The Fukushima Minpo site covers a report from the Fukushima Trade Promotion Council on exports from the prefecture.
2016 saw almost 160 kilolitres of Fukushima sake exported internationally, double the quantity in 2012 when the council began surveying exports. The amount is also a 30% increase over 2015, and brings the value of exported sake over JPY 0.2 billion for the first time.
It is also seen as a measure of the success of efforts to allay fears about food and drink from the area, hit by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent incident at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power station, and an uplift from the current worldwide popularity of Japanese cuisine.
The survey captures exports from 58 breweries, and the article provides a graph showing the state of exports over a five-year period since 2012. Volume exported in 2016 was 37.7 kilolitres more than in 2015, and value exported increased by JPY 58,380,000 to reach JPY 216,800,000.
Graph with export trends for sake brewed in Fukushima prefecture:
- 2012: 81.3 kilolitres
- 2013: 109.3 kilolitres
- 2014: 119.1 kilolitres
- 2015: 122.1 kilolitres
- 2016: 159.8 kilolitres
Broken down by country/region, the top three are:
- USA: 76.9 kilolitres (48%)
- Canada: 10.6 kilolitres (7%)
- Hong Kong: 9.4 kilolitres (6%)
Exports to the two North American countries have doubled in the last five years. Exports to European countries such as the UK and France, and southeast Asian countries such as Singapore and Thailand, have also doubled or even quadrupled in the same period.
Fukushima sake has won gold at the Annual Japan Sake Awards for the last five years running, and some brands from the region have also won in the sake category of the International Wine Challenge (IWC). The Prefectural Product Promotion Strategy Department, which runs the Council’s executive office, sees the results as proof of rising appreciation for Fukushima sake, and also due to successful events held overseas to dispel fears about the region after the nuclear incident.
The prefecture plans to increase efforts to export to the EU once the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) comes into force. Shinjo Inokichi, Chairman of the Fukushima Sake Brewers Association and head of Sake Suehiro, commented that “Sake and Japanese cuisine are continuing to enjoy increase popularity worldwide. I want to continue opening up new markets.”
- Original article (Japanese, Fukushima Minpo, 18 December 2017)
- Fukushima Trade Promotion Council (Japanese)
- International Wine Challenge (English)
- EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement summary at the European Commission site (English)
- National Research Institute of Brewing and Japan Sake and Shōchū Makers Association, who hold the Annual Japan Sake Awards (English)
- Sake Suehiro (Japanese)
As sometimes happens, I found an existing translation of this article while looking for the name of one of the local government departments.
- Existing translation of original article (English, Fukushima Minpo News, translated by Kyodo News, 6 December 2017)
When I visited the Tonoike Brewery in Mashiko, makers of the sake Sanran, Shusuke Tonoike (son of owner Shigeki Tonoike) mentioned that China is still not allowing imports of products from Fukushima, but he was hopeful that the situation would be resolved soon.
- Tonoike brewery in Mashiko (Japanese)