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Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Ginza gives way to carnations
By MIZUHO AOKI
About 5,000 domestically grown carnations were put on display Tuesday in a bustling intersection in Tokyo's Ginza shopping district to promote flower sales in the runup to May 9 — Mother's Day.
The Japan Flower Growers Association organized the event, which runs through Sunday and features 90 different carnation varieties, to showcase the homegrown fare.
About 600 million carnations are sold annually in Japan, but now about 36 percent of them are from China, Colombia and other countries that have recently increased exports, the association said.
"We have been discouraged from growing flowers because of price falls. . . . We feel a sense of crisis," said Shigemi Yoshino, an official at the flower association.
Sales of domestic carnations fell to 380 million in 2008 from 410 million in 2006, while sales of imported carnations meanwhile surged to 220 million in 2008 from 180 million in 2006, according to the association.
Many passersby stopped to admire the flowers and photograph them with their cell phones.