Japan Data

Record-High Japanese Food Exports in 2023, Despite Hit from Chinese Seafood Ban


Strong performance in the first half of the year ensured Japan set a new record for food exports in 2023, despite a drop in the second half, due to a Chinese ban on Japanese seafood imports.

Japan’s 2023 exports of agricultural, forestry, and fishery products and foodstuffs increased by 2.9% over the previous year to ¥1.45 trillion, according to a report by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries. This was the eleventh consecutive year for record-high exports. In the first half of the year, there was a steady 9.6% increase compared to the same period the previous year, due to recovery in demand from restaurants after the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the depreciation of the yen. However, China’s blanket suspension of Japanese seafood imports from August, responding to the release of treated water into the sea from TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, led to a 2.9% decrease in the second half of 2023.

Values for Agricultural, Forestry, and Fishery Exports

Scallops (fresh, refrigerated, and frozen) remained the top product, despite exports falling by 24.4% year-on-year to ¥68.8 billion, due to the impact of the Chinese embargo. Recovery in demand from restaurants meant that beef exports increased to Taiwan and Hong Kong, resulting in a rise by 11.2% to ¥57.8 billion. Similarly, an increase in the number of Japanese restaurants overseas contributed to sauces and mixed seasonings expanding by 12.4% to ¥54.3 billion.

Major Agricultural, Forestry, and Fishery Exports from Japan in 2023

By country and region, exports to China saw a 14.6% decline to ¥237.6 billion. Along with the decrease for seafood products, there were also drops for whisky and sake exports. In contrast, exports to Hong Kong rose by 13.4% to ¥236.5 billion, just behind China. Exports to the United States were steady too, growing by 6.4% to ¥206.2 billion, buoyed by strong sales of buri (yellowtail) and green tea.

Agricultural, Forestry, and Fishery Exports by Country/Region

The government has set an export target of ¥2 trillion to be reached by 2025 and ¥5 trillion by 2030. With the seafood ban from China, currently the largest export destination, slowing down growth, it will be essential to develop new export destinations to compensate for that loss.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

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