"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.
|Apr 18||Bird fu in Japan has same virus type as S. Korea flu|
|Japan's farm ministry said Thursday that the highly pathogenic avian influenza found at a poultry farm in the southwestern Japan prefecture of Kumamoto has been confirmed to be the H5N8 subtype, the same virus strain as the bird flu found in South Korea. (Jiji Press )|
|Apr 18||Station lockers to close for Obama visit|
|Train operators in Tokyo and surrounding areas will be shutting down coin-operated luggage lockers at main stations before and during US President Barack Obama's visit next week, as a security measure. (NHK )|
|Apr 18||Car being chased by police plunges into sea, killing driver|
|A man was killed after the car he was driving plunged into the sea while he was being chased by a police car in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, on Thursday morning. (Japan Today )|
|Apr 17||Contaminated water leaks from container at Fukushima plant|
|Just over one ton of water contaminated with radioactive particulates leaked from one of the containment vessels at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on Wednesday, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said. (Japan Today )|
|Apr 17||Japan to secure minimum required power supply capacity in summer|
|Japan is expected to secure the minimum required power supply capacity when electricity demand peaks in August, even if all the country's nuclear reactors remain offline, estimates by major regional utilities showed Thursday. (Kyodo )|
|Apr 18||Homemaker joins Japan girl band AKB48|
|Japanese commercial music juggernaut AKB48 has added a 37-year-old mother of two to the wildly popular all-girl group as it looks to broaden the appeal of its teen-dominated line-up. (AFP )|
|Apr 18||Imperial couple hosts spring garden party|
|Japan's Emperor and Empress have hosted more than 2,000 guests at their Spring Imperial Garden Party. (NHK )|
|Apr 18||Man jumps to death from 8th floor of Foreign Ministry building|
|An employee of the Foreign Ministry jumped to his death from the 8th floor at the ministry, police said Thursday. (Japan Today )|
|Apr 17||Man in his 30s being questioned over murder of 7-year-old girl in 2005|
|Tochigi prefectural police said Thursday that they are questioning a man in his 30s over the murder of a 7-year-old girl in December 2005. Japanese media quoted police as saying that the man, who was arrested for dealing in fake brand-name goods, has hinted at his involvement in the murder. (Japan Today )|
|Apr 17||6-year-old boy dead, 3-year-old girl in coma after being swept away in river|
|A 6-year-old boy died and a 3-year-old girl remains in a coma after they were swept away by a strong current in a river in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, on Wednesday afternoon. (Japan Today )|
|Apr 17||Spectacular snow walls|
|People enjoy viewing the 15-meter snow walls of the Yuki no Otani (Great Snow Valley), along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route that passes through the Northern Japan Alps to link Toyama and Nagano prefectures. (The Japan News )|
|Apr 17||24-year-old man arrested for robbing convenience store|
|Police in Tokyo said Wednesday they have arrested an unemployed 24-year-old man for robbing a convenience store in Shibuya. (Japan Today )|
|Apr 16||Population declines for 3rd straight year|
|The nation's population has slipped for the third straight year to a 13-year low, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry said Tuesday. (The Japan News )|
|Apr 16||Anne Frank vandalism suspect to face psychiatric test|
|Tokyo prosecutors plan to look into whether a man, who has been arrested for allegedly vandalizing copies of Anne Frank's diary, is mentally competent to be held criminally responsible for his actions, informed sources said Wednesday. (Jiji Press )|
|Apr 16||Young salmon released into river in Fukushima|
|Fishermen in Fukushima Prefecture have released young salmon into a local river for the first time in 4 years. (NHK )|