The numbers can now speak. In the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that triggered a nuclear disaster Japan has seen a sharp decline of its farm and marine product exports.
In the aftermath of the nuclear accident Japan’s largest apple producing region, Aomori Prefecture registered zero apple shipments to Taiwan, its largest export destination. With Japan’s efforts campaigning for the safety of the product, exports to Taiwan bounced back in November with 1,809 tons – about the same figure from the same period last year.
On the other hand, Tochigi Prefecture which previously sold rice and strawberries to Hong Kong and Southeast Asian countries suspended exporting these produce, except for rice. Rice exports however, declined to 1.23 million yen in 2011 from 6.86 million yen in 2010, although the rice sold in 2011 was actually harvested in 2010.
The rice export in Niigata Prefecture also dropped to 22 tons in 2011 as of December from the 104 tons of rice exported to China and Singapore in 2010. This is despite the fact that the prefecture is 150 kilometers away from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Marine products are on the same plate. In Ibaraki Prefecture, exporting frozen mackerel was affected with the import ban by China; while Thailand and Vietnam had required inspection certificates when buying fish from Japan.
In short farm and marine product exports dropped to 364.4 billion yen for the period Jan.-Oct. in 2011, accounting for an 8.2% decrease from the same period the previous year.
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry said it may need to take serious efforts in rebuilding the reputation of Japanese products by proposing for a 600 million yen budget to be used in conducting cooking events and tasting parties in Asian nations with the goal of promoting the safety of domestic produce.