Supermarket bosses in Japan have been forced to come clean about the amount of 'Toilet roll' supplies held in reserve in warehouses across the country.
Japanese Government Directive 9753 states that a minimum of 7.3 rolls of 'Toilet tissue' per person, containing not less than 180 sheets per roll be held at regional distribution centres alongside emergency supplies of basic foodstuffs such as powdered milk, rice, bottled water and basic medicines.
However according to a report on Japanese World News Service, a routine government audit has found that stocks have been depleted to such an extent that in the event of a national disaster or crisis only 2.3 rolls per person will be available for immediate distribution but some areas of the country will have to survive on less than 1 roll per person.
The news has led to 'Panic buying' in shops and supermarkets nationwide, shelves were cleared of stock by noon and long queues had formed outside public toilets and government offices as many people attempt to 'Go' before they go home.
An unnamed source for major Japanese Supermarket chain 'Maruto' has described the shortage as a 'Peak Oil' scenario come true.
'We've been caught with our pants down no question' admits government spokesman' Yamado Taro', the man responsible for 'Central Emergency Stocks and Supply'. "But we would urge people not to panic, our advice is to use less paper, double fold and where possible use cotton handkerchiefs and antihistamines to combat colds and hay fever"
The crisis has sparked a mini boom amongst Plumbers and Civil Engineering firms as sewer pipes have become clogged with kitchen roll and newspaper as households and businesses look to conserve a now precious commodity. Black market profiteers are reportedly charging as much as 1000 Japanese Yen a roll for leading brand names whilst the police have been inundated with calls ranging from burglaries to 'Shopping trolley Jacking'.