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This year's pollen levels expected to be twice as high as last year

20 Comments

The environment ministry says that Japanese cypress and cedar pollen levels predicted for spring this year are expected to be twice as high as they were in 2014

The ministry said pollen is expected to begin emission into the air at around the same time as most years -- in early February.

As pollen levels will be particularly high on dry, windy days, experts are urging people who suffer from hay fever to wear protective masks and or hats, and to hang their clothes to dry inside their homes in order to reduce the overall amount of contact they have with the airborne allergens.

The ministry said the Tohoku, Kanto Koshin and Tokai regions all experienced significantly higher temperatures and excessive rainfall last summer, which will cause pollen levels to spike, TBS reported.

Pollen levels in the Kinki and Chugoku regions are expected to be the same, or slightly higher than this year.

The annual release of tree pollen, which causes hay fever in an estimated 25 million people in Japan, is carefully monitored each year.

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.

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Cryptomeria and Japanese cypress trees were planted after World War II to aid rebuilding

And the problem is that owners of these forests for the most part refuse to cut down those trees and replace them with slower-growing trees native to the area that produce much less pollen.

A large percentage of the Japanese population suffers from severe pollen allergies because of this, it is a wonder there is not more outrage against the owners of these forests.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Too many middle men and cheap imports make the native lumber business unviable . Hence there is no reason why the landowners would want to cut down the trees and replant them. The only good thing is that the trees stop the mountain eroding away.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The trees also clear polutants in the air coming over from factors in China.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Pharma trumps forestry.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Pollen from Fukushima. Nice.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

And the problem is that owners of these forests for the most part refuse to cut down those trees and replace them with slower-growing trees native to the area that produce much less pollen.

As a kafun sufferer, I gotta say that would really be nice, but it's hard to expect the owners to undertake this at their own expense...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If govt pays a bounty to aid logging of problem trees in areas upwind of or in cities ....

For individual person, try some way to cool nose (ice melts too quick, but how about a circulating nose cooler with water reservoir in hat? can't be less cool than the surgical masks), meditation to lower stress level on the fly, and getting rid of carpet cleaner chemicals (and maybe carpet, too).

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I hate the stuff! It gets into my eyes and makes life pretty well unbareable for a couple of weeks. I've been in Japan for a number of years, but it's onlt the last few years it's started to effect me. It would be great if the trees were culled to reduce the amount of irritating pollen they produce, but I can't see that happening any time soon, so all of us sufferers will have to grin and bare it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It seems that Japanese are more suffering from pollens than others and they are somehow biologically weaker due to they have probably kinda same gene.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

It feels like having your eyes and nose packed with beach sand. I am not looking forward to going through this again and will be heavily medicated throughout the spring.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

kwatt: It seems that Japanese are more suffering from pollens than others and they are somehow biologically weaker due to they have probably kinda same gene.

They can't be "biologically weaker", they have longer intestines.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Sugi monoculture plantations are horrible and completely unnatural to anyone accustomed to spending time in the wilderness. Their dense canopy drowns out virtually all sunshine. As a result, there’s no undergrowth, which is vital for animal life. Ever wonder where all the rabbits and squirrels are? The fact that they destroyed so much old growth forest to plant cedar trees that go unharvested. The only plus is I don’t suffer from allergies … yet. I’ve heard we can develop them as we age.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Raise your natural defenses by eating natto, yogurt, and other fermented foods daily.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

If govt pays a bounty to aid logging of problem trees in areas upwind of or in cities ....

Interfere with business? Enrage the pharmacists', doctors', and drug manufacturers' lobbies, never mind endanger all those amakudari opportunities?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"Japanese cypress (known as “hinoki”) trees were planted after World War II to aid rebuilding, but were later abandoned for cheaper alternatives."

Only cheaper in terms of money - which doesn't include the huge social and envieonmental costs of deforestation in SE Asia to satisfy Japanese 'cheap' timber imports.

Shameful - preserving your own forests (in a sense) but destroy anothers forests.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Talking about the politics of this, the government is in no position to act. The government-controlled forestry industry here in Japan has been bordering on bankruptcy for years. Moreover, the species involved are preferred because they are relatively quick growing. As a sidelight, I know that a couple of agriculture research stations (run by the prefectures) have actually successfully developed reduced-pollen genus of various species (some more than 10 years ago). However, vested interests (environmentalists, pharma, etc.) have effectively blocked large-scale plantings.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

HongoTAFEinmate: However, vested interests (environmentalists, pharma, etc.) have effectively blocked large-scale plantings.

Time for the pollen sufferers to storm the pharmaceuticals' battlements!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It was human beings who destroyed the native forest, then replanted a non diversity of new trees. Its not the fault of the trees or people who want to preserve them. Most who live on farms don't get extreme allergies, it's the city folks, who stay indoors to much and don't get enough exposure to nature. That's the real problem, un natural lifestyles. Trees clean and give us a lot of the air you breath, support the health of soil, stop erosion, support many animal & insects. The last thing Japan needs is less trees!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Most people here have never even heard of immunotherapy. Always the same whining about nose plugs, goggles and "allergy jackets".

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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