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9 sent to hospital in Tokyo after choking on New Year's rice cake, 1 dead

A piece of toasted rice cake. (Getty Images)

TOKYO -- One person in Tokyo has choked to death on rice cake, one of nine people rushed to hospital in the first three days of January with the Japanese New Year's delicacy stuck in their throats, the Tokyo Fire Department announced on Jan. 4.

    According to the fire department, a woman in her 90s died after choking on rice cake while having "oshiruko," or sweet red-bean soup with "mochi" rice cake in it, at her home in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward. She was taken to the hospital with no vital signs at around 4 p.m. on Jan. 3, and was later pronounced dead.

    The woman was among the nine people aged between 28 and 93 who were treated at medical institutions. Apart from her, five of them -- in their 60s to 90s -- were in serious condition when they were transported to hospitals, according to the department.

    The fire department called for people to "cut rice cake into small pieces, and chew them slowly before swallowing." They also advised that "family members watch over nearby elderly people and infants when they are eating mochi."

    (Japanese original by Maki Kihara, Tokyo City News Department)

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