Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The government at a meeting of ministers concerned on Thursday decided to take further measures to alert the public of fire ants, a venomous invasive alien species, as summer holidays are starting at elementary and other schools in the nation.
At the meeting, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, “I want you to provide information through various channels, including schools, so that people can correctly understand characteristics of the ant and respond calmly.” Fire ants have recently been found in some locations in Japan.
With children set to have a lot of opportunities to play outside with the start of summer holidays, the government hopes to make people well informed of the danger of fire ants and steps that should be taken in case they are stung by the ants.
Specifically, the government will run radio, internet and social media ads to warn the public of fire ants. It has already distributed flyers to schools, kindergartens and other facilities related to children.
The ant’s sting can cause strong pain and, in some cases, anaphylactic shock, an extreme allergic reaction that could lead to death, according to the Environment Ministry. In most cases, however, symptoms do not become serious soon after a sting, a ministry official said.