TOKYO, JAPAN - FISHERMEN across Japan are set to stop fishing for one day next month to protest against rising fuel prices, in a strike that could deprive sushi restaurants and supermarkets of popular tuna, mackerel and squid.
Japan's national fishing union will meet later on Wednesday to decide when member organisations will strike and how many fishermen will take part, an official said.
Nearly 200,000 coastal fishermen are members of the union, the Nikkei financial daily said.
'We have no intention of disrupting distribution or raising prices,' said Mr Akira Takahama, manger of fisheries policies and international affairs at the union, known as the National Federation of Co-operative Fisheries Associations.
'But we want to raise public awareness of the fact that fishermen are losing money just by going out to fish,' he said, adding that Japanese consumers could help business by eating more fish.
Some 3,000 squid fishing boats suspended fishing for two days last week in a protest widely covered by Japanese media. A news programme showed squid specialty restaurants with near-empty fish tanks.
The protest next month would probably involve all fishing boats, Mr Takahama said, including those for tuna, which is widely used for sushi and sashimi.
Fishermen in Europe have been more adamant in protesting against higher fuel costs than their Japanese counterparts, with French fishermen blockading ports and the fuel depot of France's biggest oil refinery.
Italian and Portuguese fishermen have also staged strikes. -- REUTERS