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Expo Milano 2015, which is the first expo focusing on food, opens today.

Given that the world population is expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050, we are facing global issues such as how to stably feed those people, how to deal with the situation where hundreds of millions suffer from hunger and repletion at the same time, how to cope with climate change and how to sustain local family farming alongside the progress of urbanization.

The objective of Expo Milano 2015 is to deepen the understanding of these issues. In this respect, “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” is an appropriate theme for the expo held in Italy, a country known for its food and culture.

At Expo Milano 2015, Japan looks to demonstrate the potential of Japanese agriculture and food culture under the theme of “Harmonious Diversity” as follows:

Japan’s agriculture, forestry and fisheries could serve as models for the rest of the world, in view of the sustainability of the global food supply in the future, as they are operated in harmony with nature and maintain the ecosystem while nurturing biodiversity.

Washoku (the traditional dietary culture of Japan) could be a prototype for dietary practices, in that it could contribute to the health of people all over the world through its inherent traditional wisdom such as fermented foods and a balanced diet.

The cutting-edge technology of Japan’s food and agriculture industry has the potential to contribute to the solution of challenges we face in the world today such as hunger and climate change.

Japan’s dietary culture could play a role in strengthening ties among people, as it encourages people to express gratitude for the blessing of nature and for all who engaged in food production, represented by a phrase itadakimasu (a feeling of appreciation for eating products provided by nature).

Japan also intends to communicate the excellence of Japanese dietary cultures to the rest of the world by taking advantage of the registration of washoku as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013, the Expo Milano 2015 and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games as a hop, step and jump for Japanese cuisine. These events will provide opportunities for people all over the world to enjoy healthy and delicious Japanese food.

In order to ensure the expo stimulates the local economy in Japan, including through an increase in the number of inbound tourists, it is important for the government of Japan to hold a series of exhibitions in close collaboration with local governments. Therefore, the national government of Japan is striving to encourage active participation by local governments and organizations through the “event square” set up at our expo site, where participants can make presentations of their activities related to food.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is also making every effort to ensure that the expo plays a key role in establishing the popularity of Japanese food all over the world.

I truly hope Expo Milano 2015 will inspire greater interest in Japanese food among many people and further enthusiasm for our cuisine around the world.


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