Date
17 August 2017
Chinese tourists shop with their suitcases in Japan. Some are buying Japanese rice (inset) and bringing it home. Photo: Bloomberg
Chinese tourists shop with their suitcases in Japan. Some are buying Japanese rice (inset) and bringing it home. Photo: Bloomberg

Chinese tourists buying up Japanese rice

Chinese tourists spooked by food safety scandals at home have a new target: Japanese rice.

They’re paying up to 10 times more than the price of homegrown cereal, Apple Daily reported Friday.

One tourist paid 1,500 yuan (US$240) for five kilos of Japanese rice, the report said, citing Taiwan newspaper Liberty Times.

The price of Japanese rice sold in some Chinese cities has risen fivefold on the back of strong demand.

The buying spree continues a trend that has seen mainlanders snap up basic supplies in Hong Kong, causing shortages and ramping up retail prices.

Among the most sought-after is infant formula after contaminated milk sickened tens of thousands of Chinese children in 2008.

In 2014, Chinese consumers were gripped by a scandal involving tainted meat.

China imported 160 metric tons of rice from Japan in 2014, more than twice the amount in 2013, according to the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations, a Japanese industry group. 

Japanese rice is available on Taobao, China’s largest online shopping platform, which touts its quality.

About 16 percent of China’s farmland is polluted, according to the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

A 2003 study by the Guangdong provincial government found that 44 percent of Chinese rice has excessive amounts of cadmium.

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TL/JP/RA

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