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Rose imports bloom in Japan

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Rose imports to Japan are starting to peak before the nation’s annual rites for graduation ceremonies and corporate personnel reshuffles. Workers at the flower importer Classic Japan Ltd. have been especially busy this week inspecting rose imports from Kenya at its storage facility near Narita International Airport in Chiba Prefecture.

Classic Japan said it deals with 15 million roses a year, or some 20 percent of all rose exports to Japan, with a fifth of that shipping in March alone. The Tokyo-based company plans to sell 200,000 roses per day this weekend, which is the busiest time of the year.

Tokyo customs officials said that rose imports account for some 20 percent of all roses sold in Japan, increasing in winter, when domestic supplies fall.

Many foreign roses are brought to Japan by air freight so they can be kept fresh. Narita tops the list of Japanese airports handling rose imports, both in value and quantity.

Kenyan rose exports are rapidly grabbing a bigger share of the domestic market, following an increase in flights via the Middle East.