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Osaka cops nab supplier of poisonous pufferfish as probe widens

Osaka Tora Fugu no Kai
Osaka Tora Fugu no Kai

OSAKA (TR) – As a part of an ongoing investigation in the illegal serving of poisonous blowfish at a chain of members-only restaurants, Osaka Prefectural Police have arrested a seafood supplier, it was revealed on Tuesday, reports Mainichi Broadcasting System (June 21).

In March, Tomori Nakagawa, the 38-year-old executive manager at seafood company Daisho Sougyo, for the alleged sale of tora fugu, or tiger blowfish, to the chain Osaka Tora Fugu no Kai while knowing that its poisonous liver would be served to customers.

Nakagawa, who has been charged with violating the Food Sanitation Act, admits to the allegations. “I had knowledge that the liver I provided was being served to customers,” the suspect is quoted.

Daisho Sougyo began its relationship with Osaka Tora Fugu no Kai in 2013. In January of this year, the company sold approximately 900 fugu fish to the chain for six million yen, according to the Sankei Shimbun (June 21).

With the liver and various other internal organs of fugu containing the deadly poison Tetrodotoxin, a license is necessary to prepare the flesh of the fish in Japan. Offering the liver and organs in any form is illegal.

Sliced sashimi

Last month, police arrested Masato Sawahara, the 42-year-old manager of its main branch, located in Tennoji Ward, for serving course meals containing the liver in sliced (sashimi) form. Osaka Tora Fugu no Kai has three other branches. Another shop manager was also arrested in the case.

Sawahara and five other persons, including employees of management companies of the chain, were prosecuted for violation of the Food Sanitation Act. A summary court order required the defendants to pay between 500,000 yen and one million yen in fines.

The chain’s four branches operate on a membership system in which the addresses and phone numbers for the restaurants are not made available to the public.