FY2020 exports of Fukushima products up 24% to 905 mil. yen

Exports of products made in Fukushima Prefecture totaled 905 million yen in fiscal 2020 through last March, equivalent to 124% of those in fiscal 2019 or an increase of 24%, and marked a record high in terms of value since the prefectural government began compiling trade statistics in fiscal 2012. In announcing the data on Aug. 26, the Fukushima government attributed the rise to greater exports of processed food for household consumption as many people chose to stay at home longer than before amid the prolonged coronavirus pandemic. Exports of Fukushima products have been increasing year after year since fiscal 2012 to record a 10-fold surge in eight years. The rate of growth in fiscal 2020 was the sharpest since fiscal 2016 when craftwork was included in the data on export value. Among processed food items for households that saw a boost in export value in 2020 were noodles, "amazake" sweet low-alcohol drinks made from fermented rice, and "miso" soybean paste. The amount of whole processed food exports stood at 82 million yen, up 62% from the previous year after dropping for two consecutive years. The turnaround resulted from increased demand stemming from stay-at-home consumption amid the COVID-19 scare. Exports of agricultural and livestock products leaped 91% to a record high of 227 million yen. Flower and plant exports to China, which maintains restrictions on food imports from Fukushima, were brisk, jumping 10-fold to 126 million yen. Exports of craftwork such as silk fabric and wooden products renewed their all-time highs. Exports of alcoholic beverages came to 437 million yen, the highest among all four broad categories, but logged a 9% decrease due to lower exports to the United States. "We will bump up support for businesses and other parties concerned, seeking to expand exports further," said an official of the Fukushima government's prefectural products promotion strategy section. (Translated by Kyodo News)