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Food & Beverage

Rich Asians raise fortunes of Japanese sea urchin ranchers

Baby uni fatten up on seaweed before being shipped to Thailand and Hong Kong

Sea urchins grown on "ranches" in the northeastern Japanese town of Hirono feed for four years before being harvested. (Photo by Takumi Sasaki)

TOKYO -- On summer days, restaurants in northeastern Japan's coastal town of Hirono bustle with tourists savoring the local delicacy: sea urchin.

Now, a rising tide of orders from affluent Asian consumers is bringing the taste of Hirono's uni to the world and lifting the local economy.

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