A ship from Russia and a sea urchin in Hokkaido.


the price is?

May 25, 14:13

"That ship just arrived from Russia. I've loaded sea urchins."

A ship arriving at a port in Hokkaido.

If you look closely, you can see the Russian flag on the hull.

According to the people concerned, it is a Russian ship that has loaded sea urchins from Russia.

Ship from Russia?

Russian sea urchin?

What happened after the invasion of Ukraine ...

We interviewed along with the impact on marine products.

(International Department Reporter Yusuke Tamura)

Ship from Russia?

What is a Russian sea urchin?

"Ship from Russia is still coming in,"

said a fishery official in Hokkaido.

When I was interviewing the impact of the invasion of Ukraine, he told me:

Ship from Russia?

Is it true ...

For the time being, I decided to go to the interview based on that person's information.

May 16th, a port in Wakkanai City, Hokkaido.

Certainly, there was a ship with the Russian flag in the harbor.

Moreover, two ships.

According to the person in charge of a company that handles sea urchins from Russia, this ship has just arrived from Russia and the cargo is about 35 tons of sea urchins.

After being checked by a trader, Russian sea urchins were loaded onto about 10 trucks and delivered to various parts of the country.

"Is it okay to import Russian sea urchins after the invasion of Ukraine?"

When I ask the person in charge of the company earlier, I have a question.

"No problem, because marine products are not subject to import bans."

Just in case, ask the person in charge of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

"Sea urchins and other marine products are not subject to import bans. There is no problem importing them."

As of May, 38 items including alcoholic beverages, wood, and automobile parts are subject to import bans from Russia.

However, sea urchins and other marine products are not covered.

When I talked to fishermen and local government officials in Hokkaido, they were not targeted, so even after the invasion of Ukraine, Russian ships and Russian sea urchins came into Japan.

And most of it is coming into the port of Hokkaido.

How are you paying?

The next thing I was interested in was the payment method.

Since the invasion of Ukraine, Russia's major financial institutions have been locked out of the international payment network called SWIFT.

What on earth are you paying for?

"It's kind of like a" pay-as-you-go ","

said an official at a company that sells Russian sea urchins.

In the past, the company used to pay by bank transfer, but after the Russian financial institution was shut out from SWIFT, it changed to cash payment in Japanese yen.

However, at present, cash payments to Russian companies, etc. require the permission of the government, so payments cannot be made immediately.

Currently, it takes about two weeks to pay, and it is in a state like "payment".

Other companies dealing with Russian sea urchins are said to be in a similar situation.

Just in case, I talked to the Ministry of Finance and customs officials.

According to this, the export and take-out of money as a means of payment to Russia became a "prohibition of taking out without permission" from April 5, that is, it became a permit system.

With permission, there was no problem.

Company officials talk about this situation as follows.

"We are having a hard time paying due to the tightening of sanctions. We would like to continue to deliver Russian sea urchins because there is a lot of demand in the country, but the situation is severe and it is complicated because Russian fishermen also know about sanctions. I think it ’s a feeling. ”

Still, Russian sea urchins are in short supply and soaring. Why?

"Since the invasion of Ukraine, Russian sea urchins have been scarce and soaring,"

said a person in charge at a conveyor belt sushi restaurant in Tokyo.

Russian sea urchins are coming in, but they are out of stock and soaring.

At this conveyor belt sushi restaurant, the price of sea urchin was over 700 yen for 2 pieces per plate.

Compared to before the invasion of Ukraine, it was forced to raise the price by about 100 yen, about 20%.

Ask the person in charge about the reason in detail.

Domestic sea urchins have been in short supply due to the effects of the red tide in Hokkaido last year, and the purchase price has soared in the first place.

The invasion of Ukraine has added to the rising demand for imported sea urchins, and prices are rising further.

Especially for Russian products, the purchase price has soared to 1.5 to 2 times after the invasion of Ukraine.

At this store, he hurriedly switched to Canadian sea urchins and started offering them, but he said he had no choice but to raise the price.

Ryuji Kawamata, managing director of the conveyor belt sushi restaurant, said as follows.

Ryuji Kawamata, managing director of the conveyor belt sushi restaurant,

"If this situation continues, we may have to raise the price to around 1000 yen per plate. I'm very confused because we can't see the effects of the invasion."

Russian sea urchins are in a fighting battle

So why are Russian sea urchins soaring?

Industry insiders say the main reason is the increasing demand for Russian sea urchins.

It is said that the demand for it continues to increase due to the battle for the future because the future is uncertain.

In addition, it is said that the soaring crude oil prices have increased transportation costs and the depreciation of the yen has also had an effect.

In fact, according to a wholesaler in the Toyosu market that handles Russian sea urchins, the average price of Russian sea urchins (250 grams) was around 5400 yen in February, but 7200 in March. It was more than 30% higher than the yen.

Regarding the future outlook, Tomohiro Naga, who runs a fish store in Tsukiji, said as follows.

Fresh fish store Tomohiro Naga

"Sea urchin usually reaches its peak at the end of the year when demand is high, and the price tends to decrease at the beginning of the year, but so far it has hardly decreased since the end of last year. It is expected that the price will rise further toward that point. "

Soaring, not just sea urchins

Looking into it, it seems that sea urchins are not the only marine products whose prices are rising.

"The price of salmon roe is soaring. If the proportion of Russian salmon roe is high, it will be easily affected." (Tsukiji wholesale company official)

Therefore, I investigated marine products, which have a high proportion of imports from Russia.

Marine products with a high proportion of imports from Russia (based on value)

 ◆ Benizake ・ ・ ・ Approximately 79%

 ◆ Pacific cod ・ ・ ・ Approximately 63%

 ◆ Cod roe ・ ・ ・ Approximately 56%

 ◆ Crab ・ ・ ・ Approximately 56%

 ◆ Sea urchin ・ ・・ Approximately 47%

   (2021 / Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Import / Export Information)

I asked more about the effects of these major marine products at the Tsukiji Fish Store.

<Sockeye salmon>

"After the invasion of Ukraine, the purchase price has already risen by about 20% to 30%. Before the invasion, one slice of sockeye salmon was sold for 300 yen, but from the middle of March, 1 I had to raise the price to 350 yen. The cause of the price increase is not only the situation in Ukraine but also the soaring fuel price and the depreciation of the yen. After that, the price may increase further. "


"The purchase price of Russian salmon roe used to be about 1000 yen for 100 grams, but it has risen to about 1400 yen in April. Raw materials by the peak of salmon roe fishing last fall. Many companies import salmon roe and store it in warehouses, but the price has already risen. In recent years, the demand for Russian salmon roe has increased due to the poor catch of salmon roe in Japan, so in the future Price increases are inevitable. "


"Similar to salmon roe, many crabs are stored in warehouses and are in stock, so although there is a slight increase in price, the price has not increased significantly. However, it will be new in the future. What you buy may be affected. "

Is there a possibility that the price will increase further?

While there are many marine products that have already risen in price, there is a possibility that the price will rise further, officials have pointed out.

That is the effect of the withdrawal of "most favored nation treatment" that guarantees preferential treatment in trade.

The revised Tariff Provisional Measures Law enacted in April is necessary to withdraw the "most favored nation treatment" that guarantees trade incentives as sanctions against Russia and raise tariffs on imported goods from Russia. The contents are included.

As a result, tariffs on some Russian goods will be raised and prices may rise.

Russian goods with higher tariffs

 ◆ Salmon, salmon roe 3.5% → 5%

 ◆ Crab 4% → 6%

What is your outlook for the future?

We spoke with Takafumi Nakai, Deputy Director of the Russian NIS Economic Research Institute, who is familiar with trade with Russia, regarding this situation and future prospects.

Takafumi Nakai, Deputy Director of the Russian NIS Economic Research Institute

"Russia is the second largest importer of marine products for Japan after Chile, and the impact will be great. Furthermore, not only the situation in Ukraine but also the increase in transportation costs I think it is inevitable that prices will continue to rise due to multiple factors such as the depreciation of the yen. Unis and the like may become a little more distant than before. "

He also points out that if the current situation is prolonged, Russia may find business partners other than Japan and create new risks in the future.

Takafumi Nakai, Deputy Director of the Russian NIS Economic Research Institute

"I am concerned that if economic sanctions are prolonged and abnormal relations between Japan and Russia continue for a long time, we will be able to continue to import Russian marine products. There is a big market for Russia in Asia, China, and it is possible that China will cut into the marine products that have been exported to Japan. Russian fishermen also sell to where they can sell to live. If it flows to China, it is possible that only a small amount of marine products will be exported to Japan in the future. It may have a protracted impact on our eating habits. "

International Department Reporter

Yusuke Tamura

Joined in 2015

After working at Shizuoka Bureau and Kushiro Bureau, he is currently affiliated.