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The industry ministry Thursday unveiled 500 undiscovered fine goods from rural areas that they will target for overseas promotion.

Japan’s regional areas have many specialities created by small firms that have the potential to become popular overseas. But it is difficult for them to market such products by themselves, said Atsuko Nishigaki, an official at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, at a news conference in Tokyo.

As a result METI has partnered with experts to select 500 goods from all over the country to be promoted overseas, and have called the goods “The Wonder 500.”

The 500 goods fall broadly into three industries — manufacturing, food and tourism. The products include chopsticks, glass cups, jeans, bags, sweets and seasoning.

They will be displayed at Paris Design Week in Paris in September and food items will be served at some of the city’s restaurants and bars.

Cool Japan Fund Inc., a public-private body whose role is to find marketable products and tout them overseas, will also help the promotion.

“METI has big expectations for this project and we hope to firmly spread the word about how great these goods are,” said Yoshihiro Seki, parliamentary vice minister at METI.

The basic selection criteria for the products were whether the items strongly reflected the creators’ vision, Japan’s traditional values and innovation.

METI said the final 500 were selected from 1,906 candidate items.

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