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U.S. military bulk buys Japanese seafood to counter China ban

75 Comments
By John Geddie and Yukiko Toyoda

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75 Comments
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The US really needs to throw Japan a bone. If Japan is forced to sell their dollar reserves it would not look good for the US.

-10 ( +12 / -22 )

Say it like it is, Rahm!

Say it like it is!

5 ( +12 / -7 )

After all, the USA did play a part in the proliferation of nuke plants in Japan, and in the perpetuation of the nuclear energy safety myth.

-12 ( +9 / -21 )

I have lived in Tokyo for over 10 years. Since they moved the fish market. I have seen the quality of the fish at the grocery stores continue to decline and the prices have doubled. When the Chinese halted buying Japanese seafood, I had thought the quality would go up and the prices would get back to closer to pre pandemic levels. But see just the opposite. I think it’s great that US is going to help offset the Chinese ban. But I still don’t understand why the quality is bad and the prices are so high.

11 ( +18 / -7 )

The joke here, of course, is that the Japanese government is paying for this as the Japanese government spends more than US $8 billion each year "hosting" US troops.

The United States has for the first time begun buying Japanese seafood 

-15 ( +9 / -24 )

will feed soldiers in messes and aboard vessels as well as being sold in shops and restaurants 

Suddenly seafood becoming popular among service member, there must be something fishy here. So their solution for China ban, just force feed service member with rejected seafood.

-23 ( +6 / -29 )

But I still don’t understand why the quality is bad and the prices are so high.

Increasing operational price with less people on board, many baby boomer fisherman already entered retirement age. Working on fishing boat is not for everyone, living day and night on boat. J Govt also open some foreign skilled worker, cheap labor to be able to work in fisheries.

-17 ( +5 / -22 )

Really good gesture from Emmanuel, and the US Military. I bet the quality and freshness of Japanese seafood will be appreciated on base.

Plus - it helps the fishermen who are caught up in China's despicable boycott.

6 ( +19 / -13 )

That’s funny the Japanese government pays the USA for military services. Looks like the commissary on the base will have sushi for the first time. Still love me some Popeyes chicken

-20 ( +4 / -24 )

as US will buy Japanese fish, Kishida can not refuse to buy US weapons with my taxes!!

pure blackmail!

-14 ( +10 / -24 )

Our local fish is very fresh and very good at affordable prices. Oysters are good at the moment.

9 ( +15 / -6 )

The joke here, of course, is that the Japanese government is paying for this as the Japanese government spends more than US $8 billion each year "hosting" US troops.

So has the Japanese government increased the amount they are paying specifically so the US military will buy Japanese seafood, and if not, what is the Japanese seafood replacing?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"The best way we have proven in all the instances to kind of wear out China's economic coercion is come to the aid and assistance of the targeted country or industry," he said.

I think that should be the quote of the month. Very savvy.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Fish BQ on the flight deck.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

so Rahm Emanuel is making an early start in his run for election as Prez in 4 years time....

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

The first purchase involves just shy of a metric ton of scallops, a tiny fraction of more than 100,000 tons of scallops that Japan exported to mainland China last year.

Sounds like a good deal...a ton of scallops and in return Japan will be obligated to buy more US weapons in the future.

-2 ( +10 / -12 )

I can't imagine how badly military mess halls will mess up cooking fish.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Japanese fish in the eight food stores I pass on my daily walks rain or shine is fabulous. Super fresh and the choices are amazing. Due to fuel costs high, there have been some price increases, but follow the seasonal selections and all is fine.

I support nuclear energy and support Fukushima. Fabulous fruits as well.

China has released much more dirty water than all the combined releases Fukushima plans on doing.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

most Americans are not fish eaters unless it’s salmon or rainbow trout so I don’t think the chalk hall on the base will be serving fish. The fish would most likely be sold at the commissary. I don’t think the base is going to open a sushi restaurant. The food courts is plenty of fast foods

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

2021 indicates Americans consumed a record 20.5 pounds of seafood per capita – a 1.5 pound increase over 2020.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I can't imagine how badly military mess halls will mess up cooking fish.

my time as a military reserve, the food was always good. But I was only a "weekend warrior" and never had fish. I think.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

People here are (purposely) missing the point. Every little bit helps. China's a bully - they think they can turn off their market...and that will change anything?

In fact, FDI (foreign direct investment) in China this year is...NEGATIVE. For the second year running. Meaning more outside investors of all stripes are pulling out of the Pooh's Dictatorship of China (PDC) than are putting in. That's BAD news for the PDC.

Remember how China tried to destroy Australian wineries, or Taiwan pineapple producers, in what was a form of economic warfare? In both cases, China failed miserably, thanks to the bit-by-bit contributions from non-Chinese allies helping to make up the difference as much as possible. That's what "being allies" means!

3 ( +10 / -7 )

If it smells like fish make it a dish!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

nosukeToday  06:39 pm JST

most Americans are not fish eaters unless it’s salmon or rainbow trout so I don’t think the chalk hall on the base will be serving fish.

You obviously know nothing about Americans and eating fish. Most Americans live on the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts. And there are no chalk halls on bases whatever that is, just mess halls.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

"The best way we have proven in all the instances to kind of wear out China's economic coercion is come to the aid and assistance of the targeted country or industry," he said.

Indeed. The free world working together is what's needed to counter China's tiresome economic coercion. China will never behave itself under the CCP, so this is the best path.

The more China plays this trick, the more the world will turn away from it. The more Freedom Wine you'll see:

https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2020/12/03/2003748006

...the more Freedom Pineapples:

https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2021/03/770c4f2aa955-focus-chinese-ban-on-taiwanese-pineapples-boosts-sales-in-japan.html

...and many, many more.

"The kind of loser in this is the youth of China. You now have a situation where 30% of the Chinese youth, one out of three, are unemployed. You have major cities with unfinished housing ... you have major municipalities not able to pay city workers. Why? Because China made a political decision to turn their back on a system in which they were benefiting."

This is also absolutely true. China developed by working with (and stealing from) other countries. Now China is more powerful, the CCP thinks it can treat everyone else like crap and they will just put up with it. They won't.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Planet Earth to Rahm:

Go to a mess hall on base or a galley onboard a ship.

There's a reason they have never sourced locally and that because everyone eats meat.

The only seafood is fish sticks and popcorn shrimp. The odd frozen crumbed fish fillet. And these are drenched in ketchup or tartar sauce. Maybe some of the fancy pants upstairs get a bigger budget and a fancy fish but get real.

And the DoD is required to support American producers.

No one is going to be having ika-yaki, sanma or grilled-fish teishoku meals in place of the hot dogs, cheese dogs, corn dogs, bacon & eggs, chimichangas, double cheese burgers, fries, pizzas, tacos, onion rings, buffalo wings, burritos, pastrami on rye, steaks, subs, chili, porkchops, BLTs, tater tots, mac and cheese, chicken-fried steaks with cream gravy, lamb chops, sloppy joes, turkey sandwiches, prime rib, quesadillas, Philly cheesesteaks, BBQ ribs, cornbread, fish tacos, fajitas, chicken and waffles, brisket, Reuben sandwiches, milkshakes, breakfast burritos, surf and turf, fried chicken, huevos rancheros, doughnuts, brownies, sundaes, cookies, paczki, apple pie & ice-cream, pumpkin pie, key lime pie, pecan pie and other heartland crowd-pleasers too.

There would be a mutiny if they tried that.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

If you think the seafood from there is safe then eat it yourself! It’s up to you to think what is best for your health. No country has the right to tell another what to ban and what to allow. China doesn’t want the nuclear waste water discharge area seafood from Japan so it’s their choice. If America and other countries want it then they can buy it as it’s their choice. Then it will come down to individual citizens of America and other countries if they actually feel safe consuming these seafood regularly or they rather have seafood from other areas of the world. Politics shouldn’t dictate the safety of the ecosystem and human health… it goes both ways! 

It’s so unusual that many foreigners commenting here think the seafood from Fukushima area is absolutely safe and they support the Government of Japan as well as Tepco for discharging the nuclear waste water. And yet, most Japanese are against this discharge and even avoid seafood from Fukushima area completely! Seems like the Japanese people are more clever than the foreigners commenting on Japan today as they are more cautious about their long term health!

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Domestic fish comes from many prefectures not just Fukushima.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Let me get this right USMC replacing SOS with Japanese Seafood? That's a step up for sure. Chopsticks may be next.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

JJEToday  07:58 pm JST

No one is going to be having ika-yaki, sanma or grilled-fish teishoku meals in place of the hot dogs, cheese dogs, corn dogs, bacon & eggs, 

They're buying the seafood. Not the cooked recipes. Fish Fillets on Fridays.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Why is the US military and diplomatic in the fish business

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Americans usually only eat the fingers and throw the rest of the fish away.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I live in the middle of the states, far from any ocean. I eat fish probably twice a week on average, sometimes more some times less. Good eats is good eats. A lot of people I know eat fish, too. So ship the fish all over the US. You'll find that land-locked US can consume what you send. The beauty part is that China is taking a hit. What's wrong with that?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

JimToday 08:08 pm JST

If you think the seafood from there is safe then eat it yourself!

He already did:

https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2023-08-31/japans-pm-visits-fish-market-vows-to-help-fisheries-hit-by-china-ban-over-fukushima-water-release

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The first purchase of seafood by the U.S. under the scheme involves just shy of a metric ton of scallops, a tiny fraction of more than 100,000 tons of scallops that Japan exported to mainland China last year.

So the first purchase is less than 1/100,000th of the loss in exports. Japan failed to their nemawashi - pre-transplanting preparations. The more costly alternative options could have been shared by neighboring countries.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

2011, operation "Tomodachi" and radioactivity from Fukushima victimized USS Ronald Raegan crews.

This policy remind it.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Seems like the Japanese people are more clever than the foreigners commenting on Japan today as they are more cautious about their long term health!

It’s the fear factor or the peace of mind one wishes to have when consuming food and putting things into one’s body; the same with vaccines.

If you say China’s banning seafood from Japan, the Japanese might eat Fukushima fish out of national pride: taberu yo (sure I’ll eat it.)

If you take China out of the context and ask if one thinks it’s safe to eat Fukushima fish, you’ll get: iya, yameta hou ga ii yo. (better play it safe.)

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Planet Earth to Rahm:

Go to a mess hall on base or a galley onboard a ship.

The smell of fish will not be popular.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Fish MREs perhaps

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The U.S. Buying Japanese Seafood To Fight The Chinese Ban On Japanese Radio-Poisoned Seafood?

Good! For Japan ! Good! For China!

Bad!!! For U.S.A.!!!

WHY?

BECAUSE.........................................!!!

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

I've always liked Rahm Emanuel. I'm glad he's the US Ambassador to Japan.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

quote: China made a political decision to turn their back on a system in which they were benefiting.

Yes - a crazy idea. Just like the US sanctions on China.

Hasn't the US armed forces been buying Japanese food products all these years? Have they been eating stuff imported from the US since WWII?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The U. S. population’s consumption of fish is in the form of canned tuna … fresh fish is, either too expensive or unavailable.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Maybe somebody can protest this somewhere. Bueller? Okinawa? Anyone? A stand-up ally is what you have, Japan. Make sure the people know it!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

As long as the seafood is not from the WTO approved banned prefectures, it's fine.

If the US soldiers are being fed with seafood from Fukushima area, oh well.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Good move! Buy more!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

GBR48Oct. 30 11:53 pm JST

quote: China made a political decision to turn their back on a system in which they were benefiting.

Yes - a crazy idea. Just like the US sanctions on China.

Nobody seriously argues it is in China's national security interest to turn into a hermit kingdom.

Hasn't the US armed forces been buying Japanese food products all these years? Have they been eating stuff imported from the US since WWII?

Quite possibly. Japan has never covered 100% of the expenses of US forces in the country.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

JJEOct. 30 07:58 pm JST

For once I agree with you 100%. Since you obviously have experience with the US military, it really makes me question your other statements taking the side of America's enemies.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

nuclear energy safety myth.

That isn't a myth. Even with all the nuclear accidents included, nuclear energy is safer than all other forms of energy, except photovoltaic solar. https://ourworldindata.org/safest-sources-of-energy

3 ( +5 / -2 )

deanzaZZROct. 30 05:18 pm JST

The joke here, of course, is that the Japanese government is paying for this as the Japanese government spends more than US $8 billion each year "hosting" US troops.

I know you are capable of understanding $8 billion is below the total cost of stationing US troops which makes me wonder why you would even say such a thing.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

If Japanese seafood is competitive with other sources, I'd eat it. No worries at all. See the science and samples of different fish taken near the Fukushima water release areas prove there's nothing wrong with the seafood.

Growing up we had fish/seafood twice a week. More often during lent. Every Friday, school lunches included fish.

While I cannot speak for every person in America, I can't think of any friends who don't eat fish, though 1 friend is deathly allergic to shellfish. He an outlier. He does still eat fish, just not shrimp/prawns, crabs, lobster, crawfish, scallops or muscles.

My family has always liked fish, regardless of where we lived - near the coast or land-locked. We'd get fresh catfish at least weekly. Mom loved catfish. It is good. Sometimes we'd fish for trout or bluegill in smaller rivers. We always had crap, shrimp and canned salmon. Canned red salmon is still a "comfort food" to me, but it has doubled in price since 2019, so we don't eat it as often.

Lots of Americans have canned tuna. That definitely is the food that most kids eat, usually in a simple sandwich (tuna fish sandwich). Crawfish season is about to begin again. That's good eatin'. If I'm not paying, a filet of Sockeye or Halibut or Cod or Flounder or Sea Bass are excellent. Or when we travel somewhere that fresh variants are available without a premium price. Probably have 3 lbs of Atlantic Salmon filets and 5 lbs of gulf shrimp and 5 lbs of crawfish in the freezer now. Sadly, no canned salmon or tuna. Finished off the tuna last week. ;)

I do prefer my fish cooked, not raw, though quality raw tuna or salmon is fine, neither are my favorite. It is so easy to make perfect salmon in just a few minutes, I don't see the point.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

deanzaZZROct. 30 05:18 pm JST

The joke here, of course, is that the Japanese government is paying for this as the Japanese government spends more than US $8 billion each year "hosting" US troops.

Also it is 8 billion over 5 years, but nice try.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

This is a pretty significant development in what's been a hot topic in Japan.... which certainly makes it puzzling that there isn't much Japanese press coverage on it... at all.

It seems that Japanese face is lost when the US -especially the US military- helps Japan out in a time of need. When Sendai International Airport got buried under 6 feet of mud after the 3/11 tsunami, the US Marines went in full force with heavy equipment and had the place cleaned up and open for business in 2 weeks. The NYTimes did a story about how it was kept quiet as possible to help Japan save face for the shame of needing help from others.

There is no shame in getting some help from your friends. That's what friends are for. Knowledge of their help certainly shouldn't be hidden from you on purpose. An open book in a friendship makes it deeper.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It's so embarrassing to show this guy's face as a representative for the US

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

I have been to the bases here because my friend is military and let me tell you the supermarkets are not cheap when it comes to Japanese products, and I was surprised and or vegetables and fruits. It makes me wonder what the fish will sell for in the supermarkets on the bases.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

sakurasuki - Increasing operational price with less people on board, many baby boomer fisherman already entered retirement age. Working on fishing boat is not for everyone, living day and night on boat. J Govt also open some foreign skilled worker, cheap labor to be able to work in fisheries.

excellent comment, lot to do with professional fisherman the way handled the caught fish. also climate change made differences.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

No doubt saving millions in the deal. Really Japan overfish their sea resources. Now would be the time to start buying back fishing licences and enforce quotes.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The Japanese love their US war bases, might as well feed them local nuked fish.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Having seen many US military guys pour soy sauce in white rice because it's "tasteless," I wonder what they would do with sushi?

Eat it with ketchup?

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Better than McDonald's or ramen.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I will eat scallops. And a Navy cook should be able to make a decent meal out of it, too.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Shouldn’t China be celebrating this? I mean Japanese fish is radioactive according to them so the US navy consuming it in droves should have them celebrating

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I’m sure the Japanese seafood industry appreciates the gesture, but one can’t help but ask two questions:

Why hasn’t the USA been buying Japanese seafood to supply its troops occupying Japan until now?

How, exactly, is replacing less than 1/100,000th of the lost business, or .001 percent, going to keep the Japanese seafood industry solvent?

As with seafood, so with artillery shells…

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

BertieWoosterToday 07:21 am JST

Having seen many US military guys pour soy sauce in white rice because it's "tasteless," I wonder what they would do with sushi?

> Eat it with ketchup?

C'mon Bertie. I know you are anti-U.S. but this is ridiculous! Japanese use soy sauce on a lot of things. Daikon is tasteless; like eating water. You know it. I know it. The daikon knows it. Put some soy sauce on daikon and it's "oishii!" from everyone in sight. Sushi contains rice and we all know Japanese use soy sauce on that because it enhances the bland fishy flavor.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japanese use soy sauce on a lot of things.

That is a bit different that the characterization of "pour it in". My experience is that most Japanese use sparing amounts. I have also seen so very many Japanese eat plain white rice with literally nothing else and proclaim that they like it.

As for things being tasteless, I am less sure than I once was about this. My own ability to recognize tastes has changed over the years. Surely, the heavily flavored foods of my American upbringing played a role. It took time to appreciate the lighter flavors of different kinds of sushi, tofu, and other things, or how very much simple white rice can affect the flavors of things like yakiniku when eaten together.

All that said, I would never attempt to lambaste a guy for asserting that the average U.S. soldier is rather low brow when it comes to food appreciation, and its got little to with my disdain for the lot, which I openly admit.

They are welcome to the Fukushima fish. VERY welcome to it.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I feel sorry for the US servicemen and women who now need to eat contaminated fish, I bet Rahm isn't. This story sure sounds like a load of codswollop.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

I feel sorry for the US servicemen and women who now need to eat contaminated fish

Considering the typical American diet, the fish would probably be an improvement even if it was contaminated.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I feel sorry for the US servicemen and women who now need to eat contaminated fish,

But it isn't contaminated. Testing has proved it already. Periodic testing will continue, so if any contaminates ever do show up, we'll know.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Hi Mocheake,

I'm actually not at all anti-US. I have many American friends and while there is much about the U.S.A. I love and respect, I don't love everything about it.

America has great food, it also has industrial garbage and many Americans just can't taste anything unless the volume is turned up on the taste. Sweets tend to be sickly sweet. IPAs tend to be way over hopped and sea food swamped in creamy sauces or fried in breadcrumbs. "Heavily flavoured" exactly!

As Keepyerinternetpoints says, you need to learn to appreciate the lighter tastes, tofu, white rice, konyaku and so on. But daikon is hardly tasteless. It has a spicy hit that complements fish beautifully. Especially ikura, grilled salmon. It makes a great pickle, takuwan and works really nicely in oden, and nabe (hot pot).

And I've been shocked to see many Americans soak the sushi in soy sauce, rather than, as KYIP suggests, lightly dipping it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I ate sushi while in Japan for 3 weeks. It was good. Better quality than seafood from other places

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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