Seafood consumption has declined among all generations over the last decade, while meat consumption has grown, according to a government report released Friday.
In 2006, per capita meat consumption surpassed that of seafood for the first time and the downtrend has accelerated, especially among young people, says the fiscal 2008 fisheries white paper.
The report says the trend should be arrested because Japanese fisheries and seafood processing industries could be harmed in the long term.
The trend could be reversed if people had more opportunities to taste seafood, the paper says, citing, as one example, cooking demonstrations at retail stores.
Per capita volume of daily seafood consumption in Japan came to 80.2 grams and that of meat to 80.4 grams in 2006, the first time seafood consumption has fallen below meat since the government began collecting comparable statistics in 1949.
In 2007, per capita seafood consumption remained unchanged from the previous year but meat consumption increased, with the gap widening to 2.4 grams.
After peaking at 98.2 grams in 1997, per capita seafood consumption declined in all generations between 1998 and 2007, the white paper says.
Meat consumption grew in all generations during the same period, with those aged up to 49 coming to eat more meat than seafood.
An increasing number of children eat supper separately from their families due to the need to attend cram schools and other extracurricular classes, and this has prompted mothers to prepare easy-to-cook meat for their kids, the paper says.
Consumers have also avoided eating seafood due to the cleaning required, the paper says. But a fisheries industry survey found that 45.9 percent of elementary school students polled like seafood, surpassing the 10.6 percent who dislike it.
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