Japan's exports of agricultural, forestry and fishery products up 22.4% year-over-year to 550.6B yen in 2013, the first increase since 2010 and the highest since records began in 1955, according to government data

TOKYO , February 12, 2014 () – Japan's exports of agricultural, forestry and fishery products in 2013 jumped 22.4 pct from the previous year to 550.6 billion yen, the highest since records began in 1955, government data showed Wednesday.

This was the first increase since 2010, before the March 2011 powerful earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan and the subsequent severe accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, according to the data from the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry.

By product, exports of scallops and apples grew 2.1-fold.

"Last year's strong growth resulted from sales promotion efforts abroad by parties concerned," an official of the ministry's Food Industry Affairs Bureau said. "Demand for Japanese food is strong in overseas markets," the official added.

At a press conference Wednesday, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said, "We want to help expand exports by promoting Japanese food culture abroad."

Of the total, exports of agricultural products increased 17.0 pct to 313.7 billion yen, and those of fishery products jumped 30.5 pct to 221.7 billion yen. Exports of lumber and other forestry products went up 28.7 pct to 15.2 billion yen.

As part of its growth strategy adopted in June 2013, the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is aiming to more than double Japan's exports of agricultural, forestry and fishery products to one trillion yen in 2020 from 449.7 billion yen in 2012.

To achieve the goal, the government plans to continue urging China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea to remove their import restrictions on Japanese food products that were imposed in response to the nuclear accident at the Fukushima No. 1 power station.END

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