TOKYO, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- McDonald's restaurants across Japan are taking the extreme measure of limiting customers to only small-sized french fries as the country suffers from an alarming shortage of the deep-fried dish.
Beginning Wednesday, customers will only be able to purchase small fries with their orders at the more than 3,000 McDonald's restaurants in Japan. An ongoing labor dispute between workers and shipping lines at 29 ports on the United States West Coast has caused longer than normal overseas transit times.
Emergency airlifts and shipments from East Coast ports couldn't stop the shortage. There's no word on how long the restriction will last, but customers are being told there is no limit on the number of small-sized fries that can be purchased at one time.
An estimated 10,000 tons of McDonald's fries are shipped from the U.S. to Japan monthly. The slowdown began in October. This month, only 55 percent of the monthly tonnage will make it to Japan. Officials said getting the fries from a local source is not an option.
"This is a measure we've decided to take because we might run out of fries. We apologize to customers for the inconvenience," a company official told Kyodo news service.