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Presence of sake grows in diplomacy

Refer to Japan Times News dated June 4, 2010.
The title of the article is "Presence of sake grows in diplomacy", and I'm interested in.
Sake or saké (pronounced /ˈsɑːkiː/ or /ˈsɑːkeɪ/ in English) is a Japanese alcoholic beverage made from rice.
This beverage is called sake in English, but in Japanese, sake (酒) or o-sake (お酒) refers to alcoholic drinks in general. The Japanese term for this specific beverage is Nihonshu (日本酒), meaning "Japanese sake".
File:Sake barrels.jpg
(Dedicated sake barrels at Itsukushima Shrine)

File:Brasserie de saké Takayama.jpg
(Sake brewery, Takayama)

Quote herewith the News.
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Sake is gradually increasing its presence at banquets where Japanese government leaders play host to foreign dignitaries.

The Foreign Ministry has mainly used wine at such banquets because it is easy to handle and goes well with any dish.

However, sake has begun to be included among other beverages at dinners and receptions amid growing calls from within the ministry to actively push sake in the field of diplomacy.

In inviting foreign VIPs, the ministry checks on their likes and dislikes and whether they are allergic to any foods in deciding on menus and drinks.

A senior ministry official said, "In entertaining (someone) we have to be attentive, and we won't go wrong if we choose wine, which is consumed throughout the world."

A dinner hosted by Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada in honor of his Chilean counterpart, Alfredo Moreno, in April centered on Japanese food and red wine made from grapes grown in Yamanashi Prefecture along with white wine from France. ...
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By T.S. on June 8, 2010
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