Hay Fever Committee to Compile Steps Including Cedar Removal

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Prime Minister Kishida speaks at a ministerial meeting on hay fever at the Prime Minister’s Office on Friday.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has instructed a cabinet-level meeting on hay fever at its first meeting Friday to compile an overall picture of measures to be implemented over the next 10 years, including the accelerated felling of cedars.

The measures will be reflected in the Basic Policies for Economic and Fiscal Management and Reform, which will be decided in June.

The Friday meeting, chaired by Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, represented the first time that the government has held a ministerial-level meeting on hay fever countermeasures.

The Prime Minister said: “Hay fever is a social problem in Japan that continues to afflict many people. I would like to show the way toward a solution by eliminating the sectionalism of each ministry.”

The three pillars of the measures include: accelerating the cutting down of cedar trees, which are the source of much of the pollen that causes hay fever, and replanting them with seedlings that contain less pollen; improving pollen dispersal forecasts through the use of AI and other means; and spreading the use of allergy treatments.

The meeting was initiated by the prime minister, who told the House of Councillors’ Audit Committee on April 3 that he would hold a meeting of the relevant ministers. Government officials revealed that they had planned to reply that it would be a “meeting of relevant ministries and agencies” attended by those in charge, but noted that “since the ministers are going to do it, they will probably put in more effort.”

According to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, a 2019 survey conducted in Japan by relevant academic societies showed that 38.8% of people have cedar pollinosis, up from 26.5% in the previous survey in 2008.