The Environment Ministry says the pollen season this year is expected to begin this week in Shikoku and Kyushu and peak for much of the country by late February. The ministry said it is relatively earlier than usual as temperatures are forecast to be higher than average for February and early March, TBS reported.
According to the forecast announced by the ministry on Jan 31, the pollen season will begin in southern Shikoku and western Kyushu at the beginning of February. It is expected to expand to the Kinki, Chugoku, Tokai and Kanto regions by late February, followed by Tohoku in early March.
The annual release of tree pollen, which causes hay fever in an estimated 25 million people in Japan, is carefully monitored in Japan, where countermeasures have thus far failed to control the vast number of pollen-producing trees.
Cryptomeria (known as "sugi" in Japanese) and Japanese cypress (known as "hinoki") trees were planted after World War II to aid rebuilding, but were later abandoned for cheaper alternatives. This resulted in dense forestation of more mature, pollen-producing trees.
The ministry advises hay fever sufferers to wear surgical masks and glasses when outdoors, and to dry their clothes inside.© Japan Today