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NSEC Holds Farewell Party for Ambassador Grutle

January 26, 2009

There was a farewell party for Age B. Grutle, Ambassador of Norway to Japan, who will leave the position in late January, at the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Tokyo. The party was hosted by the Norwegian Seafood Export Council (NSEC) and about 30 media related guests were invited.

Ambassador Grutle said, "The seafood industry is the principal pillar of a financial relation between Norway and Japan. We are proud to be able to export seafood products to Japan who has such stringent quality standard. In addition, we have been learning all aspects of Japanese culture, such as cuisine, art, and spirituality."

"It is imperative to provide correct information to and maintain communications with Japanese consumers. You are our important partner who works as a bridge between people in Japan and us. We ask for your long-lasting support," he continued, addressing the guests from the news media.

Michio Shioda, operating officer/chief editorial writer of Mainichi Newspaper, praised Ambassador Grutle for his numerous accomplishments in Japan by saying, "Please go back to Norway, hoisting a 'big catch' flag." He then offered gifts of a "big catch" flag and a painting of Norwegian mackerel.

Grutle, who served as an Ambassador to Japan since 2004, will accede to the post of a director-general of the Norwegian Royal House, equivalent to the Imperial Household Agency in Japan.

Hans Petter Nas, representative of NSEC Japan office, presented a summary of seafood exports to Japan and spoke about three main fish (salmon, mackerel, and shishamo smelt): "It is essential that salmon will be accepted in the Japanese sushi and sashimi market. Acceptance from the Japanese market means a stamp of approval in the world market. 50 percent of our mackerel exports go to Japan; it is noteworthy that salted mackerel from Norway is received favorably."

"In addition, lifting of an embargo of shishamo smelt will finally take place this year; and it is regrettable that, during Mr. Grutle's service, we could not resume exports of the fish. The fish returns to Japan at the same time Mr. Grutle goes back home to Norway. For those in the industry and people who love the fish, removal of the ban comes as good news." His statement provoked laughter from the guests.

The original article was published on January 26, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

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