TOKYO – The owner of a Japanese chain of sushi restaurants has set a record by paying more than $ 3 million for a bluefin tuna in the first auction on the Tokyo fish market, exceeding its record highs in 2013.
Kiyoshi Kimura, who owns the Sushizanmai chain, has paid 333.6 million yen ($ 3.1 million) for 278-pound fish captured off the coast of the Aomori Prefecture in northern Japan, or twice as much as six years ago.
"The tone looks so tasty and very fresh, but I think we did too much," Kimura told reporters outside the market.
"I expected it to be between 30 million and 50 million yen, or 60 million yen at the highest level, but it has reached 5 times more."
Saturday's event was the first New Year's auction on the Toyosu market after the famous Tsukiji fish market closed last year to provide a temporary parking lot for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics.
Kimura kept the record for the top price paid for one fish at the new year auction for 6 years until 2017. But last year the owner of a different chain of fish restaurants paid the highest price.
After the auction, the fish were taken to one of Sushizanmai's branches, located on the old market in Tsukiji.
Tuna is appreciated worldwide for sushi use, but experts warn that rising demand has made a species endangered.