Japan’s 2017 fatality rate in farm accidents sets another record

TOKYO, Jan. 29 ― Japan’s fatality rate in farm accidents hit a new high in 2017, breaking the record rate a year earlier, data from the agriculture ministry has showed.

Farming is among the most dangerous occupations in Japan, with a fatality rate of 16.7 per 100,000 farmers, exceeding hazardous jobs such as those in the construction sector with a death-rate of 6.5 per 100,000 workers.

In addition, a fatality rate of farmers who were aged over 65 rose to 21.2 per 100,000 farmers, with elderly farmers most at risk group. Nearly 40 percent of fatalities were farmers aged over 80, according to the ministry.

A total of 304 farmers died in 2017, eight farmers less than a year earlier, but the fatality rate increased due to the country’s declining farmer population.

211 farmers, or about 70 percent of those, died in accidents that involved farm vehicles such as tractors.

Finding support for farmers, especially elderly ones, is something that needs to be addressed at a challenging time for farming in Japan, due to an ageing farmer population and intensified competitions through free trade agreements.

The Japanese government has set up a target of fatality rate in farm accidents at 298 in 2018, down from 350 in 2013.

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