OSAKA, Feb 21 — Malaysian halal product producers are urged to seize opportunities for collaboration with companies in Japan to market their goods due to the high demand for halal food in the country.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is on a seven-day working visit to Japan, said awareness of halal products is increasing as approximately 120,000 Muslims are residing in the Land of the Rising Sun.

“At present, Islam is growing rapidly in Japan. I am informed from the latest statistics that about 10,000 Japanese citizens embrace Islam every year... and certainly, (for example) the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) sees the potential to import these halal items,” he told Malaysian media here today.

Earlier, he attended a business engagement session with OCCI and a roundtable session that discussed: “Connecting the Halal Ecosystem Between Malaysia and Japan to Enhance Trade, Investment and Quality Jobs.”

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Zahid, who is also the Malaysian Halal Industry Development Council chairman, said the sector is seen as having significant potential because Japan is actively promoting the tourism industry among the Muslim community.

“Presently, many halal ingredients are imported, but we must strive to establish business-to-business and business-matching cooperation so that halal F&B (food and beverage) and ingredient producers can collaborate from now on because Japan is also attracting tourists from Islamic countries to the country.

“...and of course, halal products are important for the tourism sector,” he said.

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Meanwhile, Zahid said he would ask Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Dr Mohd Na’im Mokhtar to explore possible collaborations in Japan regarding halal certification.

He said this is because during his visit, he noted that there are currently six organisations issuing halal certificates in the country. — Bernama