Geographical review of Japan series B
Online ISSN : 1883-4396
ISSN-L : 1883-4396
Article of the Special Issue
Structural Features of the East Asian Food Systems and Dynamics: Implications from a Case Study of Develop-and-Import Scheme of Umeboshi
NORITO Takashi
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2012 Volume 84 Issue 2 Pages 32-43


This article defines the East Asian food systems as chains of food production, supply and consumption in East Asia, and analyzes the structural characteristics and dynamics. First, to clarify the concept, this paper presents two analytical viewpoints of the East Asian food systems as a “collective entity” (comprehending each nation’s food system separately) and as a “joint entity” (an intersection of each nation’s food system through intra-regional food trade), and describes each of the structural characteristics and dynamics with statistical data. As for the “collective entity,” its structural characteristics involve Westernization and sophistication of diets in East Asian countries. With regard to the “joint entity,” one of its structural characteristics is a trade expansion in processed foods exported from China and ASEAN states and imported to Japan. Second, in order to illuminate the deployment of Japanese agribusinesses that have led the trade growth of processed foods, this article focuses on umeboshi, Japanese plum with a long history of foreign trade, and analyzed the roll-out of the develop-and-import schemes by the umeboshi processors. As the base of the develop-and-import schemes has moved from Taiwan to China in the 1990s, this article has looked at the transfer process in depth, and found that important factors are cultural and political distances that affect business relations between umeboshi processors as micro-level agents, in the midst of such macro-scale movement as economic development in East Asia.

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© 2012 The Association of Japanese Geographers
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