Japan’s bipartisan lawmakers seek rice, sake export expansion

TOKYO, May. 9 — A bipartisan group of Japanese lawmakers is seeking to expand exports of rice and sake, brewed using Japanese-grown rice, as the domestic consumption of the staple food has continued sliding. The group held a meeting on May 8 to discuss its major activities in the year starting April 1. “We believe we should move forward expediently in expanding rice and sake exports to support the Japanese agriculture,” said Seishiro Eto, the chairman of the group and former deputy speaker of the parliament’s lower house. The Japanese agricultural exports broke the 800 billion yen barrier last year for the first time, as washoku or traditional Japanese food … Continue reading

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Japan’s Tohoku region wants more visitors after 2011 disaster

TOKYO, April. 30 — The government is helping to create a new business model to recover inbound arrivals of foreigners in northern Japan, which was hit hard by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster. It has been seven years since the disaster struck the northeastern coast and triggered meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. In post-quake reconstruction efforts, the Japanese reconstruction agency chose 10 projects this year that aim to rebuild local economies and boost the number of foreign travelers. They include seasonal events such as fruit-picking in spring and fireworks festivals in summer, and a variety of tours in footsteps … Continue reading

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Wakayama growers prepare to export new strawberry Marihime

WAKAYAMA, May. 9 — Strawberry growers in central Japan are readying the first commercial exports of their new strawberry “Marihime” to Asian neighbors. Wakayama prefecture’s agricultural research center developed the new strawberry breed and registered it in 2010. “This strawberry taste sweet and a little sour,” an official from the local government explained. In Tokyo, it was sold at 12,960 yen per box at fruit shops. “We hope we can sell it overseas as well,” the official said. Fruit is generally expensive in Japan, and people often buy melons, grapes and strawberries as a gift for special occasions such as weddings, birthdays and parties. Japan exported 890 tons of strawberries, … Continue reading

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Oita Prefecture wants more foreigner-friendly restaurants

OITA, May. 4 — The Oita prefecture government is planning to boost the number of foreigner-friendly restaurants, as it gears up to welcome the Rugby World Cup matches in 2019. The Rugby World Cup 2019 matches, including the quarter-finals, are scheduled to take place in Oita prefecture. “We expect more foreign visitors stay here for some time to watch five rugby matches,” said a local government official. “If we can grab their stomachs with our local produce, they will become good PR persons for us to boost inbound tourist arrivals and help the local economy,” he added. The Oita prefecture government has started receiving applications from local restaurants and plans … Continue reading

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Japan’s rice and sake exporters want removal of tariff barriers

TOKYO, April. 28 — Exporters of Japanese rice and sake have urged the government to strike a deal with importing countries such as Taiwan and China to slash high tariffs and other trade barriers. The governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) held a meeting on April 27 to hear from food exporters about the challenges when it comes to selling Japanese rice and sake to overseas customers. Kosuke Kuji, the president of Nanbu-Bijin brewery in Iwate prefecture, pointed out that China and Taiwan impose a 40 percent tariff on Japanese sake. “One company can’t fix the problem of substantial tariffs,” Kuji told the lawmakers. Tomohiro Deguchi, Sapporo-based rice retailer Wakka Japan, … Continue reading

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