The Ibaraki Newspaper Close Eye site reports on the state of the prefecture's sake exports - looking up.

According to statistics from the National Tax Agency, Ibaraki's exports in 2016 rose by 14.2% compared to the previous year to reach 91,600 litres. The survey, started in 2014, shows that exports have grown for the second year in a row. The prefectural government also plans to increase its support for exports this financial year (April to March in Japan).

Sake exports from the whole of Japan increased by 11.4% from 2015 to 2016, reaching 19,439,303 litres. Hyogo prefecture exported the most with 7,621,600 litres, followed by Kyoto with 3,339,131 litres. Ibaraki was... in 17th place.

There are 50 brewers in the prefecture and 38%, or 19 of them, of them export. 78.2% of the exports are tokutei meisho shu (特定名所酒, sake with a legal classification). Exports were 71,629 litres in 2014 and 80,171 litres in 2015. The Kantō-Shinetsu branch of the National Tax Agency commented that the increased popularity of Japanese food abroad was buoying up sake exports.

The Ibaraki prefectural government stated that the main export partners are currently the USA and Asian countries. More breweries are actively looking to enter foreign markets, and younger managers are working to open up new sales routes.

The prefecture started targeting Vietnam in 2016 and plans to expand its efforts to target Singapore as well, as it has a high GDP among Asian countries. The prefectural government has also held four rounds of talks with Japanese companies who have existing sales channels abroad. The representative of the prefectural global strategy team said they plan to support businesses that want to sell overseas.

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