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Resource management working team established to restore Japan's fisheries industry

October 22, 2014

Joint meeting on fishery issues

The Party's Fisheries Division (Director: Ichiro Tsukada, member of the House of Councillors), the Committee on Organizations Involved with Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Chairperson: Yoshitaka Ito, member of the House of Representatives) and the Consultative Council on Fisheries Policy held a joint meeting on October 22 to discuss (1) fisheries-related requests for the FY2015 tax reform, and (2) EU HACCP-compliant certification systems for seafood processing facilities.

In his opening remarks, newly-appointed Director Tsukada expressed his desire to "tackle the issues facing the fisheries industry and restore Japan's place as a fisheries powerhouse." After stresseding the importance of resource management, his proposal to establish a working team (WT) was approved.

Representing the Japan Fisheries Association and 27 other fisheries-related organizations, the Japan Fisheries Cooperatives (JF) Zengyoren presented eight requests for tax reforms, including the continuance of the tax exemption on the delivery of diesel oil to fisheries.

The Division resolved to formulate a proposal for the tax reform based on the requests of fishing-related organizations.

Europe is a market with excellent potential, but expanding exports to this market requires that seafood processing facilities satisfy the EU's sanitation management standards (HACCP certification etc.). As of May 2014, there were only 29 facilities in Japan that met the requirements. To accelerate certification, it was decided that the Fisheries Agency, as well as the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, will function as a certification body and, as part of the "Japan is Back" strategy, the government will target certification of 100 facilities over the next five years.

A number of members in attendance said a more ambitious target would be desirable because even 100 facilities is still well below the number of facilities in the United States (1,029) and in China (634).

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