Business

Fukushima agricultural exports bounce back from nuclear disaster to hit record high

JIJI

Exports of agricultural products produced in Fukushima Prefecture rose about 2 percent in fiscal 2018 to a record 217.8 tons, according to the prefectural government.

Fukushima’s agricultural exports suffered a long slump due to the 2011 nuclear crisis.

But exports hit a record high for the second straight year, backed by an expansion in rice exports to Malaysia in fiscal 2017 and in exports of Japanese pears and other items to Vietnam and Thailand in fiscal 2018.

In fiscal 2018, which ended last month, exports of peaches and Japanese persimmons were sluggish due in part to unfavorable weather.

Shipments of rice to Malaysia, at about 115 tons, led the total exports, as in fiscal 2017. Exports of apples to Thailand and beef to the United States also grew.

Following the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, the prefecture’s agricultural exports plunged due to import restrictions by countries concerned about radioactive contamination, falling to 2.4 tons in fiscal 2012.

The prefectural government has strengthened efforts to boost exports to Southeast Asian countries since the restrictions were scrapped.

In fiscal 2017, Fukushima’s agricultural exports came to 213.3 tons, exceeding the then-record of 152.9 tons in fiscal 2010, helped by about 101 tons of rice shipments to Malaysia.