USSEC Receives Recognition from Japanese Natto Industry, Participates in Natto Queen Ceremony
USSEC was invited to attend the recent 2015 Natto Queen Ceremony held in Ginza, Tokyo. USSEC Country Director – Japan Mitsuyuki Nishimura and USSEC North Asia Regional Human Utilization Manager & Japan HU Director Masi Tateishi represented USSEC at this gathering and more than 100 media outlets attended the event. The Japan Natto Cooperative Society Federation announced Yoh Yoshida, a successful Japanese actress, as the 2015 Natto Queen.
Beginning in 2002, the Japan Natto Cooperative Society has selected a natto queen every year among celebrities, based on their love of natto and their ability to help spread natto’s popularity to Japanese society. Ms. Yoshida is expected to increase the positive image of natto throughout 2015.
After the announcement of the natto queen, USSEC was recognized by the Japanese natto industry for its achievement on relief efforts of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Mr. Nishimura was presented an award by the natto industry. Takahiro Noro, Chairman of Japan Natto Cooperative Society Federation, said, “When the big earthquake and tsunami hit Tohoku in 2011, the U.S. Soybean Export Council reached out a hand of early assistance to the affected areas. Thanks to the U.S. soybean industry, we were able to deliver 79,000 servings of natto to the shelters. And therefore, the Japanese natto industry still continues to work on a relief-effort project and that is due to the remarkable achievement of U.S. soybean industry.”
Japanese natto consumption in 2014 hit 125,000 metric tons (MT), all produced from non-GMO identity preserved (IP) food beans. The U.S. still enjoys an 80 percent market share of non-GMO IP beans in Japan. USSEC has supported the natto industry by sending a young Japanese management leader to the U.S. and sponsoring the U.S. Red River Valley award, among other endeavors, in the past. This year, USSEC is collaborating with the natto industry to launch a “natto master project” aimed to further expand the natto demand domestically and globally. USSEC will continue to support Japan’s natto industry to optimize the utilization and value of U.S. Soy.