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be careful

Rice cakes behind several deaths, hundreds of hospitalizations in Japan

A traditional part of a Japanese New Year's meal is responsible for the death of three men in Tokyo and at least nine people across the country.

Mochi, or sticky rice cakes, are grilled or cooked in broth or with sweet beans, The Associated Press reports. The glutinous treats can get stuck in people's throats, blocking their airways, and last week, 128 people were taken to the hospital after choking, the Yomiuri newspaper reports.

The Tokyo Fire Department has started urging the public to take care when eating mochi, reminding them to cut their mochi into smaller pieces, chew slowly, and learn first aid.