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Govt eyes large-scale controls for fire ants

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The government decided Tuesday to launch large-scale control measures against fire ants at 68 ports across Japan that have regular container routes with nations where the venomous ants are commonly found.

The measures were adopted at a liaison meeting after fire ants, designated as an invasive alien species in Japan, were discovered mainly at ports. The government aims to prevent the pest from being established in the country.

The government is considering placing tens to hundreds of thousands of fire ant bait insecticides in total at the 68 ports, from the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido to the southernmost prefecture of Okinawa.

Fire ants were first found in a container in Amagasaki in Hyogo Prefecture, western Japan, in late May and later detected in Tokyo, Aichi, and Osaka prefectures.

As queen ants were found at the Osaka and Kobe ports, the Environment Ministry is concerned that the species may become established in Japan.

Meanwhile, the transport ministry asked 29 airports with international flights to set up traps for fire ants and carry out emergency inspections.Speech

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