TOKYO, Sept 4 (Reuters) – Japan’s tuna market, the world’s largest, is taking an outsized hit from the coronavirus pandemic, pressuring restaurants and wholesalers at Tokyo’s sprawling Toyosu fish market to adapt to survive.
Businesses had hoped for more activity after Japan lifted its state of emergency in late May, but big events such as shareholder meetings and wedding banquets have remained on hold while many Japanese are still wary of going to restaurants.
Demand for fresh fish, especially the so-called “king of sushi” bluefin tuna, has slumped as the pandemic wiped out orders for events. Tuna prices dropped 8.4% in July from a year earlier, far steeper than the 1.5% annual fall in overall fresh fish prices, government data showed.
“Our sales are down by 60% compared to last August,” said 47-year old Yasuyuki Shimahara, owner of an “izakaya” dining bar specializing in tuna dishes in Tokyo’s Kanda business