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Japanese Consumers Reconsidering Rice Loyalty via The New York Times

TOKYO — In the four months that Walmart has been selling low-cost Chinese rice here, the big American retailer has struggled to keep shelves stocked at some stores. A Japanese chain, Beisia, also sold Chinese-grown rice for the first time this year but quickly ran out.

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Prompted by declining incomes, as well as fears about radiation from last year’s nuclear disaster in Fukushima, a major rice-producing region, a small but growing number of Japanese consumers and businesses are doing the unthinkable: openly abandoning their loyalty to expensive, premium-grade homegrown rice and seeking out the trickle of cheaper alternatives from China, Australia and the United States that make it into Japan’s heavily protected market.

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