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Japan tuna goes for USD145,000 as pandemic dampens New Year auction

TOKYO (AFP) – The buyer of a USD145,000 tuna at Tokyo’s traditional New Year auction said yesterday he hoped the purchase would “brighten” a COVID-hit 2022.

The top price paid for a tuna at the first auction of the year at Tokyo’s Toyosu fish market fell for the third year running, with demand hit by the pandemic.

The JPY16.88 million shelled out jointly by a restaurant operator and a wholesaler for the huge bluefin tuna yesterday was far below the 2019 record of JPY333.6 million.

The first tuna auction of the year at Toyosu market is a closely watched tradition that draws a horde of fish wholesalers every year.

Bidders sometimes shell out an enormous amount to win the top-priced tuna, which is seen as bringing good luck, as well as plenty of publicity for the buyer.

More details on Thursday’s Borneo Bulletin

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