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August Seafood Imports Indicate 20% Increases in Volume and Value

September 30, 2010

The Ministry of Finance posted preliminary foreign trade statistic, which revealed that the total seafood import amount for August rose 21 percent to 244,046 tons in comparison with the same month last year. The total import value ended at \123.4 billion, up 20 percent. Chief commodities, yellowfin, bonito, flounder varieties, salmon/trout, shrimp (shrimp and prawn), pollack surimi, and fishmeal, grew across the board. In contrast, crab and octopus showed considerable drops.

In the category of tuna varieties, yellowfin tuna hiked 32 percent to 5,800 tons; albacore 190 percent to 3,000 tons; and bluefin 56 percent to 2,200 tons. Bonito mainly from Taiwan, S. Korea, and Indonesia likewise leaped 56 percent to 2,500 tons.

A combined total for salmon and trout was 25,800 tons, a rise of 25 percent. Especially sockeye salmon imported from the US (10,000 tons, up 78 percent) and Russia (6,000 tons, up 66 percent) surged.

US pollack surimi soared 42 percent to 7,600 tons. The amount of fishmeal doubled, resulting in 46,000 tons.

Shrimp as a whole racked up an increase of 14 percent to 20,000 tons. Led by Vietnamese shrimp (4,700 tons, up 11 percent), shrimp from India (4,300 tons, 53 percent) and from Thailand (3,200 tons, up 6 percent) exhibited growth.

Crab ended with 4,900 tons, down 31 percent and octopus with 1,700 tons, down 52 percent.

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

Amita Institute for Sustainable Economies Co. Becomes First MSC Certification Body in Asia

September 29, 2010

Amita Institute for Sustainable Economics Co., an operational company of the Amita Holdings, located in Tokyo under management of President Chieko Sakuma, was accredited as the very first certification body of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Chain of Custody (CoC) Certification in Asia.

The Institute, since the time when the MSC Certification was first implemented in 2006 in Japan, has participated in more than 30 cases of the MSC CoC Certification assessment procedures in collaboration with an Australian certification agent TQCSI.

The Institute expressed its expectation about being recognized as the certification organization, " From this point on we can engage in an entire certification procedure, not just assessment, but to issuance of a certificate, which therefore will enable us to provide more efficient process and quick and detail-oriented services [to award the certification]."

In addition, proliferation of the MSC Certification system in Japan is one of the focuses. At the same time, "We are mulling over operation expansion overseas, minding targets of the MSC Certification in Asia where seafood consumption is heightening," said the Institute.

The original article was published on September 29, 2010 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka

Japan's Future Food Expenditure May Shift from Fresh to Prepared Foods

September 29, 2010

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishery posted the estimated food expenditure of Japan for the year of 2025, based on the projected progress of aging population combined with the diminishing number of children. The market scale in relation to household food expenditure will hover at \72.2 trillion.

With a forecast 6.7 percent decline in population in 2025, contrasted with 2005, the development of low birthrate and longevity will help the food expenditure to stay at \72.2 trillion, down 1.9 percent from 2005. This is mainly because, with a consumption trajectory of increasing elderly households and single-person households affecting figures, the structure of household spending is projected to shift from fresh produce to highly processed foods.

The Ministry foresees that expenditure on fresh foods will be 21.3 percent, down 5.5 percent from 2005; and that there will be a 4.6 percent increase in spending on cooked foods to 16.6 percent.

The original article was published on September 29, 2010 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka

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