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More Japanese buy fishing tackle and used boats amid pandemic

More Japanese have been frequenting recreational fishing venues during the pandemic

More people in Japan looking for fresh air during the COVID-19 pandemic are being lured in by fishing and boating, increasing sales of fishing equipment, used boats, and boat club memberships.

While sales of new boats dipped from 13,000 in 2019 to 12,000 in 2020, the used boat market enjoyed a 7 percent sales growth to 95,000 in 2020, according to the Japan Craft Inspection Organization.

Masao Fujii, director of the promotion office at the Japan Marine Industry Association, noted that the number of those acquiring boating licenses soared in 2020.

The figure hit 69,000 for the first time in 15 years 2020, increasing substantially from 58,000 in 2019.

Boat club memberships also reached a record high of 4,800 in 2020.

The number of visitors to Original Maker Umizuri Koen, a sea fishing park in Ichihara, Chiba Prefecture, grew by around 10 percent last year compared with a regular year.

The park features a wharf with guardrails extending into the water, as well as restaurants and shops that sell or rent fishing gear.

Sales of fishing gear are also robust.

The revenue of Shimano Inc., a leading maker of fishing tackle, jumped 4.1 percent on-year to ¥378 billion in 2020. It forecast a 20.5 percent sales increase for 2021.

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