"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.
|Mar 09||Thousands protest in Japan ahead of Fukushima anniversary|
|Banging on drums and waving "Sayonara nukes" signs, thousands of people rallied in a Tokyo park and marched to Parliament on Sunday to demand an end to nuclear power ahead of the third anniversary of the Fukushima disaster. (scmp.com )|
|Mar 09||Astronaut Wakata becomes commander of International Space Station|
|Astronaut Koichi Wakata, 50, became the first Japanese to serve as commander of the International Space Station on Sunday. (Kyodo )|
|Mar 09||Mt Gox faced 150,000 attacks per second: report|
|Bitcoin exchange MtGox faced massive hacker offensives last month, coming under some 150,000 DDoS attacks per second for several days ahead of its spectacular failure, a report said Sunday. (AFP )|
|Mar 09||Abe visits Fukushima ahead of March 11 anniversary|
|Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Fukushima Prefecture on Saturday, 3 days before the 3rd anniversary of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters. (NHK )|
|Mar 09||Japan to cut bluefin tuna catch in Northern Pacific by half|
|Japan plans to slash by half the amount of juvenile bluefin tuna taken from the Northern Pacific starting in 2015, compared to the 2002-2004 average, a Fisheries Agency source said Saturday. (Global Post )|
|Mar 08||Japanese girl bitten 100 times in New Zealand dog attack|
|New Zealand doctors said Friday that a 7-year-old Japanese girl was bitten about 100 times during a dog mauling that has horrified many in the South Pacific nation. (USA Today )|
|Mar 08||Fewer than 40 pct of Tokyo residents, commuters prepared for quake|
|Fewer than 40 pct of residents and commuters in Tokyo take specific measures to prepare for a possible huge earthquake beneath the Japanese capital, despite high awareness on disaster prevention, a Metropolitan Police Department survey showed Friday. (Jiji Press )|
|Mar 08||Blizzard pummels northern Japan|
|A blizzard struck northern Japan on Friday with authorities warning of avalanches, high waves, strong winds and traffic disruption. (thehindu.com )|
|Mar 08||Japanese men do near the least housework|
|An international survey shows Japanese men fell into a group doing the least housework. (NHK )|
|Mar 07||Kashiwa murder suspect says he wanted to fly hijacked plane into Skytree|
|The man under arrest for fatally stabbing one man and wounding three others during a 10-minute rampage in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, on Monday night, told police on Thursday that he wanted to hijack a plane at Haneda airport and fly it into Tokyo Skytree to take revenge on society. (Japan Today )|
|Mar 07||Japan's Beethoven apologizes before cameras|
|The man lauded as "Japan's Beethoven," who has admitted he never wrote his compositions, appeared before cameras for the first time since the scandal surfaced - clean-shaven and minus his trademark sunglasses. (abcnews.go.com )|
|Mar 07||Serial underwear thief operated in three prefectures|
|Police in Sano, Tochigi Prefecture, have indicted a man for stealing more than 200 items of women's underwear in three prefectures. (Japan Today )|
|Mar 07||Kashiwa stabbing suspect's identity: 'celeb NEET'|
|The 24-year-old suspect in the murder of a man on a street in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, on Monday is believed to have posted a profile online in which he identified himself as a "celeb NEET," meaning a celebrity without a job, according to local online news site J-Cast News. (Japan Times )|
|Mar 07||Under 20 pct of nonregular male workers in 20s have girlfriends|
|The proportion of single nonregular Japanese male workers in their 20s who have girlfriends stood at 18.7 pct in 2012, against 30.7 pct for regular employees, a government survey revealed Thursday. (Jiji Press )|
|Mar 06||24-year-old man arrested over knife attacks in Kashiwa|
|Police in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, on Wednesday night arrested a 24-year-old unemployed man over four knife attacks within 10 minutes that left one man dead and three others injured on a street. (Japan Today )|