Japan is dealing with the disruption of jokes which undermine the hygiene of some conveyor belt sushi customers at the start of February. The trend videos became viral on Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram, showing teenagers contaminating food and spoiling and putting it back on the conveyer belt.
The trend was relaunched thanks to a short clip with 40 million views posted on a Twitter young boy user, in which he was at Sushiro - in the Japanese city of Gif - filmed while looking around laughing as he licks the top of a shared soy sauce bottle, the teacup stopper and touching a piece of sushi conveyed infected to other people. This led to a copycat effect, with many others filming themselves contaminating sushi by adding wasabi or licking spoons and returning them to the conveyor belt.
The 'sushi tero' is the abbreviation of sushi terrorism which has mainly involved these main conveyor belts sushi restaurants: Sukesan Udon, Kura Sushi, Hamazushi, and Sushiro. What seems just a gag is a serious upcoming trend causing substantial damage in terms of reputation. The loss income registered is 125 million dollars for Sushiro chains corresponding to 5 % less on share.
The debate on "terrorists" and their challenge has taken on decidedly critical dimensions considering the economic value produced by the various kaitenzushi present in the country, such as fast food all you can eat is equal to 740 billion yen (5.7 billion dollars).
The teenagers' challenge has put the conveyor-belt format at risk. Kaitenzushi Sushiro taking severe measures, has also taken countermeasures to slacken preoccupations and prevent similar episodes. Since last week, Sushiro has begun an order-only service to ensure items remain on the belt for the shortest time possible. They will also install surveillance cameras. The chain decided to replace soy sauce bottles, and condiments were removed from each table but located nearby, asking diners to collect them from a serving point.
The different restaurants have dealt in different ways. Similar measures to Sushiro, there are taken in place by Kappa Sushi which has installed more security camera checks. Its staff is in charge of the lookout for customers interfering with the menu and food safety experience. Others they are thinking of getting out of the conveyor belt business. Hamazushi already planned to remove its conveyors before this outbreak of low-rent bioterrorism. It will replace all rotating belts with a speedy “straight lane” to zipline items that customers special order on tablets. only about 10 percent of all their shops even have a slow rotating lane anymore A Hamazushi spokesperson said to Unseen Japan.
Meiwaku-douga in the Japanese language means inconvenience videos. The phenomenon seems to be generated by Youtubers who collect vast numbers of views to get attention for causing trouble. The concern is that it could also spread elsewhere due to the power of share through social networks, bringing gruelling economic consequences for this restaurant chains, especially about health and repercussions deriving from the spread of germs.
Japan is well known for its culture of cleanliness and the social phenomenon has shocked public opinion as it is harmful for the pandemic situation still present. Indeed, in January, Covid-19 deaths’ record wave and over a million related infections were registered in the country. According to Our World in Data, the Harvard University Covid database, 3.43 is the death peak reached on January 18th of the new year. Recently, the head of the Japanese government, Fumio Kishida, requested the Minister of Health, Labour, and Welfare Katsunobu Katō the declassification in "group 5" of diseases such as the flu. The downgrade of the legal classification of COVID-19 will be effective from May — bringing an end to quarantine guidelines for coronavirus patients — and review border controls and mask recommendations.
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