Japan's Kobe beef, premium melons get brand protection

TOKYO -- Champagne, Melton Mowbray pork pies and Gorgonzola cheese are to be joined by Kobe beef and eye-wateringly expensive Yubari melons as protected products after Japan Tuesday granted them a special status.

See Full Article

A total of seven products including Kobe beef and the melons from the northern of island of Hokkaido were added to a list of Japanese geographical indications, the farm ministry said.

With the designation, anyone who uses the registered brands without permission could face penalties.

"We'll promote the registration of geographic indications and increase demand (for premium farm products) inside and outside Japan," Hiroshi Moriyama, agriculture minister, told a press conference.

The World Intellectual Property Organization on its website defines a geographical indication as "a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin".

The government hopes to boost exports of made-in-Japan premium agriculture products as local farmers could face competition from cheaper imports with the recently concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact.

Under the deal, most tariffs were to be eliminated or slashed on everything from beef, dairy products, wine, sugar, rice, horticulture and seafood through to manufactured products, resources and energy.

Yuji Funatsu, head of the agricultural cooperative in the city of Yubari that applied for a geographic indication, told AFP ahead of the announcement that earning such a designation means "quite a lot of pressure" to maintain quality.

Yubari melons are considered a status symbol in Japan -- something akin to a fine wine -- with many being bought for high prices as a gift for friends and colleagues.

A single pair of the melons fetched 1.5 million yen ($12,400) at an auction in Japan in May.

The best-quality Yubari melons are perfect spheres with a smooth, evenly patterned rind.

Funatsu, who has been a melon farmer for more than 30 years, said maintaining quality and brand is not easy, adding Yubari melons are a "high-maintenance fruit".

In addition to Kobe beef and Yubari melons, Yamecha green tea from Fukuoka prefecture, cassis from Aomori, Hyogo's Tajima-gyu cattle -- some of which become Kobe beef -- pumpkins from Ibaraki and black vinegar from Kagoshima also received geographic indications, the ministry said.



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Brexit anniversary: British economy faces more pain

    Economic CTV News
    LONDON - Few events outside of war can have quite as much potential impact on the economy of a country as Britain's decision a year ago to leave the European Union. The momentous vote on June 23, 2016 has the potential to sever Britain's ties to its main trading partner, a grouping it has spent more than four decades building ever-closer ties to. Source
  • Too little, too late? Sears tries to rebrand by getting hip, hiding name

    Economic CBC News
    In its battle for survival, Sears Canada is trying to shed its old-school image and replace it with a fresh look and hipper brands. It has even opened a flashy pop-up store in downtown Toronto that sells trendy ripped jeans and keeps quiet its affiliation with Sears. Source
  • 3 years into the downturn, is Calgary better off?

    Economic CBC News
    Three years ago today, oil traded at nearly $107 US a barrel. Things were looking pretty bright in Calgary that summer day. The city was rebuilding from the flood the year before, the job market was tight, salaries high, the real estate market was busy and prices buoyant. Source
  • Uber hired exec despite warnings he had Waymo technology

    Economic CTV News
    SAN FRANCISCO -- Uber acknowledged hiring a former Google engineer - now accused of stealing self-driving car technology - despite having received warnings that he was still carrying around some of his former employer's property. Source
  • Asian stocks flat as weak oil prices unnerve investors

    Economic CTV News
    HONG KONG - Asian shares are ending the week on a subdued note with most indexes little changed Friday as the price of oil halted its decline, while still hovering near its lowest level in almost a year. Source
  • Breweries claim Alberta's beer tax system is unconstitutional

    Economic CTV News
    CALGARY - Lawyers for two breweries challenged the constitutionality of Alberta's tax system on small breweries Thursday, arguing the system unfairly favours producers in the province. Toronto-based Steam Whistle Brewing and Saskatoon-based Great Western Brewing Co. Source
  • Biggest U.S. banks strong enough to withstand recession: Fed

    Economic CTV News
    In this Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016, file photo, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, before the Joint Economic Committee. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File) Source
  • Postmedia selling Infomart division

    Economic CBC News
    Postmedia Network Canada Corp. has signed a deal to sell Infomart, its media monitoring division, to Meltwater News Canada Inc. for $38.25 million. The cash-strapped media company says net proceeds from the sale will be used to repay debt. Source
  • A new platform for Whole Foods? How deal could upend grocery

    Economic CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Seeing Whole Foods products first in Amazon searches? Breezing through the grocer's stores with an app that scans affordable fruits and seafood? Those are among the possible scenarios that unnerved the food industry last week, when Amazon announced a $13.7 billion megadeal to acquire Whole Foods. Source
  • Foreign home buyers surge 37 per cent in Montreal on growth in Chinese purchases

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Canada's federal housing agency says the number of foreign buyers in the Montreal area surged by 37 per cent in the first four months of the year. The 236 purchases by foreigners accounted for 1.8 per cent of all real estate transactions from January to April, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. Source