JAPANESE WINES AND PRODUCE FROM NUCLEAR TAINTED AREAS FEATURED IN G20 MENUS
By Susan Lewis
A large selection of Japanese wines and sakes along with local produce from radioactive-tainted areas were showcased in the meals served to world leaders during the Osaka G20 summit held over the weekend.
According to the Nikkei Asian Review, the G20 dinner held on last Friday featured prized Tajima beef and showcased a 16-grain rice dish made with grains and maitake mushrooms from the nuclear affected Iwate Prefecture.
It was said to be an effort by the Japanese government to promote regional products and help sway government leaders to lift import bans imposed after the meltdown of Fukushima nuclear plant,
Similarly, rice from Fukushima Prefecture and wine from Niigata Prefecture was featured in that day's working lunch.
The meals also highlighted ingredients from the Kansai region around Osaka not affected by the nuclear accident, such as chicken from Hyogo Prefecture and sparkling wine produced in Osaka Prefecture.
Special meals were prepared for vegetarians -- including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi -- and those with other dietary restrictions.
Traditional sweets arranged to look like a Japanese garden were on offer in the break area for leaders and officials.
Last Friday’s dinner was held in the iconic Osaka Castle and was accompanied by performances by Mansai Nomura, a performer of traditional kyogen comic theater; pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii; and opera singer Michie Nakamaru.
Japan introduced a new wine labelling rule last October that defined "Japanese wines" as wines made from 100% Japan-grown grapes and fermented entirely in the country.
The new rule and the growing popularity of Japanese wines as reflected by their performance in international awards in recent years have fuelled hopes for export growth.
Last weekend’s showcasing was a much needed publicity for Japanese wine producers.
Most Japanese wines are made from indigenous white variety Koshu and Japan bred hybrid red variety Muscat Bailey A, both are rarely available from other wine producing countries.
(the writer can be contacted at: SusanLewis@thewinechronicle.com)
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