Today, I got a chance to attend the first-ever Japan Halal Expo conference as well as the trade show at Makuhari Messe in Chiba Prefecture, Japan. Although, most of the organizers were not expecting such a huge number of visitors, 2,000 visitors came to attend the trade show. This was quite surprising in a non-Muslim country like Japan where there are very few muslims living in the country. Food manufacturers, food processing machinery, halal associations, restaurants and other media outlets also attended the trade show. Generally speaking, most of the stakeholders seemed to be quite happy with the outcome of today.
However, there are couple of issues I need to address in this post. First, some foreign speakers took the liberty to give free advice to Japanese companies and the government to become more Muslim and Halal friendly. However, they did not seem to have any clue about the unique Japanese culture and the way the halal industry is moving in the country As a matter of fact, things are not as simple as some of the foreign speaker might have wished to think. They need to enhance their understanding of the Japanese halal industry and its unique characteristics before they jump to simplistic conclusions
Another issue I felt is that at least some of the Japanese companies were quite confused about the varying halal standards most of the halal certification bodies in japan follow. In fact, these certification organizations seem to have different concepts about what Halaｌ actually constitutes. The halal of one organization is radically different from that of another organization thus creating confusion and frustration in the minds of their Japanese customers.
We need to solve this issue sooner than later if we really want the Halal industry to grow in Japan.