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68 people suffer food poisoning at Hotel New Otani in Tokyo

29 Comments

Attendees at two parties which took place at the Hotel New Otani Tokyo have been struck down by food poisoning, the hotel confirmed on Saturday.

As of Friday, 68 guests out of a total of 209 have complained of feeling ill after dining at the hotel on April 7. Doctors said that 59 of the sick guests have been diagnosed with a form of norovirus, TBS reported.

The outbreak has already affected more people than a similarly high profile case of food poisoning at the same hotel in November of last year, when 38 people contracted a form of norovirus at a wedding banquet.

The banquet hall at which the outbreak occurred has been banned from trading for six days by local authorities. A spokesperson said that an employee preparing food for two establishments in the hotel complex has tested positive for a form of norovirus and is thought to be the source of the outbreak, TBS reported. The hotel has released a statement apologizing to customers who were affected by the incident.

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29 Comments
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Basic hygiene could be better in Japan. People often do not wash their hands after using the bathroom. Men pick their noses in public without shame, spit on the floor... It's foul.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

food poisoning at the same hotel

Wow. Just... wow.

To learn or not to learn...? Not.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

those employees forgot to wash their hands!

at the NorOtani Tokyo!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

there likely is no pressure other than the ordinary Japanese pressure not to take any time off when ill

The trouble with norovirus is that you're contagious both before and after you are showing symptoms. My very genki granddaughter gave it to the whole family over the New Year holidays; by the time we realised a day later that she was ill, it was too late, we all had it.

My son doesn't work with food, but he was ordered not to come in to work until at least three days after symptoms had disappeared. I think it depends on the awareness and common-sense level of the company. But a food worker showing no symptoms - how do you deal with that?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Weird,

when I mentioned this story and what happened to my wife, her response was "行きたい!!"

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Wooo! had noro virus a couple of years ago. Not pleasant at all! Hope the people effected are compensated.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What kind of suicidal business operation allows a second case of food poisoning within 6 months???

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I haven't seen the level of militant cleansliness that I have seen in other countries in japan. I think that this is more the situation of Japanese dedication to thier employer. It is conceivable that an employee, forced himself/ herself to go to work dispite being deathly ill. Norovirus causes endless vomitiing and poops... so it is easily spread through hand contact or through airborne vapor. I am sure I caught norovius this summer in Tokyo. Sooooo sick......

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The sad part is that as soon as the no-trade period is up people here will have forgotten it in a minute flat, until, if the pattern is consistent, the next outbreak occurs in October. I see they're trying to pin it on one person in the kitchen, but the bottom line is that the hotel is responsible, for they dictate the hygiene rules people must abide by when handling food.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Happened a few years ago too. The HNO Management sent staff all over Japan with boxes of crackers to apologize to everyone who was staying at the hotel at the time, whether they were affected or not.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Re the poor desperado: The article states, "A spokesperson said that an employee preparing food for two establishments in the hotel complex has tested positive for a form of norovirus and is thought to be the source..."

That simply means one person was handling the preparation of food for two separate places to eat in the same hotel. So there likely is no pressure other than the ordinary Japanese pressure not to take any time off when ill. Do they think that a face mask (which is often pulled down) makes them polite and non-contagious? In general , I noticed very sloppy hygiene etiquette in public places while travelling in Japan in 2010.

In particular, on my first day in Tokyo at a high-end soba place, someone preparing my lunch (behind the noren obscuring my vision) sneezed straight out of the mouth into the kitchen air. I could hear that it was not directed into a shoulder or inside of the elbow as is common in the West. That same person was handling food for other people all day and touching implements that other staff would carry to the table.

I wanted to pay and leave without eating. But I stayed to have my meal. No surprise. Next day I had all the symptoms of an incubating cold that lasted two weeks.

And hand washing? What is the point of hand washing if people barely wet their hands without soap and pat them on a small cloth tucked into a pocket or handbag? That's all I ever saw being done. And that creates a damp environment for in TWO places for bacteria & viruses to multiply. You have to wash and DRY thoroughly. Every time. But nothing saves you from other peoples poor hygiene etiquette.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

So true hatsoff.... cleanliness is a myth. The guy at the local fish market near me smokes while he cuts fish and I often smell ciggies in the grocery store and near the deli. I think they still have the smoking section about 10 feet from the cooking at the Landmark Tower Wendy's. I'm just sayin... Look at the bright side... its better than Chinese inspection standards. Most of hotels in Kansai are still in 1985 with sanitation.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

It's clear from casual observation that Japanese attitudes to food hygiene are in some aspects primitive by comparison to UK (animals in kitchen area, separation of cooked vs raw, etc). OTOH the culture of cleanliness is pretty strong, anecdotally food poisoning seems generally at a low level.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

All readers back on topic please. Posts that do not refer to what is in the story will be removed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I can't believe norowheels, er, the norovirus is back.

Dent - Well, of course she wants to go to the New Otani, that is a great hotel!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

LOL!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wouldn't wish norovirus on anyone. It's nasty, and spreads so easily.

Get well soon, people at the New Otani.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

2 cases of norovirus at the same hotel in less than half a year? makes a note to avoid this certain hotel

0 ( +0 / -0 )

if the norovirius is so, uh, virulent, then what kind of pressure with respect to employment conditions was the poor desperado who went to work ("for two establishemtns") while infected under??????????????

0 ( +0 / -0 )

singled down to one guy? Wow, he's going to have hell to pay :(

0 ( +0 / -0 )

i think it's noVovirus and not norovirus.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yikes. I've stayed at this hotel twice, that is disappointing that this problem has happened more than once.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Contaminated food has a tendency to make people really sick.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I saw what happened when my 2 yr old gave my wife rota or noro. Mask on, had to disinfect the whole house with bleach, which is the only thing strong enough to kill it. Horrid horrid stuff.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

smithinjapanApr. 15, 2012 - 12:51AM JST

I see they're trying to pin it on one person in the kitchen, but the bottom line is that the hotel is responsible...

Yep. I agree.

cleoApr. 15, 2012 - 10:09AM JST

The trouble with norovirus is that you're contagious both before and after you are showing symptoms...

....But a food worker showing no symptoms - how do you deal with that?

Yep I agree with that too. That's why this can and probably will happen again and again. Scary.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wow, we were planning on going there because we heard the food was good. Guess not!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

hi I was there 2 times my company tour ,a beautiful place to eat coz at the roof deck of the hotel the place go round and nice to see the other place down.its expensive place and delicious,you see Japan at the top at night and the garden was wonderful ,the Tokyo tower etc.I took many pictures and remembrace when I was there.how nice to eat again free.you can eat all you want many times ,its yearly thanks giving all youre tireness and regret lost in a day tour , yeah Oh what happened to this business then?I hope can recover and become famous as well.go round and round restaurant its unique.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

hahaha.. the snobs at Otani get a taste of real life. Hope they appreciate the economy they wrought.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Hatsoff:, spit on the floor? I think you exaggerate. The rest is true for men in any country.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

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