Japan to Use Crisis-Hit Premium Products for School Lunches
Tokyo, April 24 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese government is planning to utilize branded domestic food products, such as "wagyu" beef, that have been facing plunges in consumption amid the new coronavirus outbreak for lunches at elementary and junior high schools across the country.
The government aims to support farm producers hit by the coronavirus crisis, officials said. It also hopes to provide children with opportunities to learn about regional specialties in "shokuiku" food and nutrition education, according to the officials.
The consumption of such food products, also including melons, bluefin tuna and "hinai jidori" premium brand chicken, a local specialty of Akita Prefecture, northeastern Japan, has slumped as people are refraining from eating out after the government declared a state of emergency earlier this month to contain the coronavirus crisis.
If local governments and other school operators use branded ingredients for school meals under the envisaged system, the central government plans to cover all extra costs above regular school lunch fees, the officials said.
The agriculture ministry has earmarked 140 billion yen in a draft supplementary budget for fiscal 2020 to finance the program.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]