Tokyo: This tuna is worth savouring: It cost nearly three-quarters of a million dollars.
A bluefin tuna caught off northeastern Japan fetched a record 56.49 million yen, or about USD 736,000, today in the first auction of the year at Tokyo`s Tsukiji fish market. The
price for the 269-kilogramme tuna beat last year`s record of 32.49 million yen.
The price translates to 210,000 yen per kilogramme, or USD 1,238 per pound also a record, said Yutaka Hasegawa, a Tsukiji market official. Though the fish is undoubtedly high quality, the price has more to do with the celebratory atmosphere that surrounds
the first auction of the year.
The winning bidder, Kiyoshi Kimura, president of Kiyomura Co., which operates the Sushi-Zanmai restaurant chain, said he wanted to give Japan a boost after last year`s devastating tsunami.
"Japan has been through a lot the last year due to the disaster," a beaming Kimura told AP Television News. "Japan needs to hang in there. So I tried hard myself and ended up
buying the most expensive one." Kimura also said he wanted to keep the fish in Japan
"rather than let it get taken overseas."
Last year`s bid winners were Hong Kong entrepreneur Ricky Cheng, who runs the Hong Kong-based chain Itamae Sushi, and an upscale Japanese restaurant in Tokyo`s Ginza district. This year`s record tuna was caught off Oma, in Aomori prefecture and just north of the tsunami-battered coast.
Bluefin tuna is prized for its tender red meat. The best slices of fatty bluefin called "o-toro" here can sell for 2,000 yen (USD 24) per piece at tony Tokyo sushi bars.
A Sushi-Zanmai shop in Tsujiki was selling fatty tuna sushi from the prized fish for 418 yen (USD 5.45) apiece today.