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The agriculture ministry has asked a national federation of cooperatives to advance vegetable shipments and cool down soaring prices.

Vegetable prices are rising “almost across the board” in the face of record-setting rain, low temperatures and poor sunlight, ministry officials said.

According to a price report for the week through last Thursday, released by the Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market on Friday, the price of long green onions from Chiba Prefecture had risen to ¥1,953 per 5 kg, up 2.3 times from a year ago.

Among other noticeable hikes, prices of lettuce are up by 1.6 times, cabbage has risen 1.5 times and “komatsuna,” a type of leafy vegetable, is up 2.4 times.

The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry said Friday it has asked the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations to begin shipping premature vegetables and off-specification products in hopes that increasing availability will stabilize prices.

The officials also said the impact of unseasonable weather on rice will be limited because planting has not yet begun in most parts of the country.

But some experts are already warning that the unusually low temperatures and lack of sunlight at this time of the year are highly likely to lead to poor rice crops.

Meanwhile, major supermarket chains are cutting vegetable prices as an emergency measure to lure consumers.

Aeon Co. has lowered prices 20 percent to 50 percent at about 340 of its Jusco and other stores in Honshu and Shikoku, effective Friday.

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