TOKYO (majirox news) – Japan’s exports of strawberries — on a rapidly upward spiral early in the year — halted in May amid radiation fears following the March 11 disasters that devastated the Tohoku Region, even though the fruit is grown in unaffected areas, according to Ministry of Finance statistics.
Exports of produce such as strawberries, popular mainly in Asian markets such as Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, tomatoes and lettuce that had been popular in Asia and the West, ended in May due to worries about radiation leaking from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Japan exported 30,267 kilograms of strawberries in February and a further 19,262 kilograms in March, when the disasters struck. At that stage of the year, strawberry exports had registered significant year-on-year growth.
However, since the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and reactor leak, exports have plummeted. In April, they dropped to just 419 kilograms, a 94% decline year-on-year, and completely disappeared in May.
Ironically, Japan’s strawberries are mainly produced in areas either largely unaffected by the disasters, such as Tochigi prefecture, or not touched at all, as is the case with Fukuoka and Kumamoto prefectures.