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Fisheries Promotion Group Chairman Jun Azumi Comments"Need to Improve Relationships with Island Nations by Strategic Investment"

March 30, 2010

The Suisan Times set up an opportunity for dialogue, inviting House of the Representatives Member Jun Azuma, who also acts as Chairman of the Federation of Diet Members for Promoting Fisheries of the Democratic Part of Japan, the Japan Far Seas Purse Seine Fishing Association Chairman Kazuo Shima, as well as Taiyo A&F President Hironobu Imamura. The running theme of this dialogue was "Issues and polices of Japan's Far Seas Purse Seine Fisheries for 2010." The following is a statement summary of Mr. Azumi:

"The burden of fishing fees on Japanese fishermen is much heavier, compared to those on our European and American counterparts. We ought to try various measures. We also need to pay attention to engagement of ODA. Japan's way of handling budget formulation on a single-year basis holds its own limit; there are voices that say a long-term perspective should be given to budget planning. In addition, there are issues that involve reduction of fishing fees paid by ship owners and improvement of relationships with island nations by means of strategic investment. These are some of the things we must press hard on. Last December, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Fukuyama suggested that these subjects be placed and examined as a pillar diplomatic matter. We are required to lessen the burden on ship owners as early and as much as we can. With a premise that 200,000 tons of bonito are well guaranteed by national gain involving island nations, it is time to efficiently and strategically utilize ODA."

"There are two important questions waiting for us to find solutions to: how we will sustain ourselves as fishing country Japan; and how efficiently we will use taxes to revitalize the fishing industry and halt its deterioration. As Chairman of the Federation of Diet Members for Promoting Fisheries, I made a suggestion to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Fisheries Agency at the meeting of last December as to a subject of the waters of the Central Pacific. Thereafter, we have thrown an investment amount of about \2 billion into island nations in the Central Pacific."

Focusing on Fostering Younger Generation, Constructions of Replacement Vessels Will Be Promoted

"In terms of a subject of fishing boats, we are about to face their aging. Large-scale companies are well funded; but, such companies in my hometown Ishimaki for example, which are participants of Japan Far Seas Purse Seine Fishing Association, are just small businesses without much financial power to build new vessels. This is the reality we are encountering and reorganization of the industry will therefore be inevitable. If we proceed with the diversification of the industry, we will need more advanced vessels, not just regular fishing ones. We should strategically construct 1,000-ton class vessels with a factory like function other than an ecological one. I want to come up with different ways to pursue this structure reform."

Need of Survival Strategies As Giant Fishery Country

"I have an understanding that we must fight for our survival as a big fishing country and that there are unavoidable things awaiting us on the way. I want to tackle this matter as a policy challenge without even thinking about dodging it. Moreover, another important matter is how we carry out resources management. A concern over resources management is getting more serious. I believe all-out resources management will resultantly help maintain a 200,000-ton system. The topic of resources management will be added as one of the key issues."

The original article was published on March 30, 2010 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Yokohama Reito Completes New Company Building

March 26, 2010

A completion ceremony of the "Yokohama Reito Shintomi Building" which was under construction for renovation in Tokyo by Yokohama Reito (Yokohama City; President Toshio Yoshikawa) was held on March 25.

The newly reborn building is a steel-framed reinforced concrete structure with seven stories. Its gross floor space is 1,296sq m. The company originally purchased a 20-year old building. Yokohama Reito's Tokyo Marketing Office, Raw Materials Department, Livestock Business Department, and subsidiary Alliance Seafoods will be placed inside the new building structure. The building frame was built sturdily in accordance with new Building Standards Act; President Yoshikawa said, "Except the foundation, everything else was replaced and we made it just like a brand new building." Its construction cost including the land added up to \400 million. An employed construction company was Toa Corporation.

At the ceremony, the President of Yokohama Reito made a comment: "Several offices scattered around Tsukiji now come together in the Shintomi Building. With Alliance Seafoods and Seiwa Food joining as our subsidiaries, this new place will function as a new main operation site for globally performing Food Distribution Operation. We have pretty much arranged the current business system; and now taking this opportunity, we will aggressively hit the world stage." Division Director of Food Distribution Operation Fumio Iwabuchi, who is also Managing Director/Corporate Officer, expressed his anticipation for the future business expansion.

The original article was published on March 26, 2010 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Nippon Suisan's Fish Ham and Sausage Add More Power to Expansion Strategy

March 26, 2010

In spite of the current shrinking fish ham/sausage market, Nippon Suisan has managed to maintain a sales rise of 105 percent year over year. The company's efforts to promote their products, such as a display contest and a commercial, ended in fruitful results.

Continuing from last year, the company collaborated with the magazine " Chain Store Age" for this fiscal year. Ever-evolving "Osakana Sausage" (fish sausage), the company's flagship product, was used as a main theme for a display contest. In addition, its commercial hit the air in October. The company commented: "As a result of our efforts for sales promotion in a step-by-step manner, we managed to pull it off."

The company upgraded "Osakana Sausage" last fall; it was recognized as a "Special Health Food" for its calcium content and a special marked label was printed on the product. Furthermore, the company developed aluminum hook-free "Eco-clip," "Meku-tape," which had an enhanced casing function. When a seal on the side of a sausage is peeled off, it can be opened without a sharp object. Commenting on this, the company said, "We will keep working even harder for the development of much more convenient ways to open the sausage."

Capturing Casual Consumers and Meat Ham Consumers

As price competition ferociously increases its intensity, market expansion becomes an issue. Nippon Suisan hired as a product promoter a popular comedian, who publicly expresses his fondness of fish sausages, last autumn. Frequent consumers of fish sausages range in age from late 40's and 60's. By using a popular comedian, whose fan base is predominately between the ages of 30 through 40's, the company aims to get even closer to the casual consumer of this age group.

Compared to the \46.6 billion market size of fish ham/sausage (as of 2009), the meat ham/ sausage market is about ten times as big, totaling \50 billion. Responding to this reality, the company introduced "Arabiki Shokkan Fish Vienna" (fish sausage with Vienna sausage texture). With its succulence and animal meat like texture, the company aims to entertain consumers in the meat ham/sausage market and to resultantly expand its fish sausage market.

In addition, "NOW Hamburger" was renewed. Going back to its very original recipe born in around 1983, the hamburger was recreated as a replica of the old recipe and its juiciness was realized again. By adding products that are filling, not only health-conscious ones, the company plans to grow its consumer base.

Picture 1: Arabiki Shokkan Fish Vinner Sausage

The original article was published on March 26, 2010 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Maruha Nichiro Foods' Campaign to Celebrate 100th Anniversary of Canned Product "Akebono Salmon"

March 25, 2010

Maruha Nichiro Foods is slated to carry out a year-long campaign to commemorate the 100th anniversary of one of its flagship products canned salmon of "Akebomo" brand. For the period of May through January 2011, a commemorative promotion "Akebono Salmon 100th Year Campaign '100-Year Brand: Akebono Salmon'" will be conducted.

Nichiro - its name at the time was "Tsutsumi Shokai"-, the precursor of Maruha Nichiro Group, began canned salmon production on the island of the Kamchatka back in 1910. An aggregate production quantity of "Akebono Salmon" since its inception comes to roughly 3.9 billion cans. Wide ranges of memorial activities are arranged: a release of a commemorative version "100-year anniversary commemorative Akebono Salmon Can," a publishing of "100th year commemorative book," and a couple of events "100-year anniversary promotion" and "Summer vacation: family food education." Furthermore, there will be several campaigns planned targeting consumers throughout the year, such as an opening promotion: a trip to Hokkaido for four days and three nights ("Eat salmon until you drop") and a closing one: a gift of \10,000 to four hundred selected people.

The "100th year commemorative book" scheduled to hit the bookstore in May will consist of the history of "Akebono Salmon," a collection of interviews with people involved, as well as recipes. In September retro "salmon can" designs will be replicated and also the "100-year anniversary commemorative Akebono Salmon Can" will hit the market.

During May and June the opening campaign, a trip to Hokkaido will be given to a chosen pair. The lucky pair will be entertained by a trip worth \1 million; the luxurious trip includes a visit to Maruha Nichiro Kushiro Plant and Shibetsu Salmon Museum; stay at a junior suite in the Windsor Hotel International in Doyako to enjoy a course meal of rare young salmon and spa treatment; and experience to catch salmon by hands and make salmon flakes and salmon roe.

Additionally, there will be an event called the "Salmon Can: 100-year anniversary promotion" held at Marucube and Marunouchi Cafe-ease inside the Tokyo Station. A salmon recipe contest, collaborative work with the Japan's largest recipe website "Cookpad," will take place there to recognize a winning recipe.

For the closing campaign, scheduled to happen from October 2010 to January 2011, 100 people who purchase marked products will be selected each month (a total of 400 people altogether) for a gift of \10,000 over the course of four months.

The original article was published on March 25, 2010 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Nippon Suisan Shelf Stable Foods Business Keeps 105% Increase in Sales

March 24, 2010

Nippon Suisan's Shelf Stable Foods Business has maintained a 105 per cent increase in sales during this fiscal term. Just like the trend of the industry as a whole, the division had a relatively easy first part of the year; however, the last part turned out to be a tough one. There was a slight 101 percent increase in cans; bottled goods marked a 110 percent hike and retort foods did 120 percent. Shelf Stable Foods Department Director Hiroyuki Okamoto commented: "Considering results in the past years, I am not so satisfied with the figures of bottled and retort foods. Bottled products performed all right; but I wanted to see retort products grow more, for we have been putting some energy into product development in this category."

Salmon flake products, mainly "Yakisake Hogushi" (broiled salmon flakes), played a leading role in sales increases in the bottled food group. It is believed that Nissui accounts for 35 percent of all shares of the salmon flake category. "Sake Arahogushi" with 30 percent less sodium and "Sake Hogushi," which contains 30 percent of shishamo smelt roe, are hot selling products in a salmon flake series. This year, the company has marketed new products of "Sanma Soboro" (saury rousong) and "Tori Soboro" (chicken rousong), with an aim to add more fighting power to the genre of bottled foods.

"Sanma Soboro" makes the best use of fresh saury harvested in Hokkaido with a finishing touch of flavorful bonito flakes. "Tori Soboro" is perfect for rice and lunch boxes. Both products are mildly seasoned, so that children find no problem eating them. Business negotiations for this spring are rolling smoothly.

Following the first item of a series "Ramenya-san no Makanai-meshi" (noodle house's employee meal) supervised by "Santouka," a new item "Morioka Reimenya-san no Makanai-meshi" (Morioka's cold noodle house's employee meal) supervised by Pyonpyonsuya in Morioka was just added to the series. It is a rice seasoning mix, containing cold noodle soup and Korean chili paste. Abundant amounts of beef, Jew's ear fungus, carrot, shiitake mushroom, and fiddlehead fern are included. Other than those, "Fukahire Soup" (shark fin soup) with real shark fins and 3,000mg of collagen is another highly anticipated item.

In the can category, canned mackerel (miso, soy sauce, and water) from a series "Sakana ha Umaizo!" (Fish is delicious!), which uses catches only from Hachinohe Harbor, Aomori, and another series of seafood deli, "Iwashi Kabayaki" (broiled sardine), "Sanma Shio-yaki" (broiled salted salmon), and "Sanma Kabayaki" are what the company is hoping to gain some profits from. Soft brown sugar is used for broiled fish; natural sea salt for broiled salted fish. Far-infrared ray is used to cook the fish.

Picture 1: Seafood deli series

The original article was published on March 24, 2010 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Fishermen Request Support for Damage Caused by Chile Tsunami

March 19, 2010

The fisheries Cooperatives of Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures as well as the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations demanded, on March 18, to the government tsunami damage control caused by the earthquake in Chile.

The tsunami that originated from the quake in the central coast of Chile reached the Pacific Ocean side of Japan on February 28; as a result, aquaculture businesses alongside of the Pacific were hit hard, ending in tremendous damage. Particularly, aqua farming businesses of the Sanriku Coast, at the peak of productions of laver seaweed, oyster, wakame seaweed, scallop, and coho salmon, are now in danger of not being able to resume their harvesting operations.

For that reason, the fisheries Cooperatives of Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures and the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations made urgent and permanent requests to the government. Emergency measures are outlined as follows: 1) Invocation of serious disaster law; 2) financial aid for removal and disposal of waste created by the disaster; 3) financial support for reconstruction of farm facilities; and 4) relaxation of requirements for various disaster countermeasure aids and determent of repayment periods of existing loans. Permanent measures are: 1) Establishment of disaster resilient fisheries/aquaculture business promotion using a subsidy for building robust fisheries and other sources; 2) increase in a supplement rate of fisheries mutual aid premium by the government and revision of enrollment requirements; and 3) drastic relaxation of enrollment conditions in the Reserve Plus.

The original article was published on March 19, 2010 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

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