Police arrest three ‘sushi terrorists’ during crackdown on sick pranksters
Police in Japan have arrested three “sushi terrorists” who allegedly filmed themselves licking utensils and food on conveyor belts in restaurants.
The arrests follow a bizarre online trend in Japan that saw dozens of people filming themselves violating food safety standards for internet fame.
Social media videos showed people licking chopsticks, soy sauce bottles and even dropping a cigarette butt in a jar of pickled ginger.
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While several sushi chains have already threatened to take pranksters to court, the arrests on Wednesday (March 8) are understood to be the first of a crackdown by Japan’s police.
Police in the city of Nagoya accused Ryoga Yoshino, 21, of licking a communal soy sauce bottle at a Kura Sushi conveyor-belt sushi restaurant in early February.
Two minors aged 19 and 15 were also involved, with police saying their actions were an obstruction of business under Japan's Penal Code.
All of the suspects admitted to the wrongdoing, police said. One also reportedly apologised for his actions.
Several restaurants with the conveyor belts, which have been popular in the county since the 1970s, said they would stop using them altogether following the vile trend.
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Choushimaru, a chain of sushi restaurants, said that its staff will now bring dishes to customers directly from now on, adding that it would only hand out condiments and sauces when they've taken their seats.
A spokesperson for Kura Sushi, a publicly traded restaurant chain which saw a downturn in its stock price following the malicious pranks,told the BBC: "Conveyor belt sushi is something we are proud of as part of Japanese culture. We want to make sure our customers can eat sushi delivered on the belt safely and comfortably.”
The company alsosaid in a statement: “It is hoped that the fact that nuisances such as harassment is a ‘crime’ will be widely recognized in the world, and that there will be no copycats in the future.”
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