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Business trends

Salmon gives Japan fish farmers chance to hook Asian customers

Growing appetite for sashimi means fat profits at home and abroad

Kumada, a sashimi restaurant in Tokyo's Harajuku district, serves a dish with three varieties of salmon that change every month. (Photo by Takumi Sasaki)

TOKYO -- Salmon has been the favorite fish for diners at conveyor-belt sushi restaurants in Japan for six years running, according to a 2017 survey by seafood processor Maruha Nichiro. Ninety percent of that salmon is imported from Chile and Norway, but its popularity is now spurring domestic fish farming.

More than 100 types of rainbow trout, which are also called "salmon" in Japan, are raised in the country. And it is not just Japanese who find salmon a tasty addition to a sushi platter. Buyers in other Asian markets, such as Hong Kong and Singapore, are also snapping up the fish.

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