Export of used clothing boom, largest ever
According to statistics of Okinawa Customs, the volume of used clothes exported from Okinawa in 2015 was 1,416 tons that is 13.4% more than the previous year. The value of the clothing was ¥69,970,000 that is 26.9% more than the previous year. Both are the highest ever.
According to companies involved in the business, exports to countries like Malaysia, Pakistan, and the Philippines are especially growing strongly.
In 2004, the first full year when the export business of used clothing was in progress, the volume was just two tons. However, by 2007 it increased to 250 tons, and to 800 tons in 2009. In 2011 the export volume finally exceeded 1,000 tons. In 2015, the total volume was 708 times more and the value 42 times more than during the first year of business in 2004.
According to an analysis by the Okinawa Customs Office, the reason for the increase is people in Okinawa becoming more conscious about recycling clothing. Another reason is that the quality of Japanese clothing is high boosting its popularity in other Asian countries. The exports are expected to increase as the economic development of Asian countries’ consumers will widely increase in the future.
The two largest destinations for the used clothing exports for the last 5 years are Malaysia, where there are many of sorting plants for used clothes, and South Korea.
In 2015, Malaysia took in the largest share of the exports with 1,059 tons that is 26.0% more than the year before. The value of the clothing was ¥52,340,000 that is 41.9% more than the previous year.