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Japan further lifts ban on pork exports placed after hog cholera

Officials work to cull hogs at a farm where the outbreak of swine fever was confirmed, in Gifu Prefecture, on Sept. 9, 2018. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The government expanded Wednesday a list of destinations to which pork can be exported after an outbreak of hog cholera in central Japan last week forced a halt to Japanese pork exports.

All pork goods, excluding from Gifu Prefecture where the outbreak occurred at a farm, can now be shipped to Macao and Vietnam. Shipping to Hong Kong resumed on Tuesday.

Japan's pork exports totaled around 1 billion yen ($9 million) last year, with Macao accounting for 160 million yen and Vietnam around 8 million yen, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Hong Kong was the top destination, accounting for 600 million yen.

Hog cholera is endemic in Asia but does not affect humans even if an infected animal is consumed.

It is the first time since 1992 an infection has been confirmed in Japan. Tokyo had declared the virus eradicated in 2007.

The farm in Gifu first reported the sudden death of a pig on Sept. 3 to the prefectural government. Tests by the central government found that the pig had been infected with the hog cholera virus.

The Gifu prefectural government culled and buried hundreds of hogs over the weekend. It also finished disinfection of the farm and a separate facility where it was suspected that infected manure had been transported.

All measures to prevent the spread of hog cholera have been completed, the central government said Tuesday.

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