For the first time Japanese diners can enjoy responsibly produced ASC certified seafood in a traditional Japanese restaurant, at six locations operated by Kijima Group Co.
Kijima operates six traditional Japanese restaurants, mostly around Yokohama. In recent years they have increasingly focused on social responsibility, and environmental issues related to the ingredients and materials they use at the restaurants. As part of this, the group decided to provide its customers with responsible options in the form of ASC and MSC certified seafood.
Kijima recruited the help of seafood supplier and consultancy andBlue, who provided specialist advice on the process of achieving Chain of Custody (CoC) certification – which is required to handle or sell ASC or MSC seafood.
CoC certification ensures that ASC seafood is properly handled and kept separate from non-certified food throughout the supply chain from farm to fork. This gives consumers and diners confidence that the ASC label is a trusted sign that they are enjoying responsibly farmed food. With help from andBlue, Kijima has become the first traditional restaurant in Japan to achieve CoC certification.
“I am delighted that for the first time customers can enjoy responsible and sustainable seafood at a Japanese restaurant,” said Masamitsu Kishima, CEO of Kijima. “I want to make sure future generations in Japan can continue to enjoy delicious seafood, and we will continue to seek new ways to make Japanese food more sustainable. It is important to make delicious dishes using these sustainable ingredients so that customers will actively seek them out, which means restaurants have an important role to play.”
“Kijima had many questions about the CoC certification and whether certified seafood would be suitable for their menus and business,” said Munehiro Hara, and BLUE Group General Manager. “We were able to answer these questions and we’re delighted to have helped them achieve this first for Japan. We hope to continue helping other companies to spread responsible seafood throughout Japan.”
“I would like to congratulate Kijima for achieving this important first for Japanese diners,” said ASC Japan General Manager Koji Yamamoto. “In Japan, the main focus around certified seafood has so far been in the retail industry and cafeterias of cooperate companies. I hope that Kijima’s achievement will be the beginning of the wider restaurant industry embracing certification, offering more Japanese people the chance to choose responsibly sourced seafood wherever they are.”
Kijima will be selling dishes containing ASC certified farmed shrimp from Vietnam. The ASC Shrimp Standard includes over 100 requirements ensuring producers minimise their social and environmental impacts. This includes the preservation of mangrove forests, fair treatment and pay for workers and local communities, and protection for local biodiversity. In addition, antibiotics cannot be used on ASC certified shrimp. Vietnam is one of the largest producers of ASC certified seafood, but the ASC programme has a truly global reach with over 1000 certified farms in 37 countries.
Awareness of the importance of responsibly produced seafood is growing in Japan, along with its role in meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Both ASC and MSC certification will be provided at next year’s Tokyo Olympics, bringing this vital issue to the attention of even more Japanese consumers.