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, who exports an annual 1,000 metric tons of Japanese rice to Asia, also stressed the importance of establishing a system that gives farmers a sense of some long-term benefits to exports rice.
The agriculture ministry has set up an ambitious goal to quadruple Japanese rice exports by 2019, at a time when the Japanese consumption of the staple food has continued sliding.