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Interview with Kyokuyo President

June 18, 2010

Kyokuyo has just launched a tuna farm company, Kyokuyo Marine Ehime, in Ainan, Ehime, following Kyokuyo Marine Farm in Sukumo, Kochi. Kyokuyo President Kiyokazu Fukui, in an interview by the Suisan Times, shared a story of how Kyokuyo Marine Ehime was established and his view of the future of tuna farming operations.


--- Kyokuyo Marine Ehime was formed on May 21.
“A subject matter of CITES listing bluefin tuna was discussed this March in Doha. Even though this proposal was turned down, tuna stock protection and fishing regulation will grow more stringent. In order for a seafood company to find a way to handle it, it is inevitable to embark on growth-oriented fishing operations.”

--- There were limitations in the existing operation in Sukumo.
“Kyokuyo Group’s new bluefin farming site is found in the sea with such a superior environment covering from the Bungo Channel to Uwakai. We estimate an average 500-600 tons of fish annually when Kochi and Ehime combined; for the yield of 1,000 tons or more, the third and fourth locations will be necessary. Currently we are seeking out some potential sites. When expanding our operations, including already-established farms, we proceed in an environmentally friendly and cooperative manner.”

--- Kyokuyo Marine Farm, which was instituted three years ago, is running a smooth operation and its farmed bluefin were shipped out as Honmaguro no Kiwami from last September.
“Our bluefin tuna contain no smell peculiar to farmed fish; they have clean fatty parts with clear eyes, just how they should look like; their wild tuna like flavor is well relished by our clients. Kyokuyo boasts of its bonito/tuna operations; when we take on full-scale tuna aquaculture business, we want to develop it into an annual output of over 1,000 tons at least in the future. Not in five to ten years; we will get it done within five years.”

--- Securing Yokowa (juvenile tuna) is another issue to tackle.
“We need to consider a way to obtain artificially-incubated yokowa through complete cycle aquaculture in the future, not just limiting ourselves to wild yokowa. Research activities may involve cooperation with other seafood companies, universities, and research agencies. In a case like that we will actively engage in it.”

--- Finally, Kyokuyo Marine Ehime will release fish into pens this season.
“I am myself from Iyo City, Ehime. I know the magnificence and beauty of the sea of Ehime very well. I have absolute confidence in quality, because ‘it is tuna raised in this environment.’ Kyokuyo Marine Ehime and even every member of Kyokuyo Group along with (Kyokuyo Marine Ehime) President Ito will make collective efforts to have our customers understand this absolute confidence in quality, as anticipating the first shipment.”

--- Domestic and overseas sushi boat and take-out restaurants use Kyokuyo products.
“We have a sense of competence in working with the sushi industry and volume retailers. We have earned their trust, as well. Global-level fish consumption is progressing due to growing health awareness worldwide, especially in Europe and the US. A balance of supply-demand is varying depending on certain fish varieties. The reality is that unless fish prices go up a bit more, we cannot make profits. It is not an easy task to put it on the right track, but this is the bluefin aquaculture operation attracting a global attention; therefore we want to globally proceed with it in the medium and long terms, while effectively using marine resources and achieving stable supply.”

The original article was published on June 18, 2010 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Tosakatsuo Suisan Obtains Daisui’s HACCP

June 18, 2010

A Yaizu-located company, Tosakatsuo Suisan was awarded the HACCP certificate for its frozen straw-seared bonito, skinless bonito, manufactured at its Shizuoka Plant. Tosakatsuo Suisan was the world’s first distant water pole and line skipjack tuna fishery to receive the MSC certificate last November. Based on the acquisition of the certificate, an effort for the further penetration of the MSC-certified bonito into overseas markets was approved in February by the Organization for Small & Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation, sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Sashimi grade frozen bonito caught by a pole and line fishing vessel will hit the world market. To this end, the Company obtained the Japan Fisheries Association’s HACCP certificate. The Company is currently preparing for ISO22000 to further earn the EU’s HACCP certificate.

The original article was published on June 18, 2010 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Canned Seafood Output for 2009 Increases For the First Time in 4 Years

June 17, 2010

The Japan Canners Association, whose chairman is Maruha Nichiro HD Chairman Yuji Igarashi, released production statistics for 2009 on June 16. The total output of canned food, excluding beverages, amounted to 256,664 tons, down 3 per cent on a year-over-year basis. By category, while the majority of categories were in decline, canned seafood exhibited an increase for the first time in four years at 101 percent year over year.

When compared with ten years prior, canned seafood pulled off a yield of 71.5 per cent. Jam and canned meat, in contrast, fell more than half.

In the detailed figures of canned seafood, the following increases were found: crab 102 percent year over year, bonito 108 percent, mackerel 109 percent, saury 129 percent, and squid 107 percent. Tuna saw a nine percent decline, bringing about a shift of a raw material for tuna cans to bonito. What generated demand surges in mackerel and saury seemingly lied not only in consumer preference over low-priced foodstuffs, but in preparation for the H1N1 flu.

Declined canned marine foods were salmon 94 percent in comparison with the previous year, tuna 91 percent, sardine 73 percent, and whale 98 percent. The following canned seashells showed decreases all across the board: oyster 71 percent, bloody clam 88 percent, Manila clam 96 percent, and scallop 98 percent.

The retort food yield ended in 325,159 tons, marking 101.6 percent over a year prior. This category hit a record high. Since it switched places with canned and bottled products six years back in terms of production amounts, a gap between them has been growing wider and wider.

The original article was published on June 17, 2010 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Marine Foods’ New President Interviewed

June 17, 2010

Picture 1:President Minouchi

Marine Foods’ new President Shinzo Minouchi at a press conference on his inauguration on June 16 said, “I engaged in the meat business for quite a long time back in Nippon Ham. Marine Foods deals with a broad range of fish, which adds depth to our business; I believe this industry has a promising future because of its health consciousness and growing needs of the aging society. On the other hand, the population of Japan is in decline, which necessitates our needs to look to new markets overseas and insinuate ourselves into Asian and Chinese markets. In addition, I understand Marine Foods mostly deals with sushi toppings; the Company must develop other pillar products from this point on.”

50 Depots Nationwide Expands Possibility of Securing Materials and Processing

President Minouchi touched on the Company performance, “Because it’s a deflationary economy, the growth rate isn’t that great. Last year, it was 105 percent in production, and there was a slight increase in value. We are aiming at 110 percent in production this year.” Additionally, referring to a new undertaking of tuna farm operation in Ehime Prefecture, he said, “The timing of the operation was great. Though fishing sites in Ehime have lower water temperatures than Amami, resulting in a sluggish rate of fish growth, we’ve heard positive feedback that the quality of the fish is close to wild fish. Making good use of this advantage point, we will continue undertaking this operation.”

He continued, “Marine Foods’ strongpoint is 50 depot sites (business outposts). This is an outstanding fact for a seafood company and making the best of these outposts we aspire to create products out of materials from local port communities. Furthermore, Mie Plant is the only plant of our own, where we consolidate bulk materials from overseas to produce processed marine foods. Also, we will organically proceed with alliances with regional partner plants. We have partner plants in Hokkaido and Kesennuma.”

The original article was published on June 17, 2010 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Organization to Promote Japanese Restaurants Abroad Holds General Meeting

June 17, 2010

The Organization to Promote Japanese Restaurants Abroad (JRO; Chairman Yuzaburo Mogi), an incorporated nonprofit organization, held its 2010 general meeting in Tokyo to determine on a new year business plan.

The objective of JRO is to support Japanese restaurants abroad. By means of a network of people involved in Japanese restaurants throughout the world, JRO promotes the exports of Japanese agricultural, livestock, marine products and foods with an aim to have people all over the world relish Japanese food culture. Its main operational principles among others are: 1) construction of a network of Japanese restaurants abroad as well as those engaged in the Japanese food market; 2) research on the Japanese food market overseas and made-in-Japan foodstuffs; 3) education and promotion of infiltrations into overseas markets; and 4) support to the international expansions of the Japanese food market. The following publications can be found at bookstores: Guidebook of Japanese Restaurants in the US, Sanitation and Fundamental Technique of Sushi, and Sanitation Basics and How to Handle Raw Fish.

JRO has its branch offices in London, Paris, Amsterdam, Switzerland, Rome, Moscow, Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Taipei, Shanghai, Beijing, Seoul, Sydney, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and Toronto.

Room for Overseas Business Opportunities of Japanese Foodstuffs

At a convivial party after the general meeting Vice Chairman Chiaki Tanuma (Japan Foodservice Association Chairman) shared his thoughts: “The web of JRO now encompasses 18 locations throughout the world, as a result of the participation of a great number of people in Japanese restaurant and food businesses abroad, food manufacturers, and distributors. My recent visits to Singapore and Seoul gave me impressions that Japanese food enjoyed great popularity there and that Japanese restaurant businesses offered high quality food at reasonable prices. Local capital was a dominating force and the majority of business owners were 20 to 30 years old. Quick managerial decision-making was their character. As long as we continuously conduct thorough research on factors that contribute to the acceptance of Japanese food and foodstuffs, there is still a lot of room for business opportunities.” Hideo Nakamura, Deputy Director-General of the General Food Policy Bureau, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, expressed his anticipation for the development of JRO: “Understanding of Japan by the rest of the world will deepen through our food culture.”

A member of board of directors, who is also a chairman of the Board of Hattori Academy, gave a toast and said, “It’s been three years since the birth of this organization. Creating 18 different offices in a blink of an eye is a rare case in the world. The government’s move to sort out projects reduced an associated budget. I hope they will bring it back again.”

The original article was published on June 17, 2010 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

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