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Shine Muscat grape smuggling to China costs Japan $70m a year

Farm ministry reckons losses as it seeks to better protect registered varieties

Tourists pick Shine Muscat grapes in the central Japanese city of Kofu. (Photo by Masayuki Kozono)

TOKYO -- Japan suffers more than 10 billion yen ($73.8 million) in lost earnings yearly from premium Shine Muscat grapes improperly brought to China, the Japanese farm ministry estimates in a new report.

Smuggling of the government-registered variety appears to have begun in 2016, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, which estimates that China had 30 times more area under Shine Muscat cultivation than Japan in 2020.

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