Spots showcasing Japanese food planned for Europe as early as next spring

JIJI

Cool Japan Fund Inc. plans to open showcase spaces in Europe featuring Japanese food as part of a national effort to promote exports of agricultural, forestry and fishery products, according to informed sources.

The venues will have restaurants, shops and resources that provide information on Japanese food culture, the sources said.

The government-affiliated investment fund hopes the showcases will not only offer a taste of Japan but also help expand sales channels abroad for gourmet specialties.

The first such venue will be set up in London as early as next spring by a joint venture between Cool Japan Fund and British firm Japan Centre Group, the sources said. The fund will invest up to £3 million (¥450 million) in the project, according to the sources.

In the future, visitors will be able to eat sushi and ramen, and have the opportunity to buy wagyu, miso, soy sauce, sake and Japanese-made whisky, the sources said. Cooking classes and sake tasting sessions will also be offered.

Cool Japan Fund and Japan Centre Group, which operates ramen restaurants and shops, have agreed to establish the joint venture, called Ichiba UK.

The fund also plans to open culinary showcases in other major European cities, including Paris.

The government wants to increase Japan’s annual exports of foods and agricultural, forestry and fishery products, setting a goal of ¥1 trillion by 2019.

Exports to Europe are expected to rise after Japan and the European Union reached a broad accord on an economic partnership agreement in July.