It could be the most unlikely indicator of a post-pandemic economic recovery in Japan. Two Yubari melons, premium Japanese melons, sold for 2.7 million yen (20,370 euros) in the first auction of the season. This is 22 times more than the price of last year, weighed down by the coronavirus.
However, this price is derisory compared to other records recorded for this highly prized product. “The recovery in prices this year can be seen as the desire of buyers to encourage people by making higher bids,” said a wholesale market official.
Five million yen in 2019
The buyer of these melons is a local baby food manufacturer. “Although there is still a lot of negative news, I hope it can help people smile and overcome the pandemic,” the president of this company told the national television station NHK.
Seasonal fruit offerings in Japan regularly attract buyers seeking prestige and free publicity. In 2019, two Yubari melons – which come from the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido – had reached the record price of five million yen (37,500 euros). But the sum fell to just 120,000 yen (about 900 euros) last year, with producers accusing the virus of pushing away wealthy buyers willing to raise the stakes.