Invasive beetle threatens Japan's beloved cherry blossoms
Japan Times -- Mar 23
Across the country delicate pink and white cherry blossoms are emerging, but the famed blooms are facing a potentially mortal enemy, experts say: an invasive foreign beetle.

The alien invader is Aromia bungii, otherwise known as the red-necked longhorn beetle, which is native to China, Taiwan, the Korean Peninsula and northern Vietnam.

The beetles live inside cherry and plum trees, stripping them of their bark. In serious cases, an infestation can kill a tree, and experts are sounding the alarm.

"If we don't take countermeasures, cherry trees could be damaged and we won't be able to enjoy hanami (cherry blossom viewing) in a few years' time," Estuko Shoda-Kagaya, a researcher at the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, said Thursday.

The beetle was first spotted in 2012 in Aichi Prefecture but has now spread across the Tokyo region, according to the Environment Ministry.

Experts say it may have entered Japan via imported wood materials.

News source: Japan Times
Apr 21
The Tokyo metropolitan government aims to ban indoor smoking at all restaurants with employees in the Japanese capital, Governor Yuriko Koike said Friday. (Jiji)
Apr 21
Wakayama Prefectural Police have arrested a 29-year-old man over the murder of his wife during a diving excursion in the town of Shirahama last year, a case that he framed as an accidental drowning, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun (tokyoreporter.com)
Apr 21
An outbreak of measles in the Japanese prefecture of Okinawa is affecting local tourism ahead of the spring holiday season. (NHK)
Apr 21
Another volcano erupted in the Kirishima mountain range in the Kyushu region, southwestern Japan, on Thursday, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. (Jiji)
Apr 21
The Bank of Japan said Wednesday that a veteran official at its Currency Issue Department is believed to have stolen commemorative gold coins from a safe. (Jiji)
Apr 21
Japan’s consumer center said Thursday about 120 children were treated at medical institutions over the past seven years after swallowing tiny magnetic balls, and urged parents to keep such products away from children. (Japan Times)
Apr 21
When asked about a complaint from a Japanese TV station that the most senior official at his ministry sexually harassed a reporter, Finance Minister Taro Aso said the font used on the complaint letter was too small. (Japan Times)
Apr 21
A company that developed a smartphone application for the Japanese board game shogi has been listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. But the initial public offering ended without an opening price as there were too many orders to buy its shares. (NHK)
Apr 21
A nonpartisan group of Japanese lawmakers has visited Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. (NHK)
Apr 21
Japanese government officials have released their leading gauge of inflation. The Consumer Price Index rose for the 15th straight month in March. (NHK)