April 20, 2022


Japan pork imports rising after pandemic



Japan imports more than 1.1 million tonnes of pig meat and offal annually, making it Asia's second largest market and the third largest market in the world, with the United States and Canada supply more than half of this amount, the UK Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board reported.


The remaining amount comes from a range of smaller exporters, including Spain and Denmark. Japan is a high-value market compared to other Asian economies, with an average import unit price of GBP 3,500 (~US$4,500; GBP 1 = US$1.31) per tonne last year.


Through 2019, 2020, and the first half of 2021, many markets observed a decrease in pork imports as output was diverted to China. Less of this behaviour was observed in the Japanese market due to its higher import prices, which reflect not just the sort of items imported but also the importance to exporters in preserving market dominance.


Japan's Ministry of Finance said the pandemic lowered import demand in Japan, resulting in a 13% increase in pork imports (including offal) to 182,000 tonnes in January and February. This is a significant increase year-on-year but these were the import totals before 2020.


Exports from Spain increased by more than 10,000 tonnes to over 25,000 tonnes in the same period, which is good news for the European market because Spanish output had been increasing, fueled by exports to China.


-      UK Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board

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