TOKYO (TR) – Six people were rushed to hospitals in the capital after choking on sticky mochi rice cakes on New Year’s Day, with three of the victims showing no vital signs, reports NHK (Jan. 2).
According to the Tokyo Fire Department, the victims are men and women aged between 68 and 96.
Emergency services transported a man in his 70s to a hospital in a state of cardiac arrest after he choked on such a cake at his residence in Adachi Ward. Two other victims are in the same condition, the department said.
In Nagoya, three men in their 70s were rushed to hospitals after attempting to consume the same cakes. Two of them are in a state of cardiac arrest.
The mochi cakes are typically prepared to celebrate the New Year’s holiday. Given that many citizens wind up blocking their windpipes with the glutinous cakes, 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.