In anticipation of their participation at Gulfood 2017, Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) hosted a seminar highlighting the healthy Japanese diet, characteristics of authentic Japanese products and the fusion of these ingredients in World Cuisine. Inaugurated by Hisashi Michigami, the Consul General of Japan in Dubai, the event provided a platform to promote traditional Japanese ingredients and better explore trade prospects with guests from the food and hospitality industry. Awareness of Japan's high-quality and strict safety standards, understanding the nutritional benefits of the Japanese diet and distinguishing between the true flavors of Japanese ingredients were main topics of the event. Junji Nakao, Director JETRO Dubai pointed out that Japanese cuisine is comprised of the freshest ingredients sourced from Japan's rich volcanic ecosystem and highlighted the agricultural, fishery and other food products available for export to the UAE, "The Middle East food industry is witnessing a growing import of Japanese food products. Last year (2016), exports to the UAE in Japanese beverages and foodstuff were over USD51 million." Nakao added: "The popularity of Japanese cuisine and products is evident in the increasing number of Japanese restaurants in the region; there are 200 in the UAE alone. This is not counting the growing number of other restaurants and cuisines that are using Japanese ingredients in their dishes." JETRO is a government-related organization that works to promote mutual trade and investment between Japan and the rest of the world. Originally established in 1958 to promote Japanese exports abroad, the organization's core focus in the 21st century has shifted toward promoting foreign direct investment into Japan and helping small to medium size Japanese firms maximize their global export potential.