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All-Japan initiative promoting distribution of Japanese food products and “awamori” in growing economic hub of Thailand
-JETRO and two Japanese distributors conclude MOUs -

May 2018

On May 30, JETRO Bangkok signed memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with two Japanese-affiliated distributors. Following a signing ceremony for the MOUs, two promotional events, titled "Japan Fresh Food Market" and "Awamori Night," were held in the presence of Mitsuhiro Miyakoshi, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister of Japan. The events were joined by approximately 150 people and publicized the attractiveness of Japanese food.

Background and aim of MOUs

Southeast Asia; which in addition to Thailand includes Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam; is a massive market of approximately 600 million people. Thailand is growing as this region’s logistics hub and filled with potential to expand its network toward India and South Asia. Focusing on its wide regionality, JETRO concluded MOUs with two Japanese-affiliated distributors operating in Thailand with the purpose of promoting export of Japanese agricultural, forestry and fishery products and food and held promotional events geared toward buyers in Thailand and its neighboring countries.

JETRO welcomed Mitsuhiro Miyakoshi; Special Advisor to the Prime Minister of Japan in matters related to promoting exports of agricultural, forestry and fishery products and food products; to its promotional events. Mr. Miyakoshi also visited Thaifex; an international trade exhibition for food and beverages, food technology and retail and franchise operations in Asia which was held at the same time; where 78 Japanese companies and institutions participated in the Japan Pavilion—the largest number for the pavilion in Thaifex. This was followed by a pitch by the special advisor on the appeal of Japanese food to approximately 150 people, including representatives of overseas buyers and local media outlets, next to the Thaifex venue.

Special Advisor Miyakoshi visiting Japan Pavilion at Thaifex

Outline of MOUs

In the presence of Mr. Miyakoshi and Executive Vice President Yasukazu Irino of JETRO, MOUs regarding the promotion of Japanese food were concluded between JETRO Bangkok and Japanese distributors active in Thailand: Haruo Endo, President of J VALUE Co., Ltd., and Kazue Watanabe, President of Sagawa Advance Co., Ltd. J VALUE will establish its Japan Fresh Wholesale Market for Japanese food products in Bangkok this June, while Sagawa Advance will open a pilot shop this August where it will promote Japanese food as well as local Japanese regions. Both companies will proactively work to promote Japanese agricultural, forestry and fishery products and food toward Thailand and its neighboring countries. JETRO Bangkok will also hold a business-matching event this November, taking advantage of JETRO’s network to attract the participation of buyers from the region. These efforts represent an all-Japan initiative which aims to expand sales channels of Japanese food in the Thai capital and throughout Asia by disseminating the allure of the products.

Conclusion of MOUs

"Awamori Night" and introduction of promotional activities conducted by signing parties

During the "Japan Fresh Food Market," held after the signing ceremony for the MOUs, J VALUE demonstrated its promotional activities for Japanese food through a simulation of the fresh wholesale market it plans to open, while at "Awamori Night,” the Okinawan distilled spirit awamori was promoted alongside other Japanese food products.

Fresh wholesale market by J VALUE

With the aim of expanding exports of awamori in Thailand, the program for Awamori Night featured an introduction to the 600-year history of exchange between Okinawa and Thailand through the trade of Thai rice, which has been used in awamori’s production, in hopes of arousing an affinity among guests for the drink. The event was joined by Apichart Chirabandhu, Advisor to the Minister of Tourism and Sport; Shiro Sadoshima, Ambassador of Japan to Thailand; and Special Advisor Miyakoshi, as well as approximately 60 people from buyers and media outlets based in Thailand and surrounding countries. All guests had a chance to enjoy awamori. Participants gave the following praise: "I have enjoyed Japanese sake before but this is my first time to try awamori. All bottles displayed here are very tasty. As spirits are popular in Thailand, I think Thais will like awamori’s distinct rich and mellow flavor." "Awamori is great with spicy Thai shrimp salad."

Awamori Night

Greeting by Special Advisor Miyakoshi

Awamori cocktail "southern island"

Pairing with Thai cuisine

Introduction by awamori meister Mr. Komine