Japan’s food exports reached record-breaking levels in 2023, although they faced significant challenges in the second half of the year. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries reported a 2.9% increase in exports of agricultural, forestry, and fishery products and foodstuffs, reaching ¥1.45 trillion. This marked the eleventh consecutive year of record-high exports.

During the first half of the year, Japan experienced a steady 9.6% increase in exports, primarily driven by recovering demand from restaurants after the COVID-19 pandemic and the depreciation of the yen. However, the second half of the year saw a 2.9% decrease due to China’s ban on Japanese seafood imports. This ban was imposed in response to the release of treated water from TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the sea.

While scallop exports faced a decline of 24.4% to ¥68.8 billion due to the Chinese embargo, other products witnessed growth. Beef exports increased by 11.2% to ¥57.8 billion, primarily driven by rising demand from Taiwan and Hong Kong. Japanese restaurants abroad also contributed to the growth of sauces and mixed seasonings, expanding by 12.4% to ¥54.3 billion.

Export trends varied in different regions. China experienced a decline of 14.6% in imports from Japan, amounting to ¥237.6 billion, attributed to the seafood ban and drops in whisky and sake exports. Hong Kong, on the other hand, saw a 13.4% increase to ¥236.5 billion, becoming the second largest export destination after China. The United States maintained steady growth, with exports growing by 6.4% to ¥206.2 billion, driven by the popularity of buri (yellowtail) and green tea.

To achieve its export targets of ¥2 trillion by 2025 and ¥5 trillion by 2030, Japan needs to explore new export destinations to compensate for the loss faced due to the seafood ban imposed by China, its largest export market. While challenges persist, Japan’s food exports show resilience and potential for growth in the coming years.

FAQ:

Q: What was the overall trend in Japan’s food exports in 2023?
A: Japan’s food exports reached record-breaking levels in 2023, marking the eleventh consecutive year of record-high exports.

Q: What were the factors driving the increase in exports during the first half of the year?
A: The increase in exports during the first half of the year was primarily driven by recovering demand from restaurants after the COVID-19 pandemic and the depreciation of the yen.

Q: What were the challenges faced by Japan’s food exports in the second half of the year?
A: In the second half of the year, Japan’s food exports faced a 2.9% decrease due to China’s ban on Japanese seafood imports, which was imposed in response to the release of treated water from TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the sea.

Q: Which product witnessed a decline in exports due to the Chinese seafood ban?
A: Scallop exports faced a decline of 24.4% to ¥68.8 billion due to the Chinese embargo.

Q: Which products witnessed growth in exports despite the challenges?
A: Beef exports increased by 11.2% to ¥57.8 billion, and sauces and mixed seasonings expanded by 12.4% to ¥54.3 billion.

Q: Which regions experienced a decline in imports from Japan?
A: China experienced a decline of 14.6% in imports from Japan, while Hong Kong saw a 13.4% increase.

Q: What are Japan’s export targets for 2025 and 2030?
A: Japan has set export targets of ¥2 trillion by 2025 and ¥5 trillion by 2030.

Definitions:

– TEPCO: Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Related Links:
1. Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries
2. JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization)