January 10th, 2003


Fire department issues mochi warning: chew carefully.

Six die in dumpling chokings

TOKYO (Reuters) - Six elderly people have died in separate incidents in the Japanese capital over the New Year period after choking on a traditional holiday dish of sticky rice dumplings, according to the daily Tokyo Shimbun.

Quoting the Tokyo Fire Department, the paper on Friday said the six, all in their eighties or nineties, were among 31 people hospitalised in Tokyo after tackling dishes of "mochi" dumplings, which are notoriously difficult to swallow.

Concerned about the handful of deaths each year, the fire department issued a "mochi" warning at the end of last month, urging people to take small bites and chew carefully.

Mochi are generally served grilled and wrapped in seaweed or boiled in soup with chicken and vegetables.


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