Six people were taken to hospitals in the Tokyo area on Thursday after choking on “mochi” rice cakes, the Tokyo Fire Department said Friday. Two of them later died.
The six were men and women ranging in age from their 50s to their 90s, TV Asahi reported. The two fatalities were an 84-year-old man in Kokubunji and a 76-year-old man in Koto Ward.
Each year before the New Year holidays, the National Police Agency and the Fire and Disaster Management Agency appeal to elderly people to be careful when eating “mochi,” which is a traditional New Year’s food. Elderly people are advised to cut up their “mochi” into small chunks and to eat it with great care, and in the presence of someone else.
The Tokyo Fire Department has a website advising people what to do if they see someone choking on “mochi.”