Zadar Tourist Board Awarded by Japanese Foreign Minister for Tuna, Sushi & Wine Festival

Daniela Rogulj

Filip Brala/TZG Zadar

February 5, 2020 – The Japanese Foreign Minister has recognized the Zadar Tourist Board for its contribution to connecting Croatia and Japan through the “Tuna, Sushi & Wine Festival”, which has been held in Zadar since 2015. 

Namely,  Dalmacija Danas reports that the Japanese Ambassador to Croatia, Her Excellency Misako Kaji, presented the Zadar Tourist Board director, Mario Paleka, with the award at a ceremony at the Rector’s Palace in Zadar on Tuesday.

Before the award was presented, a short documentary on the five years of the “Tuna, Sushi & Wine Festival” was screened.

In her address, Ambassador Kaji emphasized that this recognition by the Japanese Foreign Minister is given to individuals and organizations for their contribution to the advancement of Japan and other countries. She called the “Tuna, Sushi & Wine Festival” a “distinctive sign of Zadar in the spring” and emphasized:

“Tuna from Croatia is very well received and appreciated in Japan as a valuable ingredient of sushi, accounting for half of Croatia’s exports to Japan, and the Festival brought Japan and Croatia closer to Zadar, bringing the Japanese culture closer to these areas. That is why I believe that the “Tuna, Sushi & Wine Festival” will continue to be organized in Zadar,” Misako said, adding that some Croatian wines also found their place in the Japanese market.


Filip Brala/TZG Zadar

Zadar Tourist Board director Mario Paleka also thanked the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs for the award. 

“This recognition confirms the importance and value of the Festival and the efforts of the Zadar Tourist Board. The basic prerequisite for the development of such a project is cooperation at all levels, from local, national and international. The festival, among other things, was a finalist last year in the selection for the Tourism Event of the Year at the Days of Croatian Tourism, all of which confirms the long-term thinking of my predecessors Messrs. Supa and Rados to create, expand and enhance the Festival,” said Paleka. He added that this recognition obliges the organization of even more content and attractive festivals and the continuation of cooperation between Japan and Croatia, with an emphasis on Zadar.

Zadar Mayor Branko Dukic was also thankful for the valuable recognition:

“Tuna connected Zadar and Japan, many business relationships were created through the tuna and the Festival, and these relationships grew into a lasting friendship.”

The awards ceremony was attended by Ines Stranja, Member of Parliament and President of the Inter-Parliamentary Croatian-Japanese Friendship Group; Head of Sector for Eurasia, Eastern Partnership, Asia and Oceania at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs Drazen Margeta; Ivan Vodopivec, Honorary Consul of Japan in Split; Zadar Mayor Branko Dukić; Zadar Chamber of Commerce President Dario Jurin; president and CEO of “Kali Tuna” Jiro Kamba; Director of the Zadar County Tourist Board Mihaela Kadija and representatives of other Zadar tuna companies.

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