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Japanese meat dealer hungers for fresh start in Mongolia

Falling domestic demand sends Aono Freshmeat overseas in search of new business

Where's the beef? Aono's investments in Mongolia are in areas unrelated to its meat business, such as heavy machinery leasing.   © Reuters

SHIZUOKA, Japan -- Meat dealer Aono Freshmeat is aggressively expanding its business in Mongolia, from machine leasing to farming, as small to midsize Japanese companies try their fortunes elsewhere to offset shrinking domestic market.

An aging and shrinking population has hit Japanese companies, particularly those in the countryside. Aono is based in Shizuoka, an area close to Mount Fuji. But unlike many other Japanese companies that have sought business opportunities overseas by moving or expanding away, Aono is investing in Mongolia in areas that have little relation to its main business, such as the leasing of heavy machinery for mining, greenhouse cultivation of vegetables and dairy farming.

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