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Abstract
Japan is a net importer of agricultural products and highly dependent on foreign producers. The higher demand and higher purchasing power among the Japanese have led to a larger value of food imports, specifically fruits and vegetables, which in return created a great opportunity for other countries including Malaysia. Japan has become Malaysia’s fourth largest trading partner in 2020 with a trade value of RM69.22 billion. The main products exported from Malaysia were petroleum gas (22.4%) and integrated circuits (7.49%), while, agriculture sector contributed approximately 1.05%. The trade value of Malaysia- Japan agricultural sector itself recorded double-digit growth of 12.5% to reach RM1.05 billion from RM0.94 billion in 2020. Japanese consumers have become more health conscious and demand more natural food supply like vegetables, fruits and meat. In line with that, this case study was conducted to (i) evaluate competitiveness for exporting tropical fruits, (ii) identify market potential and (ii) determine the overall market structure including challenges, opportunities and strategies in exporting tropical Malaysian fruits to Japan. Both primary and secondary data resources were used in the study. Primary data were collected from government agencies and industry players (e.g. Malaysian’s exporters, Japan’s importers/ procurement offices), whereas secondary data were retrieved from various sources (e.g. Trade Map, Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MAFS) and Department of Agriculture Malaysia (DOA). The Mann-Kendall trend shows that pineapple, mangosteen and jackfruit showed an increasing trend in volume and value but not significant due to small market share (1%) compared to Philippines, Thailand and other countries. Nevertheless, Revealed Comparative Advantage identified that competitiveness index has increased from 0.00 (2016) to 0.01 (2017 and 2018). TOWS-Matrix revealed that there are enormous opportunities for Malaysia to export tropical fruits to Japan to meet their market demand. As a conclusion, conclusive export strategies need to be plan which inclusive process, procedure, business networking, quality and promotion in line with current trend of consumer demand in Japan.

Abstrak
Jepun adalah negara pengimport produk pertanian dan bergantung kepada pengeluaran asing. Permintaan dan kuasa membeli yang lebih tinggi di kalangan penduduk Jepun telah membawa kepada nilai import makanan yang semakin besar, khususnya buah-buahan dan sayur-sayuran dan secara tidak langsung mencipta peluang yang besar kepada negara lain termasuk Malaysia. Jepun merupakan rakan perdagangan keempat terbesar Malaysia pada tahun 2020 dengan nilai dagangan sebanyak RM69.22 bilion. Produk utama eksport Malaysia termasuklah gas petroleum (22.4%) dan litar bersepadu (7.49%), manakala sektor pertanian menyumbang kira-kira 1.05%. Nilai dagangan sektor pertanian Malaysia-Jepun mencatatkan pertumbuhan dua angka sebanyak 12.5% mencapai RM1.05 bilion daripada RM0.94 bilion pada tahun 2020. Pengguna Jepun lebih mementingkan kesihatan dan lebih banyak bekalan makanan diperlukan seperti sayur-sayuran, buah-buahan dan daging. Kajian kes ini dijalankan untuk (i) menilai daya saing eksport buah-buahan tropika, (ii) mengenal pasti potensi pasaran dan (ii) menentukan struktur pasaran keseluruhan termasuk cabaran, peluang dan strategi dalam mengeksport buah-buahan tropika Malaysia ke Jepun. Kedua-dua sumber data primer dan sekunder digunakan dalam kajian. Data primer dikumpul daripada agensi kerajaan dan pemain industri (pengeksport Malaysia, pengimport/pejabat perolehan Jepun), manakala data sekunder telah diambil daripada pelbagai sumber (data perdagangan, Kementerian Pertanian dan Keselamatan Makanan (MAFS) dan Jabatan Pertanian Malaysia (DOA). Mann- Kendall trend menunjukkan bahawa nanas, manggis dan nangka menunjukkan trend yang semakin meningkat dalam kuantiti dan nilai tetapi tidak signifikan kerana syer pasaran yang kecil (1%) berbanding dengan Filipina, Thailand dan negara lain. Namun begitu, Revealed Comparative Advantage mengenal pasti bahawa indeks daya saing telah meningkat daripada 0.00 (2016) kepada 0.01 (2017 dan 2018). TOWS-Matrix mendedahkan bahawa Malaysia mempunyai banyak peluang mengeksport buah-buahan tropika ke Jepun bagi memenuhi permintaan pasaran mereka. Kesimpulannya, strategi eksport konklusif yang dirancang perlu merangkumi proses eksport inklusif, prosedur, rangkaian perniagaan, kualiti dan promosi selaras dengan trend semasa permintaan pengguna di Jepun.

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