The mesmerizing sight of the aki-akane, meaning ‘autumn red’ dragonfly, is a traditional symbol of autumn in Japan’s rice farming landscape. However, the species has been rapidly disappearing in recent years and has now nearly vanished over most of Japan. The reason, according to scientists, is the increased use in rice farming of a class of broad-spectrum insecticides that have been the subject of bans in the European Union and China.
A roundup of the most significant news stories from Japan reported on December 31, 2018.
With the passage into law on July 28 of the House of Councillors electoral district reform bill, there has been some amelioration of the wide disparity in the weight of individual votes. Nevertheless, many believe that the reforms of the new law as well are far too timid. It will still remain the case that one person’s vote in some prefectures will have the weight of almost three peoples’ votes in other prefectures.