Japanese theme park apologizes for freezing 5,000 fish in skating rink

World Today

The handout picture taken in November 2016 and released on November 28, 2016 shows people skating on an ice rink with 5,000 frozen dead fish inside at the Space World amusement park in Kitakyushu, southwestern Japan. / AFP PHOTO / STR

A theme park in southwestern Japan has caused public outrage after it displayed about 5,000 frozen fish in the ice at its skating rink to create a decorative effect.

Space World amusement park in the city of Kitakyushu closed the skating rink on Sunday and apologized for “those who found the ice rink uncomfortable” in a statement after receiving a barrage of criticism.

The rink, which opened on Nov. 12, froze about 25 different kinds of fish under the surface of the ice, intending to give customers the feeling of skating on the ocean.

Pictures of the fish that were posted on the park’s official Facebook account showed some fish were made to spell out “HELLO” or form an arrow-shaped sign under the ice. The images were later removed.

However, the idea sparked outrage on social media with people slamming it as “cruel” and “inhumane.”

Space World’s Facebook page has been flooded with negative reviews. “In what alternate reality is your administration living in to think that freezing a bunch of animals into a skating rink would be a good idea?” wrote one netizen, calling the behavior “sick.”

Another visitor described it as “animal abuse,” saying that “even if the fish were not sellable on markets, it still matters what we show and teach our children by our actions.”

Space World General Manager Toshimi Takeda told reporters that the fish were dead before they purchased them from a seafood market. He said the park was “extremely regretful to have invoked such unpleasant feelings.”

The park would hold a memorial ceremony for the fish, he added.

Xinhua has the story.