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Twitter beef: Japan lawmaker apologizes after tweet seems to knock chain Yoshinoya's food

Shuhei Kishimoto is seen in this Nov. 16, 2014 file photo. (Mainichi)
A sign for a Yoshinoya outlet in Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture, is seen on May 8, 2019. (Mainichi/Kazuhisa Soneda)

TOKYO -- A prominent opposition party lawmaker has publicly apologized to a popular beef bowl restaurant chain on Feb. 6 after he posted a tweet that indirectly described the eatery's signature dish as unhealthy.

The Democratic Party for the People lawmaker behind the tweet, 63-year-old Shuhei Kishimoto, is a member of the House of Representatives serving as the party's election bureau chief.

Kishimoto posted a message on his personal Twitter account after eating a beef bowl before a lower house plenary session on the afternoon of Feb. 6. It read: "There's a high chance it (the meal) has been made using American beef which uses growth hormones and stimulants, and it's bad for your health, but it's cheap and delicious so I often eat it. I'm in the second half of my life now, so I guess it's fine. Young people should take care though!"

Although Kishimoto didn't name the restaurant he got the beef bowl from, Yoshinoya Co. is the only one of the major eateries specializing in the product that has a presence in the Diet building. A response posted on the official Yoshinoya Twitter account read, "If those things were really included (consumers) would have already been in a bad way ... This person tweeting is just an ordinary person, but I eat them (beef bowls) every week and I'm full of energy! You can eat it feeling safe and secure."

After the response, Kishimoto deleted his initial tweet and followed up with an apology: "I've written a post which appears to criticize a specific company and product, for which I am very sorry. To the company concerned, and those who may have been hurt by what I wrote, I want to take this opportunity to apologize."

(Japanese original by Yoshitaka Koyama, Political News Department)

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