Sushi shortage: Japan is facing a crisis as restaurants grapple with supply issues and rising costs

Sushi, a standard, cheaper option on the menu in Japanese restaurants, is facing a crisis in the country. The Russia-Ukraine war, rising costs, and declining freshness have sent food prices soaring.

"There's currently a shortage of salmon, and ikura is in real danger," said Yoshinobu Yoshihashi, a "naka-oroshi," or intermediate wholesaler, at Toyosu Market in Tokyo, the country's largest wholesale market.

The salmon found in Japanese sushi is typically farmed salmon. Conveyor-belt sushi restaurant chains — where the food is served on conveyor belts that customers take for themselves — often use salmon from Norway, the world's largest producer of Atlantic salmon.

But since the end of February, Russia has imposed restrictions on its airspace, which means alternative routes had to be found for flights bringing Norwegian salmon to Japan.

Yoshihashi said the salmon is now flown from Norway to Japan via Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The longer routes are more expensive and also mean the fish loses its freshness. There are also fewer flights, so supply has dropped. ...continue reading

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