Every year, there is an auction of the first melons of the year in Yubari, Hokkaido. Last year, a pair of these premium melons sold for five million yen at this auction. This year the first melons sold for just a fraction of last year's record sale, at only 120,000 yen.
An official at the market where the auction was held said the coronavirus kept the rich corporate clients away. These corporate clients compete to outbid each other in a normal year. This year the market has been closed since April 20th, in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus, but it held this one time auction to encourage support for local produce.
Every year, people comment on the extreme prices for these early perfect melons, but it does call attention and offer support for the Hokkaido farmers.