Japan is known as the second largest pest control market worldwide after the USA. Since Japan is the home market for a large number of global corporations and manufacturing businesses, the growth of the commercial pest control industry in has followed a unique course. However, the language barrier means that the profile of the industry throughout the rest of Asia is lower than it deserves to be.
It is gives me great pleasure to report on our annual Pestology Conference, an event which I believe is rarely attended by non-Japanese professionals and is thus not so well-known in an international context.
The conference is organized by The Japanese Society of Pestology and the Japan Pest Control Association. “Pestology” is a grammatical blend formed from the words “pest” and “logos”, and refers to the “science of pests”. JSP was established in 1985 as an academic society to offer practical help and support to the pest control industry. In addition to publishing the bi-annual academic journal, “Pestology,” it organizes events such as academic gatherings (conventions) and symposiums for younger members. Its objective is to provide mutual enlightenment, academic exchange, information sharing and a social forum for its members. In 2007, it was designated as a “collaborative academic research organization” by the Science Council of Japan. It currently has 357 corporate and academic members.
About the conference
The conference was held over 14-15th November 2019 at the Toyama International Conference Center in Toyama, a beautiful city located on the northern coast facing the Sea of Japan and surrounded by the Tateyama Mountains. The city is renowned for its rich variety of seafood and sushi; visitors cannot fail to be impressed by the quality of the cuisine and the range of sightseeing attractions in the area. The city is also known as the historical center of pharmaceutical manufacturing in Japan. There are around 60 pharmaceutical manufacturers and 80 medical distributors and related companies here. Pest control companies in Toyama need strong analytical skills and knowledge of medical quality control to serve such a demanding client base of medical industry manufacturers.
There were 361 participants in the conference. Most of these were Japanese pest control business owners or Directors, as well as entomologists, researchers, technical staff, suppliers and government officers.
There were two keynote lectures, 25 academic presentations, eight poster presentations, a Gala Dinner, exhibitions and open symposium meetings on four different topics.
The first keynote lecture was “The Importance of Pest Management for the Sustainable Future of the Urban Ecosystem” by Dr. Brian T. Forschler (University of Georgia). The lecture slides were originally created by Dr. Chow-Yang Lee (University of California, Riverside) and were edited and presented at the conference by Dr. Forschler. He gave an overview of the global and the Asian pest control market and the challenges faced by the industry. One of the key issues is the development of insecticide resistance across various pest species. Dr. Forschler emphasized the importance of communication between stakeholders and the need for comprehensive and concerted action, including the effective management of insecticide rotation by pest control professionals. Dr. Forschler also talked about potential pest risks during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and offered some excellent suggestions as to how these could be tackled both before and during the event. In my opinion, this was a very valuable overview for Japanese professionals since our industry tends to be quite domesticallyfocused. Gaining a different perspective through this objective and logical discussion was an invaluable preparation for an international event like the Olympics.
The second keynote lecture was “Our Endless War against Invasive Species” by Dr. Koichi Goka (National Institute of Environmental Studies). The renowned bioecology and biodiversity specialist talked about the challenges we are facing, as a country and an industry, with respect to invasive species. He is well-known for his distinctive rock starlike appearance, and his talks are always informative and entertaining. He certainly did not disappoint us on this occasion! His discussion on the Chinese government and the matter of whether the Fire Ants found at Japanese ports are coming from China was alarming, but fascinating and informative. He also talked about bacteria-borne diseases that are deadly for particular species of foreign species but not for native species. His suggestion was that bacteria have been coexisting and coevolving with host species and that destroying the biodiversity will result in surge of new types of infectious diseases.
There were various other interesting presentations including:
- “The Results of Consumer Awareness Research in Saitama Prefecture on Dust Mite Allergies” (Saitama Institute of Health)
- “Bait Usage and Efficacy Statistics against German Cockroaches by Tokyo Pest Control Companies” (Apex Sangyo Co., Ltd, Hohto Shoji Co Ltd, Syngenta Japan KK)
- “Molecular Biological Classification of Culex pipiens in Metropolitan Tokyo” (Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Public Health)
- “Efficacy Test Results of Various Insecticides against Liposcelis bostrychophilus” (Faculty of Agriculture, Ibaraki University)
- “How Vibration of Machinery in Food Manufacturing Factories Affects the Growth of Plodia interpunctella” (Fuji Flavor Co. Ltd.)
- “Introduction of a Newly Registered Broflanilidebased Pesticide. (Mitsui Chemicals Agro, Inc., Ikari Shodoku Co., Ltd.)
- “Hourly Behavior of Ponerinae Studied with Real- Time Monitoring”(Pest Vision Solutions, SEMCO)
As well as the pest-related presentations, another interesting feature of the conference was the public symposium on the recent surge of swine fever and SFTS (Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome – a tick-borne disease) in Japan. This was an open forum between various professionals from the pest control industry, universities and government bodies about how to tackle such issues in an effective way to the benefit of all stakeholders and the public.
One of the unique events at this conference was the “Young Professionals Forum” which was held in the morning of the first day before the main conference started in the afternoon. The principal participants were younger pest managers and entomologists talking about various industry issues relevant to the future generations in the industry. The topics included subjects such as new technology and treatment methods, sales and operational issues, and career development issues. This forum has become an excellent platform for engaging young professionals though creating a support system and fostering a sense of community across the industry.
The Pestology Conference usually includes a Gala Dinner on the first night of the event. There were 285 attendees this time, catching up with industry friends and enjoying the local seafood and Sake of Toyama.
In my opinion, despite the language barriers, the Pestology Conference is a wonderful platform for showcasing the Japanese pest control industry to the rest of Asia. I strongly recommend anyone with an interest in the Japanese pest control market or who wants to gain an insight into the ideas of this unique Japanese industry to participate next year.
Report provided by Taro Kanazawa, JPCA.