Tokyo, Jan. 5 (Jiji Press)--Pricey foodstuffs, such as wagyu beef, are increasingly making their way into school lunch in Japan after the agriculture ministry introduced a relevant subsidy program amid the novel coronavirus crisis.
The subsidies, partly aimed at promoting food education at schools, cover some of the costs, mainly for elementary and junior high schools, to buy such luxury food items for school lunch.
The ministry launched the subsidy program also to support farm and other food producers seeing sharp falls in sales to "ryotei" high-end Japanese restaurants and other upscale eateries that have suffered a slump in the number of customers in the face of the epidemic.
According to the ministry, surplus beef at producers had been distributed to a total of about 35,000 schools in all of Japan's 47 prefectures except Tokyo as of the end of November 2020. Tokyo will serve such beef in school lunch from this month.
Schools in Hyogo Prefecture, western Japan, served Kobe beef, a renowned local brand, in lunch for students in October. Schools in Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo, served locally produced beef, together with a leaflet teaching students the characteristics of the beef and how it is produced.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]