TOKYO, May 22 — Restaurants and retailers abroad who obtained official recognition of Japanese food supporters keep growing, as the popularity of Japanese dish, or washoku, has hit new heights around the world in recent years.
The number of Japanese restaurants and retailers abroad who acquired the certification totaled 2,931 in 2017, more than 20 times from 133 a year earlier, according to the agriculture ministry.
The ministry started a certification system in 2016 for overseas restaurants and stores who use Japanese food and ingredients.
Under the scheme, for example, restaurants have to consistently serve food using Japanese food products and alcoholic beverages, showcase them on the menu, and promote the appeal and characteristics of Japanese food.
The agriculture ministry then issues certificates that can be displayed as “Japanese Food Supporters” with logo around the world.
The ministry hopes that it will boost exports of Japanese food products.
Similarly, the ministry has a certification program for chefs at Japanese restaurants abroad, aiming to improve standards and promote Japanese-grown food products.
In the program, chefs have to show an understanding of preparation of Japanese cuisine as well as presentation and customer service skills.
According to the ministry, the number of chefs who received the certificates tripled from 150 in September last year to 470 in March this year.