Japan’s agriculture exports rise in January, led by wagyu beef

TOKYO, March 10 — Japan’s agricultural exports jumped 35% year-on-year in January, led by sales of wagyu beef to major exporting markets and fruits as treats for the Chinese New Year holidays.

The exports of products such as agri-food, meat and seafood totaled 62.4 billion yen in January, according to data from the agriculture ministry.

Wagyu beef exports doubled to 1.5 billion yen due to rising demand in the U.S. as well as Taiwan lifting a 16-year import ban.

Apples exports also rose 70% to 3.2 billion yen, as fruit production has recovered from bad weather. Rice exports grew 32% and pork exports surged 52% in the same month from a year earlier.

The nation’s agriculture exports reached a record 807.3 billion yen last year, but at a slower pace than the government hoped for.

Japan has set a target of 1 trillion yen in agricultural exports by 2020, as domestic consumption has continued sliding. It needs a 10% annual growth rate in the next two years, if it wants to reach the target.

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