Abe cabinet approves completion of Japan-EU FTA ratification

TOKYO, Dec. 22 ― The trade agreement between Japan and the EU is set to enter into force in February 2019, after being approved by both parliaments this month. Japan’s cabinet on Dec. 21 approved the completion of the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) ratification procedure, after the Japanese parliament had voted in favor of the mega free trade deal earlier this month. With the European Parliament and the EU council have also ratified the deal, it will come into force on Feb. 1, 2019. The new EPA will eliminate 82 percent of tariffs on EU’s agricultural exports to Japan. It will also give EU food exporters greater access to … Continue reading

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Japan to offer information on food tourism to foreign visitors

TOKYO, Dec. 15 ― As more foreign visitors have appreciated Japanese food, the agriculture ministry will soon launch a project that provides them with information on a full range of food experiences in Japan. The idea is, by providing new experiences in rural areas and getting foreign tourists to share their images on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, to encourage repeat visits and generate new revenue in Japan. According to a survey conducted by the agriculture ministry, the top list to do for foreign visitors once they arrive in Japan was: eat Japanese food. In fact, while visiting Japan, foreign tourists spent a record 345.6 billion yen on … Continue reading

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Japan lowers 2018 rice production outlook by 1 point to 98

TOKYO, Dec. 11 ― Japan’s agriculture ministry has cut the 2018 rice production outlook by 1 point to 98, the lowest level in eight years, affected by weather conditions. Production outlook for table rice now stands at 7.32 million metric tons, down 2,000 tons from the October intended plantings and larger than a year earlier, the ministry said. The survey-based estimate of 2018 rice planted area was 1.38 million hectares, up 16,000 hectares above a year earlier. However, a drop in sunshine hours seems to have imposed a significant stress throughout some regions, including Niigata, Akita and Hokkaido prefectures, the ministry explained.

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Japan Diet approves FTA with EU; take effect in February 2019

TOKYO, Dec. 9 ― Japan’s upper house approved the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) by a majority vote at a plenary session on Dec. 8, leaving farmers to greet the mega free trade agreement with a sense of dread. With the European Parliament and the EU council being set to ratify the deal by year-end, the deal will come into force on Feb. 1, 2019. The lower house gave its approval in late November. Legislative debates both at the lower and the upper houses totaled only nine hours. The deal will give EU food exporters greater access to the Japanese market, with products such as cheese and pork, and deliver … Continue reading

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TPP-11 kicks in on Dec. 30 for six countries, including Japan

TOKYO, Dec. 31 ― The landmark Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) without the U.S., also known as TPP-11, entered into force on Dec. 30, 2018, bringing steep tariff cuts to the first six countries that ratified the trade pact, including Japan, Australia and Canada. That will likely pose challenges for businesses that require Japanese farmers to increase competitiveness at home. Vietnam will officially enter the pact on Jan 14, 2019, while Brunei, Chile, Malaysia and Peru will come on board 60 days after they complete their ratification procedures. With the TPP-11, tariffs were slashed to zero overnight for some products, while others will be reduced over a period of up to 20 … Continue reading

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