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Oriental fruit flies once eradicated from Japan emerging again

An oriental fruit fly is seen in this photo taken from the website of the agricultural ministry.

MIYAZAKI -- Oriental fruit flies, pests that damage mangos, bell peppers and other crops, have resurfaced in Japan after being eradicated in the 1980s, with scores of them found in Tokyo and six other prefectures since April.

    The oriental fruit fly measures about 7 millimeters in length and lays more than 10 eggs at a time inside fruit and vegetables, spoiling them. Japan had previously managed to free itself of the insects by 1986. They resurfaced again on Amami Oshima island the southwestern Japan prefecture of Kagoshima in 2015, and were again eradicated in 2016.

    According to the Moji Plant Protection Station in the city of Kitakyushu, also in southwestern Japan, the oriental fruit flies that have recently been caught in Japan are thought to have flown from China and Southeast Asia, aided by stationary weather fronts and other conditions.

    Eighty-four of the pests have been caught in 18 municipalities in Kagoshima Prefecture in southwest Japan, while five of them appeared in the city of Amakusa in neighboring Kumamoto Prefecture. The first -- and so far the only -- case in Miyazaki Prefecture, also in southwest Japan, was confirmed on Aug. 17 after a trap was set at the Miyanoura Fishing Port in the city of Kushima. The prefectural government is investigating whether there has been any damage to fruit around the port.

    (Japanese original by Yuka Shiotsuki, Miyazaki Bureau)

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