The Tokyo Reporter

Man dies after choking during rice ball eating contest in Shiga

A man, 28, died three days after choking on a rice ball during a competitive eating contest in Hikone City, Shiga Prefecture

SHIGA (TR) – A man died three days after choking during a rice ball eating contest, the event organizer said on Tuesday.

The 28-year-old contestant was hospitalized after he choked on his fifth rice ball and lost consciousness during the event held on November 13 by farm cooperative JA Higashibiwako in Hikone City, Shiga Prefecture, NHK reports (Nov. 22).

The man died three days later despite efforts by doctors, JA Higashibiwako said, without elaborating on the circumstances of his death.

JA Higashibiwako said it had prepared tea as a safety measure for the contest that was held to see who could eat five rice balls the fastest in three minutes.

The general affairs division of JA Higashibiwako said that it was “regrettable that an incident like this occurred. We extend our deepest sympathies to his bereaved family, and will handle this accordingly as well as reconsider whether such events should be held in the future.”

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