Fruits finally get legal protection from illicit overseas growers

Japanese brand name and high quality agricultural products, including highly popular fruit varieties developed exclusively in Japan, have been surreptitiously slipped overseas, where they are cultivated without permission and sold in foreign and domestic markets to compete with Japanese farm products. This has now developed into a national problem.

That is why the Japanese government has recently amended the Plant Variety Seeds and Seedlings Protection Law to ban unauthorized overseas exports. Moreover, the police have also begun to clamp down on irregularities as part of a nationwide initiative to protect new varieties of farm produce that are the property of Japan. 

The high-class Shine Muscat grape is known for its large berries of shining emerald green. It is a highly popular fruit with a high sugar content and can be eaten with its skin. Often used for gifts, some Shine Muscat grapes cost tens of thousands of yen (hundreds of U.S. dollars) or more per cluster.

However, this variety has been widely cultivated in China since around 2017. According to an investigation by Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), it has been marketed under Chinese names such as “Sunlight Rose” and “Incense Jade”.

It was also confirmed that the Japanese grape has been cultivated and sold in South Korea. A MAFF official in charge of the matter expressed concern, saying, “Profits that the grape’s Japanese producers are naturally due will be lost if it is produced overseas.”

With a view to stemming the illegal outflow of registered varieties, the government revised the Plant Variety Protection and Seed Act and put it into force in April this year. As a result, the government can now issue orders for suspension of a seller’s production and sales if the company or individual is cultivating registered farm products without permission, or if seeds or seedlings are carried away overseas without proper authorization.


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Source: Fresh Plaza