Japan’s Fishery Imports from Russia in 2022 Hit 3-Decade High

REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin
Workers sort salmon, brought from a fish farm in the Barents Sea, at a processing factory in the Arctic port of Murmansk, Russia August 3, 2017.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Japan’s imports of fishery products from Russia in 2022 hit the highest level since 1992, the year after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Fishery imports from Russia rose 12.9% from the previous year to ¥155.2 billion, according to trade statistics from the Finance Ministry.

As part of its sanctions against Russia, Japan has imposed an embargo on some electronic parts and semiconductors, but fishery products are exempt because of potential damage to the domestic industry.

In 2022, Japan’s overall imports of fishery products jumped nearly 30% by value, boosted by the yen’s weakening.

Russia was the the fourth largest exporter for Japan, according to the fisheries ministry.

“There has been no significant change in fishery imports [from Russia] over the past 10 years,” fisheries minister Tetsuro Nomura noted at a press conference on Tuesday.

By item, snow crab accounted for the largest share of Japan’s fishery imports from Russia in 2022, followed by cod roe and sockeye salmon.

Russia apparently expanded its crab exports to Asia, including Japan, as the United States, which had been a major importer of Russian crabs, had a large inventory and also placed a fishery embargo against Russia.

Russian crabs are considered relatively inexpensive, and a Japanese fishery wholesaler said, “The incoming volume [of Russian crabs] has increased.”