May 23, 1999 |
HISAYAMA, Japan Rice farmer Yoshimi Abe, 74, stands beside a shopping cart here at the grand opening of Japan's largest mall and thinks about his ancestors. In place of the staple Japanese grain the land produced for centuries, his 3.5 acres recently sprouted a Costco discount store. "My father and grandfather farmed these fields. The saddest part is that this land will never again be turned back to rice," Abe said, looking slightly uncomfortable in a suit. "But we didn't really have any choice.