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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 February 27 - March 5  > Abe silent on fact that the amount of Japan’s food imports is 10 times larger than food exports
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2019 February 27 - March 5 [ECONOMY]

Abe silent on fact that the amount of Japan’s food imports is 10 times larger than food exports

February 28, 2019
The Abe government boasts that exports of agricultural and marine products increased in recent years, but it remains silent about the fact that Japan imports ten times more foods in terms of value.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries recently announced that exports of agricultural, forest, and marine products grew to 906.8 billion yen in 2018, up 12.8% from a year earlier, setting record highs for six years in a row. The Abe government in 2016 proclaimed that as part of its economic policy, it will seek to boost agri-food exports to reach one trillion yen by 2019.

Concerning food trade, there is a statistic that the Abe government seems to be reluctant to discuss or even mention. Japan in 2018 purchased agricultural and marine products worth 9.6 trillion yen from overseas, which is roughly ten times more than what Japan sold to other countries. This situation has remained unchanged for a long time.

Nevertheless, the Abe government has agreed to further lower or eliminate tariffs on agreed upon products in the revised Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact as well as in the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement. In addition, Japan will most likely be under pressure from the U.S. to buy more U.S. farm products in the soon-to-start bilateral trade negotiations. Abe’s trade policy will put domestic farmers and fishermen in an even more difficult situation.

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