TOKYO -- A bluefin tuna was sold for 20.84 million yen ($202,000) at the first auction of the new year at Toyosu market here early on the morning of Jan. 5.
The 208.4-kilogram fish was landed at Oma fishing port, in Aomori Prefecture, in northern Japan, which is well-known for its catches of large bluefin tuna.
Entry to the auction site of the fish market, in Tokyo's Koto Ward, was restricted this year due to the ongoing surge in novel coronavirus cases. Shigeo Yokota, chairman of an intermediate wholesalers' association which deals in bluefin tuna at the market, gave a speech at around 5 a.m., saying, "It's important to have a high awareness about infection prevention. I want to cheer you on to overcome this hard time." After a hand-clapping ceremony by those involved, the auction started with a bell ringing and loud bids were soon heard through masks.
The highest price ever fetched for a bluefin tuna at the first auction of the year at the market was 333.6 million yen ($3.23 million) in 2019, after the market moved from Tsukiji, in Tokyo's Chuo Ward.
Toyosu market workers have been infected with the coronavirus one after another since November 2020. However, after countermeasures, such as conducting large-scale PCR tests, were carried out, infections eased.
(Japanese original by Asako Takeuchi, City News Department)