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A celebrated Japanese sushi businessman, nicknamed “Tuna King”, paid $1.8 million for a giant tuna at New Year’s auction at Tokyo’s main fish market on Sunday.

Kiyoshi Kimura, who runs a successful sushi restaurant chain, paid 193 million yen ($1.8 million) to purchase a 276-kilogramme (608-pound) bluefin tuna, caught off the Aomori region in northern Japan.

“This is the best,” Kimura told reporters after the pre-dawn auction.

“Yes, this is expensive, isn’t it? I want our customers to eat very tasty ones this year too,” he said.

Media-savvy Kimura regularly pays top price at the first auction of the year at the Japanese capital’s main fish market, making himself and his business a fixture in national news during this season.

In last year’s new year auction, Kimura paid a record $3.1 million to win a 278-kilogramme (612-pound) tuna.

The traditional auction is now being held in a new market in an area called Toyosu.

The world-famous Tsukiji market, which had long served as a popular tourist attraction in an area packed with restaurants and shops, closed in 2018.