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Fri, 02/09/2018 - 09:08
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Japan Farm Exports Hit Record High for 5th Straight Yr

Tokyo, Feb. 9 (Jiji Press)--Japan's exports of agricultural, forestry and fishery products hit a record high for the fifth straight year in 2017, backed partly by the popularity of "washoku" cuisine, government data showed Friday. The exports rose 7.6 pct from the previous year to 807.3 billion yen, according to the preliminary data, released by the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry. The growing popularity of washoku abroad helped push up agricultural product exports, including beef and green tea. The overall exports were also buoyed by the yen's weakness against the dollar and other major currencies. Exports of beef, including popular fat-marbled products, surged 41.4 pct to 19.2 billion yen, partly due to Taiwan's removal of its import ban on Japanese beef. Green tea exports rose 24.3 pct to 14.4 billion yen, thanks to rising demand from health-conscious consumers in the United States and elsewhere. Rice exports grew 18.1 pct to 3.2 billion yen. Strawberries, whose "Amao" and other brands are popular in Asia, logged a 56.6 pct rise to 1.8 billion yen. The four food items all enjoyed record exports. Total exports of forestry products grew more than 30 pct, lifted by an increase in log and lumber exports to China and South Korea. The Japanese government aims to expand annual farm exports to one trillion yen in 2019. But many Asian economies, the main destination of Japanese farm exports, still maintain import restrictions introduced in response to the March 2011 meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.'s <9501> Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Farm exports are unlikely to reach the target unless these regulations are eased or scrapped. "We're still 200 billion yen short of the one-trillion-yen target, but our efforts that have been made so far are beginning to pay off," agriculture minister Ken Saito told a press conference. He indicated that it is necessary to support efforts among producers and sellers to make farm products better aligned with the needs of foreign consumers END