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 is riding a wave of global popularity.

Meanwhile, exporters of Japanese rice and sake have pointed out that high tariffs and other trade barriers impede access to overseas markets, such as Taiwan and China.

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