China becomes top importer of Japanese food for first time


Mainland China became the largest importer of Japanese food products for the first time last year, dethroning long-time leader Hong Kong.

Exports of food, farm, forestry and marine products to mainland China surged 35.2% to ¥222.4 billion (US$1.93 billion) in 2021, official data released Friday shows. Japanese sake, whisky and snack foods were among the most popular items.

The increase helped Japan attain its long-sought goal of ¥1 trillion in food exports. The country’s food, agriculture, fishery and timber industries generated ¥1.23 trillion from exports, up 25.6% for the ninth straight annual increase.

However, the trillion-yen milestone was reached two years after the original target date of 2019. The goal of attaining ¥5 trillion in food exports by the end of this decade remains a long way off.

Hong Kong fell to second, despite its food-related imports climbing 6% to ¥219 billion. The US took third at ¥168.3 billion, a 41.2% leap.

Exports of Japanese scallops soared 104% to ¥63.9 billion, the highest-growth product in absolute figures. Japanese beef also jumped 85.9% to ¥53.6 billion.

Read more here.


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