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Choosy Asians lift Japan's rice exports to record high

Hong Kong, Singapore lead fan base, but subsidy policy could hinder growth

Japan still ships out less than 1% of what the U.S. does. Rice from Akita prefecture.

TOKYO -- Japanese rice exports climbed 28% on the year to 5,589 tons for the six months ended in June, an all-time high for the first half, but growth is slowing as often exorbitant prices drive consumers to cheaper alternatives.

The largest share went to Hong Kong, with shipments up 24% to 1,906 tons, Japanese government data released Thursday shows. Singapore ranked second at 1,400 tons, a 25% increase.

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