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Friday, Oct. 14, 2005
Governors seek action on hay fever
By ERIKO ARITA
The government should adopt measures aimed at easing the plight of hay-fever sufferers, the governors of Tokyo and neighboring municipalities said Thursday.
Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, Saitama Gov. Seiji Ueda and Saitama City Mayor Soichi Aikawa met Environment Minister Yuriko Koike to push this agenda Thursday.
They submitted a request urging the government to counter the problem by promoting logging, among other measures.
The trio represented the heads of eight local governments in the metropolitan area.
During the meeting with Koike, Ishihara said he had suffered hay fever this spring for the first time in his life.
"One out of every four people in the metropolitan area and one out of every six in the country suffer from hay fever. The negative impact on the economy is significant," Ishihara said.
He added that the problem cannot be resolved unless ministries cooperate and take action.
Ueda, who has been suffering from the allergy for the past 25 years, said he gets irritated eyes and headaches in the spring.
The local government chiefs said one of the causes of the increase in hay fever sufferers is the fact that many cedar trees are not cut down due to low demand for domestic lumber.
They urged the government to promote logging and to replace cedars with other trees via financial support for owners of cedar forests.
The government should also establish a remedy for the disease and research the link between air pollution and hay fever, they said.