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Japan's love of eel puts fish's future at risk

TOKYO -- On Saturday, if they haven't already, the eel-loving Japanese will find the price of their traditional summer delicacy has gone up yet again. Fact is, Japanese eels, the country's favorite kind, are becoming scarce.

Eel prices have been rising at Tokyo supermarkets and department stores ahead of the Day of the Ox, which falls on July 30 this year. Seiyu, the Japanese unit of U.S.-based Wal-Mart Stores, has raised the price of kabayaki -- broiled eel dipped in a sweet sauce -- made with eel from the southern Japanese prefecture of Kagoshima by 7% from a year ago, to 1,696 yen (a little more than $16).

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