Japan to step up support for 'food tech'

Japan's government plans to step up measures to support promising food-related technology, or "food tech," to turn it into a growth industry in the country.

Such cutting-edge technology to expand potential food-related innovations covers a wide range of areas. It includes substitute meat made from plant-based ingredients such as beans, land-based fish-farming, in which fish are raised in tanks, and the use of robots and information technology in food-preparation and logistics.

The market for such technology is expanding rapidly in Europe, the United States and Asia as health consciousness and concerns about food shortages grow.

A panel of representatives from the agriculture and fisheries ministry and private firms is working to promote such technology and create standards to ensure food quality.

The government plans to launch a program in the new fiscal year from April to support food-tech related startups. It is also preparing to provide subsidies of up to 40 million yen, or about 387,000 dollars, to companies aiming to expand overseas.