US assisting Japanese seafood firms relocate processing operations in wake of China's Fukushima-related import ban
Seafood is piling up in Japan after China instituted a ban on Japanese imports following the release of wastewater from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Japanese seafood exports to China crashed 67.6 percent in August 2023 year over year, according to Chinese customs data. While some of that was destined for China’s domestic market, a significant portion of it was headed to Chinese factories for processing and reexport. That business is now dried up, according to the Japan Times.
In Hokkaido, Japan, a center of the country’s scallop trade, cold storage facilities are filling up with frozen product. Hokkaido exported an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 metric tons of shell-on scallops to China in 2022 that were processed there and then shipped on to the United States. Without China and Hong Kong – which also instituted a ban – as markets, Hokkaido scallop companies are struggling with mounting bills for storage, or transportation to domestic processing facilities, plus higher costs for that work.
Companies like Tokyo-based seafood trading house Housen Co. are scrambling to find buyers interested in shell-on scallops, but without much luck. Housen Co. President Gen Komori said he has only received lowball offers thus far.
“I feel like [Japanese businesses] are getting ripped off,” Komori said.
A Hokkaido government report found prices for local scallops have plunged…
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