Activity Reports

【CLMV Hybrid Seminar】From Farm to Japan’s Table: Pioneering Sustainable Packaging for Agri-Exports

Executive Summary

The ASEAN-Japan Centre, in partnership with the Viet Nam Trade Promotion Agency, hosted a significant event on March 15, 2024, focusing on sustainable packaging solutions for the agricultural sector. This hybrid seminar, held in Ho Chi Minh City and broadcasted online, brought together over 200 industry stakeholders from Japan and the CLMV countries to discuss innovations and regulatory changes impacting agri-product exports to Japan.

Objectives and Goals

In an era where sustainability is paramount, the ASEAN-Japan Centre’s initiative “From Farm to Japan’s Table” addresses the urgent need for eco-friendly packaging within the agri-food sector. This report details a landmark event that explores sustainable practices essential for accessing Japan’s highly regulated market. The event aimed to:

  • Educate participants on Japan’s stringent packaging regulations. 
  • Showcase sustainable packaging technologies and practices. 
  • Foster collaboration between Japanese and CLMV country stakeholders. 
Welcome remarks by Dr. Kunihiko HIRABAYASHI, Secretary-General, ASEAN-Japan Centre

Highlight Points of the Workshop

  1. Regulatory Insight: The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare discusses the changes that will follow, after the release of the Positive list on 1 June 2025. Only food utensils, containers, and packaging materials that are considered safe will be allowed to be exported to Japan. Compared to other exporting destinations, Japan’s container and packaging regulations are stricter.  
  2. Expert Panels: Insights from leaders such as Mr. Chihiro Sakamaki, executive director of Japan Food Packaging Association, explained the latest trends and technology on sustainable packaging, as well as differences between EU and Japanese markets’ demands for it. Meanwhile, Mr. Keiko Yoshida of AEON Top Valu Viet Nam introduced the circular agricultural practices in Viet Nam. 
  3. Interactive Workshop: A highlight of the event was a dynamic mini workshop by Pack Style Co., Ltd.  where the participants learned about alternative packaging materials, such as bagasse (sugarcane residue), wheat and bamboo. Subsequentially, onsite and online attendees collaborated to design sustainable packaging for a local food product. The cooperative atmosphere fostered innovative solutions and idea exchange among participants. 

Key Takeaways

  • The urgent need for compliance with Japan’s Positive List by 2025. 
  • The viability of sustainable materials like bagasse in packaging. 
  • The importance of international cooperation in advancing sustainability. 

Outcomes and Impact

  • Majority of the participants said that they gained valuable insights in the growing demand for sustainable packaging practices, especially from discerning international markets like Europe and Japan.  
  • Increased awareness of sustainable materials and practices. 
  • The event concluded with a networking dinner, promoting meaningful partnerships between (and among) Japanese and CLMV participants.
Opening Remarks by Mr. Le Hoang Tai, Deputy Director General of Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (VIETRADE)
Keynote speech by Chihiro Sakamaki, Managing Director of Japan Food Packaging Association

Way Forward

Going forward, the AJC is dedicated to mainstreaming sustainable packaging efforts through strategic collaborations. With the CLMV’s export sector expanding and the demand for eco-friendly packaging on the rise, the Centre sees an opportunity to promote sustainable and inclusive trade by strengthening green supply chain initiatives across the region. The event’s success has generated interest from participants in other countries, such as Cambodia and Myanmar, who have expressed interest in similar workshops.

Our Centre will continue collaborating with ASEAN Member States’ trade and investment attachés to bolster capacity in supporting the entry of ASEAN products into Japan and the global market. We hope that CLMV will increasingly become a sought-out destination for Japanese companies to develop factories and material procurement (such as bagasse-an alternative to paper and plastic packaging) in the coming years.

About the event

Date: March 15th, Friday, 2024 14:00-16:30 Vietnam Local Time (GMT+7)
Venue: Grand Hotel Saigon, HCMC, Viet Nam
Online via Zoom Broadcasting
Organizers: ASEAN-Japan Centre, Viet Nam Trade Promotion Department (VIETRADE)
Participants: 160 onsite, 86 online registrants

AJC5.0 (Our strategies)
Trade Programme
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Trade, Investment, and Tourism
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Cambodia Lao PDR Myanmar Viet Nam

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