Japan News Update (9-22 Feb. 2021)

Stay updated on the latest agricultural news in Japan, that we publish every two weeks.

By Yuki Sano

Export Japanese products and cultures

Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) has selected 353 areas to produce 23 food products for export, including Wagyu beef. This move is part of MAFF's efforts to promote the export of agricultural, forestry and fishery products. The government will provide sufficient financial support to the regions to ensure a stable supply.
Source: Japan Selects 353 Areas for Farm Production for Exports

The MAFF newly selected 36 people from 30 countries and regions as Japanese Cuisine Goodwill Ambassadors to help promote Japanese cuisine and food culture to increase exports of Japan-grown farm produce. The goodwill ambassadors, mainly chefs, were Alon Than, appointed for the first time from Poland, Andoni Luis Aduriz from Spain, and Jean Charbel Karam set for the first time from the African continent.
Source:  New Japanese cuisine goodwill ambassadors appointed, first from 18 countries

Japanese cuisine with Sake
Japanese cuisine with sake

Covid-19 impact on the Japanese economy

Japan's sake industry is grappling with an abundance of specially cultivated rice for sake, as the coronavirus outbreak has led to a sharp drop in the drink order due to the closure and reduced operating hours of restaurants bars around the world. Sake retailers are looking for ways to develop new markets, such as preserving freshness and exporting.
Source: Japan sake industry tackles rice surplus as COVID hits demand

The number of accidents involving pedestrians and people carrying out deliveries and other bicycles tasks in Japan rose to 156 in 2020, a 62.5% increase from the previous year. The surge is believed to be partly due to increased demand for food deliveries amid a coronavirus pandemic.
Source: Accidents between working cyclists, pedestrians up in Japan as virus spurs food deliveries

The new coronavirus's prolonged outbreak has reduced incomes and left more people without food for the day. The number of people using free meals provided by the most significant food bank, Second Harvest Japan, has doubled in the past year, and the Japanese government has begun to release stockpiles of rice. However, the government is still slow to act, and Corona has exposed the weakness of the country's safety net around food.
Source: Increasing needy but insufficient food with releasing reserved rice

According to Nikkei POS data analysis, the number of Japanese supermarkets has decreased to about 70% of food and daily necessities. Amid a pandemic, customers spend less time in supermarkets and deciding what to buy before they shop, so signature products from well-known brands perform better than before. As a result, retailers are changing their marketing strategies, and manufacturers are narrowing their product portfolios.
Source: Pandemic sparks transformation in Japan's retail marketing

Autonomous tractor

Yanmar Agribusiness has announced the upgrade of its autonomous tractor series, capable of fully and partially automatic work, to meet an increase in large scale farming and workforce shortages in Japanese agriculture.
Source: Yanmar Upgrades Autonomous Tractor Series in Japan

The Japan Agricultural Cooperatives

According to the 2020 edition of the World Cooperative Monitor, a report published by the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA), eight organisations associated with the Japan Agricultural Cooperatives (JA) have been ranked among the top 300 cooperatives the world. World Cooperative Monitor ranked the Japanese organisations in this survey due to expanding the ICA and other databases.
Source: Eight Japanese entities ranked among the top 300 cooperatives: World Cooperative Monitor

For previous agricultural news updates, click here.