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As the Aug. 3 Kyodo article “High price of watermelons may put favorite fruit beyond reach” rightly points out, very few people can afford to buy watermelons in Japan. But what I’d like to know is, what happens to the watermelons when it becomes clear no one is going to buy them? Do stores wait until watermelons are close to rotting and then suddenly drop the price? Who wins in this game of charging outrageous prices for fruit? No one.

If production is on the decline because “watermelon growers are getting older,” what should we infer? That eventually those who grow apples or lettuce or rice will also get older and that those items, too, will either be priced insanely high or just won’t show up at Japanese markets?

Something is wrong with the entire system if the growers are getting older and no one is going to take their place. But, really, why should anyone? What’s the incentive? A hard life in the fields?

As far as “slicing watermelons into eight pieces instead of the usual four,” Japan doesn’t need a shortage for that. Retailers are more than happy to charge as much as possible for the smallest amount. And if someone thinks that a “made in America” watermelon at ¥2,790 is somehow a bargain, it isn’t.

This is going to become a nation of people who will only be able to afford to eat borderline junk food and doll-size portions of nutrition available at convenience stores. Perhaps it’s best for supermarkets to start charging as much as possible for all edible things so that we can get used to the harsh reality that awaits.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

david chester

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