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Flowers attract thieves

Date Posted: 2003-04-18

Flower cultivation is a mainstay of Okinawan agriculture. Each year millions of flowers of every kind are exported to the Japanese mainland to be sold in flower shops.

The popularity of Okinawa’s flowers makes them a prime cash crop. It also makes them a prime target of thieves, as an Ozato farmer found out when he checked his field and discovered that some 2,000 of his Song of India flowers, popular items for ikebana flower arrangements, had disappeared. The flowers sell for about ¥200 each.

Pollice say the farmer claims everything was fine when he checked his field two days earlier. Many witnesses told investigators that they had seen two or three men working in the field on the day the flower theft allegedly occurred. They also said they saw a van parked by the field.

All of those who saw the men cutting the flowers simply thought that they were doing legitimate work, as it all took place in broad daylight. The police investigation to the theft continues.

Flower theft is nothing new to Okinawa. There was a similar case some years ago when a very popular flower shop in Urasoe City suddenly closed its doors, although it had done brisk business for almost four years. As it turned out, every single flower in the shop was stolen from someone’s field. The shop closed and the owner went behind the bars, perrhaps to contemplate some new arrangements.

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