Bluefin tuna fetches record $3.1 million at Toyosu market:The Asahi Shimbun

Jeannie Matthews
January 6, 2019

Kimura runs the Sushi Zanmai chain and said he hopes his customers will get to enjoy the 612-pound (278-kilogram) tuna.

"The tuna looks so tasty and very fresh, but I think I did (pay) a little too much", Kimura told reporters outside the Tokyo market, according to Reuters.

Self-styled "Tuna King" Kiyoshi Kimura paid the top price, which doubled the previous record of 155 million yen also paid by him in 2013.

Opened in 1935, Tsukiji was best known for its pre-dawn daily auctions of tuna, caught from all corners of the world, for use by everyone from Michelin-star sushi chefs to ordinary grocery stores. But he added: "The quality of the tuna I bought is the best".

The auction price was a record for both a total bid as well as kilogram price.

Japanese broadcaster NHK showed a beaming Kimura saying that he was surprised by the high price of tuna this year.

He told The Guardian: "The celebration surrounding the annual Pacific bluefin auction hides how deeply in trouble this species really is".

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The auction was held at the Toyosu market, which opened at Tokyo's waterfront area in October after the 83-year-old Tsukiji fish market closed down despite fierce opposition from workers and lingering concerns about contamination at the new site.

A single piece of "otoro", or the fish's fatty underbelly, can cost dozens of dollars at high-end Tokyo restaurants.

The successful bidder was Kiyomura Corp., the Tokyo-based operator of sushi restaurant chain Sushizanmai, which came out on top at Tsukiji for six consecutive New Year's auctions through 2017. The frequent auction victor has been known to pay well above market price for the vast fish.

"I sincerely hope this market will be loved by many people", said Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike, who attended the sale, wearing the white rubber boots favoured by auctioneers.

The relocation was a lengthy and controversial process.

The relocation was delayed by nearly two years as Tokyo had to deal with soil and air contamination and other issues at Toyosu, which formerly housed a gas production plant.

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