Major Sushi Chain Sushiro Seeks ¥67 million in Damages Over Foul Acts

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
A Sushiro restaurant sign in Tokyo

OSAKA — The operator of the Sushiro sushi chain has filed a ¥67 million lawsuit against a young man who circulated a video showing him licking the spout of a soy sauce bottle shared by customers at one of its conveyor-belt restaurants.

Akindo Sushiro Co., located in Suita, Osaka Prefecture, filed the suit at the Osaka District Court on March 22.

According to the complaint, the young man licked the spout of a soy sauce bottle on the table and put his saliva on sushi that was on the conveyor-belt at Sushiro’s Gifu Masaki restaurant in Gifu Prefecture in January.

After the video was uploaded to social media and went viral, Sushiro saw a significant drop in customers at its stores nationwide.

The stock price of Sushiro’s parent company lost nearly 5% on Jan. 31. The company claims that it lost more than ¥16 billion in economic value in a single day, according to the complaint.

The young man’s behavior “caused considerable discomfort and disgust to many customers,” Sushiro said in its complaint. “The consequences are so serious that this problem cannot remain unaddressed,” it added.

In the young man’s statement of defense, written on his behalf and submitted to the district court, he admitted to licking the communal item and expressed remorse, saying he has been “reflecting on [my] behavior every day.” At the same time, the young man is seeking the lawsuit’s dismissal on the grounds that the decrease in customers could be due to competition from other sushi chain restaurants.