'Tuna King' Kiyoshi Kimura pays record Sh316m for giant fish


Spending millions in the fish market is a sort of tradition for this Japanese entrepreneur, but this time he has outdone himself, setting a new record and splashing a whopping $3.1 million on a giant bluefin tuna.

He spent more than twice the previous record of $1.4m, which he paid in 2013.

It was bought by Kiyoshi Kimura, president of Sushi Zanmai, a major sushi restaurant chain.

While speaking to them, he commented on the high price of tuna in the previous year, but added: "The quality of the tuna I bought is the best".

"The tuna looks so tasty and very fresh, but I think I did too much", said Kiyoshi Kimura, who owns the Sushi Zanmai chain and hooked the monster catch with a 333 million yen offer at an annual auction in Tokyo.

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The rise in price was even noted by the auction victor and sushi-tycoon, Kimura when he was interviewed by the Japanese broadcaster NHK.

Self-styled "Tuna King" Kiyoshi Kimura bought the 278kg (612lbs) bluefin tuna, which is an endangered species.

The fish normally sells for up to $40 a pound but price rises to more than $200 a pound near the year's end. "The price was higher than originally thought", he added.

Last year's auction was the last at the famed Tsukiji market before it was relocated to a new facility on a former gas plant site on Tokyo Bay.

However issues including concerns about outdated fire regulations and hygiene controls prompted the market to be moved to a larger and more modern site.

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Japan is the biggest consumers of the torpedo-shaped bluefin tuna, and surging consumption here and overseas has led to overfishing.

Jamie Gibbon, associate manager for global tuna conservation at The Pew Charitable Trusts, said the celebration around the auction is "deeply troubling".

Experts warn that the bluefin faces possible extinction, with stocks of Pacific variety depleted by 96 percent from their pre-industrial levels.

The new market opened in October.

Tsukiji is due to be redeveloped, though for now it's being turned into a parking lot for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

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