A persistent labor shortage and tepid demand for timber are complicating Japan's efforts to mitigate pollen allergies by reducing the number of cedar trees, raising concerns about the feasibility of its ambitious forestry goals.

These challenges have come into sharp focus as the government aims to reduce pollen production by cutting cedar forest plantations by about 20% over the next decade, with the ultimate goal of halving pollen output in about 30 years.

In May last year, the government adopted new strategies to combat pollen allergies. It decided to increase the annual rate of logging of cedar forest plantations from the current 50,000 hectares to 70,000 hectares, and set a target to reduce the area of such forests by about 20% by the end of fiscal year 2033.