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Record poor harvest drives down Japan seaweed output to 51-year low

Leading processed seaweed makers plan to raise prices by up to 40%

The price of nori seaweed sheets, a key ingredient in onigiri rice balls and other Japanese cuisine, is set to rise due to poor crops resulting from higher sea temperatures and a lack of rainfall. (Courtesy of Lawson)    © Kyodo

TOKYO -- Output of nori, the seaweed that is indispensable to onigiri rice balls and other Japanese cuisine, hit its lowest level in 51 years in the 2022 harvest year, due to bad weather and a red tide outbreak in the Ariake Sea, Japan's biggest seaweed producing region.

With farmers' prices having soared 46% from the previous harvest year, Japan's leading processed seaweed makers plan to raise the suggested retail price of seaweed for home use by up to 40% starting this month. The steep price increase for this familiar ingredient is likely to place a heavy burden on consumers.

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