Shanghai Fugu Agreement

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Fugu, a political and poisonous delicacy

The Shanghai Fugu Agreement (German: Shanghaier Kugelfisch-Abkommen) was a successful 1985 political prank played on the Social Democrats in the German state of Hesse.

In 1985 the new Green Party prepared to enter into a German state government for the first time in its history. The first Green cabinet minister in German history was going to be Joschka Fischer who later became minister of Foreign Affairs in the German Federal Government under Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. The 1985 Hesse coalition under Prime Minister Holger Börner was to be based on an official policy agreement negotiated by both parties.

During a final night session of the negotiations the Greens presented a demand that Hesse join the "Shanghai Fugu Agreement". This was accepted by their tired Social Democratic counterparts and became official state policy.[1]

The Greens argued that the fugu fish is well known to be a dangerous delicacy requiring specialized chefs who mostly come from Asia. Due to expanding restrictions on work permits restaurants have found it difficult to employ such specialists. The "Shanghai Fugu Agreement" was supposed to provide special regulations for certified fugu chefs internationally.

Chefs in Japan must have certification to handle the fish.[2]

The agreement was absolutely fictional but was neither discovered to be a joke by the Social Democrats during the nightly negotiations nor later by civil servants or the press who went through the coalition contracts. It took years before the Agreement was revealed to be a joke.


  1. ^ "Full German text of coalition agreement of 1985 between SPD and Green Party in Hesse" (PDF) (in German). Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  2. ^ Lohr, Steve (1981-11-29). "One Man's Fugu Is Another's Poison". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-03.