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Japan’s Wine Imports in May Up 16% Amid Lockdown

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Despite the imposition of a state of emergency in some areas, Japan raised its importation of wines in May although import value has yet to recover this year.

In the month, Japan bought a total of 14.6 billion yen worth of overseas wine products, rising 16% over May 2020’s import value, based on data from the Customs and Tariff Bureau of Japan’s Finance Ministry.

However, year-to-date data showed that the value of imported wines fell 3% to 67 billion yen. 

The Japanese government had placed nine prefectures, including its capital Tokyo, under a state of emergency from May 11-31 due to the fourth wave of Covid-19 infections there. Hospitality venues such as bars and restaurants were momentarily prohibited from offering alcoholic beverages to customers.  

Most of the imported wines that entered Japan in May came from France, which rose by 21% to 8.3 billion yen. But so far this year, the value of imported French wines were a bit down 0.3%.

Japan also saw lesser wines from its top two and three sources, Italy and Chile, down 2% and 16%, respectively in May. 

Yet, it bought more American and Spanish wines, increasing by 14% and 44%, respectively.

Among Japan’s 10 preferred wine exporting countries, Germany doubled its shipment of wines to 195.6 million yen. 

Reduced fortified wines

Japan might have cut back on fortified wine importations, including sherries and ports, in May as imports fell 70% to 17 million yen. 

Still, it ramped up its sparkling wines imports by 10% to 4.8 billion yen and bottled wines over 2 liters by 22% to 197.5 million yen.  

Japan Wine Imports May 2021 (vs. May 2020)

Rank Country Value in 2021 Value in 2020 % Change
1 France 8,346,582,000 yen 6,877,671,000 yen +21%
2 Italy 1,560,552,000 yen 1,591,116,000 yen -2%
3 Chile 1,353,315,000 yen 1,607,073,000 yen -16%
4 US 1,259,924,000 yen 1,101,375,000 yen +14%
5 Spain 904,379,000 yen 628,936,000 yen +44%
6 Australia 427,529,000 yen 337,264,000 yen +27%
7 Germany 195,610,000 yen 97,653,000 yen +100%
8 New Zealand 120,193,000 yen 88,716,000 yen +35%
9 Argentina 116,231,000 yen 102,382,000 yen +14%
10 Portugal 87,431,000 yen 79,724,000 yen +10%
Total 14,620,769,000 yen 12,619,457,000 yen +16%
Source: Japan Customs

Wine Categories May 2021 (vs. May 2020)

Wine Category Value in 2021 Value in 2020 % Change
Sparkling wines 4,808,444,000 yen 4,352,976,000 yen +10%
Fortified wines 16,957,000 yen 56,836,000 yen -70%
Containers more than 2L but not more than 10L 197,498,000 yen 162,250,000 yen +22%
Source: Japan Customs

Japan Wine Imports Jan-May 2021 (vs. Jan-May 2020)

Rank Country Value in 2021 Value in 2020 % Change
1 France 37,441,424,000 yen 37,561,871,000 yen -0.3%
2 Italy 8,304,255,000 yen 8,057,440,000 yen +3%
3 US 5,050,027,000 yen 6,181,626,000 yen -18%
4 Chile 6,693,330,000 yen 8,719,243,000 yen -23%
5 Spain 4,775,571,000 yen 3,934,258,000 yen +21%
6 Australia 1,774,910,000 yen 1,748,999,000 yen +2%
7 Germany 673,595,000 yen 587,969,000 yen +15%
8 New Zealand 439,615,000 yen 547,770,000 yen -20%
9 Argentina 406,471,000 yen 491,985,000 yen -17%
10 South Africa 365,221,000 yen 406,280,000 yen -10%
Total 66,990,526,000 yen 69,261,242,000 yen -3%
Source: Japan Customs

Wine Categories Jan-May 2021 (vs. Jan-May 2020)

Wine Category Value in 2021 Value in 2020 % Change
Sparkling wines 23,546,065,000 yen 25,569,646,000 yen -8%
Fortified wines 168,533,000 yen 259,940,000 yen -35%
Containers more than 2L but not more than 10L 898,334,000 yen 836,637,000 yen +7%
Source: Japan Customs

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