Prices of vegetables have continued to escalate due to poor crop harvests that resulted from ongoing irregular weather patterns -- blisteringly hot summer temperatures through the beginning of August, followed by a sudden drop in temperatures and heavy rains -- causing household finances to take a direct hit.

The sudden cost increase comes on top of higher price tags for products such as imported foodstuffs and everyday necessities, which had previously resulted from factors including a weakened yen.

"The cost of some vegetables is running two to three times higher (than usual)," lamented Hiromichi Akiba, who runs the Akidai supermarket in Tokyo's Nerima Ward. "We are seeing almost no profits at all on vegetables like tomatoes and cucumbers."

In response, the supermarket has increased the size of its display for discounted vegetables, including edamame, which routinely becomes less expensive near the end of summer, when edamame is often served as a popular snack.

According to a survey that the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry conducted regarding retail prices for major vegetables between Aug. 24 and Aug. 28, 1 kilogram of cabbage sold in stores for an average base price of 196 yen -- 38 percent higher than usual.

Meanwhile, the figure was far higher than usual for other vegetables as well: 524 yen for lettuce (32 percent higher than usual), 558 yen for cucumbers (up 23 percent), and 634 yen for tomatoes (up 12 percent).