Japan has found one way to cut the astronomical prices charged for gourmet food: send a few bureaucrats and businessmen to jail.
A rash of bribery scandals involving lavish entertainment dispensed in return for insider information has led customers of the nation's plush clubs and restaurants to forgo expensive nights out, the financial daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported Saturday.The scaling back of business entertainment expenses has in turn led to a drop in the price of gourmet food items as demand dwindles, it said.
At the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, the world's largest wholesale fish market, the price of bluefin tuna dropped by 45 percent from January to mid-March during a spate of white-collar arrests, it reported.
Bluefin tuna is used in some of the most expensive cuts of sushi.
The price of bluefin tuna at the supermarket has dropped by 14 percent from a year ago to 1,280 yen ($10) for 100 grams (3.5 ounces), while the wholesale price of globefish, another delicacy, has dropped by 20 percent from a year ago, the newspaper said.
The price of select cuts of beef has also fallen.