Japan’s apple growers worry about increasing cheap imports

TOKYO, Sept. 20 ― Aomori is Japan’s top producing region of apples but increasing cheap imports from foreign countries during the summer months worry the region’s growers.

In May-August 2017, Japan imported 3,648 metric tons of apples mainly from New Zealand, data from the finance ministry showed. The figure was the highest level since 2000.

The import in the same period of 2018 is now expected to exceed the 2017 figure.

Apple imports in summer have rapidly increased since 2012 when the bad weather that year led to a decline in production. That makes it more vulnerable to dropping apple prices, local growers point out.

“The presence of imports has been growing,” said a grower from the northern Japan. “When the domestic production recovers, we will face fierce competition in the market.”

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