With a population of about 125 million and limited area available for farming, Japan is both one of the world’s top five importers of agricultural products and a major market for U.S. agricultural exports. A variety of Japanese domestic policies affect and support producers of certain commodities. In addition, Japan imposes tariffs on imports of many agricultural products, and other Japanese trade policies protect domestic production. Despite the protection, Japan imports about $58 billion in agricultural products each year, with approximately one-third coming from the United States, the leading supplier of Japan’s agricultural imports.

South Korea

With a population of 51 million and limited arable land, South Korea has turned increasingly to food imports to satisfy consumers’ demands for greater food variety, lower prices, and more convenience. South Korea is among the top 10 markets for U.S. agricultural exports, and the South Korean market for consumer-ready food items is growing.

ERS's Outputs: Agricultural Sectors of Japan and South Korea

ERS has long conducted research and analysis on Japan’s and South Korea’s food and agricultural sectors and on the policies that affect both countries’ roles in world agricultural trade. ERS continues to publish trade data on U.S. agricultural trade with these countries, as part of the Foreign Agricultural Trade of the United States data set. Relevant outputs include:

  • Tariff Reforms and the Competitiveness of U.S. Beef in Japan Japan is one of the largest beef importing countries in the world and is an important destination market for the United States. This report examines how Japanese importers view U.S. beef vis-a-vis imports from Australia and other countries, how imports differ across beef products, and how market access reform might affect Japanese beef imports.
  • "Japan, Vietnam, and the Asian Model of Agricultural Development and Trade" Fast-developing Vietnam is following in the footsteps of Japan and the Japanese  model of export-oriented industrialization. Vietnamese agricultural imports are rising fast and appear to be following the historical growth pattern of Japan’s imports. Trade policy in both countries has protected agricultural imports, selectively favoring imported inputs relative to consumer-ready products. 
  • The Rice Market in South Korea This report reviews this significant market for U.S. rice, focusing on the impact of Korean production policies and a tariff-rate quota.