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Tsukiji market holds final New Year auction before move

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Tsukiji market workers and others join in the traditional clapping ritual for good luck prior to the start of New Year bidding in Tokyo’s Chuo Ward on Friday.

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Tokyo’s iconic Tsukiji wholesale food market held its “hatsuseri” New Year auction on Friday morning, the final such event there as the market is set to be relocated to a site in the Toyosu district in October.

In hatsuseri at the Tsukiji market, keen attention is paid to the prices fetched by bluefin tuna, regarded as a delicacy.

In the first auction for 2018, prices fell sharply from the levels in last year’s hatsuseri, because a total of 145 bluefin tunas was put up for sale, about 60 percent more than in the previous year.

A 405-kilogram tuna caught off Oma, Aomori Prefecture, sold for ¥36.45 million, the highest price in Friday’s auction. But the figure is less than half the highest price from the previous year.

The highest per-kilogram price was ¥160,000, fetched by a 190-kilogram tuna from Oma, also down by more than 50 percent from a year before. Areas off Oma are one of the best tuna fishing grounds in waters off Japan.

“The tuna is good in all aspects, including the quality of meat and fat,” said Kiyoshi Kimura, president of Kiyomura, the operator of the Sushizanmai sushi restaurant chain, which bought the 190-kilogram fish.

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