By HIROYUKI KIKUCHI/ Staff Writer
August 13, 2022 at 18:40 JST
MATSUSAKA, Mie Prefecture--This city in central Japan renowned for its wagyu beef is going whole hog, as it were.
Under a program that allows taxpayers to get a break on their income and resident taxes by making donations to a municipality of their choice, Matsusaka will reward those who do so with cuts of beef from a single animal.
But there’s a catch, and it’s a big one.
Recipients have to make a donation of 15 million yen ($112,000), the maximum allowed under the central government initiative that provides for a portion of the payments to be acknowledged in the form of gifts from the municipalities.
Those who cough up the full amount are eligible to receive 213 kilograms of beef, including 10 kg of rib roast for sukiyaki and 2 kg of chateaubriand, the highest grade of steak.
“This is an opportunity to further publicize the global brand of Matsusaka beef,” said Matsusaka Mayor Masato Takegami. “Providing beef from a single animal will attract more attention. I hope there is a donor out there who goes after one animal.”
In fiscal 2021, Matsusaka got a 1.377-billion-yen windfall in donations, the top amount of any municipality in Mie Prefecture. Matsusaka beef was the most popular gift item and the city provided a choice of about 250 different cuts for various styles of dishes.
The latest offer is for about 20 different cuts of beef in 1-kg packages.
The recipient can choose to receive all the beef at once or have it spread out in smaller installments over the course of a year.
The meat will be refrigerated to preserve freshness so beef received in installments will not come from the same animal, according to a city government official overseeing the program.
But the butcher handling requests will comply with specific instructions for types of cuts.
Leather products, such as wallets and name card holders, will also be sent to the donors.
Intestines and bones are not part of the package.
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