Japanese cuisine has been provisionally approved by a review panel for submission to the growing list of national cuisines being recognized by the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as an item of intangible cultural heritage.
The agriculture ministry in Tokyo has announced dishes such as sushi, tempura, okonomiyaki and yakitori, as well the utensils used in the preparation and consumption of Japanese food are to be submitted for inclusion on the list.
TBS quoted a ministry spokesman Wednesday as saying that "washoku" has been recommended by a UNESCO review panel. That recommendation will be approved or reversed by an intergovernmental panel, although Japanese officials told reporters that there have so far been no instances of recommendations being declined.
Meanwhile, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters he hopes inclusion in the list will provide new support for agricultural and fisheries sectors in Fukushima, which have not recovered since the earthquake and tsunami that struck the Tohoku region in northeast Japan in March 2011.
Suga, who is hoping UNESCO recognition will restore trust in Japanese exports, said, "I would really welcome the inclusion of traditional Japanese cuisine. If it is included, the spirit of traditional Japanese cuisine, one that is based on respect for nature, will be preserved for future generations," TBS reported.
To date, French, Mexican and Mediterranean traditional cuisines have been recognized by UNESCO as cuisines of intangible cultural heritage, while it is expected that Korean imperial cuisine will be added to the list in November. An intergovernmental panel of representatives from 24 countries is scheduled to convene in Azerbaijan in December to review the panel's recommendation.© Japan Today