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The addition of “washoku” to UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage has government and food industry officials hoping the recognition will provide a boost to traditional Japanese food not just overseas but also at home, where its popularity is waning.

“The biggest issue was that washoku may be fading from our psyche, and I felt a sense of alarm,” said Isao Kumakura, president of Shizuoka University of Art and Culture and head of the panel of experts advising the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry on Japan’s campaign for the UNESCO listing.

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