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
Aug 28
Police are investigating the stabbing of a guide dog in Saitama Prefecture near Tokyo in July during its owner's commute to work, investigators said Thursday. (Kyodo)
Aug 28
In an effort to expand upon the "Cool Japan" initiative, a program intended to broaden foreign tourists' knowledge and understanding of Japanese culture and industries, a committee of specialists has submitted a proposal that includes establishing "special English zones" in large cities where English would be one of the officially spoken languages. (Japan Today)
Aug 27
Japanese health authorities have reported the first locally transmitted case of dengue fever in the country in nearly 70 years. (Japan Today)
Aug 27
The death toll from landslides in Hiroshima increased to 70 on Wednesday, while 18 people remained missing after the first of the rain-induced landslides hit the northern part of the western Japan city on Aug. 20. (Jiji Press)
Aug 27
Users of free wireless Internet connections at Japan's Narita, Kansai and Kobe airports are vulnerable to electronic eavesdropping of their e-mail and web browsing, a study by an information and communications specialist showed Tuesday. (Bangkok Post)
Aug 28
Pop singer ASKA, of the duo CHAGE and ASKA, will go on trial on Thursday at the Tokyo District Court on charges of possession and usage of the illegal stimulant drug MDMA. (Japan Today)
Aug 28
The National Police Agency and Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications plan to assign an extra 3,000 officers over the next three years to deal with stalking and bank transfer fraud cases which are increasing. (Japan Today)
Aug 27
Japanese authorities on Wednesday raided stores believed to sell dangerous quasi-legal drugs in Tokyo and three other major prefectures across the country. (Jiji Press)
Aug 27
A total of 5,186 people were taken to hospitals by ambulance for heatstroke in the week through Sunday, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said Tuesday. (Jiji Press)
Aug 26
A Japanese district court ordered Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Tuesday to pay some 49 million yen in compensation over the suicide of an evacuee from the March 2011 nuclear accident at the company's Fukushima No. 1 power plant. (Jiji Press)
Aug 26
A group of Japanese porn actresses are preparing to have their breasts squeezed by fans for 24 hours this weekend for a charity event whose name loosely translates as "Boob Aid." (Daily Star)
Aug 26
A man committed suicide after apparently killing his parents at their home in Kasukabe, Saitama prefecture, police said Monday. (Japan Today)
Aug 26
Police in Hachioji, Tokyo, said Monday they have arrested a 19-year-old man over the hit-and-run death of a 22-year-old postgraduate student on Saturday night. (Japan Today)
Aug 25
Thai police said Monday (Aug 25) they have questioned five women who were paid up to US$12,500 each by a Japanese man known to them as "Jack" to act as surrogate mothers. The case emerged after nine babies were found with nannies in a Bangkok apartment. (channelnewsasia.com)
Aug 25
Young women in Tokyo like relaxing in the bath a little bit longer than their counterparts in New York and Paris, according to a survey by Johnson & Johnson's Japan unit. (Wall Street Journal)