A food poisoning outbreak that sickened some 1,000 students and teachers at seven Tokyo-area elementary schools in February has been linked to seaweed served during lunches, according to an NHK News report (computer translated).


At least 1,098 faculty and students at the Tachikawa City schools were affected by the outbreak. They presented with symptoms of vomiting and abdominal pain. Several required hospitalization for their illness.

Norovirus has been detected in at least one of the patients and the strain matched the strain found in the shredded seaweed samples.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has contacted officials in Osaka who have jurisdiction over the supplier of the seaweed product, known in Japan as kizami nori.

Tokyo officials say smaller outbreaks in Gobou City in January and a more recent outbreak Kodaira City in metro Tokyo have also been linked to this seaweed.

At the press conference, Shihei Shimpei mayor of Tachikawa City apologized to the parents and children affected, noting that they should have safe food to eat.