The mochi rice cake, a sticky sweet Japanese delicacy traditionally served during the New Year’s celebration, has reportedly caused the death of two people in Tokyo, Japan.
One man from Ota Ward in his 50s went into a cardiac arrest after choking on a mochi while another man from Edogawa Ward in his 80s also choked on the rice cake which also caused his death. There are also 13 people, within the age range of 55 to 90, who were hospitalized because of choking on mochi. Fortunately, they were already released from the hospital and in safe conditions.
The incident happened after authorities have issued an advisory to the public on the proper way of eating the glutinous rice cake. Because of its sticky and dense qualities, officials recommend to cut the cakes into small pieces and chewing it slowly before swallowing it.
Prior to New Year’s celebration every year, the Japanese government have been issuing the same advisory, as death caused by choking on mocha has been recorded annually. The Tokyo Fire Department even has a dedicated website advising the public on the proper way of handling and assisting a person choking on a mochi.
Also, records from the Tokyo Fire Department showed that from 2011 to 2015, there were 562 people from Tokyo alone who were hospitalized after choking on the said rice cake.
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