Japan focuses on food by signing up for Milan Expo
Over 130 countries so far showing at World's Fair19 July, 16:34
Contracts were signed this week at the Italian Embassy in Tokyo - the first time that such a deal was reached outside of Italy for this international exposition.
The Japanese pavilion will be built on an area extending almost 4,200 square meters and is expected to boast some of the most recent developments in high technology.
That will include giant display screens, using three-dimensional systems, virtual reality and high-level designs that will allow Japan to promote its food culture. Japanese officials say the aim of the high-tech programming is to give visitors a multi-sensory experience as they are guided through such themes as Sea and Food. "The participation of Japan in Expo Milano 2015 will be an important opportunity to promote internationally the Japanese food culture," said the commissioner general of the Japanese pavilion, Hisanori Goto.
"(That is) a culinary culture that has much in common with the Italian and, in particular, with the Slow Food movement, for the selection of fresh, varied foods and with a balanced nutritional supply," added the commissioner general. "Expo Milan 2015 will also offer the opportunity to exploit the latest technology of agro-business, based on the rational and sustainable use of resources".
Along with Japan's famous sushi, exhibitions will discuss techniques used for rice production, innovations in the fishing industry and food education programs.
That dovetails with the Milan Expo's theme: 'Feeding the Planet - Energy for Life', which centres on fighting famine and malnutrition worldwide through sustainable and healthy development, global cooperation and new technology.
The Milan Expo, which runs May 1 until October 31 2015, is expected to attract more than 20 million visitors and to be a massive money spinner for the city known as Italy's business capital. Fully 131 countries have now signed on to participate.
Preparations on a 1.1-million-square-meter site have been underway for years.
"We have strong expectations for the presence of Japan at Expo Milan 2015," said Giuseppe Sala, commissioner of the Expo, who travelled to Japan for the signing ceremony.
"And we are confident that, thanks to one of the largest pavilions, Japan will be a leading player and contribute to the quality of our Expo...an opportunity to tell visitors not only of the excellence of (Japanese) food and culinary tradition, but also the innovative aspects of a modern country: new farming systems, technologies, environmental sustainability and food education systems".
Even the architectural structure of Japan's exhibition space aims to drive home the principles of the World's Fair. Powered by solar energy and other renewable sources, the Japanese pavilion will be constructed from reusable and recyclable materials, focusing on wood and bamboo, organizers say.
"The World Expo has all the potential to be a driving force of economic and social relations between our two countries," said Marta Dassù, Italy's deputy foreign affairs minister.
"The kitchen of today is linked to an ancient tradition, but also to philosophy, in the pursuit of aesthetic perfection. "Milan Expo will be an opportunity to show not only the excellence of its food and culinary tradition but also the most innovative aspects of modern Japan".
Japanese officials say they hope that by participating in Expo, the nation's young people will consider concrete actions they might take to solve problems related to poor or inadequate nutrition.
Japan has two main goals for the expo, said the economy deputy minister, Masaaki Taira.
"On the one hand, we want to let the world know the true flavors of Japanese cuisine, characterized by simple and natural ingredients, presented with care of details and high aesthetic sense," said Taira. "On the other hand, we want to make a strong contribution in terms of scientific research and social commitment to solving the problems of malnutrition in many countries in the developing world and iron out imbalances in the food world, through the production of ingredients with high nutritional content".