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Brunei
Thursday, February 9, 2023
22.1 C
Brunei
Thursday, February 9, 2023
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    Pricier catch

    TOKYO (AFP) – The top-selling tuna at Tokyo’s traditional New Year auction sold for more than USD270,000 on Thursday, nearly double last year’s price, breaking a pandemic trend of slumping demand.

    Michelin-starred sushi restaurant Onodera Group and Japanese wholesaler Yamayuki forked out JPY36.04 million (USD273,000) for the 212-kilogramme bluefin tuna in the auction at Tokyo’s Toyosu fish market.

    The figure was still only a fraction of the 2019 record price but marks a recovery for the symbolic auction after three years in which prices slumped.

    “It has all the qualities of a good tuna,” sushi master and Onodera head chef Akifumi Sakagami told reporters after the auction.

    “We have had years of gloom (during the pandemic). I hope that we can deliver happiness to everyone by using opportunities like this.”

    Last year’s top-selling tuna, bought by the same pair of bidders, went for just JPY16.88 million, with observers blaming subdued demand as a COVID wave ripped through Japan in early 2022.

    The New Year auction is highly anticipated, and securing the top-priced tuna offers bidders bragging rights.

    For years, the top bid came from self-proclaimed “Tuna King” Kiyoshi Kimura, who paid a record USD3.1 million in 2019.

    But in recent years, Kimura has held back, citing the pandemic.

    ABOVE & BELOW: Participants look at frozen tuna as wholesale sellers and buyers attend the first tuna auction of the New Year at Toyosu fish market in Tokyo; and a crate holding a bluefin tuna outside the Sushi Ginza Onodera main store in Omotesando in Tokyo. PHOTOS: AFP

    A sushi chef displays freshly cut bluefin tuna at the Sushi Ginza Onodera main store
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