Russian Snow Crab Imports Overwhelm Japanese Market : Analysis

Reading Time (200 word/minute): 2 minutes

“Trade shifts resulting from sanctions have resulted in a significant drop in the price of crab meat in Japan, according to reports from Nikkei. The cost reduction is attributed to a significant increase in Russian crab meat imports, mainly driven by the US embargo on purchases of Russian seafood. Reports show that Russian crab made up 68.8% of Japan’s total imports in the first three quarters of the current year, a considerable jump from 64.8% and 5% in 2022 and 2021 respectively. Japan’s imports from Russia in this period amounted to approximately 24.6 billion yen ($167 million) worth of crab meat. The price of Russian-caught snow crabs is now approximately 2,000 yen ($14) per kilogram, down 33% from the average in 2022. Meanwhile, prices of Canadian and Norwegian crab meat have declined by 32% and 51%, respectively. Despite the price reduction for imported crab, domestically-caught Japanese crab—considered a luxury product—is selling for nearly 20% more than last year at 15,000 yen to 16,000 yen per kilogram. As a result of the US embargo introduced in March 2022 over the conflict in Ukraine, Russia has had to divert its seafood supplies to other markets, including Japan.”

Analysis: The credibility of this report rests on the reputation of Nikkei as the source, which is a respected financial newspaper in Japan. There doesn’t seem to be a notable bias in the presentation of the facts. The US embargo and its impacts on Japan’s market are clearly explained without undue emphasis. The key point in this article regarding the increase in Russian imports due to the embargo could create the impression that Japan is profiting from the US-Russia tensions. However, this is not explicitly stated and needs inferred reading for this understanding. The political context definitely affects perception as those who are familiar with the geopolitical tension may view this as a consequence of ‘economic warfare.’ Fake news might either exaggerate Russia’s economic loss due to the embargo or downplay Japan’s economic gain from the import surge, showing the importance of relying on reputed sources for information.

Source: RT news: Russian snow crab imports flood Japanese market – media

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