NARA, Japan - Masayuki Miura's restaurant is radically out of step with modern Japanese tastes. No Australian beef hamburgers, no mountains of fried Brazilian chicken, no imported steaks. Not a Chinese cabbage in sight.
Instead, Miura and his wife, Yoko, serve up a 100 percent made-in-Japan offering of fish and locally grown organic rice and vegetables, including centuries-old Japanese heirloom varieties.
"We need more people to eat Japanese vegetables," declared Miura, whose restaurant overlooks his almost five-acre farm in western Japan. "Of course, it's a food culture issue. Hamburgers don't have Japanese vegetables in them."
No, they don't - and many in Japan consider that a major problem.
The Japanese on average get only 40 percent of their calories from domestic food, down from 73 percent in 1965, the government says, putting the country's self-sufficiency rate near the bottom of the 30-country Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The United States, an agricultural exporter, has a 128 percent rate, and even a smaller nation like Britain can provide 70 percent of its citizens' calories.
Amid rising world food prices and a series of imported-food contamination scandals, Japan is afraid it is too reliant on foreign food. The government released a report late last year showing what Japanese would have to eat without imports. The typical lunch: one potato, two sweet potatoes, and a quarter of an apple.
"We have to wonder whether Japan should continue buying up food from around the world," said Hidenobu Ogawa, a food-safety official with the Agriculture Ministry.
The government has set a target of boosting the self-sufficiency rate up to 45 percent by 2015, and has launched a series of campaigns - from open markets featuring Japanese foods to commercials urging people to eat more rice.
At a recent "Eat Japan" event that featured locally produced vegetables and meat, an animated video told the woeful tale of how Japan grew rich in the 1970s and '80s and took a liking to foreign foods. As the food on an imaginary family's table changes from fish and rice to meat and french fries, their bodies grow round and flabby.