Food is always in the news in Japan, but recently two stories reveal two very different approaches to what is consumed and enjoyed by Japanese consumers. On the one hand, there is a rich culinary tradition of unique and world-renowned cuisine. On the other hand is the free-market system of fast-food consumption. Which direction Japanese will choose in the future is yet unclear, but recent events offer a chance to reconsider them both.

Recent incidents surrounding McDonald’s Japan has tarnished the image of the company. Among them, in July, a video taken at a meat factory in China that supplied McDonald’s allegedly showed expired meat being used. Earlier this month, a customer in Japan claimed to have found vinyl in his food. Although McDonald’s says an investigation has shown the piece of vinyl is of a type not used in the factory that produced the food or in the shop where it was served, the company’s image has suffered.

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