When Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida promised to extract more profits from the yen’s depreciation this week, it instead became a source of economic woes, Reuters reported.

Japanese farmers, like many other important players in the economy, are furious about the 20% decline in the yen this year, pushing up costs for imported fuel, fertilizers and other inputs.

However, prospects for Japanese exporters of ‘Wagyu’ beef, green tea and premium fruits and vegetables, including ‘Skyberry’ from Yoshimura’s Green House, which sells for over 800 yen ($5.50) in Hong Kong supermarkets, Unlike Bangkok and Singapore.

“Everyone seems concerned about the weak yen,” Yoshimura said. “But it’s good for exporting strawberries because it helps make them more price competitive in overseas markets.”

Agricultural exports are among the many sectors Kishida targeted in his policy speech on Monday, along with tourism and the construction of foreign chip and battery factories in Japan, along with a sharp depreciation of the yen and some rebalancing. “At a time when the weaker yen is boosting export potential, we need to maximize our profitability,” Kishida’s deputy head of the Cabinet, Hirokazu Matsuno, said at a government meeting on Wednesday.

Matsuno instructed the minister to accelerate the government’s goal of nearly doubling the value of agricultural exports to 2 trillion yen ($13.8 billion) annually by 2025, and urged ministries to take advantage of the weaker yen and find ways to increase farmers’ profitability.

The government aims to further increase agricultural exports to 5 trillion yen by 2030, and Prime Minister Kishida has also set a target of 5 trillion yen in annual tourism revenue, which will increase again after COVID-related border restrictions on March 11 and lifted in October.

Compared to last year’s total exports of 83 trillion yen and GDP of about 550 trillion yen, it is still relatively modest, but agricultural exports in 2012 stood at 450 billion yen, making steady progress.

This is not Japan’s first attempt at such a structural rebalancing to diversify its manufacturing-dominated economy and revitalize stagnant rural areas.

Similar efforts have been made by Japanese policymakers since the early 2000s, including reform proposals by the government of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe over the past decade.

But this year, the yen plummeted to his 24-year low, sparking import-led cost inflation that seriously threatened both Japan’s economic growth and Mr Kishida’s popularity, adding impetus to his campaign.

In Miyazaki prefecture in southern Japan, the local government is offering his $5,200 subsidy to farmers who develop new produce for export and build new export-only facilities.

In the countryside of Saga Prefecture, sandwiched between the cities of Nagasaki and Fukuoka, Saga Prefecture is building a new Wagyu beef processing plant in preparation for exporting Saga Beef, one of Japan’s leading brands, to the European market.

Also, in Gunma Prefecture, north of Tokyo, around 100,000 units have been operating since 2018 under the auspices of the Japan External Trade Organization, a semi-governmental export promotion organization that provides brand development, export pricing and other export expertise. 40 SMEs have started exporting agricultural products. Japanese export-oriented farmers say more investment will be needed to increase productivity and produce higher-value commodities.

“The cost of fertilizers and transport supplies has gone up significantly,” said Hideyuki Otsuki, 65, a peach farmer in Fukushima Prefecture, north of Tokyo, who exports his produce to Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and Hong Kong.

“It is true that the weaker yen is helping food exports.To maximize the positive impact, we need to add value to agricultural products, increase production, and enable more people to reach their goals. there is.”

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