Category Archives: Food & Agriculture

TPP-11 trade pact may take effect in Jan 2019: Japan’s minister

TOKYO, Oct. 17 ― Japan’s Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi has said the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) without the United States, known as TPP-11, will likely come into force as early as January 2019. “The TPP-11 should take effect soon as six countries are set to complete their domestic ratification processes in November,” Motegi said at a Oct. 16 press conference, after meeting ambassadors from the 10 countries in Tokyo. The minister expects early ratification by mid-November, when the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit takes place in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. The TPP-11 trade pact will enter into force 60 days after six of the remaining 11 countries of the TPP … Continue reading

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Tokyo’s Toyosu wholesale market opens with traditional auction

TOKYO, Oct. 12 ― After two years of delays, a new wholesale food market, called the Toyosu market, finally opened its doors in Tokyo on Oct. 11, replacing the aging Tsukiji market. The market relocation comes two years later than previously planned, because additional safety work was required to control soil pollution at the new site. The new market features cutting-edge equipment in enclosed facilities at an area of 400,000 square meters. That makes it easier to manage temperatures for refrigerated and frozen products. The total shipment of fruits and vegetables for the first auction at the new Toyosu market totaled 2,533 metric tons. That was three times higher than … Continue reading

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Japan to accept more foreign workers in new immigration rules

TOKYO, Oct. 13 ― The Japanese government has unveiled a plan to accept more foreign blue-collar workers in April next year to tackle the labor shortage in agriculture and some other industries in the face of the country’s aging population. This is a drastic move for Japan, which is known for its strict immigration rules. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a cabinet meeting on Oct. 12 to outline the draft legislation. Under the draft, foreign nationals with skills in sectors identified as facing labor shortage will be granted a new visa status. The new visa status has two different types of work permit. Type One will allows foreign workers with … Continue reading

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Japan launches a rocket to deliver fresh food to space station

TOKYO, Oct. 10 ― Astronauts at the International Space Station (ISS) have successfully received a rocket carrying the Konotori-7 cargo, which contains Japanese-grown fresh fruits and vegetables. A broadcast of the rocket launch can be viewed on YouTube. All foods that have been sent to the ISS are certified by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) as Japanese space food for crew members at the ISS. The JAXA started its Japanese space food certification program, aiming to improve food situation for astronauts in space. In order to get certified, a product must meet rigorous standards such as strict hygiene management and long-term storage without refrigeration. Some farmers see requirements for … Continue reading

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Japanese apple exports recover in 2017 to near record levels

TOKYO, Oct. 14 ― Japan’s exports of apples in 2017 climbed 20 percent in volume year over year, representing the second-largest on record, as traders have been trying to reach new markets such as Southeast Asia. Fresh apple exports from September 2017 to August 2018 reached 33,150 metric tons, but not as much as the 36,304 metric tons achieved in the record year 2015, according to data from the finance ministry. Apples, in fact, have become a star on the Japanese fresh fruit exporting stage, as Taiwanese and Chinese consumers have enjoyed the big-size fruit as the Lunar New Year’s gifts. The increases slowed only when Japan had a short … Continue reading

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