Japan Sources Most of Its Soybean Meals from Latin America  


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Japan’s domestic crush of imported oilseeds supplies half of Soybean Meal and all of the Rapeseed Meal demand in Japan. Based on the projected recovery of the canola crop, for MY 2023/24, FAS/Tokyo forecasts an increase in domestic Rapeseed crush and a corresponding drop in Soybean crush.

Based on MAFF’s feed data, FAS/Tokyo estimates that Japanese feed millers consumed 8.67 MMT of Soybean Meal equivalent (SME) protein in MY 2021/22. The total includes 36 percent Soybean Meal, 9 percent Rapeseed Meal, 8 percent corn-derived protein by-products (i.e., distillers’ dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and corn gluten feed and Meal (CGF&M), 5 percent slaughterhouse waste (e.g., meat and bone Meal10, feather Meal), and 3 percent fishmeal. As MY 2021/22 Rapeseed Meal supply decreased, feed millers increased the use of Soybean Meal, DDGS, and CGF&M. However, the total SME protein use by Japanese feed millers remained stable.

As feed millers fully utilize domestic production of Rapeseed Meal, FAS/Tokyo forecasts Rapeseed Meal feed and waste consumption will decrease to 1.0 MMT in MY 2022/23. As Rapeseed Meal production recovers, FAS/Tokyo forecasts Rapeseed Meal feed and waste consumption will increase to 1.12 MMT in MY 2023/24. To fulfill the protein demand, FAS/Tokyo forecasts Soybean Meal feed and waste consumption will be 3.18 MMT in MY 2022/23. In MY 2023/24, FAS/Tokyo forecasts the feed Soybean Meal consumption will decrease to 3.10 MMT as Rapeseed Meal will replace Soybean Meal.

FAS/Tokyo estimates food use consumption of Soybean Meal was 200,000 MT in MY 2021/22. Due to the anticipated high price of food-grade Soybeans, FAS/Tokyo forecasts that Japan’s Soybean Meal food consumption will decrease to 195,000 MT in MY 2022/23 and MY 2023/24. Unlike typical feed-grade Soybean Meal, food-grade Soybean Meal is produced from non-GE Soybeans and is not heat-treated. Manufacturers of soy sauce, isolated plant protein products (e.g., alternative meat), hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), and beer-like alcoholic drinks are the principal users of food-grade Soybean Meal in Japan.

The primary industrial use of Soybean, Rapeseed, and fishmeal is for organic fertilizer production, which growers of some specialty crops, such as tea and tobacco, prefer. Japan does not publish reliable fertilizer input data, but industry experts believe the demand remains low because chemical fertilizers dominate the market. Although chemical fertilizer prices remain high in MY 2022/23 following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the high price of Soybean Meal, Rapeseed Meal, and fishmeal has limited interest in resulting organic fertilizers as an alternative to chemical fertilizers. FAS/Tokyo projects a stable industrial consumption of Soybean and Rapeseed in MY 2021/22, MY 2022/23, and MY 2023/24.

Soybean and Rapeseed Meal Import in Japan


Japanese feed manufacturers do not use imported Rapeseed Meal. According to Japan Customs, in MY 2021/22, Japan imported 7,352 MT of fertilizer-grade high erucic acid Rapeseed Meal from India and China. FAS/Tokyo forecasts fertilizer-grade Rapeseed Meal imports to remain flat in the coming years. FAS/Tokyo estimates Soybean Meal imports will decline to 1.5 MMT in MY 2022/23 as protein demand by domestic livestock decreases. FAS/Tokyo projects a rebound in Soybean Meal imports to 1.645 MMT in MY 2023/24 as Japan reduces Soybean crush.

Imported Soybean Meal primarily fills the gap between supply from domestic crush and total feed protein demand. In MY 2021/22, Japan imported 1.699 MMT of Soybean Meal, of which 51.4% came from Brazil and Argentina. China’s share declined to 20.5 percent as the Chinese Soybean Meal supply was tight. The United States exports feed-grade Soybean Meal and food-grade non-GE Soybean Meal to Japan. The imported Soybean Meal accounted for 44.7 percent of the Japanese Soybean Meal supply. Regarding Soybean, Japan imported 0.3 million tons of Soybeans from the US in May-June 2023, followed by Brazil (0.2 million tons), AgFlow data shows.

Other sources: USDA

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