Japan’s halal market ready for Tokyo Olympic Games 2020

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Since 2013, the number of halalfriendly establishments in Japan has shot to over 180 across the country. (Supplied)
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Updated 13 January 2020

Japan’s halal market ready for Tokyo Olympic Games 2020

JEDDAH: During Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic Games, Muslim athletes and tourists need not worry about finding halal food in Japan.
Since 2013, the number of halal restaurants has skyrocketed from four to 180, including fine-dining establishments that serve traditional Japanese dishes.
Muslim students are also being accommodated. In 2014, Kanda University of International Studies opened Shokujin cafeteria, which is certified by the Nippon Asia Halal Association.
And the popular chain Curry House CoCo Ichibanya opened its halal Akihabara branch in 2017.
The restaurant said: “As people of different religions and cultures visit Japan, we wanted to develop a restaurant where Muslims could enjoy meals free from concern.”
It added that although it was not easy to procure some ingredients, its experience with the halal Akihabara branch will enable them to expand further.
Japanese wagyu beef, which has become a hit in the Arab world due to its rich taste and tenderness, is also being served halal in its country of origin.
Halal Wagyu Yakiniku Panga in Tokyo’s Taito ward branched out of an already accomplished establishment to accommodate halal consumers and to grow the restaurant’s “food culture.”
Sung Gi Hong, director and manager of Panga, told Arab News where it all started: “My sister worked in Indonesia between 2015 and 2017, and when she asked her Muslim friends in Indonesia to come to Japan, they said there was nothing for them to eat because it’s difficult to find halal restaurants in Japan. When we heard this, we thought it was sad because when we travel we want to have local food, but Muslims who come to Japan have trouble finding places where they can eat.”
The restaurant chain has been running since 1999, and gained halal certification in 2015 from the Japan Halal Foundation. Hong said Panga attracts a large number of Muslim customers.
“A lot of people come to try our A5 Premium Wagyu Platter, as it allows them to enjoy a variety of different cuts of quality wagyu beef and sirloin steak,” added Hong.
Shinjuku Gyoen Ramen Ouka is another restaurant cooking halal dishes in one of Tokyo’s busiest areas.
“We serve halal and vegan options at Ramen Ouka to help promote mutual understanding,” owner Niuma Megumi Wachi told Arab News.
The restaurant features vegetarian and vegan ramen options for those who want to avoid the traditional pork-based broth.
Other halal outlets in Tokyo include Asakusa Sushi Ken, Sumiyakiya Halal Grill, Hanasaka Ji-san and KO-SO Cafe Biorise.



•• The story was only published on AN Japan

Worshippers flock to reopened Prophet’s Mosque for Friday prayers

Updated 06 June 2020

Worshippers flock to reopened Prophet’s Mosque for Friday prayers

MADINAH: Hundreds of thousands of worshippers attended the first Friday prayers to be held at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah since the gatherings were suspended to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

The green light for the resumption of the prayer meetings came as part of a plan to gradually reopen the Kingdom’s mosques while ensuring worshippers and visitors adhered to preventive measures.

A ban on access to the Rawdah remained in place and only groups of worshippers numbering up to a maximum of 40 percent of the mosque’s capacity were being allowed entry.

Precautionary measures also included the allocation of specific doors for the entry of worshippers, the installation of thermal cameras, removal of all carpets so that prayers could be performed on the marble, sanitization of the mosque’s floors and courtyards, periodic opening of domes and canopies to ventilate the mosque, and the removal of Zamzam water containers.

The Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah will be closed after evening prayers and reopened one hour before dawn prayers. Parking lots will operate at 50 percent capacity and a media awareness campaign has been launched to highlight safety procedures at the holy site.

Medical teams have also been stationed at the main entrances to the mosque in cooperation with the Ministry of Health.

Elsewhere in the Kingdom, worshippers also flocked to perform Friday prayers at mosques amid strict health measures.

On May 31, Saudi authorities reopened all mosques for prayers, except in Makkah, as part of the Kingdom’s plan for a gradual return to normal life.

Last week the minister of Islamic affairs, dawah and guidance said that the country’s mosques were ready to welcome back worshippers, following his field trips to check that necessary preparations had been made.

All worshippers must still maintain a distance of 2 meters between rows, wear masks to enter a mosque, and Friday sermons and prayers have been limited to a maximum of 15 minutes.