Three arrested in Japan over conveyor belt ‘sushi terrorism’

Three people have been arrested by Japanese police over “sushi terror” – viral, unhygienic pranks that are threatening the world-famous feature of sushi conveyor belt restaurants. A viral video of a man licking a soy sauce bottle on a sushi conveyer has sparked outrage among the public.

The same man is seen squashing sushi dishes at a Kura Sushi restaurant branch in the video.

Police in the central Japanese city of Nagoya arrested a 21-year-old man who allegedly licked a communal soy sauce bottle at a Kura Sushi conveyor-belt sushi restaurant on 3 February.

Two minors aged 19 and 15 were also involved. Police said their actions constituted 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.

A spokesperson for Kura Sushi said the viral video trend was “extremely dangerous” and posed a threat to the foundation of the conveyor-belt restaurant model.

He said: “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.”

Kura Sushi has now also developed an alert system, where some of its conveyor belts will now be equipped with sensors and cameras.

If a person is caught returning a plate that has been tampered with, an alert will be sent to the chain’s offices in Saitama prefecture, near Tokyo and Osaka. The affected restaurant would also be informed, Kura Sushi said.

The company said the new sensors would also be able to identify the specific plate and seat number affected.

Many more such videos have proliferated sparking public concern.

Incidents filmed include diners – many of whom are children and young people – spoiling others’ orders by touching sushi dishes passing by.

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In one of the videos that was released last month, a customer is putting wasabi on another’s dish, while another person licked the presented chopsticks.

Similarly, another video filmed at a Sushiro chain outlet, a diner is seen rubbing saliva on passing sushi pieces.

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