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Japan Airlines Lounges Under Fire for Serving Shark Fin Soup

Japan Airlines Lounges Under Fire for Serving Shark Fin Soup
Jennifer Billock

Ocean lovers and those that love Shark Week, you might want to sit down for this. Japan Airlines is apparently serving shark fin soup in its First Class lounges—the dish is popular in China and at one time, only a few could afford it; now the soup is available for many more people who can afford it.

A member of the website Loyalty Lobby recently ran across something that horrified them while traveling through Tokyo. They found a sign in the Japan Airlines First Class lounge advertising shark fin soup. Apparently, the airline is serving the soup in the lounge.

Shark fin soup is popular in China—and the description on the advertisement notes that as well, describing it as “Chinese-style soup with ginger accents in Oyster sauce base.” The soup was first actually created for Chinese aristocracy in the 14th century; it was rare and expensive to have it thanks to the difficulty in catching sharks. But now that fishing methods have developed with technology, the dish isn’t all that expensive anymore, meaning everyone has access to it. But the problem is that shark fin soup kills about 100 million sharks every year, as they’re pulled out of the water, the fin removed, and the shark thrown back in to die.

Unfortunately, demand for this soup continues to grow in China—and Japan Airlines is probably making the issue worse by allowing it to be served in First Class lounges, even though many hotels have banned it from their restaurants.


[Image Source: Wikimedia/ harmon]

View Comments (9)


  1. Sabai

    May 8, 2019 at 6:00 am

    Given Japan’s indifference to world opinion, JAL may replace the shark fin in the soup with whale meat

  2. Jaysonb22

    May 8, 2019 at 7:24 am

    “According to some estimates.” Sensationalize much Jenny?

  3. glob99

    May 8, 2019 at 9:42 am

    … but Japan only kills whales for research. LOL

  4. DCAFly

    May 8, 2019 at 9:47 am

    How is shark fin soup “dangerous”?

  5. hfb606

    May 8, 2019 at 1:05 pm

    Dangerous to whom — the sharks? What’s happened to Flyertalk news?

  6. corbetti

    May 9, 2019 at 6:01 am

    “Sensationalize much Jenny?”

    Let me guess, you:
    1) don’t believe we landed on the Moon
    2) think climate change is a left wing hoax
    3) love to argue on the internet
    4) all of the above

  7. Global321

    June 13, 2019 at 12:58 am

    The killing of sharks for their seems unnecessarily cruel as (1) the fins have no flavor, (20 they only add texture and (3) people could have the same texture using other foods, such as sprouts.

    “But the problem is that shark fin soup kills about 100 million sharks every year,”

    That being said, the 100 million seems completely fabricated. Even the linked article only states “According to some estimates…” but doesn’t cite any sources. Later the article says awareness campaigns “may have cut Asia’s shark fin demand by 70 percent”, again with no sources.

    FT writers should check their sources and be careful misquoting sources.

  8. 4sallypat

    June 18, 2019 at 1:47 pm

    When I was in Japan, I could order fresh raw whale which was very good so it’s not unusual to serve shark fin soup.
    The sharks are not thrown back in the waters – they are harvested for their meat as well.
    I wish people of other cultures / nations would not sensationalize what other country’s practices.

  9. daniellam

    June 22, 2019 at 9:52 am

    I don’t think JAL is that generous to serve the real stuff, especially in a big pot!! It is probably imitation shark fin that is used to give Asian soups that extra texture.

    The real stuff costs a lot per small bowl.

    Seems like another Westerner overreacting!

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