Professional Pest Controller Magazine Issue 110

21 February 2023

Japanese adventure: Pest Summit 2022

PPC110 - Buisness

A limited number of European delegates braved the onerous Japanese Covid-19 travel restrictions and made their way to FAOPMA Pest Summit 2022 held in Kyoto, Japan.

The event was organised by the Japan Pest Control Association (JPCA) on behalf of the Federation of Asian and Oceania Pest Managers Associations (FAOPMA) and was held between 8-11 November 2022. Report and pictures from BPCA Life Member Frances McKim.

summit hero

Getting to this event was no easy task. Not only because it’s a long way to travel, but also due to the rigorous Japanese entry requirements in place. Once there, wearing face masks was still compulsory. However, the event was a sell-out. 

Over 800 delegates attended, representing the full range of countries embraced by FAOPMA from across the Asia Pacific area. Impressively, FAOPMA is the largest global pest control federation, taking care of the public health of over half of the world’s population.

The event followed the traditional path of such international events, namely: conference presentations, an accompanying exhibition plus time to network and socialise. The sole UK-based exhibitor was PestWest, working in conjunction with its Australian company, Starkeys.

“Despite the language barrier, when visiting Japan you can be assured of a warm and very polite welcome. One of the first things you notice is how organised and clean everything is – not a spot of litter can be seen anywhere.”

Climate change – an overview

Although a coincidence, the venue and timing could hardly have been more apt; this event was being held in the very same building in Kyoto as the COP3 conference in 1997, from which emerged the Kyoto Protocol designed to address greenhouse gas emissions.

As for the timing, this coincided exactly with the running of the COP27 Conference on climate change, held at Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt. So, it was more than appropriate that a whole morning’s session was devoted to climate change and how it will affect pest control.

Well-known entomologist, Dr Partho Dhang from the Philippines gave an overview which set the scene for the presentations that followed. Put simply, climate change is earth’s temperature steadily rising without control.

The average temperature of earth is 13.9°C, but this is rising by 1-1.5°C, so by the years 2030 to 2050 the average temperature will have risen to 14.5°C.

In August 2021 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the international body that monitors and regulates on all matters relating to climate change) came out with a damning report that identified mankind as the cause of climate change.

In summary, the report predicts temperatures will continue to rise, as humans have yet to act to prevent this.

Extremes of weather will become more common, arctic summers could soon be free of ice and seas will continue to rise no matter what. Frighteningly, the report declares mankind is running out of time.

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Speakers at the climate change session. From left: Dr Chow-Yang Lee, Carol Lam, Stephen Doggett, Dr Shinki Kasai, Dr Partho Dhang accompanied by Vasili Tsoutouras who led the discussion.

Effects on pests

Dr Chow-Yang Lee from the University of California, Riverside, USA explained the effects of raised temperature on insects themselves. Dr Lee reminded delegates that insects are unable to regulate their body temperature, with it remaining similar to the ambient temperature. 

An increase in temperature will affect their behaviour, development, survival, dispersal, distribution and reproduction, which may cause an additional one to five generations per season.

For urban pests this would mean activity earlier in the year, especially in locations with marked seasons, resulting in more pest generations, and so increased pest numbers per season.

With extreme temperatures, outdoor pests may be driven to seek refuge indoors looking for cooler conditions, as well as moisture and food, causing new pest problems indoors.

Pest ranges would be expanded into new geographic areas, and their number and frequency would increase – a significant problem for medically important pests, such as mosquitoes. 

Climate change also affects insecticide performance and increases levels of insecticide resistance.

Effects on pest control

How is climate change going to affect the pest control industry? Session chairman, Stephen Doggett from Westmead Hospital, Sydney, Australia explained how society, and our own pest management customers, may well prove to be the key drivers of change. 

An increasing number of global companies are committing to carbon neutrality, and are demanding that their suppliers and service providers become carbon neutral too.

Pest professionals can reduce their carbon footprints by such practical activities as effective scheduling of technicians’ routes. Not only does this save on miles travelled, it reduces technician stress level and provides the company with a more profitable service.

BPCA’s Contract Sharing Network (CSN) was highlighted as an example of a scheme that promotes such savings. The CSN allows BPCA member companies, in confidence, to cover dispersed contracts for each other. 

The use of a remote monitoring system for rodents was also highlighted as a means of being proactive rather than reactive, offering better service to the customer, a reduced visit frequency and so providing a reduction in your carbon footprint.

Some personal reflections

Having been involved with the European and American professional pest control sector for over 40 years, I’ve built up a feeling of familiarity and confidence when attending events.

However, attending Pest Summit 2022, and spending time in Japan, brought me to an abrupt stop. I was totally out of my comfort zone.

Despite the language barrier, when visiting Japan you can be assured of a warm and very polite welcome. One of the first things you notice is how organised and clean everything is – not a spot of litter can be seen anywhere (regrettably not the case in Europe).

Judging by the exhibition, there are pests but they too seem very discrete. Not a single flying or crawling insect was spotted, nor a single rodent bait box in use!

Attempting to report and photograph events at the conference posed quite a challenge too. Never before have I been instructed to remain seated when attempting to photograph the opening speaker, ex-Prime Minister Yoshihido Suga, as he opened the conference.

For fear of attack following the assassination of the former Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, in July last year, he came with armed guards and if I stood up I was told I might well be shot!

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From left: former Prime Minister of Japan, Yoshihido Suga, with other VIPs and armed guard behind.

We were also all forbidden from taking any photos of one of the speakers, Chan Hyuk Chyun, the President of CESCO from South Korea, for his fear of being kidnapped. Even a large percentage of his own employees do not know who he is, or what he looks like.

As the event unfolded and I started to find my feet, I soon became awestruck by Japanese business culture.

In his presentation, Taro Kanazawa, President-elect of FAOPMA, and CEO of pest and hygiene company Hysia, explained the culture embedded in Japanese companies and how they survive for generations. He used a quote from Shibusawa Eiichi (1840-1931) who is fondly referred to as the ‘father of Japanese capitalism’.

He stated that ethics and business growth can be achieved simultaneously – a very different model to traditional Western capitalism where the aim is to maximise shareholder value. 

He said: “People who just chase money for personal interests are looked down on.”

Other staggering features of Japanese companies are not only their scale and their commitment to research, but also the very high degree of family ownership and longevity.

Mr Kanazawa detailed some remarkable statistics, taken from a survey by Nikkei BP Consulting Inc. It shows companies that have operated for 100+ years, sorted by country.

Japan came top: 33,076 companies are over 100 years old (41.3% of the global total). And there are 1,340 companies over 200 years old (65% of the global total). 

By comparison, the UK has 1,861 (2.3%) companies over 100 years old and only 83 (4%) that are 200 years old or more.

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Taro Kanazawa (right) accompanied by Dominique Stumpf, CEO of the National Pest Management Association, USA

Mr Kanazawa’s own company, Hysia, was founded by his grandmother in 1969, but arguably more impressive is the company heritage of one of the other speakers, Shiro Ueyama, a director of insecticide manufacturer Kincho, founded in 1885.

He is the great-great grandson of the founder, Ueyama Eiichiro, holder of a significant place in the history of insecticides. He acquired chrysanthemum seeds, the source of pyrethrum, from a British plant trader in 1886 and then promoted planting in the Wakayama prefecture.

He had the idea of kneading pyrethrum into incense sticks and then invented the spiral-shaped mosquito coil, regarded as the world’s first industrialised insecticide.


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