The Japanese government has proposed new legislation that will require all producers, shops and restaurants to specify the country of origin for rice.

The government's decision follows several food scandals in Japan, where some Japanese traders sold pesticide-tainted imported rice not intended for human consumption.

Agriculture ministry officials said they also plan to require all rice producers and traders to keep trading records so that regulators may track rice distribution channels.

Foreign rice imports were illegal until recently in Japan. Critics of the new policy say it is just another step in favour of domestic producers.