Japan Data

Japan’s Pearl Exports See Rapid Recovery in First Half of 2023


An international trade fair in Hong Kong, held for the first time in four years in March 2023, boosted Japan’s pearl exports.

In the first half of 2023 the export value for Japan’s pearls, both natural and cultured, was ¥22.3 billion, which was an increase of 129.3% compared to the same period in 2022. Data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries shows that for June alone, sales increased by 193.4% to ¥6.8 billion. The ministry stated that “an international trade fair galvanized demand for popular, high-quality Japanese pearls.” Exports to Hong Kong, Italy, and China showed a significant increase in June.

Japan’s Pearl Exports (Natural and Cultured)

Japanese pearls are highly regarded worldwide and are a major export in the marine product category. After a slump due to the global economic downturn from 2008, the export value recovered to the ¥30 billion range in the five-year period between 2015 and 2019. In 2020 though, there was a sharp drop to ¥7.6 billion, impacted by unrest in Hong Kong and the COVID-19 pandemic. Expansion of direct online dealings between traders led toward recovery in 2021 and 2022.

The chart below shows the countries and regions with the highest shares of Japan’s pearl exports in 2022. At 72.7%, Hong Kong had the highest share, followed by the United States with 9.5%.

Share of Japan’s Pearl Export Value by Country/Region

Japan produced 13.2 tons of cultured pearls in 2022, according to MAFF. The top three prefectures for production volume were Nagasaki, Ehime, and Mie. In 2019, mass deaths of Akoya oysters at pearl farms mainly in Ehime and Mie led to a reduction in cultured pearl production.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

trade pearls