The government on Tuesday unveiled a draft proposal for lessening the effects of Japan’s hay fever season, which include reducing cedar forests by 20% over 10 years with the goal of lowering the country's pollen count by half in 30 years.

The proposal — a response to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s call in April for ministries to devise comprehensive hay fever measures over the next 10 years — comes as pollen allergies, which are mostly caused by cedar trees, have become a major social concern, affecting an estimated 40% of the population.

“(Hay fever) cannot be resolved overnight, and we need to implement these steps steadily,” Kishida said at a ministerial meeting on hay fever on Tuesday. “I hope people will be able to put these measures into practice by next year's pollen season and onward.”