In 2018, Japanese food exports -including farm and marine products- hit a record, as the world's taste for the country's cuisine continues to grow. Figures from the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry show exports amounted to about 8.3 billion dollars last year. That's up 12 percent in yen terms from the previous year.
Exports of apples -for instance- rose 28 percent. Japanese apples are gaining popularity as gift items. Exports of sake, strawberries and eggs also increased sharply.
Hong Kong was the top export destination, with nearly 2 billion dollars' worth of products shipped. It was followed by China and the US.
Figures for the top three markets were all up last year
Officials at the ministry note that the number of Japanese restaurants is increasing around the globe. They also say the increasing number of foreign tourists in Japan is spurring interest in the nation's cuisine. According to www3.nhk.or.jp, the government targets boosting food exports to about 9.1 billion dollars this year.