Japan’s tuna market, the world’s largest, hit hard by coronavirus pandemic

Tuna imports fell 18% in the first six months of 2020 from a year earlier

Japan tuna gallery
Tokyo: Japan’s tuna market, the world’s largest, is taking an outsized hit from the coronavirus pandemic, pressuring restaurants and wholesalers at Tokyo’s sprawling Toyosu fish market to adapt to survive.Image Credit: Reuters
Japan tuna gallery
Businesses had hoped for more activity after Japan lifted its state of emergency in late May, but big events such as shareholder meetings and wedding banquets have remained on hold while many Japanese are still wary of going to restaurants.Image Credit: Reuters
Japan tuna gallery
Demand for fresh fish, especially the so-called “king of sushi” bluefin tuna, has slumped as the pandemic wiped out orders for events. Tuna prices dropped 8.4% in July from a year earlier, far steeper than the 1.5% annual fall in overall fresh fish prices, government data showed.Image Credit: Reuters
Japan tuna gallery
Japan’s imports of high-value tuna jumped 10% in 2019, while bluefin imports surged 13% as businesses prepared for big events like the 2020 Olympics, which was later postponed, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations said.Image Credit: Reuters
Japan tuna gallery
In 2018, global imports of tuna were valued at $15.7 billion, while Japan was the biggest tuna importer that year.Image Credit: Reuters
Japan tuna gallery
But the pandemic has hit the industry hard and Japan’s tuna imports fell 18% in the first six months of 2020 from a year earlier, finance ministry data showed. With people still wary of going out, the outlook is unlikely to change soon.Image Credit: Reuters
Japan tuna gallery
Tokyo’s sushi restaurants, which tend to be popular among people from other regions, are getting fewer visitors from outside the capital, said Toshio Katsukawa, associate professor at the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology.Image Credit: Reuters
Japan tuna gallery
A wholesaler checks the quality of fresh tuna displayed during the tuna auctions, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at Toyosu fish market in Tokyo, Japan.Image Credit: Reuters

Reuters

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