‘Two Michelin Star’ Food Poisoning at Puffer Fish Restaurant in Ginza

The Tokyo metropolitan government announced that a woman who had a meal at a puffer fish restaurant ‘Fugu Fukuji’ in Ginza, Tokyo complained of lip numbness and a headache, and was temporarily hospitalized. Chuo City health centre came to the conclusion that the woman had food poisoning from puffer fish because she ate the toxic liver. The restaurant is due to have its business suspended and Tokyo metropolitan government is also considering administrative punishment.

According to the restaurant, Fugu Fukuji was awarded two stars in ‘The 2011 Michelin Guide to Tokyo, Yokohama, Kamakura’ which evaluates restaurants and hotels.

According to the metropolitan government, the woman and a male acquaintance started the meal at about 8pm. She ate ‘Kimo Ponzu’ which uses the liver of the tiger puffer. At about 10.30pm, she complained of food poisoning symptoms and was hospitalized in the healthcare facility in Shibuya city. She was discharged the next morning.

‘Kimo Ponzu’ was not on the restaurant menu. The puffer fish chef reported to the healthcare facility ‘I provided it because the customer asked for it. I have served it to her male acquaintance in the past’.

In interviews, the restaurant has stated, ‘We are sorry that we have disappointed our customers. We seriously regret what we have done.’

Adapted and Translated from Sponichi Annex


Puffer fish (‘fugu’ in Japanese) is one of the most celebrated but also most notorious of Japanese dishes. Special licences are required to prepare and serve the fish in restaurant, as the toxic parts need to be carefully removed to ensure they do not contaminate the parts of the fish that are eaten. Some consider the liver to be the most delicious part of the puffer fish, but it also the most poisonous and consuming it can result in death. Serving the liver in restaurants was consequently banned in Japan in 1984.