Promoting sales channels for the domestic fishing industry
Japan Trade Promotion Agency “Includes Korea”
When implemented, Koreans’ anxiety will likely increase.
It has been confirmed that Japan is seeking to expand exports of Japanese seafood to Korea to support its fishing industry, which has been blocked from exporting due to the discharge of contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the ocean.
In response to a question from the Kyunghyang Shinmun on whether Korea was included in the new export destinations on the 11th, the Japan Trade Promotion Organization (JETRO), which started to develop sales channels for marine products at the request of the Japanese government after the discharge of contaminated water, responded, “This measure includes the Korean market as well. “We are looking into the possibility of additional exports (of Japanese seafood) to Korea,” he said. Since September 2013, Korea has banned the import of seafood from eight prefectures around the nuclear power plant, including Fukushima, but imports seafood from other regions under the condition of conducting radioactivity tests.
Previously, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry announced an emergency support project to disperse export dependence on specific countries in cooperation with JETRO on the 5th after China virtually completely banned the import of Japanese marine products following the discharge of contaminated water into the ocean. The goal was to expand sales channels to various countries to replace China, which was the largest export country. Afterwards, JETRO established an emergency response headquarters for support for seafood exports and began expanding sales channels in earnest.
When the Japanese government initially announced the emergency support project, the United States, Europe, and Southeast Asia were mentioned as targets for expanding seafood exports. These are countries that are allied with Japan or have less aversion to discharging contaminated water. On the other hand, attempts to expand exports to Korea, where food insecurity has increased due to the discharge of contaminated water, are evaluated as surprising. In relation to this, JETRO explained, “Koreans accounted for the largest number of tourists who visited Japan last year, and one of the reasons for their visit was ‘Japanese food.’ Therefore, we decided that additional market development was possible.”
JETRO stated that it has not yet discussed with the Korean government regarding the expansion of seafood sales channels. However, work is already underway to recruit intermediate business operators who will discover Korean businesses that want to import additional Japanese agricultural and marine products and connect them with Japanese companies. JETRO explained, “The goal of this plan is not simply to increase exports, but we consider it important to meet the needs of related businesses.”
JETRO also emphasized, “Last year, Japan sold 24.4 billion yen (approximately 220.4 billion won) in marine products to Korea, ranking 5th among all exporting countries,” and added, “The Korean market is an important export destination for Japan, so we are looking forward to (expanding sales channels).” . According to the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, the average number of Japanese marine products entering Korea is over 30,000 tons per year, with scallops (11,971 tons) being imported the most. Scallops are also the item that Japan was hit hardest by China’s embargo.
As exports of Japanese seafood to Korea expand in the future, Koreans’ food insecurity due to the discharge of contaminated water is expected to increase. This is because there are still voices concerned about the impact that trace amounts of tritium or radionuclides contained in contaminated water may have on marine products. In Korea, there have been frequent cases of not indicating the country of origin of Japanese marine products or deceiving them, which has become a problem. As a result of the government’s comprehensive investigation in May and June, 158 violative companies were caught in this regard.
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