TRADE: Bidding Up Shrimp

To the true Japanese gourmet, one of life's sweetest pleasures is savoring the dying wriggle of a freshly peeled live shrimp on the tongue. Cooked or raw, the shrimp has for centuries occupied a place of honor in Japan's pantheon of epicurean ecstasies. Lately, however, that wriggly national hero has become a mere prawn in the hands of Japanese commercial interests. Because of huge Japanese demand, shrimp prices round the world are jumping.

Dear Delicacy. Importers, seafood dealers and at least one textile firm in Japan are rushing to buy unprecedented quantities of shrimp on world markets—about 23% more in...

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