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Japan rice riots

Deja vu?

THIS WAS 1918….New York Times article

JAPAN SHAKEN BY FOOD RIOTS; Disorders in Many Cities as a Result of High Prices and Low Wages. HOMES OF RICH ATTACKED Middle and Lower Classes Complain of Exploitation–Dynamite and Torch Employed. Attacked Ministry of the Interior. Government and Emperor Act.

LONDON, Aug. 18.–A dispatch to the Exchange Telegraph from Tientsin dated Friday says: “The Japanese, rice riots are proving the worst outbreak against the constituted authority witnessed in many years.

Read full article NY times here

Source – Wikipedia – Rice riots in Japan

A precipitous rise in the price of rice caused extreme economic hardship, particularly in rural areas where rice was the main staple of life. The rice price increase came at the peak of a post-war (World War I) inflationary spiral that also affected most consumer goods and rents, and thus urban dwellers also had considerable scope for grievances, while the government bought up existing rice stocks to support the troops overseas, which further drove rice prices higher. The government failed to intervene in economic affairs, and rural protests spread to the towns and cities.

The Rice Riots were unparalleled in modern Japanese history in terms of scope, size and violence. The initial protest occurred in the small fishing town of Ouzu, Toyama Prefecture, on 23 July 1918. Starting with peaceful petitioning, the disturbance quickly escalated to riots, strikes, looting, incendiary bombings of police stations and government offices and armed clashes.
Prime Minister Terauchi and his cabinet resigned on 29 September 1918.

Today 24 April 2008

Today it is reported that major stores in the USA and London are rationing rice in the USA (Costco, Walmart…), especially basmati, jasmine which are imported rice, although the US Rice Association says that there is no shortage of rice in the USA…more to follow

Source: The Australian News

WITH rice supplies dwindling and customers hoarding stocks, the US giant Wal-Mart and British stores are starting to restrict sales constituting the first time that food rationing has been introduced in the United States. While Americans suffered some rationing during the Second World War for items such as petrol, light bulbs and stockings, they have never had to limit consumption of a key food item.

In Britain rice is being rationed by shopkeepers in Asian neighbourhoods to prevent hoarding. Tilda, the biggest importer of basmati rice, said that its buyers — who sell to the curry and Chinese restaurant trade as well as to families — were restricting customers to two bags per person. “It is happening in the cash-and-carries,” said Jonathan Calland, a company executive. “I heard from our sales force that one lady went into a cash-and-carry and tried to buy eight 20kg bags.”

Wal-Mart said that Sam’s Club, its wholesale business, which sells food to restaurants and other retailers, had limited each customer to four bags of long-grain white rice per visit. In the past three months wholesalers have experienced a sharp rise in demand for food items such as wheat, rice and milk as businesses stocked up to protect themselves against rising prices.

Global rice prices have more than doubled in the past year partly because countries such as China and India — whose economies are booming — are buying more food from abroad. At the same time, key rice producers banned exports of rice to ensure that their own people could continue to afford to buy the staple: India, China, Vietnam and Egypt have all blocked exports and so demand for rice from countries such as the United States has increased.

Costco Wholesale, the largest warehouse operator in America, said this week that demand for rice and flour had risen, with customers panicking about shortages and hoarded produce Read more here

Nourish the planet, plant Moringa

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