Faced with auto tariff, Japan agrees to enter trade talks with US

NEW YORK, Sept. 28 ― Japan has agreed to begin negotiations for a trade agreement on goods (TAG) with the United States, in a move that may shield Tokyo from the U.S.’s proposed harsh tariffs on Japanese vehicle imports, for the time being. The new trade talks will start after the two sides complete necessary domestic procedures, which will likely happen early next year. On Sept. 26, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met U.S. President Donald Trump in New York at the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. “The new trade talks will focus on goods and this is not a negotiation for a comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA),” … Continue reading

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Japan’s farm ministry launches export assessment services

TOKYO, Sept. 1 ― Japan’s agriculture ministry is ready to help farmers find markets to export their products. Japan’s agriculture ministry has launched the Global Farmers Project (GFP), which offers export assessment for farmers and matchmaking services to let farmers match with traders for exports. Farmers can create their online profiles; they need to fill out additional requirement information including their export products, volume and destinations that they are interested in. The agriculture ministry, with the help of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Tokyo-based wholesaler Tokyo Seika Co. and others who have farm export expertise, will assess farmers’ profiles and offer them advices.

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Disaster-hit Okayama governor appeals locally grown grapes

TOKYO, Sept. 8 ― Ryuta Ibaragi, governor of Okayama Prefecture, which was hit hard by the torrential rains in July, has campaigned to promote his local grapes, Shine Muscat and Pione, which command huge price premiums. Ibaragi showed up at a Tokyo outlet to offer tasting local grapes to consumers at a Tokyo outlet on Sept. 7. “The grapes are sweet and luscious,” the governor said. “I was concerned about the acute heat after the heavy rains, but I am relieved to supply high-quality grapes.”

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Japan pushes ASEAN members to ratify seed patent UPOV

TOKYO, Aug. 26 ― Japan has been pushing its neighboring countries to build an intellectual property protection system to protect businesses in the cultivation of new plant species and seed protection in East Asia. The East Asia Plant Variety Protection Forum held the 11th annual meeting in Muntinlupa, Philippines on Aug. 1-2. Member countries — Japan, China, South Korea and 10 Southeast Asian states –agreed to accelerate ratification of the International Union for the Protection of Plant Varieties (UPOV) 1991 Convention in the next 10 years. But few ASEAN members have ratified the convention, as they fear it may increase global corporations’ monopolistic control over small farmers in the seed … Continue reading

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Visitors can taste what it feels like being Umeboshi at Miraikan

TOKYO, Aug. 29 ― A new exhibit in Tokyo allows visitors to experience what it feels like being umeboshi, a Japanese salt plum, in a bento box. The bento, developed by Perfektron, is one of showcases in the “Design Ah! Exhibition.” The exhibit runs at Miraikan museum, or the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, in Tokyo’s Odaiba from July 19 to Oct. 18. Bento is a Japanese box that contains all the pieces of a traditional lunch in one small container. And a hinomaru bento resembles the national flag of Japan: plain white rice with a red salt plum in the middle. The exhibit of the hinomaru bento … Continue reading

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