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Opening remarks of Ambassador of Italy to Japan, Gianluigi Benedetti, to the seminar “Rice – Italy and Japan” organized by ISEAS (Kyoto, May 27 2022)

I would like to give a warm welcome to all of you at this seminar organized by ISEAS today. This evening many experts will present us a very interesting theme, rice and its key role in the society and economy of Italy and Japan.

The workshop of today is indeed a unique occasion to know more about this cereal, not only from an historic perspective but also as an economic pillar of Japan and Italy.

While in Japan – like in the rest of Asia – rice has been the cornerstone of the development of the civilization, in Europe and in Italy rice has arrived many centuries later, but it gained nevertheless a crucial position as a food and as an economic drive. Given the central role of rice in our societies, it is of the utmost importance to better understand the challenges that the cultivation of rice is facing nowadays, due to the climate change and environmental constraints.

Moreover, another very interesting aspect is the impact of marketing and brand issues on rice cultivation, so that we can learn how the current economic theories and models are shaping an activity, which dates back at least some millennia ago.

For these reasons, I am eager to hear the interventions of today’s experts and I sincerely thank all the Italian and Japanese speakers who will intervene.

I would like also to thank Prof. Giorgio Amitrano and the Scientific Committee of ISEAS, who really wanted to make this seminar come true, and Prof. Silvio Vita for his great efforts in organizing the workshop.

Finally, I also would like to welcome Prof. Silvana De Maio, new Director of the Italian Institute of Culture in Tokyo, who has arrived a few days ago in Japan and I am sure she will do an outstanding job during her posting.

Now I leave the floor to Prof. Amitrano and to all the speakers of this evening; I am sure that this seminar would give us a very deep and useful knowledge of an apparently simple cereal, which is the base of our societies.

I wish you a very good listening!