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Japan to nurture production areas for farm exports

The government plans to launch a program aimed at nurturing communities that grow farm and fishery products exclusively for export, informed sources said Thursday.

The program is part of the government's efforts to realize its goal of increasing the value of Japan's exports of agriculture, forestry and fishery products as well as food items to ¥5 trillion in 2030.

Under the program, the government will offer technical and financial assistance to such communities in order to help them to supply their produce stably at levels in line with demand from trading partners, the sources said.

The government hopes that the program will contribute to revitalizing regional economies by expanding their exports. The government will include the program in an outline of its strategy to expand exports that was set to be drawn up in a meeting of relevant ministers on Friday, the sources said.

Although Japanese wagyu beef and fruit are popular overseas, their exports are not growing as expected since not many producers are making aggressive efforts to export them. The difficulty in ensuring a stable supply throughout the year is hampering efforts to expand sales and leading to high retail prices abroad.

In the upcoming strategy, the government will regard some production areas as districts exclusively for export and help them mass-produce competitive crops that meet demand from trading partners, the sources said.

Japan and 14 other Asia-Pacific countries signed an agreement on Sunday to promote free trade under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. Taking advantage of the framework, Japan aims to expand its exports of farm, forestry and fishery products.

The new strategy is also expected to include numerical export targets for individual farm products and export destinations, as well as a policy of boosting government efforts to lobby for deregulation in destination economies, the sources said.

Japan's exports of agriculture, forestry and fishery products and food items totaled ¥912.1 billion in 2019. The government plans to increase exports, chiefly of wagyu beef, fruit and fishery products, in a bid to achieve its export targets of ¥2 trillion in 2025 and ¥5 trillion in 2030.

Source: The Japan Times

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