Japan should give top priority to boosting exports of farm products to revitalize its declining agricultural sector, a government white paper stressed Tuesday. The fiscal 2010 report on agriculture, presented at the day’s cabinet meeting by farm minister Michihiko Kano, specifically called for promoting sales of Japanese farm produce to not only wealthy people but middle-income earners in other parts of Asia.
To this end, Japanese agricultural products need to capitalize on a reputation for their safeness and high quality, the white paper said, underscoring the importance of restoring importers’ trust in the products that was damaged by the nuclear crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s <9501> crippled Fukushima No. 1 power plant in northeastern Japan. In 2010, Japan’s exports of farm, forest and marine products increased 10.5 pct from the previous year to 492 billion yen. But the figure is still small compared with the primary industry’s total output value of 9 trillion yen, the paper said. The exports, therefore, have much room for growth, it noted.