Japan Considering Scallop Processing in Vietnam after China’s Ban

Japan is contemplating the establishment of a processing system for scallops in Vietnam with the intention of exporting them to the United States. This move comes in response to China’s recent complete ban on the import of Japanese fishery products, which has had a significant impact on the country’s scallop exports. The Japanese government is planning to assemble a delegation to visit Vietnam for the purpose of inspecting processing facilities in the Southeast Asian nation.

Bearing in mind the former reliance on China as a primary destination for Japanese scallop exports, the government’s primary objective is to diversify export destinations for this valuable commodity. The ban on exports to China was implemented following the discharge of treated water containing tritium from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant into the sea by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. This resulted in the complete cessation of Japanese scallop exports to China in September, effectively reducing the value of these exports to zero.

Prior to the ban, an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 tons of Japanese scallops, in raw shell form, were annually shipped to the United States after being processed at facilities in China. With the ban in place, Japan is now seeking alternative processing facilities in order to continue exports to the United States.

Vietnam has emerged as a promising candidate for these alternative processing facilities. To this end, Japan plans to select sites for the upcoming delegation to visit based on recommendations from the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, with the aim of facilitating business negotiations between Japanese and Vietnamese companies.

Japanese Minister of Fisheries, Ichiro Miyashita, expressed his appreciation for the support from the United States in a meeting with U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel. Emanuel characterized China’s ban as an act of economic intimidation, emphasizing that Japan and the United States maintain a strong friendship.

In an effort to mitigate the impact of import restrictions imposed by China and other countries, Japan is working towards diversifying its export destinations and increasing domestic consumption. Minister Miyashita highlighted this strategy in a press conference, stating, “We’re beginning to overcome the damage from the import restrictions by diversifying our export destinations and increasing domestic consumption.”

The move to establish scallop processing facilities in Vietnam represents a significant shift in Japan’s efforts to navigate the challenges posed by import restrictions from China. By exploring new export destinations and strengthening partnerships with countries like the United States and Vietnam, Japan aims to secure the future of its scallop industry in the face of ongoing geopolitical and economic challenges.

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