A Japanese pagoda situated next to a river

As two nations with a long history of food production, Japan and New Zealand are remarkably similar. The two island nations of the Pacific are of similar size, environment and climate with agriculture and fisheries playing a significant role in the economy of both. However Japan’s intensive industry, commitment to technological advancement and population thirty times the that of New Zealand means that food production in Japan has developed differently than in New Zealand.

New Zealand and Japan have strong political ties and a shared interest in the stability, growth and development of the Asia-Pacific region. Links between the two countries go back over 100 years, and official trade relations have been ongoing for almost 70. New Zealand and Japan worked together with ten other countries in the Asia-Pacific region to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, and are both included in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations.

While economic relations between the two have largely relied on New Zealand exporting dairy and other raw materials to Japan and Japan exporting cars and machinery to New Zealand, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has expressed a desire for Japan to divest its exports and move further into gourmet food and has directed his government to take action.

“Italy uses its food culture to drive food exports, and France is doing the same thing with wine,” said Katsunori Nakazawa, head of the export promotion division at the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. “I want this for Japanese food as well. If our farmers don’t sell abroad, our agricultural industry won’t grow.”

Abe wants to increase exports by a third to 1 trillion yen (NZD$14.25 million) within the next three years, and trade shows like “JAPAN’S FOOD” EXPORT FAIR have been established in pursuit of this aim. The first edition of “JAPAN’S FOOD” EXPORT FAIR produced JPY 13.1 billion in business transactions from an estimated 18,000 discussions – over a third of the value of Japan’s yearly exports to New Zealand, over three days.

“JAPAN’S FOOD” EXPORT FAIR will showcase the best exhibiting agricultural products, meat, seafood, confectionery, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, seasonings, and processed food products that Japan has to offer. In 2018, the show will double the exhibitor number to 600 exhibitors and attract 15,000 international visitors from 80 countries and regions.

For those who are interested in importing Japanese food, the show is the best platform to visit. Visitor pre-registration is now available at www.jpfood.jp/en/inv/.