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Japan and inflation: What a corn snack says about rising prices

A 2 yen cost increase jars consumers' decades-old deflationary mindset

A light, airy corn puff snack that has cost 10 yen since 1979 is giving Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida a political headache ahead of upper house elections. (Source photo by Ken Kobayashi and Kai Fujii)

TOKYO -- The announcement that the price of Umaibo will be raised for the first time since the beloved snack was introduced has sent shock waves through Japanese kid-dom.

Umaibo, which are sticks of airy puffed corn that come in a variety of flavors, in April will cost 12 yen (10 cents) apiece, before tax, an increase of 2 yen. That might not seem like much but it's huge for children. My elementary school daughter loves Umaibo and was lost for words when I told her about the planned 20% price hike.

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