Officials in Japan are hoping to create a Michelin star-style system for the 25,000 Japanese restaurants across the world.
Under the plans, revealed last night, a team of sushi experts, working on behalf of Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, will assess the provenance of ingredients in restaurants and how far they offer a real taste of the country.
The inspectors are already in Bangkok, Shanghai and Taipei. They will arrive this year in London, Amsterdam, Los Angeles and Paris.
Plans for a similar scheme last year were roundly criticised by chefs as "meaningless", but organisers insist the latest campaign is about promoting Japanese food and its health benefits rather than denouncing fakes.
A spokesman for the Organisation to Promote Japanese Restaurants Abroad said that the aim was not to become the sushi police, but to crack down on inauthentic restaurants. "Our objective is to promote Japanese food, not eliminate Japanese restaurants," he said.
Establishments that serve genuine Japanese food will receive a seal of authenticity to act as an assurance of high quality.
By Daniel Thomas
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