Interview A Second Tiananmen Incident Could Result From Locusts!?




A Second Tiananmen Incident Could Result From Locusts!?

We spoke with an expert who claims that a locust invasion will cause turmoil in China.

Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI)
Senior Researcher

Kazuhiko Fuji

Born in 1960. After entering the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (now the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry), Fuji was involved with energy and SME policies. In 2003, he was seconded to the Cabinet Secretariat (counselor of the Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office), and has been in his current position since 2016. His books include, “A World That Will Change with an Oil Crash.” (rough translation of the Japanese title)

The desert locusts mass produced due to heavy cyclones that occurred in the Arabian Sea in 2018. The heavy rain overgrew grass, which fed the desert locusts. These insects may devour agricultural lands in Ethiopia and Pakistan, and head to China.

Moreover, their number is expected to increase rapidly — just as an increasingly number of people are infected by the coronavirus. Countries like Vietnam are banning rice exports and storing food in preparation for locust damage.


Agriculture, 10% of China’s GDP, Directly Targeted

During 1929 in China, 10 million people died of starvation due to locust damage. China, which has historically suffered from locusts, is now taking measures. One of their measures is to send 100,000 ducks to Pakistan, a country facing serious locust damage, to eliminate these locusts. This operation was successfully carried out in Uyghur in 2000.

Agriculture accounts for about 10% of China’s GDP. Although industrialized, one of the most urgent government issues is the promotion of rural development. If the government fails to get rid of locusts, the rural areas will be exhausted and social unrest will arise.

For example, the Tiananmen incident became more serious as the general public’s dissatisfaction for soaring prices added to the student democracy movement. At that time, the CPI was above 20%.

Through China’s history, locusts often ruined the administration of its time. China’s people must be sensing a déjà vu, and recalling a dynasty change.


Food Crisis in Japan

Then, of course, the impact of the food crisis caused by locusts will extend to Japan; prices of food will rise inevitably. During a recession, stagflation is expected to occur.

The Japanese government will put forth a policy of increasing food production, but the primary industry is weakening due to an aging population. The coronavirus has decreased the number of foreign workers, and in some areas, there are labor shortages in the agriculture and fish processing industries.

Japan should review their food security that they’ve neglected thus far.

Interview A Second Tiananmen Incident Could Result From Locusts!?
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