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Date : November 8 - 9, 2023

Report: Ibaraki Press Tour

post date : 2023.11.22

This press tour to Ibaraki Prefecture took place ahead of the G7 Interior and Security Ministers' Meeting in Mito, Ibaraki to be held from December 8 to 10, covering Ibaraki agricultural products, the fishing industry in Ibaraki responding to climate change, and traditional industries in Ibaraki.


A total of six journalists joined the press tour, from media organizations based out of Brazil, France, Singapore, Türkiye, and the US.


*This press tour was sponsored by Ibaraki Prefecture, and planned and operated by the FPCJ.

*For more details on the tour stops, see the press tour notice.



 [Day 1]

<I.K.N. Egg Farms Co.>

 The tour visited I.K.N. Egg Farm’s grading and packing center, and heard about their production of high-quality chicken eggs that are still delicious when eaten raw, and the current state of exports. Afterwards, the journalists filmed and photographed eggs being graded and packed, and had the opportunity to try both raw and boiled eggs. They asked questions about the appeal of raw eggs, what led to exporting eggs to Hong Kong, and the standards used to determine their expiration date.




<JA Namegata Shiosai>

 The tour visited this agricultural co-op and heard about how there is a stable supply of sweet potatoes grown in Ibaraki year-round, the current state of exports of sweet potatoes, and efforts to expand sales of roasted sweet potatoes overseas. This was followed by opportunities to film and photograph the warehouses with humidity and temperature controls and sweet potatoes being harvested and graded. The journalists asked questions about what cultivars were popular and the effects of climate change.





<Nomura Hanabi Kougyou Co., Ltd.>

 The tour visited this fireworks company with a long history, filming and photographing fireworks being made and hearing from the company president about making fireworks in Mito, Ibaraki. Afterwards, the tour moved to the riverside to see a demonstration of the fireworks, and the journalists cheered while intently filming and photographing the fireworks overhead.






[Day 2]


<Farming Mackerel Using ICT>

 The tour visited Nakaminato Port to learn about a demonstration project by Ibaraki Prefecture using the latest digital technology, including ICT, to efficiently farm mackerel. The journalists saw the cages used to farm the fish, filming and photographing the mackerel as they gathered around the feed provided by the automatic feeder. They asked questions about the differences between wild and farmed mackerel, plans for farming other kinds of fish, and the reaction of local members of the fishing industry.





<Suzuki Mohei Shoten Co., Ltd.>

 The tour visited this business and learned about Ibaraki’s Suifu chochin paper lanterns, which have existed for around 400 years, and about designing new chochin to meet the needs of a modern lifestyle. The tour was also able to film and photograph Suifu chochin being made. The journalists were able to hold the lanterns for themselves and see how they can be folded, a unique feature of Suifu chochin, and asked questions about how many years they lasted and their connections with chochin from Gifu and Fukuoka.





<Briefing by Governor of Ibaraki Prefecture>

 The tour visited the Ibaraki Prefectural Government Building and heard from Ibaraki’s governor, Mr. Kazuhiko Oigawa, about Ibaraki Prefecture's initiatives for promoting exports and building brands in the agriculture, forestry, and fishing industries. The journalists asked about initiatives to ensure the safety of agricultural products, responses to climate change, what was necessity to achieve the prefectural government’s vision, and about the governor’s career history, in which he switched from working in private industry to government.





<Tsukuba Chozame Sangyo>

 The tour visited the pool of an elementary school that closed down which Tsukuba Chozame Sangyo uses to farm surgeon for caviar production, where the journalists filmed and photographed the sturgeon as they swam around gracefully. Afterwards, the tour visited a restaurant run by the same company and sampled the caviar while hearing about Kasumigaura Caviar, Ibaraki’s new brand. The journalists asked questions about the difference between caviar made in Japan and imported caviar, and why caviar is so expensive.




◆Below is some of the reporting based on this tour.


The Straits Times (Singapore)

From caviar to chochin lanterns: Japan’s Ibaraki embraces risk to find new frontiers」(November 18)


Ouest France (France)

Au Japon, le caviar d’élevage vient à la rescousse des pêcheurs」(December 20)


Stars and Stripes(US)

Light up a Japanese tradition with a paper lantern from Suzuki Mohei Shoten」(January 4, 2024)

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