Japanese police arrest 3 for participating in “sushi terrorism” pranks at kaiten-sushi eating places

Hong Kong

Police in central Japan have arrested three folks for participating in pranks at a sushi conveyor belt restaurant.

The acts, which seem like turning into extra commonplace, have been dubbed on-line as “#sushitero” or “#sushiterrorism” and have affected the monetary fortunes of the nation’s well-known rotating kaiten-style eating places.

Various perpetrators have been filming themselves licking shared soy sauce bottles or touching plates of meals coming down conveyor belts, earlier than sharing the movies on social media.

Kura Sushi, one of many chains affected, stated the three had taken half in “extremely malicious nuisance” at its restaurant within the metropolis of Nagoya on February 3.

“We hope that the recent arrests will allow the public to recognize that actions which undermine our trust-based structure for our customers is a ‘crime,’” it stated in a Wednesday assertion.

“Our company will continue to strive to further improve the system to prevent such nuisances so that customers can enjoy their meals safely and comfortably. We will continue to do our best to … grow the conveyor belt sushi culture that is dear to Japan globally.”

According to public broadcaster NHK, police arrested a 21-year-old and two youngsters on suspicion of obstructing the restaurant’s operations. The 21-year-old had allegedly put his mouth on the spout of a soy sauce dispenser, it reported.

Besides Kura Sushi, two different kaiten chains — Sushiro, owned by Food & Life Companies, and Hamazushi — beforehand informed CNN they’d suffered comparable disruptions. Each had filed a police report.

Japan has been coping with this phenomenon way back to 2013. But the latest spate of “sushitero” coincided with an increase in Covid-19 infections, which has made folks extra hygiene acutely aware.

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In current weeks, some Japanese social media customers have even began to query whether or not conveyor belt sushi eating places have a future within the nation as shoppers demand extra consideration to cleanliness.

The kaiten chains have since made quite a lot of modifications to ease considerations and shield their companies.

Sushiro stopped serving unordered meals on conveyor belts altogether. Kura Sushi stated it might use AI-operated cameras to observe prospects to see in the event that they’re misbehaving.

— CNN’s Emiko Jozuka and Michelle Toh contributed reporting.