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Tourists to be barred from Tsukiji tuna auctions for a month

76 Comments

Tourists will be banned from pre-dawn tuna auctions at the Tsukiji fish market for at least a month, officials said Wednesday. "We have decided on a total ban as visitors are taking pictures with flash and touching tuna, which gets in the way of bidding," said Akiko Ueyama, a spokeswoman for the Tokyo metropolitan government. "The market is not a visitor attraction but a place for fish bidding."

Local authorities have long overlooked hundreds of people, mostly foreign tourists, flocking every day to Tsukiji market to see the tuna auctions. But the metropolitan government will now deploy guards to enforce the ban, which is due to begin on Dec 15. It will notify embassies, hotels and travel agencies of the move.

"We are also considering if we should continue it indefinitely," Ueyama said.

The market, the source of fresh sushi and sashimi flown daily to top restaurants the world over, has long topped must-see lists for first-time visitors to Tokyo.

© Wire reports

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

76 Comments
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Yokoso Japan!

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why don't they do something as simple as making a section where visitors can watch the auction w/out getting in the way??

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What are they hidding? Are they selling dolphins from Taiji?

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Over the years, I've seen a number of top Tokyo attractions shut down due to their "inconvenience." The Harajuku dancer-fest and open walking street on Omotesando come to mind.

Japan is not a tourist country. Thailand, Malaysia, etc, are much better destinations, due to the local attitude.

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They've tried all sorts of things to control the flow of visitor traffic, especially during the early-morning wholesale auction hours, but most visitors don't realize it's primarily a working wholesale market. What they need to do (and maybe will, when and if they finally relocate) is to more clearly separate the retail and wholesale parts of the market (maybe something like the venerable Pike Place Market in Seattle for the retail side), and possibly, as jinjapan suggests, build a separate auction viewing area (glassed in, overlooking the auction floor?) for visitors who want to see that excitement.

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Not Newworthry, formal notice to travel agencies who entertain foreign tourists should be enough.

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How do you to fine tuna a tourist stop? "..a place for bidding". Bad tourists! BAD! ...Now go home!

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"Thailand, Malaysia, etc, are much better destinations, due to the local attitude."

oh? with the touts, pick-pockets, knife-wielding robbers and low-hanging clouds of bike pollution lurking everywhere? i'll take japan over any of those countries; any day. besides, it's a wholesaler's/retailer's market for eff's sake! why should tourists be allowed inside? would the same people like to visit a slaughterhouse and watch freshly killed animals being auctioned off?

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People everywhere seem to have less and less common sense. 200 people touch a frozen tuna, the surface may begin to defrost...it's a health code violation anyway. The whole tourist thing at Tsukiji just might be getting old...it's been a listed as a place to go since the 70s. I can see the workers getting tired of it if the numbers are getting out of hand.

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Sounds fair to me. I wouldn't want a bunch of jerks bothering me when I'm working.

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Yes, I'll be pissed off if 100 of poeple a day come and look what I'm doing.

1 section manager is enough already.

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This is the top national news story? Man, there's not much happenening in Japan, is there?

Charge them entry, keep them in a visitors area, and probably fingerprint them too to keep out any terrorists.

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A business-driven decision; I can't argue with it. Like franz75 says, one section manager is hassle enough.

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something fishy is going on here! sounds like someone is trying to cover up a labeling scam or something. Maybe the tuna is raised in china but marked as coming from the southern ocean, or maybe the fresh tuna has been sitting in the freezer for 4 or 5 yrs. Or maybe someone went over the fishing quota?........Nah, its just to get rid of the annoying babajijis that get in the way of everything. I remember when the Centrair airport first opened, the poor passengers who actually wanted to fly somewhere couldnt get to the airport easily cause the stupid siteseeing tourists clogged up the airport trains.

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That's just about the same time The Nishin Maru will return from the southern ocean scientific whale hunt, isn't it?

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I've seen evening news footage of this story, the last time it was in the news. There are loads of people wandering around, it's not just a few. And there were flashes going off in the faces of the guys doing the auctions, causing some to miss bids. It's pretty stupid to get right up and take a picture of someone at close range while they're working.

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so a business is complaining in a bad economy of too much business?? People are weird to blind live auctions taking place. Those flashes can be pretty annoying. So why not build a stand or something, maybe a glass thunderdome. y'know..make a buck. Sell it like fish-theatre

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I don't like tourists, any kind of tourists. I agree with the Tsukiji authorities that they should be ban to visit the market. In fact, I would extend this banning to all these Japanese visiting Paris, they bother me to see La Giocconda properly, and also in Firenze, with they ridiculous hats, and in Barcelona, taking pictures of an unfinished church or that market in Les Rambles. I even think that the auction of tuna in Tsukiji should be banned it self, due to the risk of tuna extintion all over the world, and all those ships chasing tuna and whales, just banned from the Earth. Then, we all would be happier and the world, a better place.

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It's not business, no one's buying anything! What foreign tourist staying at a hotel is going to buy raw fish ? That's part of the point here, they get in the way and they don't contribute to revenue.

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So Tokyo is down to about four or five interesting places to see, then?

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So Tokyo is down to about four or five interesting places to see, then?

Is there that many? I must be missing out on something.

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Why don't they rope off a viewing gallery and charge a small fee?

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people need to know how to do available light photography & a little crowd direction

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My take is that they should cordon off an area specifically for the tourists, and charge them an admission fee. They get to see the fish, the real action would happen away from them where the workers can concentrate, and a new income stream is created.

Everone wins.

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sorry ogtob. I missed your comment, and we had the same idea.

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For those that aren't aware about Tsukiji - it's a fish wholesale market and tourists can't buy fish from there nor would they. It's the equivalent of tourists going into the middle of a swiss watch factory and touching the watch pieces being worked on. While factory tours can be managed, Tsukiji was never designed for that - they need to build a section to facilitate tourists if they wanted but they decided not to.

This is a ban on all visitors including Japanese onlookers. But of course this being JapanToday, racist trolls are bound to call for banning Japanese. Just surprised it took a dozen posts, they've been slacking lately.

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one of the main tourist spots in Tokyo. And they barred Tourists. And Japanese people wonder why people don't like coming here. There is simply nothing special. I mean you see 1 temple you have seen them all. Experience Japan in 1 day. That should be the new rule. And don't stay here. (we don't want you. -previous article about local inns)

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“We are also considering if we should continue it indefinitely,” Ueyama said.

Yes, there's soemthing dodgy about labelling being hidden here. They don't want to be watched.

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I wouldn't want people come in and watching me work, take pictures... fair enough. I do have to laugh though as Japan is complaining about lack of tourist and then shuts down one of the most famous...

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Another knee jerk Japan solution to a problem that should be leveraged into an opportunity.

Rope off and area and ban flashes. Easy enough and lots of other places do this. Heck, charge admission and share the profits to improve the place.

Think out of the box people. Life is not black and white. Open/Closed. How did this place ever get to be #2?

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Think out of the box people. Life is not black and white. Open/Closed.

You are talking about Japan here. Thinking outside the box is like the nail - it'll get smashed into place soonish.....

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Most of these Japanese dudes working at Tsukiji look quite dodgy indeed. They mostly have dirty angry looks are their faces, maybe they hate their jobs? Maybe They know that Tsukiji will not last much longer since it is being scheduled to be moved to a bigger part of Tokyo and this maybe a way to ease tourists away from Tsukiji so next year etc..they can point, well you see, gaijin tourists don't even care about Tsukiji, so just hurry up and close it and move on to the new landfill area which is contaminated with who knows what but billions of yen are at stake!

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Let's see. Hundreds of people want to visit my place of business everyday, and no advertising required. I could a)show some entrpreneurial spirit and figure out how to make some money off them, or b)ban them as they get in the way, and hire guards to keep them away. I would choose "b" myself, but then I am a pretty lazy guy. "A" would be too troublesome!

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Think out of the box people

your really asking for a lot there you know LOL

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franknbeans - I don't think your plan would work. Tourists want to see the real action!

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GW. I know. After nearly a decade, I keep hope alive. Optimistic? Sure. Realistic? Probably not. But I'll keep hoping anyway.

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Just before whale hunting season, they don't want photos of the whale meat taken!

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i think there are a lot of REALLY amateur photographers.. or can you even call them that? Almost, if not all point and shoot digital camera has at least ISO 800 now, and that is totally sufficient for taking a nice picture without flash...at night! I havent been to the tuna auction, but I'm sure is not darker than night photography. Too lazy to wake up that early for the tuna auction. hehe.

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notify embassies

Through the "tuna ambassadore"?

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Jeez... where is the creativity... Stick up a chain link fence or something.

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As I have read in a guide book (I did not went there) it is possible to eat fresh fish in stalls and small restaurants in Tsukiji. This is also banned now? Because I thought, this is the business which gets money from Tourists?

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Rope off and area and ban flashes.

Easier said than done. No one was supposed to use flash cameras during the diving events at the Beijing Olympics - but thousands did so anyway. It is strictly forbidden to take flash photos at the Louvre in Paris, but when I visited, there were plenty of idiots who did so anyway (mostly Americans and Japanese it seemed).

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electric, Tsukiji is the name of an entire area. There are no sushi places inside the actual Tsukiji wholesale warehouse.

Tsukiji wholesale market gets ZERO, exactly ZERO revenue from tourists. Most (though not all) industrial wholesale markets in the world bar tourists. Tsukiji has let people look at their work because why not. Now they've changed their mind.

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Put another way, nobody drives up to an Amazon distribution warehouse and asks to shop directly from them. They won't let you.

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what? Tsukiji banned for tourists?...they shouldn't opened it up to them in the first place...do first, think later?...:)

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According to my Lonely Planet Tokyo guide book it suggests to be there before 5AM to catch the action. Should Lonely Planet be notified of the changes?

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I think we should combine Tskji with Kabukicho and produce some kind of fish human porn. You could charge admission and make the interference by the tourists worthwhile.

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All I can say to the American Tourists is, "Sorry Charlie".

Okay...Okay!!!! To all you that grew up in America watching the Starkist Tuna commercials, I know it's a groaner......But it was just to way to juicy to pass up.

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asking an entry fee would have been better for business

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Let's see what other interesting things in Japan we can ban tourists from...If they were smart(???), they would charge admission for the tourists to observe and take pictures...but no one has ever accused the fishing associations of being smart...

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Nooo! I still have to see this! man :( I should have gone in April when I had the chance. :( Can I still go if I live there lmao

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who cares? why not go to a rice auction instead?

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someone should tell the national govt' they are the ones promoting it. http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/regional/tokyo/tsukiji.html

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http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/regional/tokyo/tsukiji.html

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Uh, you don't think this could have anything to do with celebreties and Greenies getting in the way when the "hunters" are unloading fresh whale, could it? Just a thought.

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What was the problem? Did a Tunaget contaminated? Did workers complain? The use of semi public fucilities for non ad hoc activities (like people drawing sketches of the paintings at museums). Shouldnt clear signs of no flash,no touch be enough?

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I've never really understood the foreign guidebooks insistance that Tsukiji is a worthwhile attraction. I could list 50 more worthy attractions in Tokyo than trudging around a smelly market to look at dead sea creatures. Id rather see them on the plate at kaiten-zushi...

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Tsukiji is way too over rated! Sushi is nice, but no reason to get up at 4 am to visit this market. I will miss Tsukiji but, oh well, life does go on!

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New Lonely Planet Guide for Japan. Hot off the presses.

"Japan is a cold, sad place, where people are very depressed and many of them jump in front of trains almost every day. They have a big fish market in Tokyo, but foreigners arent welcome. In fact, there are many places in Japan where foreigners arent welcome - there are many "Japanese Only signs throughout Japan, and many hoteliers cant stand the sight of a foreign person. Best avoided - go to Thailand of the smiles and warm welcome, instead, and dont waste your time and money on Japan."

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When all the tuna are over fished and gone, this won't be but a footnote in history...Way to go, Japan!

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Thats right ban the tourists who bring in tourist dollars, especially at a time when the economy is going down the toilet..........Good move!!

I hate Tuna anyway, damm smelly fish.

Yes we don`t want tourist snapping evidence photo of us secretly selling whale meat (For study purposes only).

Shit where else are they going to ban tourists, next maybe the resturants where they serve the tuna, or how about Tokyo Tower, How about kamakura Yea dont want tourist taking photos of our unkept daibutsu, hahahah!

The report says hundreds of tourists flock there everyday to watch the proceedings, and they are going to post a few guards to tell tourists to go away, Hahahahaha GOOD LUCK FELLAS!!!!!

I bet the travel companies are real chuffed about this move, one less place to visit, whats next?

What a sad day when an industry openly bans people for looking.

I`m introducing a bill into the parlament of my country banning Japanese tourists from using public transportation because they smell of tuna.

Or better ban all Japanese tourists from bringing cameras into the country and taking a million photo`s each, FLASH FLASH!!!

Cheers Man you start something like this where does it end, one gets away with it everyone will want to do it.

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This is nothing new, they have been complaining about this for a long time and trying to work ways to keep the tourists from interfering with the auction process, personally I don't blame for doing this, it is a workplace after all, imagine if you had groups of idiot tourists in your office taking pictures and messing with your stuff during your work day....

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I would be happy to have people around taking photos and looking at something as interesting as Tsukiji Market. I have been many times and not even once i saw anyone interfere with their business. Typical idiot ism at is best. Bravo Japan once again

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MEMO: JAPANESE WHALING COMMISSION

In order to hide our Illegal sale of Whale meat (Tuna) please implement measures to ban observers of the practice.

Suggest a 1 month trial, if we get away with it lets make it indeffinate.

Japanese whale commission ...AKA Whale research Wink Wink!!

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Suggest a 1 month trial, if we get away with it lets make it indeffinate.

The would have just banned Australian tourist if that were the truth.

New Lonely Planet Guide for Japan. Hot off the presses.

As well in Japan you will come across self-rightous foreigners, most likely the teaching field, who hate Japan and yet seem entirely unable to return to thier home countries and/or talk about anything other Japan. They turn any conversation or article like a Japanese fishing market closing to tourist into a rant about how horrible and racist Japan is.

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newsboy

I'm with you on this one. Basically, tourists get in the way of people trying to do their job at the markets. That is what this is about. You can find whale meat in other areas of the market so it's nothing to do with that. Imagine busloads of Japanese tourists at the NY Stock Exchange running around the trading floor taking photos or having their photos taken in front of traders!

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As well in Japan you will come across self-rightous foreigners...

Aha!!! The old "Don't listen to him because he is a self-rightous, Japan-bashing, hater" argument, with a dash of foreigner bashing on top, including the euphemistic use of the term "the teaching field". Me thinks "the realist's" somewhat over the top post may have struck a nerve.

Moderator: Readers, please stay on topic.

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Aha!!! The old "Don't listen to him because he is a self-rightous, Japan-bashing, hater" argument, with a dash of foreigner bashing on top, including the euphemistic use of the term "the teaching field".

Did I say don't listen him? I would never condone censoring anyone. The use of "the teaching field" was not a euphemism but rather a statement of fact, IMO. I stand by statement that you will find self-rightous foreigners in Japan, that will turn any conversation or article in rants that contradict common sense. The article said that all tourist(Foriegn and Japanese) were banned because it is a place of business and the tourist were interfering with how the business was being conducted. Nothing nefarious or racist just common sense and as for it striking nerve, although I found post somewhat irksome, in the way I find most racist banter irksome, it was far from hitting a nerve.

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Ok, fair enough. But the points being made, and not only on that one post but by others too, is that Japanese attitudes towards foreigners make it an unattractive destination compared to a place like Thailand. And that the banning of tourists from Tsukiji is a symptom of that problem. Both points might or might not be true, but whether they are or not has nothing to do with how many self-rightous foreigners there are in Japan.

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Who needs Tsukiji! The workers their always have a nasty look on their faces. I guess they hate gaijins, so they can stick Tsukiji right up where the sun don't shine!

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Blimey, this is a tourist spot. As usual the Japanese are putting people off from visiting, (on purposei reckon). They'll only lose out in the end, you'll see. And another thing when you see japanese tourists all yous see is bleeding camera flashes, so how can they moan, the Philistines?

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the banning of tourists from Tsukiji is a symptom of that problem.

That may be true if tourists were being banned from Tsukiji, however they are not being banned from Tsukiji. They are being banned from the early morning tuna auction ONLY, a fact which seems to have slipped the notice of many though it is an important distinction. There is nothing wrong with that as it is distracting. No "racism" involved.

Simple reading comprehension seems to be beyond the abilities of many JTers, willfully or otherwise.

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Not sure why the comment above has a certain R word in quotes. That is the only place where the word shows up on this entire page, going all the way back to the first comment. But what do I know, I got a reading comprehension problem. I thought tourists where banned from ALL of Tsukiji, hehe.

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First of all, Tuna does not smell. In fact, if you go to Tsukiji and smell, you will smell very little. Everything is fresh and all you smell the the smell of the sea. Second, I understand the workers frustration. This is their job. You can watch and take photos from a distance. I visited Tsukiji and had a wonderful time. The personnel there were very warm and friendly. If you have a Japanese friend, take him or her with you. And finally, don't touch the tuna!!!

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Why would you tourists want to come to a stupid fish market? It's like us going to a walmart and crowding employees... taking photos and generally annoying the crap out of everyone... deterring the real customers and not buying anything! There are better things to see here than some silly auction of fishes. If there was actually a revenue being generated to support the businesses that would be a whole different story. And what's with all the assumptions this is to cover up some sort of whale auction?

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In other words: BAWWWWWWWWW, as they say on the image boards. Or as I say, much whin(g)ing about nothing!

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