Singapore lifts import ban on Japanese poultry imposed due to bird flu outbreak

05, Jun. 2019

Malaysian poultry is commonly sold at supermarkets in Singapore.
Malaysian poultry is commonly sold at supermarkets in Singapore.

By Akane Suzuki

SINGAPORE, NNA - Singapore has lifted an import ban on Japanese poultry and other food items effective from this month, enabling Tokyo to renew efforts to boost exports of farm and fishery products to Southeast Asia's richest economy.

The city-state now permits imports of poultry, processed poultry products and egg-related items along with processed foods made from beef and pork from Japan, the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said last Friday.

Singapore suspended Japanese poultry imports in 2010 due to a bird flu outbreak in Japan, ministry official Hisako Okura told NNA.

Masatsugu Okita, another ministry official, noted that Japan has been allowed to ship chilled and frozen beef and pork to Singapore, which is diversifying sources of food imports.

The Japanese ministry had negotiated with the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore to remove the poultry ban as Tokyo has been trying to boost agricultural and fishery exports, Okita said.

Similar negotiations are ongoing with other foreign markets such as South Korea and Taiwan, he added.

Koki Miyoshi, managing director of the Japanese restaurant Kamoshita in Singapore, said that Malaysian poultry is commonly used in Singapore but Japanese poultry and related products are favored as high-quality ingredients.

“We can have a wider variety of food products such as instant foods that contain a fairly large amount of meats,” said an employee in charge of fresh food procurements at a Japanese operator of supermarkets in Singapore.

The Japan External Trade Organization plans to “host promotional events in Singapore to facilitate Japanese food exports” in response to inquiries about instant curry sauce and noodles that include processed meat ingredients, JETRO official Dai Ito in Singapore said.

Shipments of poultry products from Japan to Singapore are expected to begin in several months after the Singaporean government accredits Japanese poultry firms and processing facilities, Yoshimitsu Fujii, second secretary at the Japanese Embassy in Singapore, said.

Japanese farm and fishery exports almost doubled from 2013 to about 907 billion yen ($8.4 billion) in 2018, with those to Singapore totaling more than 28 billion yen, making it the eighth largest foreign market, according to the Japanese ministry's data.

Japan has set a target of 1 trillion yen in such food exports this year. (NNA/Kyodo)