The following is the message from Minister Koike:
I've created what you might call a "mottainai furoshiki." The Japanese word mottainai means it's a shame for something to go to waste without having made use of its potential in full. The furoshiki is made of a fiber manufactured from recycled PET bottles,and has a birds-and-flowers motif drawn by Itoh Jakuchu, a painter of the mid-Edo era.
The Japanese wrapping cloth known as the furoshiki is said to have been first used in the Muromachi Period (1392-1573), when people spread it out in place of a bath mat or wrapped one's clothes with it.
The furoshiki is so handy that you can wrap almost anything in it regardless of size or shape with a little ingenuity by simply folding it in the right way. It's much better than plastic bags you receive at supermarkets or wrapping paper, since it's hightly resistant, reusable and multipurpose. In fact, it's one of the symbols of traditional Japanese culture, and puts an accent on taking care of things and avoiding wastes.
It would be wonderful if the furoshiki, as a symbol of traditional Japanese culture, could provide an opportunity for us to reconsider the possibilities of a sound-material cycle society. As my sincere wish, I would like to disseminate the culture of the furoshiki to the entire world.
Recently, the Ministry of the Environment and the Japan Olympic Committee, JOC, have been cooperating in a campaign for reducing waste. Together, they presented the "Mottainai Furoshiki" to the athletes of the Japanese national Olympic team for the 20th Winter Olympic Games held in Torino in 2006. Since the Winter Olympic Games is very popular throughout the world, by having the Olympics athletes utilize the "Mottainai Furoshiki," the MOE expects to send a message to the world that Japanese Culture's Mottainai spirit contributes to a sustainable society.