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Tokyo school swaps fresh fruit for jelly as food prices soar

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By Kaori Kaneko

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So, they decided to save money on children? The very same children they claim they don't have enough of due to low birthrate.. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the "logic" of Japan.

25 ( +57 / -32 )

Sato says she substitutes fresh fruit, which is expensive in Japan, with jelly or a sliver of hand-made cake

'Ketchup is a vegetable '

Why in these wealthy G7 nations the leading victims of economic hardship are children's nutrition?

Not the billions in international aid, subsidies for tourism or oil companies or things like that?

31 ( +43 / -12 )

So, they decided to save money on children?

Children don't vote.

9 ( +40 / -31 )

Some children return to school from summer break visibly skinnier’….this quite often is not from a poor diet in the summer. My 10yo lost a lot of weight last summer, he was eating 4 large meals a day but spent every day playing basketball/football/swimming. Most active kids will lose weight over the summer.

29 ( +36 / -7 )

Japanese food is still generally healthier than that in the US. So, not a great step to withold fresh fruit, but not the end of the world either.

-9 ( +15 / -24 )

Jelly is delicious. And pretty sure a lots of kids agree with that too.

-28 ( +4 / -32 )

The photos show each of the children with a nice wedge of watermelon, and the original article on the Reuters site indicates that the photos were taken last week. So the children are obviously getting their fruit.

-19 ( +5 / -24 )

Why are all the children awkwardly sitting at their own table like that? Looks kind of weird ?

-8 ( +9 / -17 )

Authorities want to avoid that, knowing poorer families will skimp on nutritious meals at home. Some children return to school from summer break visibly skinnier, educators and public officials say.

So the government already gave up in keeping the people out of poverty, so now thier much more humble goal is to use the school lunchs as a charity to compensate?

8 ( +16 / -8 )

Japanese food is still generally healthier than that in the US.

That is not always true. There are a lot of things that Japanese kids eat that one could is not healthy. It all boils down to what you serve, but the US definitely has a bigger variety and selection of fruits and vegetables compared to Japan.

0 ( +16 / -16 )

USDA give aid to school district,lots of students in some school,get free lunches, sometimes more than 90 percentage of the students qualify Google USDA Free School Lunch

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

The only way that jelly could be more affordable than fresh fruit is if it's artificially flavored and colored.

Not allowing the children to get the nutrition they deserve is truly disgusting and ridiculous.

A wealthy person from the royal family should donate funds for the schools kids lunches

17 ( +27 / -10 )

It's the oil they should drop, then the milk/yakult, the jelly and junk sweets, processed food. Give fresh fruits and veggies to those kids as it is known that's what the poorer families fail to provide them. Many school already have experimental gardens. Grow more edible plants in them.

So, they decided to save money on children?

Yes, in Tokyo, the world's richest city. They give 31 yen of tax money per kid meal. And for the Olympics wait... That was 1.45 trillion yen.

15 ( +30 / -15 )

Serve them bananas, grown in the Philippines. It will be a win win situation as per recent news.

15 ( +21 / -6 )

I hope that is sugar-free jelly. Fruit in Japan is expensive because it has to look cosmetically perfect. I wonder how much fruit goes to waste because it is has a bruise or a dent. I've read that constipation is a big issue in Japan. Not giving kids some fruit every day as part of their school dinners may go some way to explaining that.

Japanese political parties like to help parents to promote child bearing. The least they could have done is include free school meals for all children as a campaign promise.

13 ( +19 / -6 )

How about just serve them preserved fruit? it ain't fresh but its healthier than jelly that's for sure.

15 ( +20 / -5 )

Once the jelly runs out, then the government will mandate cake.

1 ( +15 / -14 )

Why not bring a lunch from home? Probably cheaper. I basically consisted on PB&J sandwiches and apple slices and carrots for most of my school lunches.

-3 ( +10 / -13 )

In schools, cutting down on quality food and not using aircon in the summer and reducing heat in the winter-Japan is showing signs of becoming a third world country!

-6 ( +21 / -27 )

I hope that is sugar-free jelly. Fruit in Japan is expensive because it has to look cosmetically perfect.

Sadly, that’s with all good in Japan and one of the reasons why fruit and veggies are so expensive. Just go to any Japanese supermarket. All of their fresh produce looks absolutely perfect and flawless. Check out the strawberries, symmetrically perfect, kiwi fruit all the same shape, perfect tomatoes and oranges etc. that means a lot of blemished fruit and vegetables get thrown in the trash, don’t believe me. I have a friend who’s a movie producer and creator and he made a movie documentary that was quite an eye opener as to how much food Japan wastes, it’s absolutely mind blowing. Great documentary.

https://en.mottainai-kitchen.net/about/

12 ( +20 / -8 )

In schools, cutting down on quality food and not using aircon in the summer and reducing heat in the winter-Japan is showing signs of becoming a third world country!

Not using aircon?? My lord, where the heck do you live? That’s just awful!

3 ( +13 / -10 )

I don't want to disappoint the children with what they might feel is a sad meal," she said.

Something NEVER heard in the country I come from! While there are a host of reasons why, and not to get into an argument or anything, I give her credit for at least taking this into consideration when planning their school lunches.

I know a lot of people who have often reflected positively about their memories of school lunches when they were kids, and I hope the kids of today can do the same!

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Let them eat cake!

-17 ( +3 / -20 )

Check out the strawberries, symmetrically perfect, kiwi fruit all the same shape, perfect tomatoes and oranges etc. that means a lot of blemished fruit and vegetables get thrown in the trash, don’t believe me

'Free market", neo liberal, race to the bottom capitalism at work

Courtesy of the LDP, agenda set by Reagan, Nakasone etc al.

-6 ( +13 / -19 )

"I try to include seasonal fruits once or twice a month, but it's difficult to do it frequently,"

once or twice a month isn’t even frequently…

15 ( +16 / -1 )

This wouldn't be news in many countries. The kids wouldn't be given fruit in the first place. They don't get that at public system schools in the UK. The school lunches in them are not created by nutritionalists trying to balance food groups. See any of those exposes Jamie Oliver did.

There was a big drop in quality at my kid's elementary school a few years ago, but that was because they closed the onsite kitchen as a cost measure and started vanning in food from a new center built at the local junior high. The new center has lots of whizzbang HAACP type hygiene measures, so I suspect it has not saved much money given the construction cost. The money it will have saved is in the wages of the dinner ladies, many of them retirees.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

school gardens with fruit trees and let childern make vegies at school will solve many problems

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Jelly sounds great for kids. Another idea would be the good old canned mixed fruit cocktail. I enjoyed it as a kid and still do.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

I thought all these free trade deals were supposed to make fruit cheaper.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Chico3: "Jelly sounds great for kids. Another idea would be the good old canned mixed fruit cocktail. I enjoyed it as a kid and still do."

Yeah, if you want to substitute nutrition for sugar, sure! It's like saying we should substitute real potatoes with potato chips.

A better solution might be to demand farmers stop charging so much for fruit (so much that they are already targets of theft all the time), or perhaps the government drop its plans to increase the defense budget and spend that on our children instead.

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

You can still get relatively cheap imported frozen fruit from Gyomu Supermarket. Maybe they can go there.

In Tokyo's Adachi ward, lunches at public middle schools cost 334 yen, of which 303 yen is covered by families.

That's just another tax on the families then. 303 x 5 days a week = 1515 yen per week and x that by 4 is 6060 yen a month. I've had school lunches when I was an ALT at Adachi ward and other places before. The school lunches are not that great to begin with.

Yes, in Tokyo, the world's richest city. They give 31 yen of tax money per kid meal. And for the Olympics wait... That was 1.45 trillion yen.

Go figure, right?

-9 ( +8 / -17 )

While you're at it swap the daicon for fries. Fries are vegetables too

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

This is the inflation Kuroda so desperately wants all so some export companies can get higher profits?

Salaries aren’t going up and schools are being forced to choose between making cuts to nutritional lunches and charging parents more?

It seems like the government really doesn’t have its priorities straight.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

Jelly sounds great for kids. Another idea would be the good old canned mixed fruit cocktail. I enjoyed it as a kid and still do.

Yeah, that’s all we need, kids hooked on more sugar and syrup and when the next generation of Japanese have increasing health problems and diabetes, we will ponder the question to where all this started from and it’s just too late.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

@Alan bogglesworthless

Why are all the children awkwardly sitting at their own tables like that

It's because they eat lunch at their own desk in the classroom.

To me they don't look awkward - just enjoying their lunch.

The children also clean the classroom.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

All the while, Kishida sends money to Ukraine.

Go figure.

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

As long as they get peanut butter to go with the jelly, it's all good!

2 ( +6 / -4 )

I've got nothing against Jello though.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Supposed first-world economy Japan cannot feed its youth fresh fruit for lunch. Everybody, especially the voters, should pause and think about that.

-10 ( +5 / -15 )

@bass4funk

Either, schools have air con and don’t use it or just don’t have any to begin with.

And yes, I have been in quite a few schools in Japan.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

@GBR48

Fruit in Japan is expensive because it has to look cosmetically perfect

Perhaps wherever you personally shop may be the case it needs to be perfect.

However here in Okinawa it's not like that .

Fruit is very affordable and doesn't need to be blemish free.

Most of the food stores whether locally owned or franchise have a discount price tag sytem for aging fruit and a sale price area for blemished fruit.

Numerous roadside fruit stands with the honor system where you just pay in a collection box.

This is why its important not to generalize too much .

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Just as long as the politicians can still enjoy their monthly ¥1,000,000 travel allowances thing aren’t going to change.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

That is not always true. There are a lot of things that Japanese kids eat that one could is not healthy. It all boils down to what you serve, but the US definitely has a bigger variety and selection of fruits and vegetables compared to Japan.

I still don't get why the US kids are far more obese and categorized as unhealthy than those in other countries despite food variety (or because of it?).

A WTO data also categorizes kids in China, Egypt, Chile, Saudi Arabia and Nauru as obese. There seem no differences by geography, culture, economic and political systems. Of course a single factor can hardly explain everything, though.

Child obesity

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/02/13/health/child-obesity-parenting-without-borders-intl/index.html

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Seems like kids don't need VITAMINS.

Instead, let's give them flavored water and cancerogenic sugar with gelatine that will make them healthy for sure!

Anyway, I would never give my kid to eat that meal as rice is probably from Fukushima.

Terrible.

-10 ( +5 / -15 )

@Namorada

It seems the government really doesn't have it's priorities straight

I completely agree with you.

The children are the future and their nutrition is incredibly important and especially whilst being educated in school.

This reminds me of Native American proverb - "we have not inherited the earth but only borrowed it from our grandchildren"

4 ( +8 / -4 )

going back to feeding them whale meat?

-10 ( +5 / -15 )

The 3rd largest economy in the world. The 3rd "richest" country in the world.

-9 ( +8 / -17 )

This problem shouldn’t matter in a few more years, when the number of young people shrinks down to zero. Japan should send more tax money to the Ukrainians.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

way more healthy and tasty compare to lunch in us. children can eat their fruit at home if school can't afford.

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

Either, schools have air con and don’t use it or just don’t have any to begin with.

And yes, I have been in quite a few schools in Japan.

Sorry, wasn't trying to be snide, I just don't understand that, still to this day. I do a music program twice a month for a few schools K-12 and here in Fukuoka most of the schools really use their aircon, a lot actually, that's why I was asking, but I do remember when I first came to Japan 22 years ago, it was just something unheard of, you just had to sweat it out.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

going back to feeding them whale meat?

high fat mercury laden meat, yeah thats not what kids need

-6 ( +10 / -16 )

The lunches for children in Japan are so healthy and well balanced and most importantly cooked fresh each day. So, if parents really want fruit for their children and not jelly they can prepare that for an after school snack.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Prices are 'soaring' because CEOs and shareholders cannot possibly make a little less money than usual so everyone else must suffer.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

None of this crap ever happened when he was in the chair.

no we just had a pandemic denying maniac, calling it a democrat hoax,

worst recession in 70yrs, 20 million lost jobs, record spending and deficit of 7.8 trillion, 150million of this used to play golf for over 350 days in his 4yrs, much of it charged to his own golf courses, all toped off with the big lie and an insurrection, so many people suffer from selective amnesia

-4 ( +12 / -16 )

The 3rd largest economy in the world. The 3rd "richest" country in the world.

on a per capita basis , not even close

https://www.worldometers.info/gdp/gdp-per-capita/

-4 ( +11 / -15 )

Tokyo school swaps fresh fruit for jelly as food prices soar

The title is sensational or overgeneralizing facts, not showing the whole picture. How many schools are in Tokyo in total? The story only reported the case of public schools, eastern Tokyo. The case of private schools is not mentioned.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Or, how about “law makers” and the BOE oyaji stop using funds at the kyabakura and start using them on meals for kids?

0 ( +7 / -7 )

A better solution might be to demand farmers stop charging so much for fruit (so much that they are already targets of theft all the time), or perhaps the government drop its plans to increase the defense budget and spend that on our children instead.

@smithinjapan - Good point. I'm sure the school lunch budget for kids is just pennies (or yen in this case) compared to the defense budget.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Japan is now emulating American schools. Rising poverty in Japan is now prevalent with a weak Yen and a decline of national power.

-15 ( +3 / -18 )

Just google the nations with FREE food Free education Free medical care Free transportation for minors and seniors and you will find that the so called G7 are NOT on the list, so what does that tell you, and if you haven't figure that out then you are a CAPITALIST

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

So, they decided to save money on children? The very same children they claim they don't have enough of due to low birthrate.. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the "logic" of Japan.

They didn't decide to "save money" on children. Prices suddenly increased, and all a front line worker can do is somehow make it work with the already allocated budget.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

A better solution might be to demand farmers stop charging so much for fruit (so much that they are already targets of theft all the time), or perhaps the government drop its plans to increase the defense budget and spend that on our children instead.

No, farmers are not the people hiking prices.

In Japan, it is JA that buys most produce and sells it on.

My mother-in-law produces food which she sells through a local supermarket -her prices are the ‘lowest’ in the shop.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

I put this squarely at the feet of PM Koizumi and his foot kissing toadies Fukuda and Aso. Their policies enriched the corporatists and tech statists while putting citizens in the poor house. The children they scream so much about being in shortage they care nothing about. Preschool shortage, lack of after school programs except the billion Yen a year cram school scams, one of the highest poverty rates in the industrialized world, bullying by teachers, and the pols here do nothing about it but hold meetings and waste even more money on "public information campaigns" with posters and ads.

This is the LDP, they do not care.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Or could increase the budget for school lunches?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Why is junk food less expensive than fresh fruit fruit and vegetables?

For the past half century, Japan's powerful organization of agricultural cooperatives has used its tremendous political clout, backed by the nation's rural communities, to block agricultural reform in Japan.

https://www.tkfd.or.jp/en/research/detail.php?id=79

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Well it might be better to cut the fruit in half. Although I do wonder what is in the jelly? maybe there is some fruit it it.We need to see what they are getting. One things for sure the kids here aren't as fat as he telly tubbies in the US/UK.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I keep wondering when Japan will wake up to the fact that they are falling way behind. Then I look at the USA, the complete disaster it is becoming, and people there still think they are the greatest country in the world. I realize that national pride takes a long time before it concedes to reality. It took England about 50 years to accept they no longer ruled the world.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I never tired of Japanese kyushoku in the 3 years that I ate it daily. It's a proper well-balanced meal with a lot of variety and flavors.

Here in the US you'd think it was a 3rd world s#*thole country if you saw what we serve kids for lunch in school.

Go Google 'US school lunches vs other countries'. You'll be blown away.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Japan is now emulating American schools. Rising poverty in Japan is now prevalent with a weak Yen and a decline of national power.

Not only in the States and Japan

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Agricultural reform is desperately needed in Japan.

This article doesn't mention JA and the absolute strangle hold they have on food production in this country. These bloated tax payer funded government bodies are the real issue here.

The tax payer needs to start demanding some clarity and oversight into whats going on, if you're docile and unquestioning there will be no change. Kids and young people are getting the short end of the stick to keep that all important 'wa'.

Im afraid the blame falls on both the corrupt government bodies and the citizens themselves.

Don't ask questions keep doing as you're told and the modicum of safety offered by your betters will be all you can expect in life.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Nero Archangel

Today 06:54 am JST

So, they decided to save money on children? The very same children they claim they don't have enough of due to low birthrate.. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the "logic" of Japan.

This is a great example of reactionary response by people that do not know how the Japanese system works.

BTW if one looks at the school lunch systems in each developed country compare them to Japan you may not like how your country fairs on price, nutrition etc... I have seen Canada, USA, UK and France and raised 2 children in Japanese public school and other than France and Japan the other 3 serve swill not food.

The Japanese system has a price set for lunch a price that the median family can afford without stressing this is on top of government payment.

If the cost go up then they have 3 choices:.

Raise the cost to the parents.

Raise taxes to pay more from the government

Or find a way to work within the new budget restraints.

The 2 first are just going to cause more hardship on the parents and population.

So we are left with choice number 3.

Or we have a 4th option, drop sending money to Ukraine, stop buying more expensive oil from the middle East, think about the local population and buy oil and anything needed from whoever and wherever we can that is cheapest.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

commanteer

Today 01:33 pm JST

I keep wondering when Japan will wake up to the fact that they are falling way behind. Then I look at the USA, the complete disaster it is becoming, and people there still think they are the greatest country in the world. I realize that national pride takes a long time before it concedes to reality. It took England about 50 years to accept they no longer ruled the world

We went every year to visit friends in the USA, as a Canadian I was always surprised to see how sure my friends and their classmates were so sure the USA was great.

One year we arrived early (school year ending difference) so I got to visit my friend's school.

I was blown away, the USA flag everywhere, god bless America on classroom walls and students having to stand and say a pledge every morning.

Total brainwashed, I was shocked.

Never saw a Canadian or Quebec flag in any classroom at most on a flagpole outside even that was rare.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

278 for one apple. I’m not surprised.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Jelly is water in emulsion form, adding some artificial flavour.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Kudos, to nutritionist Kazumi Sato, for her dedication and innovation.

Where there is a will there is a way.

Surely for the sake of these Junior High School students the tax payer can fund the extra budget

1 ( +2 / -1 )

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/05/12/business/collector-maezawa-drops-98-million-art-two-days/

Maezawa has been documenting preparations for his space sojourn for months on Twitter. Local Japanese media estimates Maezawa spent more than 100 billion Japanese yen ($88 million) on the journey.

“Let them eat jelly”

Fat cat bloated millionaire

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Children... The thing Japan needs most.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

It seems they swap jelly for fresh fruit, not fresh fruit for jelly.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What's next, substitute veggies for ketchup? Meat/fish for gravy?

And with the jellies and cakes, watch the population grow. And I don't mean in numbers.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Fat, if I wasn't clear enough. Fat. Obese. Tubby.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

""I try to include seasonal fruits once or twice a month, but it's difficult to do it frequently," she told Reuters at the school."

Try... Once or Twice a Month.... I would guess this person would like to add fresh fruit every day, as it should be, to the children's menu however she cannot do it because the fruit is too expensive for the allocated school budget. Meanwhile the Japanese government spent trillion+ on unnecessary Olympic games and sends millions in aid to other countries....

Why Japan "cannot afford" to add a piece of fresh fruit to the children's lunch every day? This is obviously not a priority for the Japanese government. What a disgrace.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Good job joe.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Absolutely scandalous as long as domestically produced fruit is getting binned before going to market simply because is doesn't look right.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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