Japan’s mandarin production continues to decline amidst labor shortages and reduced consumption. Shipping challenges and rising prices are projected to reduce the consumption of largely imported
oranges and grapefruit. FAS/Tokyo anticipates that the resumption of hotel and restaurant operations following 2020-2021 COVID-related states of emergency will support the recovery of the Japanese demand for fresh lemons.
Japan’s domestic tangerine/mandarin production primarily focuses on Satsuma mandarins, also known as “Unshu mikan” or “Unshu orange” (referred to as “unshu” hereafter). After reaching peak production of 3.7 million metric tons (MT) and a corresponding price drop in 1975, Japan’s unshu production has been steadily declining in line with production plans by Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF).
Japan’s tangerine/mandarin season runs generally between October and May, where unshu production occurs primarily between October to February, followed by non-unshu varieties. According to MAFF statistics, five western prefectures (Wakayama, Ehime, Shizuoka, Kumamoto, and Nagasaki) produce nearly 70 percent of Japan’s unshu.