According to Japanese customs data provided by International Trade Center (ITC), Japan’s imports of shrimp between January and June amounted to 62,637 metric tons, up 6.2% compared with the corresponding period in 2016.
This follows on from an increase in imports in 2016, after Japan’s shrimp imports declined every year between 2012 and 2015.
Owing to higher shrimp prices, the value of Japan’s shrimp imports increased above the volume increase — up 12.1% year-on-year to JPY 75.8 billion ($691.2 million) during the Jan-June period, according to ITC.
Vietnam surged ahead to become Japan’s largest origin of shrimp imports during the period. From the southeast Asian country Japan imported 15,983t of shrimp, up 30.9% year-on-year. The value of Japan’s imports from Vietnam increased 44.3% y-o-y to JPY 22.0bn.
Japan’s imports from second largest origin Indonesia, however, were down 6.6% y-o-y to 11,473t, while imports from third largest origin India were down 12.8% y-o-y to 10,004t.
From fourth-largest origin Thailand Japan imported 6,266t, up 16.1% y-o-y. From fifth-largest origin Argentina — which in recent years has seen its cold-water shrimp exports surge — Japan imported 5,281t, flat at -0.8% y-o-y.
Japan is an important prize for shrimp-producing countries; it is the world’s third largest importer of shrimp after the US and Spain and second largest by value.
Typically, Japan imports more shrimp in the second half of the year. In H2 of 2016, for instance, Japan imported 90,226t of shrimp, an increase of 53.0% compared to H1 2016.
During the second half of 2016, Japan imported much more shrimp from India than both Vietnam and Indonesia, at 22,460t.
Should Japan’s imports increase by a similar amount over H1 of this year, the country would import around 95,800t from July-December, and 158,500t of shrimp over the full year of 2017.