The domestic catch of juvenile eels for cultivation dropped this season to 3.7 tons, the lowest level since comparable data became available in 2003, Fisheries Agency data released earlier this month showed.

In the period from November 2018 to May 2019, Japan imported 11.5 tons of young eels, the second-highest on record, according to the Finance Ministry's trade statistics.

All of the imports came from Hong Kong, according to the data, which has raised suspicions about their origin since Hong Kong does not engage in eel fishing.