Japan seeks to boost food exports

The export value of Japanese agricultural and fisheries products and other food items has been on the rise every year, surpassing 1.4 trillion yen in 2022. The Japanese government aims to increase that figure to two trillion yen by 2025 by boosting support for producers and production areas.

A massive three-day trade show held in cooperation with the government to promote Japanese food and agricultural products overseas kicked off on Wednesday. About 450 businesses are showcasing their products.

A focus on quality

Many of the exhibitors are hoping to attract buyers from around the world by focusing on quality.

One of them sells microwavable frozen seaweed rolls that the company says are made using high quality rice.

Another firm is a seafood processing company that sells fish caught off Japan that is quickly frozen. The company says this allows the fish to be shipped overseas while preserving the same level of quality as if it were served in Japan. The firm's president says he wants people to enjoy the authentic taste of Japanese fish.

Expanding sales through food innovation

Some companies are trying to boost sales with food innovation. A soy sauce manufacturer in Kumamoto Prefecture is promoting a transparent soy sauce. The firm hopes the product's lack of color will help it gain wider use in kitchens overseas.

It has already sold to buyers in Germany, France and other countries, and has been used in Italian and French cuisine to create hidden flavors.

On the first day of the expo, the company struck over 15 business deals, including with buyers from countries where they previously had no business. The firm is planning to hold an exhibition in the US in January.

A shrinking domestic market

As Japan's declining population leads to growing worries about a shrinking domestic market, the government is hoping to bolster the food industry by supporting its export efforts.

Kurita Kaoru of the Japan External Trade Organization says there are a growing number of people who try food while in Japan and then want it again after they return to their home countries. She says she hopes that overseas buyers will sample Japanese food and beverages during their business negotiations, and rediscover the charm of Japanese cuisine.