Japanese ambassador Kenjiro Monji addresses the guests at the Hokkaido Fair, held at his residence yesterday.

By Hamza Jilani/Staff Reporter

Some 20 representatives of small and medium businesses introduced their products suitable for the Qatari market at the Hokkaido Fair hosted by Japanese ambassador Kenjiro Monji at his residence yesterday.
The fair was organised by the Embassy of Japan in co-operation with the Hokkaido Bureau of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan (METI).
“Japan and Qatar have enjoyed diplomatic relations for a long time. Last year we celebrated 40 years of bilateral ties. Both countries have agreed to promote each other beyond economic relations. This is the first time we have highlighted a specific region which is in agreement to not only promote the two countries, but also focus on the details,” Monji said.
“This fair is not only to promote Hokkaido’s products, which are famous in Japan, but also tourism in our northernmost island.”
According to Toshikazu Masuyama, director-general of the Hokkaido Bureau of METI, the island is famous for its scenery and high quality snow, making it a sought-after winter destination in Asia. “In the winter the temperature drops to -30o; in the spring it touches 35o.
“So tourist come year round, mainly from China and Taiwan to either enjoy our lush scenery during the warmer months, or for skiing on fine snow during winter,” he said. “We are famous in the whole of Japan for our agricultural, marine, food supplements and cosmetic industries.”
Masuyama said the products displayed at the fair could directly serve Qatar’s health issues. “Qatar has health problems (like obesity), and these products and supplements can help. We are known for our healthy food,” he added.
One company, Amino Up, offered products to curb obesity, rejuvenate skin and even prolong the life of cancer patients.
A banquet of Hokkaido dishes was offered to attendees. Traditional preparations of fried rice, crab, sushi, teppanyaki and grilled chicken or yakiniku along with desserts were served.

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