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Posts Tagged ‘oil prices’

Saturday’s events in Tokyo

On the first full day of anti-G8 action in Tokyo yesterday, there were workshops held throughout the city from 1pm, consisting of various “working groups”. These were then followed by a General Meeting at 6pm, which I attended. The meeting was held in Bunkyo Kumin Center near Kasuga station and the main speaker was Susan George of ATTAC France and Transnational Institute. She is a long-time activist and the author of a number of books on poverty including How the Other Half Dies (1976).

The first hour of the meeting was given to introductions and the reports by the “working groups”. These groups covered issues such as trade, sexual discrimination and American bases on Okinawa and Guam among others.

Shut Down the G8 Summit - Working Groups report

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Recent stories

It’s been a month since I wrote Part 5 – Consequences for Japan. The following is a round-up of some of the recent stories here, coupled with some of my thoughts.

The rising food prices in Japan are continuing to make themselves felt with pasta and vinegar the latest concerns. The Japan Times/Kyodo News reported on Wednesday that:

Starting Sept. 1, Mizkan Group Corp. said it will raise the price of 37 consumer-use vinegar products by 8 percent to 10 percent… because of rising crop prices. It will be the company’s first price hikes in 18 years.

90% of Japanese are now thinking of saving money when they shop, and there are reports of troubles in the restaurant industry. The most famous such establishment in Osaka, Osaka Meibutsu Kuidaore, is due to shut down in July, partly due to falling sales.

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Rising concerns

The World Food Program have declared that the food crisis is a “silent tsunami” sweeping the world which, like a large natural disaster, requires a global response. Tsunami is a Japanese word meaning harbour wave. Could this disaster-prone country be seriously affected by the crisis?

In a recent survey, over 40% of people in Japan viewed rising food prices as a concern. As Kyodo News reports:

(This) represented three-fold increases from a survey in January 2007 and marked record highs since this question was first asked in 1998…

It would appear that they are right to be worried. The price rises are hitting the poor in Japan hard. For widow-headed households, average expenditure is now higher than income. Is the recent rationing of rice in the United States and the United Kingdom just the tip of the iceberg for developed countries?

In Part 4 I looked at global agriculture, but in this post I will cover the likely consequences of peak food for Japan.

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