Japanese exporters may be suffering from the historically high yen, which traded at a record JPY84 to the US dollar this week – but for Japanese food importers and retailers it is boom time.
In the wake of the yen’s recent rise, which is casting a shadow on Japan’s export-driven economy, the ministry conducted a survey last week (24 August) of around 200 companies, including about 20 major food and food retail firms.
Around 40% of major food retailers in Japan said they will expand their overseas production ratio or shift their production or development centres overseas if the US dollar remains at the JPY85 level.
The finance ministry’s latest figures showed that imports in July rose 15.7% to JPY5.18trn (US$61.5bn), resulting in a trade surplus of JPY804.2bn (US$9.5bn).
Imports from China alone rose 24.2% to US$69.94bn in the first half of the year from last year due to a surge in imports of food and electronics.
Retailers meanwhile are also cashing in cheap imports. Major supermarket chain operator Daiei Inc said it will cut the prices of 12 imported food items at 217 outlets across the country this weekend.