New Tokyo Laws May Let Any Restaurant Serve Blowfish

They're loosening restrictions on the potentially deadly delicacy

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

In Japan, learning to serve the expensive delicacy of blowfish takes at least two years of training, plus a series of written and practical exams to get a license.

It's not surprising; blowfish is considered a potentially deadly dish, as the liver, intestines, eyes, and heart contain a poison known as tetrodotoxin. Even a small amount of tetrodotoxin could kill if consumed.

So it may be surprising that Japan is implementing new laws starting in October that will allow any restaurant to serve the fish, with or without a license.

Reuters reports that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government thinks city laws concerning blowfish should change to reflect modern times, claiming that outside of Tokyo, blowfish regulations are more lax, and even then very few deaths occur.

Officials hope that lessening regulation will lower prices and allow chefs to incorporate blowfish meat into other cuisines.

Still, Tokyo chefs are hardly pleased with the new law, especially those who trained for years to master butchering the tricky fish.

"I don't want people to forget that you can actually die from eating blowfish," one chef told Reuters. "I feel the government's awareness of this has diminished."