Japan’s non-GMO soybean market update

Japan’s 2005 soybean imports were about 4.2 million metric tons (MMT), which is down slightly from the previous two years. The US share was about 76% or 3.13 MMT. Brazil and Canada are also leading suppliers to Japan. Total soybean imports for 2006 are expected to be about the same as 2005.
Total soybean usage in Japan was about 4.5 MMT with domestic production accounting for 226,400 metric tons.

Domestic soybeans are almost exclusively used for food and are non-GMO.
Soybeans are the most consumed oilseed in Japan followed by rapeseed. In 2005, about 74% of total demand for soybeans was for oil use; 23% was for food use; and the remaining 3% was for feed use.

Food soybeans are used for tofu, frozen tofu, fried tofu, miso, natto, boiled soybeans, and soy sauce. Soymilk and soy bars are also gaining in popularity. The meal from soybean crushing is used for both animal feed and further processing into such products as soy protein and soy sauce.

All users of food soybeans require non-GMO varieties from their suppliers.
According to the US Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service, Japan’s soybean processors are confident in the ability of US suppliers to provide non-GMO soybeans.

Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) requires labeling of soy-based products if ingredients are from genetically modified soybeans. Some 31 food products are subject to the labeling rules, but Japanese processors use non-GMO ingredients and label their products non-GMO for a marketing advantage.
(Source: US Department of Agriculture-Foreign Agricultural Service)
© Copyright 2006. The Organic & Non-GMO Report (July 2006).