The true cost of the climate crisis on Japan

Source(s)
Japan Times Ltd., the

By Eric Margolis

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Japan is as vulnerable to climate change as any other country in the world. Its 2019 typhoon season was the costliest on record, closely followed by 2018. What’s more, scorching heat waves hospitalized thousands across the country in 2018 and 2019, while record rainfall in this period forced millions to evacuate from their homes.

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Most of the economic damage during such storms occurs to infrastructure and buildings. Last summer, heavy rain in Kyushu killed 64, forced 200,000 residents to evacuate, caused 105 rivers to overflow, 316 mudslides, and, according to Kumamoto prefecture, monetary damage of more than ¥556 billion. The area around the Kuma River was particularly hard-hit, with houses and bridges being swept away.

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Challenges for the fishing industry have emerged all over the country, from Hokkaido’s salmon, Pacific saury and squid catches to the disappearance of abalone and anchovies in Tokyo Bay. While difficult to link directly to climate change, the salmon catch has plummeted in Hokkaido by 70% in the past 15 years.

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Adaptation to the climate crisis is possible and already underway. Farmers around Japan have even changed crops to get by. In the Nanyo region of Ehime Prefecture, farmers started growing Tarocco orange, which can tolerate higher levels of summer heat.

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