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
May 22
A pair of premium melons from Hokkaido, northern Japan, has fetched a price of 1.5 million yen, or about 12,500 dollars, in this year's first auction for the fruit. (NHK)
May 22
Jetstar Asia Airways apologized Thursday for refusing to allow a 38-year-old man with cerebral palsy to board a flight from Bangkok to Japan last year. ()
May 22
Japan will provide a total of 110 billion dollars over the next five years to boost by 30 pct financial assistance for promoting infrastructure development in other Asian countries, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday. (Jiji Press)
May 22
A health ministry research group found Thursday that four of the nine electronic cigarettes sold in Japan produce vapor with high levels of formaldehyde, known as a carcinogen. (Kyodo)
May 22
The Japanese Defense Ministry said Thursday that two Chinese bombers flew over open seas between Okinawa Prefecture's main island and the island of Miyakojima, prompting the Air Self-Defense Force to scramble fighter jets. (Jiji Press)
May 22
In a crackdown on overcharging of customers, Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Friday announced the bust of two hostess clubs in Shinjuku Ward for overcharging customers, reports the TBS News (May 22). (Tokyo Reporter)
May 22
Police said Thursday they have arrested an unemployed 43-year-old man on suspicion of posting an online threat against Princess Kako. (Japan Today)
May 22
Public prosecutors indicted three male teenagers Thursday over the high-profile murder of a 13-year-old boy in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo. (Jiji Press)
May 21
A 15-year-old boy known to police for flying drones in crowded places was arrested Thursday on suspicion of planning to fly one of the devices at a Tokyo festival. (Japan Times)
May 21
Police in Tokyo's Setagaya Ward have arrested the 82-year-old owner of six dogs after they got loose on April 12 and bit two pedestrians, inflicting minor injuries. (Japan Today)
May 21
Pedestrian crosswalk laws are all over the place no matter where you go. What's considered jaywalking varies by country, and in the U.S. each state has its own laws for exactly how far the pedestrian needs to have crossed on the crosswalk before you have to stop. (rocketnews24.com)
May 21
Some 350 Tokyoites clad in yellow raincoats set a world record Thursday for the largest human image of PAC-MAN, in honor of the video game character's 35th birthday. (NHK)
May 21
Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Thursday announced the arrest of an organized crime member for threatening the head of a taxi firm in Nerima Ward, reports TV Asahi (May 21). (Tokyo Reporter)
May 21
Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Wednesday announced the arrest of multiple organized crime and motorcycle gang members for participation in a brawl that erupted last year in Kita Ward, reports the Sankei Shimbun (May 20). (Tokyo Reporter)
May 21
A Japanese man who says he was deceived into carrying someone else's bag on a flight into Indonesia was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for smuggling methamphetamine into the country with harsh drug laws. (Japan Today)