The teenager who went viral for licking a soy sauce bottle in a conveyor-belt sushi restaurant in Japan earlier this year is now being sued for almost half a million dollars.
The incident occurred in a branch of Akindo Sushiro, owned by Food and Life Companies. The teenager and his friend went to the restaurant on January 3, where the teen was filmed licking a bottle of soy sauce and a teacup, and touching sushi that passed by on the conveyor belt, various media outlets reported, citing court documents.
Akindo Sushiro filed a lawsuit against the teenager on March 22, alleging it saw a decline in business after a video of the incident went viral, per NHK, Japan’s national broadcaster. The lawsuit is filed in Osaka.
The chain is now seeking 67 million yen, or $480,000, in damages from the teen, court documents show, per media reports. The teen, who has not been publicly named, has admitted to and apologized for the incident. His defense team is arguing that he never meant for the video to go viral, South China Morning Post reported.
The incident is one of many “sushi terrorism” incidents reported in Japan.
Footage of people touching food, utensils, and soy sauce bottles have been posted to social media with the hashtag “#寿司テロ”, or “sushi terror,” Insider’s Aaron McDade reported in February. The culprits are often young people.
To crack down on such incidents, Japanese conveyor-belt sushi chain Kura Sushi announced earlier this year that it would use AI-powered cameras to track suspicious behavior among customers.
Food and Life Companies, which owns Akindo Sushiro, is worth $363.8 billion. Akindo Sushiro operates 610 branches in Japan and employs more than 47,000 people across full-time and part-time roles.
Food and Life Companies did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. A spokesperson for Akindo Sushiro declined Bloomberg’s request for comment. The defendant’s lawyer declined to comment to NHK.
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