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Thousands of fish frozen in ice rink prompts anger in Japan

Space World promised that its centrepiece would allow visitors to 'glide across the sea'. Credit: Twitter

An amusement park in Japan has been forced to close its ice-skating rink after a gimmick featuring thousands of fish frozen beneath a layer of ice prompted widespread anger on social media.

Space World, in the south-western Japanese city of Kitakyushu, was criticsed for its "cruel" and "immoral" skating rink, which featured around 5,000 dead sprats, mackerel and other fish.

The fish had been bought from a local market and embedded in the ice, some with their mouths still open in an apparent attempt to convey a sense of animation, local media reported.

Other parts of the rink showed whale sharks and sting rays suspended beneath ice. However, Space World maintained that they were merely enlarged photographs.

Social media users vented their anger on Space World's Facebook page, with some saying the attraction, which promised to allow visitors to "glide across the sea", showed an "appalling lack of morality".

In a statement quoted in the Japan Times on Sunday, Space World said: "We deeply apologise to people who felt uncomfortable about the Ice Aquarium event. As a result, we have stopped the event from today."

A spokesperson for the amusement park told the Asahi Shimbun that the fish were already dead when they were purchased, and added that the park was considering holding a memorial service for the fish next year.