TOKYO, Feb. 9 ― Japan’s food exports rose for the sixth consecutive year of growth, breaking the 900 billion yen barrier for the first time in its history, preliminary data has showed.
Total shipments of agriculture products, processed foods and seafood rose 12% to 906.8 billion yen in 2018 from a year earlier, thanks to largely to appetite for wagyu beef and fruits in neighboring Asian countries, the agriculture ministry said.
The data suggests that a target of 1 trillion yen of farm exports in 2019 is achievable, if an annual growth rate grows 10.3% this year.
The primary agricultural products, which constitute half of total agricultural exports, increased 14% to 566.1 billion yen from a year earlier.
Among those products, wagyu beef jumped 29% to 24.7 billion yen.
Wagyu beef exports to Taiwan tripled, reaching 4.1 billion 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.
Shipment of apples rose 28 percent to 14 billion yen.
During the period, mainland China became the second largest destination for Japanese farm produce, surpassing the United States. Shipments to Hong Kong, the No. 1, reached more than 200 billion yen for the first time.