Tokyo, Japan (ANTARA) - Coordinating Minister of Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto affirmed that Indonesia will take a cue from Japan about the free food program.

The free lunch program for children and mothers has become the hallmark program of the incoming presidency of Prabowo Subianto, who will take office on October 20.

"Indonesia is eager to learn from countries that have implemented the free lunch program or nutritious food distribution program as called by the president-elect, including from Japan," Hartarto stated on the sidelines of the Nikkei Forum 29th Future of Asia event here, Friday (May 24).

The coordinating minister remarked that the government had also studied the program from other countries, including China.

"I believe a lot of countries have implemented the program, and Indonesia should learn how to implement it, primarily for the incoming government," he remarked.

Earlier, President-elect Prabowo Subianto was confident that Indonesia's state budget is capable of funding the free lunch program and that it will be sustainable.

To optimize the budget for the free lunch program, Prabowo said he will consider budget refocusing and cuts to some non-essential programs.

The free lunch program for schoolchildren has been carried out in Japan for at least 70 years.

The free lunch was initially provided for impoverished students before a law passed in 1954 required the government to provide free lunch in schools for all pupils in primary and junior high schools.

The lunch menu in Japanese schools is processed and monitored strictly to ensure the food type as well as its nutrition and calories, in addition to making sure that it fulfils the required daily intake. In Japanese primary schools, pupils also take turns serving lunch for their peers.

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Translator: Juwita Trisna R, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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