TOKYO (TR) – Nine people were rushed to hospitals in the capital after choking on sticky mochi rice cakes on Friday and Saturday. One of the victims was later confirmed dead, reports NHK (Jan. 2).
According to the Tokyo Fire Department, the victims are men and women aged between 70 and 93.
Emergency services transported a 90-year-old man to a hospital after he choked on a grilled cake at his residence in Nishitokyo City on Friday. He was later confirmed dead, the department said.
On Saturday, a 78-year-old man fell unconscious after choking on soup containing mochi at his residence in Tama City.
New Year’s Day holiday
The mochi cakes are typically prepared to celebrate the New Year’s Day holiday. The fire department regularly urges citizens to cut the cakes into smaller bite-size pieces and chew thoroughly before swallowing.
In recent years, 90 percent of the victims have been over the age of 65, the department said previously.
The department suggests that acquaintances or family members of choking victims strike them firmly in the back to clear the blockage. If necessary, they should also provide heart massage as soon as possible.