Farm, marine exports up 22%, hit high in 2013

Kyodo

Exports of farm and marine products in 2013 surged by 22.4 percent to a record ¥550.6 billion on the back of growing demand in emerging Asian economies and the United States, the agriculture ministry said on Wednesday.

The sharp rise can be attributed to the yen’s weakness as well as increasing popularity overseas of “washoku” traditional Japanese cuisine, which was added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list last year, officials at the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry said.

Receding concerns about radioactive contamination from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant also helped expand Japanese exports, they said.

Exports to the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Hong Kong and Taiwan saw sharp increases, while those to China, the United States and the European Union also grew.

Demand expanded in a wide range of products, including green tea, sake, scallops and apples, the ministry said.

The 2013 figure surpassed the previous record high of ¥532.8 billion registered in 1984. The ministry aims to raise the amount to ¥1 trillion by 2020.

Meanwhile, imports of agricultural and marine products rose 12.9 percent in 2013 to a record ¥8.94 trillion, eclipsing the previous record of ¥8.71 trillion logged in 2008, due to the yen’s depreciation.