Japanese rice and rice product exports hit records in 2018

TOKYO, March. 6 ― Japan’s rice and rice product exports rose for the seventh consecutive year of growth, breaking the 30 billion yen barrier for the first time in its history, thanks to largely to appetite for Japanese products in neighboring Asian countries, data has showed.

Total shipments of Japanese rice and rice products rose 17% to 30.4 billion yen in 2018 from a year earlier, marking the highest level since they have been recorded in 2004, the agriculture ministry said.

Yet, that is far short of the government’s target of 60 billion yen of rice and rice product exports in 2019.

Among those products, rice rose 17% to 3.7 billion yen in 2018, as Hong Kong solidified its position as the largest destination for Japanese rice, with value at 1.1 billion yen, followed by Singapore at 694 million yen.

Japanese rice exports to China also expanded rapidly, reaching 211 million yen in 2018, more than double from a year earlier.

China decided last November to lift its seven-year import ban on rice from Niigata prefecture, which had been imposed in the wake of the 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima. Tokyo expects rice shipments from Niigata, one of the country’s most renowned rice producers, to China will grow.

Japanese sake, made from rice, surged 19% 22.2 billion yen, breaking the 20 billion yen barrier for the first time in its history, while shipments of snack that use Japanese rice also increased 6% to 4.4 billion yen. The U.S. was the largest destination for those products.

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