Japan’s exports of agricultural, fishery and forestry products fell for the second straight month in May on a year-over-year basis, plunging 16.6 percent to 30.6 billion yen ($382.5 million), according to figures released by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
The year-over-year pace of decline quickened from 14.7 percent in April.
Japan, the world's largest net food importer, has been revving up its food export drive in recent years. But import restrictions imposed by many countries and regions in the wake of the ongoing nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan have dealt a serious blow to the nation’s food shipments.
The Fukushima No.1 plant in Fukushima Prefecture, located about 137 miles northeast of Tokyo, was ravaged by the catastrophic March 11 earthquake and tsunami. It has suffered fires and explosions, causing radiation to leak.
Amid fears of radioactive contamination, about 40 foreign countries and regions imposed import restrictions on Japanese foods. On June 13, Canada became the first country to lift all import restrictions on Japanese foods.
In May, Japanese exports of agricultural products, including processed foods, livestock products, grain, vegetables and fruits, nose-dived 9.8 percent from a year earlier to $245.0 million, while those of fishery products sank 29.6 percent to $125.0 million.
Forestry products surged 34.5 percent in May from a year earlier to $12.5 million, although they pale before agricultural and fishery products in terms of value.
Hong Kong remained the largest export market for Japanese agricultural, fishery and forestry products in May, followed by the U.S., Taiwan, China and South Korea.
Hong Kong imported $91.8 million worth of Japanese agricultural, fishery and forestry products in May, down 22.3 percent from the same month last year.
Japan’s U.S.-bound shipments bucked the continued overall declining trend in May, rising 2.3 percent from a year earlier to $67.8 million after dipping 3.3 percent in April.
Of the $67.8 million, $43.8 million came from agricultural products, $22.8 million from fishery products and the remaining $1.25 million from forestry products.
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