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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 May 29 - June 4  > Tofu makers in difficulties due to ‘Abenomics’
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2013 May 29 - June 4 [ECONOMY]

Tofu makers in difficulties due to ‘Abenomics’

June 1, 2013
Tofu (soybean curd) makers from around the country on May 31 held a rally in Tokyo and adopted an appeal pointing out that the weak yen policy, one of the main pillars of “Abenomics”, is tipping the industry over the edge of disaster.

Zentoren, which is the national association for tofu makers, held the rally with more than 200 people participating. There are around 10,000 tofu makers in Japan, and about 3,000 of them are Zentoren members.

The overwhelming majority of tofu in Japan is made from U.S. grown soybeans. The futures price of soybeans hit a record high in September last year. The price decreased after that, but as the yen fell against the dollar, domestic tofu makers are paying 20% more for the main ingredient used to make tofu than the previous year.

Hachijin Yasuo, heading the fresh and fried tofu retailors’ council in the Kinki region at the rally said, “Tofu is a traditional Japanese food. If nothing is done, more tofu maker owners will be unable to find successors and people in Japan will not be able to eat locally made tofu.”

Japan Tofu Association Chairman Nakano Takao stated, “Many tofu producers are in the red due to fierce price competition. We want consumers to know a reasonable price of tofu.”

Aihara Mokichi, an executive member of Zentoren, said, “The steep fall in the value of yen is doing us real harm. No one thinks the economy will get better under such a situation. We call on the government to take appropriate measures to support our survival.”

A tofu maker from Kuki City, Saitama Prefecture, pointed out that in addition to the rise in the price of soybeans, electricity rates and frying oil prices are also increasing. “I don’t think ‘Abenomics’ is working,” he added.
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