Shanghai Fugu Agreement

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Fugu, a poisonous delicacy

The Shanghai Fugu Agreement was a successful political prank which was landed on the Social Democrats in the German state of Hesse in 1985.

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 Schroeder. The 1985 Hesse coalition was to be based on an official policy agreement negotiated by both parties.

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

The Greens argued that the fugu fish is well known to be a dangerous delicacy requiring specialised 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" provides special regulations for certified fugu chefs internationally.

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 to be discovered as the joke it was.