The government will request that UNESCO list traditional Japanese food as an intangible cultural heritage asset.
The government said Friday it will make its case for “Washoku: Traditional Dietary Cultures of the Japanese” to the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization by the end of the month.
Whether traditional Japanese cuisine, which varies from Hokkaido to Okinawa, should be recognized as a world asset will be decided by a UNESCO committee as early as November 2013, the government said.
The Agency for Cultural Affairs defined “washoku” (Japanese cuisine) as a social practice to strengthen the bonds of family and community with a spirit of “respect for nature.”
Japanese food is closely linked to seasonal events, such as New Year’s and the rice harvest.
The government is pushing for early recognition of the cuisine as “a symbol of recovery” from the March 2011 disasters. It is also hoping the gesture will help Japan restore global trust in farm produce and marine products from the Tohoku region that were shunned because of fear of radioactive contamination from the Fukushima nuclear crisis.