At least seven people choked to death after eating traditional glutinous 'mochi' rice cakes at a New Year celebration in Tokyo, a local fire department said on Monday.
All the victims are aged over 70. Another 18 people also choked over mochi but they have survived.
Two other Japanese nationals died after eating the traditional Japanese dish in Saitama.
Japanese families traditionally cook the sticky rice cakes for the New Year celebration. Officials said the choking deaths from mochi have been recently on the rise.
"Please be aware that mochi, which is so sticky, may cause suffocation if you swallow mochi without chewing it well," the fire department said in a statement advising nationals to cut it into smaller pieces.
TOKYO, January 3 (RIA Novosti)