Even today, most of the “milk” in Japan is soymilk, eaten as tofu. The lactic sort, from cows, may be steadily growing in popularity, but consumption per person is still only around a liter a week, according to government data issued last year.

Even this, though, represents a huge increase in a country that until 50 years ago had virtually no tradition of drinking milk at all — but which now has a dairy herd some 1.7 million strong.

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