The State of the Citrus Industry in Japan

Ernie Neff International, Production

In a short summary about citrus in Japan, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) reports that the country’s mandarin production continues to decline amid labor shortages and reduced consumption. Shipping challenges and rising prices are projected to reduce the consumption of largely imported oranges and grapefruit.


Tangerine/mandarin production for 2021-22 is forecast at 924,000 metric tons (MT), down 5.3% from 2020-21. Approximately 80% of Japan’s tangerine/mandarin crop is Satsuma, also called unshu. The area planted in mandarins is projected to shrink by 1,300 hectares (ha) this year, to 50,400 ha. Approximately 90% of the country’s mandarins are consumed fresh.

In 2020-21, imports of fresh mandarins rose 9.9% to 23,103 MT; imports are projected to increase to 25,000 MT in 2021-22. Exports of the variety increased to 1,416 MT in 2020-21, up 34.4% from the prior year.

Fresh orange production for 2021-22 is forecast at 6,000 MT, down from 6,200 MT the prior year. The harvested area is projected to drop to 400 hectares.

Imports represent approximately 93% of the country’s fresh orange consumption. Imports are projected to decrease 2.3% to 84,000 MT in 2021-22. The United States is the leading supplier of fresh oranges to Japan. The country’s fresh orange exports are negligible at 19 MT.  

Japan’s domestic orange juice production is negligible. Consumption is projected to decline by 10% in 2020-21, to 48,500 MT at 65 Brix equivalent.

Imports are forecast at 45,000 MT in 2021-22. A slight increase in exports, to 50 MT at 65 Brix, are forecast for 2021-22.

Japan’s grapefruit production is marginal at approximately 20 MT on 1 ha. Pomelo production is forecast at 27,000 MT in 2021-22, with a slight increase in harvested area to 1,248 ha. Grapefruit consumption continues to decline, and approximately 65% of the fruit consumed is imported. Consumption dipped to a historic low of 81,000 MT in 2020-21 and is projected to fall to 77,000 MT in 2021-22.

Over the last several years, South Africa has been the top fresh grapefruit supplier to Japan. Imports are projected to decrease 7.2% in 2021-22, to 50,000 MT. The country’s grapefruit exports are negligible.

Fresh lemon and lime production is forecast at 48,000 MT in 2021-22, the same as the prior year. The harvested area is expected to increase slightly to 4,440 ha. Consumption is projected at 70,000 MT, up from 64,000 MT the prior year.

Imports are forecast at 50,000 MT in 2021-22, up from 44,000 MT the previous year. Exports are negligible.

 See the full FAS report on citrus in Japan.


Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service

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