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Fisheries minister resigns

September 3, 2007

Takehiko Endo stepped down in money scandal after he had been appointed minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe`s cabinet reshuffle on Aug. 27.

A 68-year-old member of the Liberal Democratic Party has illegally obtained \1.15 million from a farmer`s mutual aid association in Yamagata Prefecture. He has been allegedly getting the money by padding its membership numbers when applying for a crop damage compensation scheme.

Endo said he would not resign as yet another money scandal broke out just days after he took office in a shake-up aimed at restoring the trouble-hit government image. But he was bombarded with criticism from the opposition party and his resignation is most likely.

Endo is known as an expert on farm policies based on his agricultural and swine husbandry experiences.

After working as a Yamagata Prefectural Assemble member, he won his Lower House seat in 1986 on the LDP ticket.

As an expert on the agriculture industry, he was appointed senior vice president vice minister under Junichiro Koizumi, former Prime Minister before Abe, and headed a government task force in September 2001 to cope with Japan`s first case of mad cow disease.

His two predecessors as farm chief were also embroiled in money scandals. Norihiro Akagi was sacked by Abe last month over questionable political funds, while Toshikatsu Matsuoka hanged himself in May after being grilled over irregular accounting for his office expenses and alleged links surfaced to bid rigging cases connected to forestry-related work projects.

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Tokai Denpun edged up slightly, while bottom-line profits soared

August 31, 2007

Tokai Denpun, a major fish trader in Japan, registered annual sales of \154.8 billion modest increase of 1.9% from the previous fiscal year, while net profits jumped 129.2% to \1.8 billion. In addition to those figures, sales from the seafood sector were \93.4 billion.

“Tokai Seapro, a subsidiary of Denpun, who specializes in farming yellowtail and bream, also enjoyed a growth of 120%, resulting in the company`s overall sales, said the company.

In a recent interview Kenji Junno, the president of Tokai Denpu, looked back at the
previous year informing us of how the seafood sector is looking by individual categories.


Surimi

The international seafood trend highlights Alaskan Pollack, a fish that is presently in high demand and of great value to the customer. With less Surimi production and higher fillet block production, the company is working on the development of new Surimi products created from other fish such as golden threadfin bream in Indonesia, China and Vietnam.

Asian countries positioned as alternative Surimi sources will hopefully gain more widespread recognition. As a matter of fact, almost 20% of the surimi the corporation purchases is from this region of Asia and the date reveals that this trend will continue.

Surimi earned about \14 billion from the last fiscal year, proving to be a vital asset for the entire company.

Frozen Fish
Emerging markets outside of Japan have been driving prices up and as a result, forcing competition in the marketplace to become fierce. While prices have risen, we see declining prices which result in negative net worth.

Frozen Fish
Strong numbers of wild yellowtail caught in the fall induced hovering sales of farmed fish. Although Salmon prices have stayed relatively low due to increased output worldwide, the company encumbered by the weak Japanese Yen and was unable to lower purchasing costs.

Fishmeal
Catch quota of the main source in Peru we well as high demand in China raised fishmeal prices. Meal companies increased selling prices and slashed the used amount of fishmeal. The company secured sources from various vendors and was able to boost sales.

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Shiraken Kamaboko`s sales surpassed \3.4 billion

August 30, 2007

Shiraken Kamaboko`s annual sales hit the company`s record and surpassed \3.4 billion , crushing their previous company record. Sales for the month of July were up 115.8% in comparison to the previous fiscal year.

Ultimate factoring in to this increase in profits has been their main ingredients, most notably Alaskan Pollack that when blended with rockfish and black spot cardinal fish, creates such a positive differences in taste, stated the company.

Confident in its future growth, the mid-sized Kamaboko maker has just been issued patent approval for kneading fish meat with iota air bubble which results in a “germ-free” fishcake.

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Ichimasa witnessed 7.3% turnover growth with healthy surimi sales

August 29, 2007

Ichimasa `s annual sales ending in June were \28 billion, a 76% increase from the previous year. Operating profits climbed whopping 194.7% to \420 million. Projected sales of the current business period are \30 billion.

The company experienced adverse market conditions with respect to it main ingredient, Surimi, and fuel. As a result, price competition was severe.

“Under these circumstances, the second largest Surimi company in Japan developed new items in addition to beefing up their “bread-and-butter” products so to speak which can be attributed to the sales growth,” stated the company.

The Surimi enterprise witnessed healthy sales increase of 7.3% to make \23.9 billion. “Our unique items, such as “Hanpen (a white squared Surimi product) with cheese” as well as “Hanpen with spicy cod roe with mayonnaise” differentiate ourselves from rival products. Then too, one of our main staple products, Satuma Age, is a deep-fried fishcake that is cooked in a special oil that lowers LDL cholesterol and as a result, attracts a great deal of health-conscious customers, the company added.

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