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Pollen count rises
AFAR
2/18/2003

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Japan is bracing itself for a harsh spring. Regional pollen counts are estimated to be, on average, twice as high as last year's. The majority of the country's 20 million hay fever cases is due to cedar pollen carried in the air. Experts link the high pollen count with the country's historical forestry industry. Cedars were planted en masse across Japan several decades ago, to re-establish forests ravaged during World War II. However, as time went on, the demand for less expensive foreign timbers increased, and old cedars were left to disperse their pollen.

Those living in urban areas have been hit hardest, leading experts to believe that there is a correlation between air pollution and the trigger of allergy attacks. Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers have initiated a team to promote countermeasures for pollen-based allergies but it remains to be seen how much time and research will be needed to effectively prevent these allergy attacks. For now, the populace is waiting and sneezing.

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