HIROSHIMA—Seeking a windfall from 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 support panel comprising Hiroshima prefectural and municipal governments, members of the business community and other related parties called on 23 municipalities in the prefecture to submit lists of agricultural and fishery products, transformed and souvenirs for the G-7 conference.
The panel will narrow down the list of ingredients and present it to the Foreign Office, which will decide on the menu for the summit.
The Hiroshima city government, for example, offers raw oysters, “okonomiyaki” frozen pancakes, maple leaf-shaped “momiji manju” steamed buns and other food products certified under the Hiroshima brand system for local specialties.
“In addition to government officials, members of the media from various countries will come to Japan for the summit,” said an official from the city’s economic planning division. “We can promote (our specialties) if they buy them as souvenirs.”
The city of Jinseki-Kogen in the northern part of Hiroshima prefecture plans to further promote a beef product at the summit.
In May this year, Hiroshima-born Prime Minister Fumio Kishida presented US President Joe Biden with Jinseki beef tenderloin with gravy during a working lunch at the Japan-US 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 of 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 that it would be served to the leaders.
When it was publicly revealed that Jinseki beef was provided for lunch, he received a flurry of inquiries from all over the country.
“I was surprised to hear that Mr. Biden ate it,” Irie said. “It became an opportunity for the Jinseki beef brand to be known throughout Japan.”
In order to further promote the Jinseki brand of beef, the city government allocated the costs for Mayor Yoshinori Irie to visit an antenna store in Tokyo for sales promotion activities in its supplementary budget for this fiscal year.
“We hope it will be chosen for the G-7 summit menu,” said an official from the city’s industry division.
The city government of Hatsukaichi, home to Miyajima Island, one of Japan’s three most scenic sights, responded to the list request with “asari” oysters and clams.
When a meeting of G-7 foreign ministers was held in Hiroshima in 2016, then-foreign minister Kishida invited his counterparts to a former ryokan inn in Miyajima.
The working dinner menu included simmered conger eel served in a lidded bowl, cooked rice with oysters and other delicacies, and creamed manju momiji for dessert.
The town hall of Sera, in the central part of the prefecture, has listed a white wine and a sparkling wine produced from locally grown grapes.
“Benefiting from a wide range of temperatures, Sera is an ideal grape production area for winemaking. We hope foreigners who love wine will enjoy ours,” said an official from the city’s trade, 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 essential ingredient in Western cuisine. (The olive oil) produced in Etajima also won a prize in an international competition,” an official from the agriculture, forestry and fisheries division said.
The Fuchu City Government 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 sought advice from Katsuhiro Nakamura, who served as head chef at the 2008 G-8 summit in Lake Toyako, Hokkaido, to come up with a Western cuisine menu for the G-7 meeting that year. next.