The conflict in Ukraine and Russia’s countermeasures to Western sanctions are affecting Japan’s supply of the fish used in sushi, Business Insider Japan reported this week.
A popular ingredient in the iconic national dish – the base of which is a piece of raw fish and vinegared rice – is salmon, which Japan sources from Norway, Russia and Chile. According to the report, citing data on imports, this past May about 80% of the salmon imported into Japan came from Chile, 10% from Norway and the remaining 10% from Russia. Prior to the conflict in Ukraine, the shipments from Norway were delivered by direct flights that passed over Russia. However, this is no longer possible after Moscow closed its airspace to a number of countries, including Norway, in a retaliatory move.
Citing industry representatives, the report states that salmon shipped from Norway to Japan is now transported via the UAE. With fuel costs rising, these shipments have spiked in price. The longer transportation time also affects the freshness of the products, while volumes shipped have dropped due to a reduction in the number of flights.
Japan’s imports of salmon over January to May 2022 dropped by about 10% compared to the previous year, the news outlet states, while demand has risen by about 15%. As a result, prices have spiked nearly 30%, with the average price per kilogram of imported salmon in June 2022 reaching 2,040 yen ($15.10), up from around 1,595 yen ($11.80) in 2021, according to statistics from the Tokyo Central Wholesale Market.
Earlier reports have indicated that other seafood products have also been spiking in price across Japan, with crab becoming 20% more expensive within the first two weeks of July. Industry experts say that Japan’s own anti-Russia sanctions are to blame for this particular trend, as some 60% of Japan’s imported crab comes from Russia.
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