Japan Beef Imports Seen Falling as Population Wanes

Japan may reduce beef imports and consumption during the next decade as the country’s population slides, the USDA said.

Japan may reduce beef imports and consumption during the next decade as the country’s population slides, the USDA said.

Imports may drop to 1.35 billion lbs., down 9.6% this year, if the country’s population change follows U.S. Census Bureau projections, the USDA’s Economic Research Service said recently in a special report on its website. Beef imports may total 658,000 tons next year. Forecasts assume personal income and beef prices will remain unchanged.

“Rising beef prices, or a continuation of the economic slump seen in 2008 and 2009, could exacerbate this underlying decline dictated by Japan’s demographic conditions,” the USDA said. “Current projections, however, point to a return to economic growth, and easier access to U.S. beef could lead to lower average prices in Japan.”

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