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Japan: Cucumber crisis after Tokyo hit by cloudiest spell since records began

Tokyo’s cloudiest few weeks in nearly 60 years has cast a shadow over the capital’s vegetable markets, forcing up the prices of some by 70%. Japan has been hit by unseasonably cloudy weather and cool temperatures, Tokyo enjoying fewer than three hours of sunshine a day for 20 days through to Tuesday, the lowest recorded since Japan’s Meteorological Agency started collecting data in 1961.

The lack of sunshine and low temperatures has been affecting agriculture across much of the Japanese archipelago. Cucumber prices have shot up by 70%, while other vegetables have also posted double-digit hikes at Tokyo’s central wholesale market, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Japan is hit by a rainy season between late June and early July that has usually finished by now, followed by about two months of intense heat and humidity. The unusual weather pattern has also affected sales of summer clothes.

A heatwave in July last year killed dozens and hospitalised thousands across Japan, with the highest temperature ever recorded in the nation of 41.1C logged in Saitama, north of Tokyo.

The Japan Meteorological Agency is predicting another week of cloudy days, but expects temperatures will be back to seasonal norms by the end of July.

Source: The Guardian (Gavin Blair)

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