High pollen count expected this year, ministry warns
The Environment Ministry on Wednesday announced that the pollen season has begun in Kyoto. The annual release of tree pollen, which now 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.
According to pollen measuring stations, the annual pollen release began on Feb 7, TBS reported. The ministry said this year is likely to be the third highest on record, with pollen counts up to five or six times that of last year.
The ministry advised hay fever sufferers to wear surgical masks and glasses when outdoors, and to dry their clothes inside.