ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon Twitter
Politics

Japan's chefs must take test for licenses to serve puffer fish

Nationwide rules meant to put potentially deadly fugu on foreign tables

Fugu sashimi is typically served in thin slices. Eating the dish can be deadly if the poisonous parts are not removed properly. (Photo by Takumi Sasaki)

TOKYO -- Japan aims to increase exports of its famed fugu, or puffer fish, by creating a standard test nationwide designed to ensure safety in the preparation of the potentially deadly delicacy.

The new license requirements from the health ministry are intended to confirm that those who prepare fugu know how to remove the poisonous parts of the fish. At present, requirements can differ for each local government, and cooks possess varying skill sets and knowledge.

In Tokyo and Yamaguchi Prefecture, applicants currently need a cooking license and two to three years of experience, in addition to passing both written and practical performance tests. Yet some areas of Japan require only that lectures be attended. Because of the vast difference in requirements, licenses are valid only in the designated district.

The health ministry will notify municipalities about the new policy this month. It will roll out license standards and require municipalities that do not meet the standards to offer additional courses.

Fugu at a wholesale market in Osaka. (Photo by Hirofumi Yamamoto)

The new fugu license holders will be permitted to prepare the fish anywhere in Japan. The ministry will evaluate how well municipalities integrate the new policy and publish the results next year.

Japan hopes to lift seafood exports by raising preparation standards for fugu. Exports of fugu are much smaller than those of mainstream seafood like scallops.

"Other countries say that it's easier to import fugu if it is regulated officially," said a representative of the International Fugu Association.

A changing ecosystem for fugu also raises concerns, as the fish migrate north due to global warming. The migration causes different puffer fish species to mate, increasing the number of hybrids. Consumers are more likely to fall ill or die from hybrids because the poisonous parts differ from those of the original species.

The health ministry intends to investigate and report on the state of fugu hybrids to local governments regularly, in addition to strengthening the certification standard.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 1 month for $0.99

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends January 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to Nikkei Asia has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more