Japan's broiler production is expected to increase by 3 percent in 2012 as Japan recovers from outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza and the earthquake in March 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service's latest report.

In 2011, massive outbreaks of avian influenza and the earthquake largely disrupted Japan’s domestic production and distribution of broiler meat. On a month-by-month comparison, national output for January–July 2011 showed severe declines, although from August 2011 onwards output almost returned to its 2010 levels, according to the report. Broilers comprise over 90 percent of the Japanese poultry market and domestic broilers account for about 60 percent of Japan’s total broiler supply.

For the first half of 2012, as total distribution of broiler meat clearly outpaced solid consumption, the market was flooded with chicken meat. Surplus stocks appear to be putting a burden on Japan’s 2012 broiler market. For the month of June, the size of frozen broiler stocks was reported to have grown to 152,780 metric tons, adding 5,400 metric tons to unsold meat inventories at the end of 2011.

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In 2011, Japan’s total broiler imports increased by 14 percent from 201 numbers, to 894,565 metric tons. Japan’s imports, which were made to respond to any potential shortages, partially contributed to the year-ending stocks, estimated up by 35 percent compared to the year-beginning 2011 at 147,000 metric tons.

Higher market prices for imported broiler meat, coupled with current surpluses, are expected to reduce imports in 2013, according to the USDA. Japan’s imports from the U.S. are projected to remain unchanged at 35,000 metric tons.