HARD TO SWALLOW

Japan Tells Revelers to Chew Slowly

Japan officials reminded its citizens to carefully cut their food and chew slowly after popular New Year’s rice cakes turned lethal. According to Japan’s Yomiuri newspaper, nine people died choking on traditional mochi rice cakes on the New Year’s holiday, and 13 people were in critical condition. In total, 128 were rushed to the hospital in the first few days of the new year. While a few people tend to die choking on mochi cakes each year, 2015 marked a significant rise from the four casualties last year and the two in 2013. Over 80 percent of the victims are elderly. As Japan’s population ages, there are growing concerns that mochi choking related deaths may also rise.