The first-ever Organic Day in Japan had something for everyone: an organic “market” showcasing hundreds of American organic products, a briefing for the Japanese business community on the U.S. organic industry, a yoga class for millennials led by a super-model, a seminar on organic for seniors with one of Japan’s most celebrated actresses, and an all-organic cocktail hour thrown in for good measure.

The unprecedented event held in Tokyo on Oct. 29 and sponsored by the Organic Trade Association (OTA) not only featured American-made organic products for an eager and interested Japanese audience estimated in the thousands, but explained how organic benefits consumers, farmers, and the environment, and deepened the awareness and trust of the U.S. organic brand, planting seeds for long-term business opportunities in this key Asian nation.

Leading up to Organic Day, 13 of Japan's top organic retailers and 11 organic cafés and restaurants in Tokyo participated in a week-long OTA-organized in-store promotion that highlighted organic products from the United States, and helped to whet the already-growing appetite of the Japanese consumer for organic.

“Organic represents less than 1% of the food industry in Japan, but interest is growing rapidly, so there is plenty of room and momentum to grow,” said Monique Marez, OTA’s Associate Director of International Trade. “High-quality food is very important to the Japanese consumer. As consumers there learn more about the strict regulations and standards guiding the American organic industry, they are developing more appreciation for organic, its quality and its benefits.”

Japan’s organic market is valued at a little over a billion dollars, making Japan the ninth largest organic market in the world, according to recent industry estimates. But considering the size of its huge retail and food service sector—around $820 billion—organic’s current share of the total domestic market is tiny. Given Japan’s stable economy, its solid per capita income, and its discerning consumers, the growth opportunity for organic in Japan is significant.

Since the beginning of 2014, the U.S. and Japan have traded organic products under an organic equivalency arrangement, which allows a product certified as organic in one country to be sold as organic in both. At the time of the signing of the agreement in September 2013, American organic producers and processors were selling about $80 million worth of organic products to Japan each year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Organic exports to Japan have steadily increased since the arrangement, and are up almost 10 percent for the first half of 2015.

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