The agriculture ministry said Tuesday that Japan’s exports of farm and food products in January-June surged 30.8% from a year before to ¥540.7 billion, exceeding ¥500 billion for the first time in a first-half period.

The sharp rise was thanks to robust shipments of beef and alcoholic beverages such as sake.

Including goods worth ¥200,000 or less, exports in the six months totaled ¥577.3 billion, up 31.6%.

Consumer spending recovered in the United States and China.

Exports of food products aimed at people eating at home also fared well, reflecting moves among people to refrain from eating out amid the spread of the novel coronavirus.

In particular, exports of beef, mainly from Kyushu, roughly doubled. Exports of alcoholic beverages rose 83.1%, on the back of increased recognition of sake and Japanese whisky.

By region, exports rose 16.8% to ¥103 billion for Hong Kong, the biggest export destination for Japan.

Exports shot up 34.4% to ¥101.8 billion for China and 43.2% to ¥77.8 billion for the United States.

The government aims to boost farm and food exports to ¥2 trillion in 2025 and ¥5 trillion in 2030.

“We hope to expand exports further by promoting unified measures by the government,” agriculture minister Kotaro Nogami told reporters on Tuesday.

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