estimation that global food demand will grow from ¥890 trillion in 2015 to ¥1,360 trillion in 2030. It is understandable that the government aims to revitalize the nation’s agriculture and fisheries industries by promoting exports as part of its growth strategy.

The government aimed to increase exports to ¥1 trillion in 2019, but the target fell slightly short. In 2020, the figure also did not increase due to the impact of the novel coronavirus and other factors. It is necessary to shore up measures for that purpose.

The strategy focuses on Asia, which is experiencing rapid economic development, as the main export destination. It has the advantage of being close and easy to deliver fresh food to.

In the strategy, the Japanese government set a goal of expanding beef exports mainly to Hong Kong, Taiwan and China by about five times the 2019 level to ¥160 billion by 2025. It plans to increase the production of sliced meat and other products that are in high demand.

As for grapes, in addition to the popular Shine Muscat variety, the government plans to increase exports to about four times that of 2019 to ¥12.5 billion by focusing on grapes such as the Kyoho grape, which has been established as a gift item.

Food preferences vary from place to place in the world. It is hoped that the Japanese government will establish an appropriate production system by focusing on items and export destinations.

In the strategy, the government also calls for newly establishing an organization for each item in which businesses related to production, distribution and export will work in close cooperation.

Most of the relevant companies are small and midsize enterprises. It has been difficult for them not only to collect information on pricing and quality, which is required for export destinations, but also to supply products steadily. For that reason, there have been many cases of them losing business opportunities.

It is also difficult for individual companies to deal with regulations on agricultural chemicals and sanitation management, as they differ from one country or region to another.

They need to address these issues through a cooperative organization. It is also essential for the government to expand its assistance for them.

Since the accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, 16 countries and regions, including China and the United States, have continued to restrict imports of Japanese foods, which has hampered growth in exports. The government must thoroughly explain to them that it is taking all possible measures, including strict inspections.