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Food & Beverage

The new wagyu? Japan acquires taste for game meat

Surges in hunting and processing facilities contribute to $35m market

Venison has been showing up more recently on dinner plates in Japan. (Photo courtesy of the Japan Gibier Promotion Association)

TOKYO -- Wild game is quietly taking off in Japan as a healthy meat option as hunting for animals that damage crops becomes more widespread.

The taste for game meat has grown alongside the number of processing facilities that prepare it for consumption. In the last fiscal year, 1,810 tons of game meat was consumed across Japan, up 40% from fiscal 2016. Yearly sales are approaching 4 billion yen ($35.2 million).

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