Japan’s economy has long be desperate for something to grab onto to help pull it out of recession. While financial policymakers have been out of good ideas for a while, government officials are now open to almost any new suggestions for creating growth. Now one of the cabinet’s ministers has come up with the idea of turning to one of Japan’s age-old domestic products: sake.
Motohisa Furukawa, the Minister of Economy, has announced a new council tasked to develop the movement titled “Enjoy Japanese National Liquors.” Domestic sales of sake have been on a steady decline for many years. Japanese people are just not as interested in the beverage anymore, as evidenced by a lack of female drinkers, and less of an attraction to younger generations. Overseas exports have been increasing, but are nothing in comparison to the worldwide popularity of French wine.
Furukawa’s goal is to increase the world’s recognition of one of Japan’s traditional cultural icons. He dreams of promoting sake to the level where one day it is served in restaurants around the world, and aficionados would build “sake cellars,” just as fans of wine do. The Economy Minister also feels optimism based on seeing sake tasting booths sponsored by the Japan External Trade Organization at the yearly Davos World Economic Forum. The booths would have lines so long that they would end up serving bottles that weren’t supposed to be opened for tasting.