War could drive up price of Japan’s low-cost soul food

STORY: The war in Ukraine is taking an unlikely toll

on a Japanese soul food

Location: Tokyo, Japan

Soba noodles are becoming more expensive

This restaurant is hiking its prices

for the first time in nearly a decade

RYU ISHIHARA, TAKAMOTOSEIMENJYO, OWNER:

"The buckwheat suppliers did all they could but this time the situation is so bad there's no way to avoid raising prices. There are items I'll have to raise by 10 to 15 percent."

Despite soba's iconic status

Japan only produces 42% of its buckwheat needs

Much of that gap is filled by Russia

the world's top buckwheat producer

HUA YUE, BUCKWHEAT IMPORTER:

"Because of the economic sanctions, such as Russia being removed from SWIFT banking system, and some shipping companies putting a halt on its cargo ships departing and arriving in Russian ports, there's been a disruption on logistics. As a result, there's been a delay in the arrival of buckwheat seeds to Japan."

ISHIHARA:

"From COVID-19 and now with this war, I'm wondering when it will all end. I first thought it would all be over in six months but there's no signs of an end. I'm really worried."

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