PARIS – Following three days of competition, Japan was named winner in the 2012 Coupe de Monde de la Boulangerie.

The champion was named March 7 at the Europain show in Paris. The United States came in second place in the competition for the Bakery World Cup, and Taiwan came in third.

Fumio Shimizu, Minister Advisor of the Japanese embassy in France, said the award had particular poignant meaning for his country.

“I am extremely proud,” he said. “A year ago, our country was devastated by a number of earthquakes and a tsunami. Our victory here will give a boost to all of our citizens and to the victims of these catastrophes.”

The finals of the competition brought together 12 teams vying in four categories: baguettes and world breads, savory presentation (a new addition), Viennese pastries and an artistic piece.

The artistic piece was based on the theme of “the bread, a symbol of your country.”

Other teams competing in the finals March 4-6 were France, Italy, Peru, South Korea, Sweden, Senegal, The Netherlands, Poland and Costa Rica.