Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries (MAFF) is looking to increase its protection of intellectual property (IP) rights for Japanese fruit and vegetables.
The ministry has reported Japanese-developed seeds and seedlings have been illegally exported, grown and sold in China without permission, including Benihoppe strawberries developed in the Shizouka Prefecture, and Shine Muscat grapes developed by a Japanese research institute, according the Japan Times.
“We are concerned that the grape produced in our prefecture and unauthorised products could compete against each other in export markets,” a Shizuoka Prefectural government official told the local news site.
The government has already signed a Memorandum of Understating with several countries to reduce the registration period for new varieties, which in some cases could take several years. The high costs of registering IP rights for new varieties overseas are another prohibiting factor for Japanese exporters.
The ministry is expected to seek subsidies for companies registering new plant varieties overseas in the upcoming federal budget.