Holy Carp! Fabled Tokyo tuna auctions reopen to public

Closed since the end of February this year, public viewing of tuna auctions at Tokyo's famous Toyosu fish market re-started on Monday, 2 November in a further positive sign of confidence that Japan is easing past the live event lockdown.

Eighteen visitors were selected by lottery in advance and gathered at the market in the early morning to watched from a viewing deck as dealers wearing masks took part in the bidding.

The news comes as the Japanese government unwound travel restrictions on non-tourist foreign travellers from China, South Korea, Australia, Brunei, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, and Taiwan.

How to move Japan into a position where the country is comfortable hosting the rescheduled 2020 Olympics, due to start on July 23 next year, is perhaps the key challenge across the global sports business, with so many international federations, National Olympic Committees and athletes heavily reliant on getting this Summer Games away in order to deliver to their own stakeholders.

Easing the travel restrictions is the first time Japan has lifted entry bans on any country or region since it began putting parts of China, including Wuhan, where the coronavirus was first detected, on the list in early February.

The fish market, which opened in 2018 to replace the ageing Tsukiji market, suspended public viewings of the auctions on February 29 following the outbreak of the virus. So this is positive news, a small step in the right direction.

Vlogger and former tuna auction specialist Tsukiji Mom takes us behind the scenes at the first and most celebrated auction of the year which takes place in January

While the market normally invited up to 120 spectators per day, capacity under the new reopening protocols has seen attendances cut to 27. Visitors are required to wear face masks, have their temperatures taken and submit their contact information.

To apply online to attend please follow the instructions here.

Last year the excellent vloggers at Going Awesome Places took us on a tour of Toyosu Fish Market, the tuna auction and business part of the operation

‘I didn't think we would be able to watch (the auctions) up this close. It was a valuable experience,’ said a 42-year-old woman from Tokyo who visited with her two sons.

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Charlie Charters is a former rugby union official and sports marketing executive turned thriller writer whose debut book Bolt Action was published by Hodder & Stoughton in 2010.
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