Japan’s exports of agricultural, forestry and fishery products in the January-June period hit a record high for the sixth consecutive year, thanks to the popularity of Japanese cuisine mainly in Asia, the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry said Friday.
According to the ministry, the exports grew 15.2 percent from a year earlier to ¥435.9 billion.
Exports of beef surged 37.4 percent to ¥10.8 billion, supported by brisk demand for fat-marbled products, while shipments of beverages such as green tea rose 22.7 percent to ¥13.6 billion on the back of growing health awareness.
Among fruits, apple exports were the largest, at ¥5.9 billion, up 45.8 percent. Scallop exports jumped 13.7 percent to ¥25.7 billion to lead the seafood sector.
Exports of rice, which the Japanese government regards as a key item, increased 14.6 percent to ¥1.7 billion, while those of sake grew 21.8 percent to ¥10.5 billion.
Hong Kong was the largest importer of Japanese farm products, at ¥98.5 billion, up 17.3 percent, followed by China at ¥65.8 billion, the United States at ¥55.9 billion, Taiwan at ¥42.1 billion and South Korea at ¥30.5 billion.
With the government setting a goal of increasing annual farm exports to ¥1 trillion in 2019, the agriculture ministry and the trade ministry established a joint team in July to expand food exports.
“We’ll intensively discuss export promotion measures that can get results and implement them at an early date,” agriculture minister Ken Saito told a news conference.