52-Second Giant Panda Tryst Sends Tokyo Restaurant SurgingBy
Totenko shares rise after pandas mate in zoo near premises
Investors bet on increase in visitors to Chinese eaterie
Shares in Totenko Co., a Tokyo-based operator of a Chinese restaurant, jumped after nearby Ueno Zoo announced its giant pandas had mated, fueling hopes that the first baby panda at the zoo in more than four years would boost tourism in the area.
Public viewing of the two pandas, Shin Shin and Ri Ri, was halted last week in preparation for the mating session, according to a statement from Ueno Zoological Gardens. Totenko, which operates a flagship eatery walking distance from the zoo, surged as much as 9.9 percent in afternoon trading after the announcement of the 52-second coupling. Kyodo News reported it was the first time for the pandas to mate in four years. The stock closed up 2.9 percent on trading volume almost five times the three-month average.
Totenko’s shares have been whipsawed by panda news before. Shares surged in 2013 after Shin Shin appeared to be expecting, but plunged a month later when the zoo announced she had shown false signs of pregnancy. In 2012, she gave birth only for the baby panda to die after less than a week. At the time, the economic impact of the offspring was estimated at an annual 10 billion yen ($89 million).
The two pandas arrived in Tokyo just 18 days before the March 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster. Each year the zoo donates $950,000 to panda research in China in return for the animals, which are the main attraction and the first thing people see when they enter the main gate of the complex.
The zoo was one of the first outside China to host giant pandas. In 1972, a pair were given as a gift to mark the restoration of diplomatic ties between Japan and China. Visiting the pandas is hugely popular with Tokyo residents.