Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Problems from Global Warming Already Emerging in Japan - Report


Global warming has already been causing serious problems in a range of fields in Japan, from agriculture, fishery and water supply to ecological systems, a government report showed Wednesday.

The report, compiled by the Environment Ministry's study panel on global warming, spelled out its possible effects mainly in Japan through 2020-2030.

Global warming has already been taking a toll on the quality of rice, fruits and other farm products while causing irregular weather conditions such as increased torrential rain, the report said, calling for urgent action to prevent the situation from worsening further.

"Effects of global warming are feared to have dealt a devastating blow to Japan," said the report, calling for potentially affected regions to prioritize measures in accordance with the situation of each region.

The report said quality problems in the food sector are believed to have occurred in all of Japan's 47 prefectures due to higher temperatures.

Under these circumstances, the panel cited a need to develop varieties which are strong against disease and high temperatures.

It also proposed a new cultivation method in which rice crops and fruits are not exposed to high temperatures while they are grown. Fruits, for example, can avoid high temperatures by moving them to cooler places, the report said.

Fish farming businesses have also been affected by global warming as an increase in sea temperatures has changed fish's migration routes, the report said, calling for more flexible fishing in response to such a change.

In the fish breeding business, the timing for releasing farm- raised fish and places where such fish are to be released should be changed, the report said.

The report said there is a need to take measures to protect endangered species, including refraining from building artificial structures in rivers which may block fish from escaping from high- temperature waters.

On disaster prevention, the report called for banking up rivers and improving their drainage while curbing construction of houses and buildings in areas most likely to be affected by heavy rains and high tides.

The report emphasized the need to overcome a likely shortage of water resources due to fluctuations in precipitation by promoting the use of sewage and afforesting mountains to delay the melting of snow.

Originally published by Kyodo News Service, Tokyo, in English 0121 18 Jun 08.

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