By HIDESHI NISHIMOTO/ Staff Writer
October 23, 2022 at 11:00 JST
HIROSHIMA—Seeking a windfall through a meeting of world leaders, local governments are pitching their specialties for the dinner menu at the Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima in May next year.
A summit-supporting panel comprising the Hiroshima prefectural and city governments, business community members and other related parties has asked 23 municipalities in the prefecture to submit lists of agricultural and fishery products, processed goods and souvenirs for the G-7 conference.
The panel will narrow the ingredients list and present it to the Foreign Ministry, which will decide on the menu for the summit.
The Hiroshima city government, for example, is pushing raw oysters, frozen “okonomiyaki” pancakes, maple leaf-shaped “momiji manju” steamed buns and other food items certified under the Hiroshima Brand system for local specialties.
“In addition to government officials, media personnel from various countries will come to Japan for the summit,” an official from the city’s economic planning division said. “We can promote (our specialties) if they buy them for souvenirs.”
The town of Jinseki-Kogen in the northern part of Hiroshima Prefecture plans to further promote a beef product through the summit.
In May this year, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who is from Hiroshima, treated U.S. President Joe Biden to Jinseki beef fillet with gravy sauce during a working lunch at the Japan-U.S. summit in Tokyo.
The beef was shipped by Akira Irie, 57, who breeds and sells wagyu beef in Jinseki-Kogen.
He said he received an order for Jinseki beef, characterized by its light-tasting fat, from a famous Tokyo hotel about 10 days before the Kishida-Biden meeting. But he was not told it would be served to the leaders.
When it was publicly disclosed that Jinseki beef was provided at the lunch, he received a flurry of inquiries from across the country.
“I was surprised to learn that Mr. Biden ate it,” Irie said. “It became an opportunity for the Jinseki beef brand to be known around Japan.”
To further promote the Jinseki beef brand, the town government earmarked the costs for Mayor Yoshinori Irie to visit an antenna shop in Tokyo for sales promotion activities in its supplementary budget for this fiscal year.
“We hope it will be chosen for the menu at the G-7 summit,” an official from the town’s industry division said.
The city government of Hatsukaichi, home to Miyajima island, one of the three most scenic views in Japan, responded to the list request with oysters and “asari” clams.
When a G-7 foreign ministers’ meeting was held in Hiroshima in 2016, then Foreign Minister Kishida invited his counterparts to an old ryokan inn on Miyajima.
The working dinner menu incorporated simmered conger eel served in a lidded bowl, rice cooked with oysters and other specialties, as well as cream-flavored momiji manju for dessert.
The town office of Sera in the central part of the prefecture has listed a white wine and a sparkling wine produced from locally grown grapes.
“Blessed with a wide range of temperatures, Sera is a production area for grapes ideal for winemaking. We hope overseas people who like wine will enjoy ours,” said an official at the town’s commerce, industry and tourism division.
The city government of Etajima, located along the warm Seto Inland Sea, is pushing olive oil for the summit menu.
“It is an ingredient essential to Western cooking. (Olive oil) produced in Etajima has also won an award at an international contest,” said an agriculture, forestry and fisheries division official.
The city government of Fuchu aims to develop a full-fledged G-7 menu using locally-produced ingredients with the help of Koishiki, a former traditional restaurant and inn.
City officials have sought advice from Katsuhiro Nakamura, who served as head chef during the 2008 G-8 Summit in Lake Toyako, Hokkaido, to develop a Western cuisine menu at the G-7 meeting next year.
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