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Panic buying takes hold of Japan once more, only this time it’s for oxygen.

How should we keep safe against the coronavirus? Arguably, the most science-backed method would be to get vaccinated, like our reporters at SoraNews24 have.

But while more and more people here in Japan are receiving their shots, some people are looking for other ways to keep safe, like panic-buying and hoarding. Panic-buying isn’t something new, or even exclusive to Japan — the No Toilet Paper Era is sure to remain in our memories for years to come.

Japan had a pretty big flour shortage last year as well, but while brick and mortar stores were flour-free, a quick glance on Japanese flea market app Mercari saw unscrupulous users offer bags of flour for sale at a significantly higher price than normal.

▼ Enjoy this cake, because the ingredients cost a small fortune.

A year on, flour stock seems to have returned to normal, but Mercari has a new hot ticket item that users are rushing to buy — canned oxygen. Usually used by athletes, mountain climbers, and those who need an oxygen boost after a workout, oxygen cans have been flying off the shelves in shops as COVID-19 cases surge.

Naturally, with any “high demand low supply” item, Mercari users have started rubbing their hands in anticipation of some quick cash grabs. According to retailers Iwatani, a normal can of oxygen sells for about 700 yen (US$6.40), but listings on the site have asked for tens of thousands of yen for them.

The representative of the manufacturer was perplexed, saying, “We have had a surge of inquiries about oxygen canisters this month, and since they are not for medical …continue reading