Tokyo on alert for deadly African swine fever entering Japan

TOKYO, Aug. 22 ― Following outbreaks of deadly African swine fever (ASF) in China in early August, Japan is enhancing its disease surveillance and biosecurity controls at points of entry to the country. The Japanese agriculture ministry has released a poster, which highlights risks of infected pork imports from China in two languages — the Japanese and the Chinese. One warning sign reads: “It is forbidden to bring pork products into Japan from ASF affected regions, even they were sold at duty-free stores.” Another sign says, “Those who visited livestock farms in China are encourage to go to see veterinary quarantine officers at all ports and airports.” The highly contagious … Continue reading

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73-year-old Japanese aims to grow the world’s longest gourd

OBU, Aug. 26 ― A 73-year-old Japanese farmer has grown long gourds and says one day he will grow to a world’s record size. Masuo Hanai works as a farmer in Obu city, Aichi prefecture. He grew the 350 cm gourd in his greenhouse in 2015. Gourds are in the same family as pumpkins and squash. When pumpkins mature, they just rot and collapse, whereas when gourds mature, they turn hard like wood and dry out. They are around forever and can be used for soup bowls or artwork crafts. The current world record for the longest gourd, which was grown in Canada, is 379 cm, according to the Japanese … Continue reading

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Farmers in Hokkaido hit hard by quake, struggling to recover

HOKKAIDO, Sept. 8 – An earthquake which rocked Hokkaido, logging the maximum 7 on Japan’s seismic intensity scale in the town of Atsuma, triggered massive landslides that engulfed houses, roads and farming facilities. Farmers and agricultural cooperative officials, while being shocked by the damages, are trying to clean up the places to resume operation. A 71-year-old rice farmer, who cultivates Nanatsuboshi and Yumepirika brand rice on a 9-hectare field, had his storehouse destroyed and pushed into the street by a mudslide. Everything in the storehouse, including a mini vehicle he bought last year, a large rice-planting machine and a sowing machine, toppled over. “I couldn’t believe my eyes when I … Continue reading

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Typhoon Jebi brought widespread devastating damages on agriculture

HYOGO, Sep. 6 – Damages on agriculture became clearer on September 5, 2018, a day after Typhoon Jebi passed over the Kansai region of Japan.  The powerful storm brought widespread damages as its extremely high winds knocked down greenhouses, slammed apples, grapes and many other fruits to the ground, and badly damaged fruit vegetables such as eggplants. Due to the blackout, cattle farmers are still having difficulties. It will take longer to get a full picture of the damages. Jebi landed the city of Kobe in Hyogo Prefecture. At Kande Tourist Grape Farm, the typhoon tore down vinyl coverings and flung some grapes on the ground in 60 to 70 percent … Continue reading

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[Our Noh no Ikebana] “Feel the passing of summer,” says Katsuko Yoshimura, 73, from Gokase, Miyazaki Prefecture

“Since I began Noh no Ikebana, I come to take a closer look at small changes in agricultural products. Now I know that vegetables have such beautiful flowers, fruits change colors day by day and sprouting onions are so cute. The best part of Noh no Ikebana is how we can arrange the materials freely without any restrictions. Our Noh no Ikebana group was established in 1998. Now we have eight members. To make our arrangements even more attractive to the audience, we sometimes ask some of the members who have experience in traditional-style ikebana for some advice. The theme today is early autumn. What you see in the background … Continue reading

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