Expenditures and Activities of
Japan is the world’s largest net importer of agricultural, fishery, and forestry products, its export capability of these products is minimal. In Japanese fiscal year (JFY) 1998, (April 1998 - March 1999), FAS estimates that Japan spent only $2.8 million to promote exports. In general, export subsidies, credit programs, or transportation subsidies do not exist in Japan.
Japanese Promotion Activities
While not active in export promotion, the government of Japan (GOJ) and producer groups do promote Japanese agricultural products domestically to bolster the rural economies against inroads made by foreign suppliers. The biggest export project, with a $1.5 million budget, sponsors shops in foreign markets to introduce products and to analyze markets. Another major program, with a budget of over $400,000, supports trade shows, in-store promotions, and other public relations activities. Special fruit and fish promotions are funded at $28,000 each. Local governments generally conduct these programs, with financial support from the central government. A number of industry associations encourage consumption of Japanese rice, milk, chicken, strawberries and plums. Japanese food processors are moving their operations offshore to take advantage of lower labor and input costs. This investment is encouraged by the host countries through special tax breaks and other incentives.
The biggest single competitor program in Japan is run by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA). MLA’s budget is estimated at $7-$10 million. Its promotions emphasize safety and reliability of beef and lamb. Fifty percent of Australia’s beef export sales are to Japan.
The Canadian Beef Export Federation operates a three-person office with a budget of $1 million. It participates in FOODEX, holds trade seminars and fairs, participates in restaurant promotions, and advertises.
Meat New Zealand (MNZ) represents the entire New Zealand meat industry. Its promotional activities include joint seminars with Japanese meat processors, food safety conferences, and menu books. Other significant competitors include Denmark, which spends over $2 million promoting its pork products; Korea; China; Thailand; Brazil; and France.
There is substantial competition for the dairy market. The New Zealand Dairy Board and New Zealand Milk Products have staffs with more than 40 people in Japan. They have a budget of about $4 million. Their promotional activities include trade servicing, advertising, retail promotions, menu promotions, price discounts, and other promotional activities.
The Australian Dairy Council has an office of six people, with a budget of about $3 million. Promotional activities include price discounts or complementary products during food service promotions, funding to Japanese cheese packers for the usage of ADC’s "Dairy Good" logo, receptions, trips to Australia, retail promotions, menu promotions, and consumer advertisements.
European suppliers also promote dairy products in Japan, particularly cheese. Denmark, France, and Germany spend about $2 million a year to fund seminars, retail promotions and menu promotions. The EU also spends about $50 million annually on export subsidies for dairy product exports to Japan.
A number of European countries promote wine in Japan, as do Australia, Argentina and Chile. France’s SOPEXA has an office of ten and spends over $4 million on advertisements, trade shows, wine tasting events, a retail display program, and other activities. Processed foods are promoted by many countries, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Chile, China, and Korea.
Australia and Canada provide the toughest competition to the United States in wheat sales. Both have wheat boards with offices in Japan and conduct a number of activities aimed at Japanese mills and processors. These countries also promote barley and malt, as do EU malt companies. China, Argentina and South Africa promote their corn in Japan.
Canada’s Council of Forest Industries (COFI) is working on reducing trade barriers and advocating wood usage. They work to adjust discriminatory building codes, and create a greater acceptance of their wood products. The EU, Russia, Chile, and New Zealand have recently expanded sales to Japan, especially in the softwood market. The Japanese industry is also seeking to influence the market through investing in the forestry sectors of Russia and New Zealand. These efforts ensure that a stable supply of softwood logs are available for its mills.
Chile, Canada, and Norway conduct seafood promotions in Japan. Norwegian salmon is the toughest competitor to Alaskan salmon in Japan. Exports of Norwegian farmed salmon have been steadily increasing each year. At over $2 million in 1998, the Norway Seafood Export Council’s (NSEC) promotion budget for promotional activities in Japan has also increased during the past few years. The NSEC opened its Japan office in June 1997 to expand Norway’s seafood market in Japan. Its promotional activities include in-store promotions, magazine and television advertising, and promotion of a special products seal. The NSEC office is part of the Norwegian Embassy. Its staff are recognized as part of the Embassy staff. Other major competitor activities include programs for Israeli grapefruit, French and Dutch strawberries, Canadian frozen potatoes, and Chinese walnuts.