KAGOSHIMA (Kyodo) Japanese meatpackers resumed exports of domestic beef to Hong Kong on Monday for the first time in 5 1/2 years, holding a ceremony at a facility in Kagoshima Prefecture to celebrate the event.

“We now hope to expand beef exports to Singapore, Taiwan and Europe because exports can serve as a key engine to promote the growth of the Japanese farming, forestry and fisheries industries,” Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Toshikatsu Matsuoka said at the ceremony in Soo.

About 100 people attended the ceremony held by JA Zen-Noh Meat Foods Co., a member of the Zen-Noh nationwide federation of agricultural cooperatives, and Itoham Foods Inc.

Following the ceremony, two trucks carrying a ton of premium meat headed for a nearby airport, from which the meat is to be flown to Hong Kong.

The Chinese territory agreed last month to lift the ban on condition Japan limits its exports to meat from cattle aged up to 30 months and remove brain, spinal cord and other specified risk materials.

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