TOKYO, July 28 ― Japan’s meat imports in the first half of 2018 broke the 1 million metric ton barrier for the first time in 20 years, as consumers tend to satisfy their growing demand through more cheap imports, data has showed.
Imports of red meat and poultry rose 2% to 1.02 million metric tons in the January-June period from the same period a year earlier, the finance ministry said on July 27.
That import figure was the highest since records began in 1988, except in 1996 when the country’s meat tariffs were reduced by the Uruguay Round agreement.
By product, both pork and chicken imports marked a record high level.
When it comes to beef, imports also were the highest level since the outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, in Japan in 2001.
While the nation’s consumption for meat is increasing, Japanese farmers have been unable to meet that demand, and much of that growth is filled up with cheap and stable supply of imports.
The government plans to raise the national self-sufficiency of meat, but such attempts haven’t worked so far. The self-sufficient rate of pork in 2017, for example, lowered to 49%, far below the nation’s target.