Nippon Restaurant Enterprise Inc has been slammed by politicians for its announcement yesterday that it will be importing frozen rice “bentos” (lunchboxes) manufactured at its subsidiary in California to sell in Japan. Critics of the move argue that it importing such products from the US is in direct contrast measures intended to protect Japan’s domestic farm industry.

Nippon Restaurant Enterprise, a company affiliated with East Japan Railway Co (JR East), revealed that it would start selling the lunchboxes in Tokyo’s railway stations on 17 July.