Fukushima rice Singapore

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  • Topic: Japan, Lee Hsien Loong, Prefectures of Japan
  • Pages : 6 (986 words )
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  • Published : September 11, 2014
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Rice imported from Fukushima went on sale in Singapore on 22nd August after a lift in restrictions of Japanese food imports. The restrictions were imposed after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011, resulting in severe radioactive substance leakage into the environment. This has huge implications on Japan’s agriculture industry as the radioactive leakage contaminated the surrounding farm lands. The lift was announced after a meeting between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Japan’s premier Shinzo Abe in late May, making Singapore the first country that open the door to Japan’s food imports. CHANNEL & MARKETING MIX

The National Federation of Agriculture Cooperative Associations (Zen-Noh), a major wholesaler of Japanese agricultural products, exported 300 KG of rice to Singapore. Up-scale Japanese supermarket Meidi-Ya at Liang court is the only retail channel selling all 300 KG of Fukushima rice, priced at S$38.50 per 5 KG. Despite being the sole retailer for Fukushima rice, Meidi-Ya also carries rice from other prefectures of Japan, thus likely to be between a Selective and Exclusive Distributor. While there is no indication of mainstream supermarkets such as NTUC retailing Fukushima rice in the future, the possibility of intensive distribution should not be ruled out. I have also observed that the information of Meidi-Ya being the sole distributor is left out in most of the news coverage. The rice bags were clearly demarcated to be from Fukushima, a booth was set up with banners and employees promoting the safety standards to reassure the consumers. Neither Zen-Noh nor Meidi-Ya carried out media promotion, however the wide news coverages have generated buzz around Singapore. There are plenty other Japanese grocers in Singapore, and the possible access to the wide network of mainstream groceries due to governmental support present opportunities for Zen-Noh to distribute Fukushima rice intensively in Singapore. CONSUMERS

There wasn’t any Fukushima rice during my trip down to Meidi-Ya, a quick check with the supermarket staff revealed that the rice sold out within 2 days and that majority of the buyers were Japanese, however more information regarding future shipments and business purchases could not be provided. I also noticed that majority of rice sold were labelled in Japanese, with minimal product information in English. This indicates that the target consumers are Japanese, and they are likely to be expatriates with higher purchasing power as the prices can go up to $50 per 5 KG. The sold out might be a positive indication of consumers’ receptivity towards rice from Fukushima, however this might just be a show of support and do not accurately represent consumer’s confidence. Furthermore, online sentiments are generally negative, with many netizens raising concerns about the safety of consuming rice from Fukushima. Despite passing the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority standards, the scepticism remains high, especially when the producers themselves refuse to consume the rice and voice guilt of selling them. In addition, consumers have raised the concern of business establishments in the Food & Beverage industry purchasing the rice. Low pricing and potential long term contractual tie ups present incentives for businesses seeking to increase their margins. ENVIRONMENT

The meeting between Singapore’s PM and Japan’s Premier also entailed economic discussions, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which began in 2013 and is expected to conclude by 2015. Furthermore, the lack of natural resources in Singapore indicates the possibility of exploring nuclear energy, which Japan holds great expertise and experience. The choice of Singapore as the first country to accept Japan food imports will open more doors in the global trade industry for Japan. Known for strict regulations and standards, Singapore would be touted by Japan to market the safety of...
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