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More rice brands join top ranks in Japan

Famous rice brands such as Koshihikari and Hitomebore usually come from the Tohoku region and Niigata Prefecture, but varieties grown in northern and southern ends Japan are building tasty reputations as well.

The Japan Grain Inspection Association has granted its "special A" ranking to 26 brands harvested last fall, with two from Hokkaido and five from Kyushu. Tohoku produced 10 and Niigata four.

While the number of brands with the top ranking rose across the nation, the association stressed that farmers in Kyushu and Hokkaido can be expected to continue to develop high-quality rice.