Every year, pollen counts in Japan are getting worse. In fact, pollen levels in Tokyo were literally off the charts just a few weeks ago. As a result, for four months out of the year, an estimated 15 to 30 percent of the Japanese population suffers from hay fever.
The tragedy of this situation is that Japan’s pollen problems are caused by its own government which encouraged people to plant cedar trees to meet the growing demand for timber in the 1940s and to replace forests that were destroyed during WWII. Hay fever was actually relatively rare in Japan until the 1960s when the millions of cedar trees began to mature and produce pollen.
As cedar pollen levels continue to climb, Japanese scientists may have found a solution to the problem: pollenless cedar trees.