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Robots in Fukushima monitor cucumber production in IT-farming joint project

np_file_25710-870x653Katsumi Hashimoto (left) president of the Fukushima Seed Center, talks about how he teamed up with two other technology companies to make cucumber farming less labor intensive.

Jul 24, 2020

Three ventures from the IT and farming industries have started testing methods to produce cucumbers with less human labor in Sukagawa, Fukushima Prefecture, in the hope that it will reinvigorate the agriculture industry suffering from a worsening labor shortage, including a lack of successors.

Two technology companies, Benefic Co. and MK tech, have teamed up with Fukushima Seed Center and established a project team called Smart Agri Fukushima.

The team created a 1,300-square-meter testing greenhouse, planted 2,000 cucumbers and is monitoring temperatures, humidity and carbon dioxide among other data remotely using robots. The team has already shipped 1.6 tons of produce to a local agricultural cooperative, with a plan to expand the greenhouse to 1 hectare, or eight times the current scale, in the next five years.

In developing robots to monitor the cucumbers, Benefic will be in charge of its software while MK tech will manufacture the hardware. In the greenhouse, cucumbers are produced through a unique hanging method, which makes it easier for robots to monitor the produce, rather than the usual method which is to cut the plant at a certain height.

According to the seed center, the Sukagawa area, well-known for cucumbers, has been struggling for years with a shortage of labor, causing farmers to automate the farming process to make it more attractive to younger people. In the future, they hope to spread the smart farming method nationwide.

We want to protect cucumber farming by making the fields less labor intensive,” said Katsumi Hashimoto, president of the seed center.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/07/24/national/robots-farming-fukushima/

August 3, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , | Leave a comment

Behind the Scenes / Labor shortage plagues nuclear industry

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University students participate in a job seminar featuring nuclear power-related companies.
March 28, 2019
With the nuclear power industry buffeted by headwinds, hiring and training personnel has become an urgent priority.
The suspension of a Hitachi Ltd. project to construct a nuclear power plant in Britain is also casting a shadow. The nuclear power industry, which is responsible for supplying stable electricity, is now struggling to secure human resources.
The job-hunting season for university students planning to graduate in 2020 has begun, and an employment seminar featuring nuclear power-related companies was held in Tokyo on March 3. Major power companies set up booths and energetically touted themselves to attendees, but students’ interest in major power companies that operate nuclear power plants has been somewhat lacking.
“I want to work for a company that deals with radiation measurement and management,” a 21-year-old male student majoring in nuclear power at Tokai University said. “I wasn’t considering a major power company.”
Factors such as the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and delays in the resumption of nuclear power generation have reduced student interest in nuclear power-related companies. In fiscal 2010, before the Fukushima disaster, over 1,200 students attended the seminar, but the number this year was 213, almost 50 fewer than last year.
The Nuclear Human Resource Development Network, composed of the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum Inc. and other entities, will launch in April a new organization called the “strategic working group to strengthen recruitment and personnel training.”
The organization will aim to strengthen links between industry, academia and the government; provide a venue for the exchange of ideas with the government; and promote human resource development strategies.
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March 31, 2019 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima City Still Struggling with Labor Shortages

serveimage.jpgRecent soil contamination map made by the “Environmental Radioactivity Measurement Project around Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.” https://dunrenard.wordpress.com/2017/01/14/new-data-show-massive-radiation-levels-in-odaka-minamisoma/

 

Minamisoma, Fukushima Pref., July 12 (Jiji Press)–Minamisoma is still struggling with labor shortages, one year after the Japanese government lifted its nuclear evacuation advisory for part of the Fukushima Prefecture city.
In the city, only slightly over 20 pct of residents have returned home, and the productive-age population of people aged 15-64 fell by some 8,200 from the level before the March 2011 meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s <9501> disaster-crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
The situation is “tough,” said Takuzo Tsuchida, a 58-year-old worker at a factory in the Kashima district that is run by a subsidiary of clothing maker Fukuso Co. The factory saw its number of employees halve to some 70.
The Fukuso unit this year hired five graduates from a dressmaking school with which it held a joint fashion show last year. But the move was insufficient because some workers quit.
To cover its lower output, the company has asked a partner factory for increased production. “We have to continue to put up with” the situation, Tsuchida said.

http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2017071200924

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment