Japan looks to sake as new economic growth tonic
News On Japan via Reuters -- Jul 03
Move over cars and high tech. Japan, long renowned for its innovative autos and gadgets, now hopes to turn sake and other local spirits into export hits as well.
Tokyo looks to make its traditional rice wine part of national growth strategy, aiming at an overseas marketing push to help bring tourism and investment to struggling rural areas.
The plan is a brainchild of Economics Minister Motohisa Furukawa, who had a eureka moment at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where he witnessed sake's popularity among the attendees.
This led him to set up the "Enjoy Japanese Kokushu" (national alcohol)" project, whose six-member advisory council met in late May for the first time.
Its brief: to enhance international recognition of sake and shochu, distilled spirit made from grains such as barley or potatoes, and promote their export.
Sake experts gave the idea a cautious thumbs up.
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