Japan’s Takashimaya apologises for collapsed Christmas cakes

TOKYO: In prim and proper Japan, all it took to prompt a prestigious department store chain into an earnest, public apology in the aftermath of Christmas were complaints over mangled US$40 cakes.

“Cake collapse” has dominated headlines for days in Japan after irate consumers took to social media over the weekend to post pictures of crumbled Christmas cakes delivered to their doorsteps.

Sold online by major chain Takashimaya, the strawberry-topped cakes – meant to be immaculately decorated – arrived to some customers miserably flattened and fragmented, images on social media showed.

Out of the nearly 3,000 frozen cakes sold, more than 800 were confirmed to have been marred as of Tuesday (Dec 26) night, Takashimaya said in a statement on Wednesday.

“We would like to apologise deeply for the deformation in our frozen Christmas cakes that betrayed the expectations of many of our customers,” Takashimaya senior official Kazuhisa Yokoyama told a nationally televised news conference.

The firm said customers may be reimbursed for the cakes, priced at 5,400 yen a piece, depending on delivery conditions.

The debacle left Takashimaya officials organising an exhaustive probe into its production and delivery partners.

Takashimaya though “couldn’t identify a cause”, Yokoyama told reporters, claiming temperature management was not the issue.

Still, “we, as the seller, are responsible for delivering our products to the hands of our customers, including from production to distribution”, Takashimaya said in the statement.

“The entire responsibility rests on us.”

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