Japan's farmers find 'Abenomics' fruitless as watermelon swiping surges
Tokyo Reporter -- Jul 09
A farmer from Ibaraki Prefecture tells weekly tabloid Shukan Taishu (July 8) that he has heard many positive things about 'Abenomics' on television, but his life hasn't changed. "On the contrary," he says, "fertilizer prices are up, and at a town gathering the other day I heard that watermelon thefts are a huge problem."

According to the magazine, the much ballyhooed initiative - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's pledge to raise government spending in an effort to boost prices - may be raising share prices on the Nikkei index, but with costs for raw materials escalating agriculture and retail businesses are experiencing a staggering number of thefts, including that of the suika, or watermelon.

"In tough economic conditions, mysterious incidents often occur," says a reporter at a national newspaper. "In a recession, you might hear about an increase in stolen rice. Recently, however, there have been a large number of thefts of high-priced fruit. There is no precedent for this."

On May 26, a farmer in Chikusei, Ibaraki noticed the disappearance of 700 small watermelons (worth 350,000 yen) from inside a greenhouse not far from his house. "He never thought someone could haul away such a bulky and heavy items," says the aforementioned reporter.

Five days later, another farm in the same city suffered a loss of 250 melons. "In recent years, the prefectural government has been promoting Chikusei watermelons as being sweet and delicious," says the same reporter. "The thefts have really hit home, and local farmers are perplexed as to how to establish counter measures."

According to the Yomiuri Shimbun (July 7), a farmer discovered the theft of 150 watermelons, valued at 150,000 yen, from a field in the city of Yuki on the morning of July 6.

But the thefts are not just occurring in Ibaraki. Tottori Prefecture is the producer of the high-end Daiei Suika brand, a specialty watermelon known for being shipped to the royal family of Dubai. In the city of Hokuei, three incidents have taken place.

Source: Tokyo Reporter
Nov 27
Volcanic smoke from Mount Aso in southwestern Japan rose about one kilometer into the sky on Wednesday. (NHK)
Nov 27
UNESCO has decided to add the traditional techniques of crafting Japanese-style "washi" paper to its list of intangible cultural heritage. (NHK)
Nov 27
A Japanese reporter indicted on charges of defaming South Korean President Park Geun Hye in an article about her whereabouts during April's deadly ferry disaster pleaded not guilty at a preliminary hearing Thursday at the Seoul Central District Court. (Kyodo)
Nov 26
The number of people injured in the earthquake that struck northern Nagano Prefecture over the weekend has risen to 45, according to prefectural authorities, while 690 houses were left without running water. (Japan Times)
Nov 26
Japan's Supreme Court has ruled that last year's Upper House election was held in a state of unconstitutionality due to disparities in the value of individual votes. (NHK)
Nov 27
Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Wednesday announced the arrest of a female sex worker for allegedly threatening to kill a celebrity doctor two months ago, reports Nippon News Network. (Tokyo Reporter)
Nov 27
The Utsunomiya District Court in Tochigi Prefecture on Wednesday convicted two men over the illegal disposal of a body after they dumped the body of a young woman in a cardboard box near a quarry in Sano on Aug 4. (Japan Today)
Nov 27
Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Wednesday announced the bust of a prostitution ring that utilized social media services to recruit customers, reports Nippon News Network (Nov. 26). (Tokyo Reporter)
Nov 26
Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Wednesday announced the bust of a casino in Toshima Ward on charges of illegal gambling, reports TV Asahi (Nov. 26). (Tokyo Reporter)
Nov 26
The fraudulent composer once dubbed "Japan's Beethoven" is facing a lawsuit over the cancellation of his tour after it emerged he lied about his work and relied on a ghostwriter, reports said Tuesday. (Japan Today)
Nov 26
Villagers in Higashi-Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, are riding high. (Japan Times)
Nov 26
A Japanese pop group is trying to get people to change their tune about trash. They're singing in the streets while they clean. And some of their fans are helping them along the way. (NHK)
Nov 25
Four South Korean men have been arrested in southern Japan on suspicion of stealing an ancient Buddha statue, police said Nov. 25. (Asahi)
Nov 25
Police in Asahikawa, Hokkaido, said Tuesday that around 16,000 New Year greeting cards ("nengajo") have been stolen from 26 Lawson convenience stores. Security cameras have captured footage of two men who are believed to be the thieves. (Japan Today)
Nov 25
A 49-year-old man was arrested on Monday afternoon after he fired shots into the Yokohama apartment of his former wife, police said. (Japan Today)