Market and Trade Data
United States Seeded Tops Among
Japanís Foreign Suppliers of Planting Seeds
By Yuichi Hayashi
also. . .
FAS Report JA6043
Just like last year, Japanese planting seed imports grew
in value, totaling $126.83 million in calendar year
2005, up 5.7 percent from $120 million the previous
year, based largely on gains in the vegetable and
herbaceous plant seed categories. The quantity of
vegetable, forage, and herbaceous plant seed imports
increased 7.9 percent, from 83,427 metric tons in 2004
to 90,037 tons in 2005.
the United States ranked tops among Japanís foreign
planting seed suppliers by volume (16,351 metric tons),
value ($33.19 million), and market share by value (26.2
percent, up 4.6 percent from the previous year).
Japanís seed exports in 2005 totaled $91.53 million,
down 7 percent from 2004. Japanese exports to the United
States totaled $14.22 million, down 4.7 percent.
Legal Restrictions and Producer Protections Gain Ground
In 2006, Japanese efforts to strengthen protections of
the rights of its seed growers progressed. On Aug. 1,
2007, MAFF (Japanís Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry,
and Fisheries) will increase seeds and seedlings
forbidden from home-breeding for cultivation from 23 to
A MAFF subcommittee is working to strengthen the
punitive clause of the Seeds and Seedlings Act to help
Japanese breeders file suit to suspend imports of crops
that have been unlawfully produced from registered Japanese
varieties. The subcommittee plans to compile its report
and revise the law in 2007.
The Data Is in Details:
Tariff Codes for Planting Seeds in Japan
Due to differences in the way Japan and the
United States apply the harmonized system of
tariff codes to planting seeds, the trade
figures in this article (and FAS Report
JA6043, on which it is based) differ from
those in FAS BICO (bulk, intermediate, and
consumer-oriented product) reports.
The first six digits of the harmonized
system are universal standard codes, but the
rest vary by country. Japan uses nine-digit
codes, while the United States uses
ten-digit codes. BICO reports provide trade
data on planting seeds based on six seed
groups, each of which represents a total of
the individual commodities, based on the
harmonized system of codes.
changes mark a continuation of Japanís efforts to
tighten requirements for planting seeds. In June 2005,
Japan began enforcing two labeling changes under the
Seeds and Seedlings Act.
The revisions apply to imports
and domestically produced seeds. A couple of the
most significant changes can be summarized as follows:
Expansion of labeling for specified seeds and
ē Before revision: A total of 128 kinds of plants
important to agricultural production had to be labeled.
After revision: All edible agricultural crops
must be labeled.
of label information on use of agricultural chemicals
for specified seeds and seedlings:
ē Before revision:
The names of the
agricultural chemicals used to prevent disease and
insect damage had to appear on labels.
ē After revision: Edible seeds of feed crops
(excluding fruit trees) on which agricultural chemicals
have been applied must have labels that show the active
ingredients in the chemicals and the number of times
each ingredient was used. Other specified seeds and
seedlings are required to show only the names of active
Hayashi is an agricultural specialist in the FAS Office
of Agricultural Affairs in Tokyo, Japan. E-mail: