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Cool Japan Fund to raise cuisine awareness abroad

State-affiliated Cool Japan Fund says it will launch comprehensive Japanese food outlets overseas featuring restaurants, shops and cultural experiences.

Its first such outlet will be in London early next year through a JV, Ichiba UK, with Japan Centre Group, a Japanese-run company based in the British capital. Cool Japan Fund will invest up to £3 million (US$3.9 million) for the establishment of the outlet.

It will be called Ichiba, modelled after Italian food marketplace Eataly, and will include a food zone offering Japanese cuisines, a retail zone for groceries and other products from all over Japan, and Japanese cooking demonstrations.

Japan Centre Group, established in 1976, runs two Japanese grocery stores and 11 restaurants.

Similar outlets are planned for other major European cities, including Milan and Paris, says Cool Japan Fund.

Japan’s government hopes to boost agricultural exports by releasing information about Japanese food culture abroad and supporting moves to sell Japanese specialties in overseas markets.

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