Next time you're in Japan and you're trying to eat local, look for one of these green lanterns. Called midori chochin, any restaurants with these lanterns (based on the traditional red paper lanterns) indicate that they use domestic ingredients in their dishes.
The system works on a five-star ranking scale, helpfully displayed on the lantern. Restaurants using locally produced ingredients for more than 50 percent of their cooking are awarded one star; five stars mean the restaurants source 90 percent or more ingredients locally.
However, it's not a formal certification, since the movement is focused simply on raising awareness of eating locally, and restaurants only need to self-declare their status to apply for a lantern. On the other hand, this being Japan, if it turns out that the restaurants lied about the ratio of domestic produce that they use, the restaurant staff must wear headbands with the kanji for "regret" and shave their heads (!?).
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