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Speech made by Minister Kojima at the Original Sushi Competition 2004

On 27 April, Minister Plenipotentiary Seiji Kojima delivered a speech at the Original Sushi Competition 2004 held at Matsuri Restaurant in London.

30 April 2004

Minister Kojima delivers the opening speech

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to be here with you this evening for the third Original Sushi Competition. It seems to me that the Competition is now an established event in London and becomes a talk of the town at this time of the year.

Sushi is one Japan's greatest inventions and it is steadily penetrating into the everyday life of non-Japanese. Nowadays, you can find sushi in UK supermarkets. However, there are still many myths about sushi. One of them is that only well trained sushi chefs can make sushi only with certain materials in certain forms.

As all of you know, this Competition is destroying these myths and has contributed to the creation of new types of sushi. This is a typical case of a culture traveling from one place to another. In the process, the Competition has played a catalytic role.

Sushi consists of boiled rice and other ingredients. Participating in the Competition and learning about sushi, British people will, I hope, become interested in Japanese rice and rice culture in Japan including Japanese festivals, village communities and even Japanese politics.

Taking this opportunity, let me briefly explain the ��׷isit Japan Campaign�ߡ� which will be officially launched on 5 May. Through the Campaign, it is hoped that the number of overseas visitors to Japan will be doubled by the year 2010. From the UK, only three in one thousand overseas tourists go to Japan. This means that there is huge room to increase this number. In Japan, enjoying Japanese sushi, British tourists can obtain ideas and hints about new sushi.

This year, as announced already, there are more than 600 entries, more than 80 per cent of which are from non-Japanese aspiring sushi chefs. This shows people's enthusiasm for sushi on the one hand, and the effectiveness of the Original Sushi Competition Committee on the other. In this connection, I would like to thank the members of the Original Sushi Competition Committee as well as all the sponsors and supporters for their efforts to make this Competition possible.

On our part, as guests and witnesses of this Competition, it is an important obligation to make the winning ideas of the Competition popular at restaurants.

I hope that the Competition this year will be a great success.

Thank you.

This year's competition winner Kayleigh Mort with chief judge chef Jean-Christophe Novelli
The winning 'Original Sushi' MUSHI SUSHI


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