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Eco-Certified Sushi To Be Served By Japan's Aeon Starting At Tokyo Olympics

Eco-Certified Sushi To Be Served By Japan's Aeon Starting At Tokyo Olympics
With an expected increase in tourists to Japan in the wake of the Tokyo Olympics later this year and to address a growing demand for sustainable seafood, eco-certified sushi will be available starting this year by Japanese supermarket chain Aeon Co Ltd – the largest retailer by sales in Asia.
Japan is one of the biggest consumers of seafood in the world. Compared to Europe and the United States, the adoption of policies on traceability and sustainable fisheries has been slow in Japan despite the fact that Japanese consumers are known to pay a premium for high-quality food products. They are also known for setting of global food trends.
“I would say awareness has really improved in recent years,” Kinzou Matsumoto, general manager in charge of Aeon’s seafood merchandising planning, said on Tuesday on the occasions of the company unveiling an expanded line of its eco-certified lineup of seafood which now includes sustaianbly sourced oysters that are approved by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).
“Right now, certified items make up around 15% of our entire seafood products. Ideally we want to bring it to around 20%,” he said, adding that it would soon have enough types of certified fish to assemble assorted sushi packs. We want to sell certified sushi to visitors coming to the Olympics, too... and that would have to be by June,” said Matsumoto.
There would be an expansion of recognition for sustainable seafood among Japanese consumers as well as encouragement of fisheries because of Aeon’s scale, the MSC said. “A commitment from Aeon is critical in driving change,” said MSC’s Asia-Pacific regional director Patrick Caleo.
It is expected that the number of foreign tourists during the Olympic Summer Games beginning in late July visiting the country will increase significantly and industries related to tourism such as beer makers and hotels are making preparations to be able to adequately meet the increase in demand during the period.
A store with 272 seats expected to draw 2,000 customers a day - its biggest branch, is being opened by Kura Sushi, among Japan’s largest conveyer belt sushi chains, later this week. According to the forecast of the company, there would be an increase of more than 30 per cent this year compared to the usual in the number of foreign tourists visiting the company’s restaurants in Tokyo.
The safety of seafood offered in Japan, including those derived from Fukushima which saw the 2011 nuclear disaster, was defended by Kura Sushi President Kunihiko Tanaka.
Tanaka said that Fukushima seafood is “absolutely” safe according to government data. A restaurant is being planned to be opened by Kura Sushi in Fukushima, Tanaka added.
Due to concerns overt food offered in Japan, it would buy radiation detectors and ship homegrown ingredients to Japan for its athletes, South Korea’s Olympic committee said in December.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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