041 2018-08-12

The price of rice in Japan

Four years ago, I posted a picture of some rice I found in Kamakura. It was 1490 Japanese Yen for 5KG.

2014: Pre-washed rice - 2014

The price of rice has been slowly increasing throughout Japan, but it was only made obvious when I attempted to purchase a bag recently: 1941 Japanese Yen for 5KG. That’s almost a $5 increase for the exact same thing.

2018: Pre-washed rice - 2018

The crazy thing is that rice, particularly in Japan, is an essential food. Everybody buys it, it’s used everywhere in every restaurant, and people greatly depend on it. I wondered how Japanese people feel about this, since surely they noticed the same thing. That led me to an interesting article from February this year, by the Japan Times, which discusses this very topic. It seems more and more people (and restaurants) are replacing their Made in Japan rice by imported rice from Australia and China.

Let me say that once more:

Japanese people and restaurants are replacing their JAPANESE rice, with rice from other countries.

Does that even make sense? It seems like a huge economic crisis if a country that produces a product can’t even afford (or refuses) to buy its own product because it’s “too expensive”. How can Japan’s economy sustain itself if its people are importing the most basic food item, instead of buying locally?

It’s a bit scary. Unfortunately I don’t know enough about economics (and politics) to provide a viable solution, but it’s something I’ll be watching much more closely moving forward.

2018-08-12 11:28:47 UTC