SHIGA, Feb. 28 – Shiga Prefecture is launching an initiative this fiscal year for protecting the name of Shiga’s signature agricultural product, Omi-gyu or Omi Beef. The action is taken as an increasing number of non-authorized parties are registering the brand names of Japanese agricultural and livestock products abroad. The prefecture plans to file for the trademark registrations in seven countries and regions, mainly in Asia, during the next fiscal year.
In its initial budget for the fiscal year 2020, it allocates one million yen for the new project it launched exclusively for promoting the registrations of Omi beef brand names.
The initiative will be led by an Omi beef-related organization in the prefecture, targeting seven countries and regions including China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the U.S, which are Japan’s growing export markets for the product. It plans to register “Omi-gyu (近江牛)” in Japanese and “OMI BEEF” in English.
According to Shiga, these phrases have not been registered yet in the seven target areas.
In the fiscal year 2012 as well, Shiga registered the brand names of the local signature beef in two other areas, Macao and Vietnam. Looking at the growth in demand for Omi beef in recent export markets, the prefecture is making expanded actions and trying to register the brand in more countries and regions.
The most recent data on the export volume of Omi beef in the fiscal year 2018 shows an 80% year-over-year increase to 102 tons, according to Shiga. “We want to create an environment where we can comfortably export Omi beef and to improve the income of beef producers,” an official in charge of livestock in Shiga Prefecture said.