Tokyo Is About to Be Invaded by Sushi-Loving ‘Ninja’ Rats

As the world’s most famous fish market prepares to close, concerns are emerging regarding the resident “ninja” rat population which has been inhabiting the market for decades.

|
Feb 14 2016, 3:00pm

Since it opened in 1935, Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market has become one of the city's main tourist attractions and an international hub of sushi-grade product.

The 57-acre market covers a significant portion of the city's Chuo district, nestled between the Sumida River and upmarket Ginza. In a city as densely populated as Tokyo, it's a prime piece of real-estate not just for humans, but for rats—ninja rats.

READ: Step Inside the World's Most Legendary Fish Market

As the world's most famous fish market prepares to close, concerns are emerging regarding the resident "ninja" rat population which has been inhabiting the market for decades.

What on Earth is a ninja rat, you ask? It's the term being used to describe small black rats known for their ninja-like stealth and ability to "appear out of nowhere," the BBC is reporting. This may come as a shock to anyone familiar with Tsukiji's reputation for sourcing some of the world's finest marine life, but the black ninja rats are notoriously difficult to control.

While Tsukiji is upgrading to a bigger and better location on a man-made island near the site of the 2020 Olympic games, city officials are anticipating a mass migration of rats who will no longer be able to feast on salmon roe and tuna belly remnants.

READ: A Japanese Sushi Tycoon Paid $117,000 for an Endangered Bluefin Tuna

According to the BBC, the local government is investing 22 million yen into a "mass extermination project" which will see the deployment of 83,000 glue traps among nearby homes and businesses.

"It's going to be a little gruesome, I think, for residents having to deliver their trapped rats," British Daily Telegraph reporter Danielle Demetriou told the BBC. "I'm sure that, Give the efficiency of local governance here, they'll explaining with great detail, with illustration and diagrams, exactly what to do and how to dispose of them."

The fish market is slated to open in November 2016 into a new facility twice the size of the current one which will also be more accessible by car and, hopefully, given its island setting, less accessible to rats.