A man has been indicted for tampering with a restaurant’s conveyor belt sushi in Japan, marking the first known case against a participant in the recent wave of “sushi terrorism” pranks in the country.
Ryoga Yoshino, 21, was among the first individuals arrested for hopping on the viral trend, which has forced sushi restaurants to suspend their conveyor belts, conduct disinfection protocols, install AI-powered security cameras and explore legal measures against perpetrators.
Yoshina and two others — a 19-year-old man and a 15-year-old girl — were apprehended earlier this month for an incident that occurred at a Kura Sushi branch in Nagoya City on Feb. 3.
According to police, Yoshino wiped his saliva on some sushi and licked the spout of a soy sauce bottle.
The moment was caught in a now-viral video. Yoshino’s male accomplice allegedly filmed the moment, while the role of their minor companion was not immediately known.
Yoshino was charged on Tuesday with obstructing a business, according to Kyodo News.
The teen girl was released pending further investigation, as per Sankei News, while the 19-year-old man was reportedly put on probation.
The 21-year-old felt “at a loss about what to do” after his alleged video went viral and sparked outrage, according to his lawyer Kenichi Tamura. He reportedly did not realize that he had committed a crime until he was arrested.
Tamura said Yoshino now understands his mistakes and hopes to apologize to the restaurant chain.
On the other hand, Kura Sushi said they “sincerely hope the public has come to know that these acts of public nuisance would constitute a crime and no such acts would be committed in the future,” Kyodo News noted.
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