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Pricier catch: Frozen tuna prices jump 60% in Japan

Demand for restaurant staple only seen growing as COVID-19 curbs end

A fish-focused Tokyo izakaya offers a seafood rice bowl made with frozen bigeye tuna from the Toyosu market. (Photo by Saki Tanaka)

TOKYO -- From COVID-19 to a weak yen, a confluence of global economic forces has led the price of one of Japan's favorite sushi toppings to surge.

Many chain sushi restaurants, izakaya pubs and other affordable eateries serve frozen bigeye tuna, a cheaper alternative to the fresh bluefin often served at high-end restaurants. The price for frozen bigeye averaged 1,443 yen ($10.20) per kilogram at Tokyo's Central Wholesale Market in September -- up 13% from a year earlier, and around 60% higher than two years ago.

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