Japan’s 2020/21 cherry crop is expected to recover from a difficult 2019/20 season, but unfavourable weather conditions are set to lead to a smaller peach harvest, according to FAS/Tokyo. In 2019/20, Japan imported 4,152 tons of fresh cherries, worth US$40 million. The United States supplied 95.3% of all Japan’s cherry imports. Japan’s imports of sweet cherries are projected to increase by 1% to 4,200 tons from 2019/20 levels due to steady consumption and a recently reduced tariff for sweet cherries. Japan does not import sour cherries, and its cherry exports are negligible (approximately 1 ton).
Japan imports no peaches and the US is the sole exporter of fresh nectarines to Japan. In 2019/20, Japan imported 186 tons of US nectarines. In light of the small shipping volumes and higher freight charges due to COVID-19-related flight reductions, FAS/Tokyo forecasts Japan’s 2020/21 imports to decrease by 14% to 160 tons.
In line with Japan’s 2014 national policy, Japan Revitalization Strategy, to increase agricultural exports to 1 trillion yen (approximately US$10 billion) by 2020, Japan has been gradually increasing fresh peach exports. Due to the higher price for Japanese peaches in foreign markets compared to Japan, Japan’s peach exports continued to increase even when peach production took a downturn in 2019/20. In 2019/20, Japan exported 1,780 tons of peaches, worth about US$17 million. The main markets were Hong Kong (72.2%)and Taiwan (20.4%). FAS/Tokyo forecasts export volume to decrease by 15.7% to 1,500 tons in 2020/21 due to political instability in Hong Kong and high air freight charges due to COVID-19.