The Daily Telegraph

Sushi ‘terrorists’ in Japan licking food as it passes on conveyors

- By Julian Ryall in Tokyo

YOUNG Japanese diners are contaminat­ing sushi as it passes on conveyor belts in acts of “terrorism” that have sent shares in food chains tumbling.

Videos of teenagers licking their fingers and touching food in sushi restaurant­s have gone viral, triggering fears of copycat acts in a country renowned for its order and sanitary standards.

In a video viewed 93 million times, a young man laughs as he licks the top of a bottle of soy sauce and the rim of a mug that he replaces on a tray of clean vessels in a Sushiro chain restaurant. The company said it replaced every bottle of soy sauce in the outlet and it washed all of its mugs. The unnamed diner reportedly returned with his parents to apologise.

Customers have since been told to pick up their utensils and condiments from a serving point. Sushiro also said in its statement that it intends to pursue civil and criminal proceeding­s against the man, adding that shares in the restaurant’s holding company had fallen 4.8 per cent since Jan 25, when the clip began to circulate.

Zensho Holdings, which operates the Hamasushi chain, called in police after a video surfaced showing a diner adding large amounts of spicy wasabi paste to a dish and returning it to the conveyor belt. Kura Sushi is trying to identify three men who took a plate from the conveyor belt and placed the sushi on a different plate.

Coverage of the incidents in national media has led to further reports of misbehavio­ur in restaurant­s, including footage of a man at a yakiniku grilled meat restaurant returning a toothpick to its holder after using it.

Restaurant­s have installed security cameras as commentato­rs express their fears over the “terrorism” online.

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