Japan’s 2018 food exports will likely hit record 90 billion yen

TOKYO, Jan. 20 ― Japan’s food exports rose for the ninth consecutive month in November 2018, thanks to largely to appetite for wagyu beef and fruits in neighboring Asian countries, official data has showed.

Total shipments of agriculture products, processed foods and seafood soared 9% to 85.2 billion yen in November from a year earlier, according to the agriculture ministry.

The primary agricultural products, which constitute half of total agricultural exports, increased 12% to 52.2 billion yen.

Among those products, wagyu beef jumped 39% to 2.7 billion yen, as Cambodia solidified its position as the largest destination for Japanese wagyu beef, with value doubling to 800 million yen.

Wagyu beef exports to Taiwan also expanded rapidly, reaching 300 million yen, after the neighboring Asian country lifted 16-year bans on imports of the meat from Japan in September 2017. Taiwan now accounts for more than 10 percent of Japanese beef exports.

With the kaki harvest being in full swing during winter, shipment of the fruit rose 29 percent to 100 million yen. Shipment of strawberry surged 36% to 100 million yen as picking the fruit has started.

In the 11 months through November, exports of agricultural products rose 15% to 819.3 billion yen from the same period a year earlier, getting right on track to meet a target of 1 trillion yen in 2019.

During the period, shipments to Hong Kong totaled 191.6 billion yen, followed by China (120.4 billion yen) and the U.S. (107 billion yen).

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