As if the COVID-19 pandemic didn't give Japan enough things to worry about, the unseasonably warm winter and resulting lack of snow may spell severe shortages of water by this summer, reports Weekly Playboy (May 4). The snowfall along the Japan Sea side of the archipelago was the lowest since record-keeping began in 1961.

A source in the Meteorological Agency is quoted as saying that rainfall between now and August is predicted to match the seasonal average, which means it might not be sufficient to make up for the lack of snow.

About two thirds of the country's water resources go to farming — some 94 percent of which is used for rice cultivation. The greatest concern of associate professor Toshiaki Iida of the University of Tokyo's Faculty of Agriculture is the possible impact on the nation's rice crop.