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Posted at 09:38 AM ET, 01/06/2012

Bluefin tuna bought for record $735K to ‘lift up Japan’s spirits’

With big bucks come big responsibility. A Tokyo man says he bought a nearly 600-pound bluefin tuna for over $735,000 — the most expensive tuna ever sold anywhere, ever — because he wanted to “lift up Japan’s spirits,” the Wall Street Journal reports.


The $736,000 bluefin tuna. (AP )

The giant fish was caught in Oma, a town in northeastern Japan, the area hardest hit by last year’s earthquake and tsunami. Dependent on fishing for its livelihood, Oma has been struggling along with other coastal towns whose fishermen’s boats were swept to sea in the twin disasters, or ports and markets destroyed.

Kiyoshi Kimura, who bought the fish, said he didn’t want to see the tuna bought up by a foreign company, as had happened in years past. “Rather than having it taken away overseas, I wish for Japanese people to eat good tuna together,” Kimura, who is president of the Tokyo-based sushi chain Kiyomura Co., told the Wall Street Journal. “Despite the March 11 earthquake and the sluggish economy, I want to lift up Japan’s spirits urging people to work hard together.”

Kimura picked the right fish. About 80 percent of all Pacific and Atlantic bluefin tunas are consumed in Japan, where the fish is appreciated for its rich and fatty meat.

But as TimeNewsFeed points out, Oma hasn’t always been so keen to fish away its bluefin tuna. In 2009, the president of the Oma fishermen’s co-op urged the national government to put a three-year moratorium on netting and trawling for the fish, as they were being fished faster than they can reproduce.

But those concerns quickly faded after the earthquake and tsunami. The recovery of towns like Oma are representative of the recovery of the entire Japanese coast. And nothing says recovery like a 600-pound tuna. Watch Kimura hold up his prize below:

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By  |  09:38 AM ET, 01/06/2012

Tags:  World, Japan, bluefin tuna, Japn earthquake and tsunami

 
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