The heavy snow that fell during the weekend destroyed farms and greenhouses in the Kanto-Koshin and Tohoku region. The snowstorm, the heaviest the nation has seen in a century, caused damage to crops of seven prefectures from the region, with the damage estimated to be worth around 19 billion yen.
The cities of Fuefuki, Yamanashi and Koshi from the Yamanashi Prefecture, the country’s biggest grape producers, were so badly hit that around 70 to 80 percent of the plastic greenhouses they use to cultivate the grapes were totally destroyed, with the weight of the snow caving the roof in. 61-year old grape farmer Atsushi Masuda from Fuefuki expressed disbelief with what happened, saying, “No one had anticipated that the snow would accumulate over one meter. I have never experienced something like this in my 40 years of life as a farmer.” The damage brought to his greenhouses was so great, Masuda said it will probably take 10 million yen and more than a decade to restore the grape farm to its former self.
Saitama Prefecture, a vegetable growing province in Japan was also affected by the heavy snowstorm, particularly in the town of Kawagoe. Greenhouses were buried under the weight of the snow and water remained in the fields, causing the crops to die. 54-year old farmer Yukio Omata described the devastation, “The leaves of komatsuna (Japanese mustard spinach) were so badly broken that I can’t sell them, I had underestimated (the impact of) snow.” Some houses and hamlets in the mountains of Hayakawa in Yamanashi are still isolated because of the 1-meter snow that buried their roads and the local government is already concerned about the effects it will have in terms of food shortage and heating.
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