One worker in Japan relocated to the tropical area of Okinawa to avoid suffering from hay fever. Skyler Sion/Pexels

A significant proportion of workers in Japan are affected by hay fever, which can cause symptoms such as sneezing, watery eyes, and itchiness, leading to a decline in labor productivity.

According to a report by Japan's Ministry of Environment, the allergy affects 42.5% of the population, and its impact has led to it being labeled a "national disease" by the Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida.

To address this issue, some companies in Japan are taking innovative measures to help their employees work remotely from areas with low pollen levels, such as tropical islands.

One such company is Aisaac, a Japanese tech firm, which provides its staff with approximately $1300 to relocate to a place with low pollen levels during the peak hay fever period, which typically occurs from mid-February to mid-April.

This policy has been hugely popular, with over 30% of the company's employees taking advantage of it last year.

The company's policy of allowing its employees to work from tropical islands is being applied to those who suffer from hay fever, with the trips being fully subsidized by employers.

Aisaac's policy is unique in that it lets its staff relocate to any place with low pollen levels, and some employees even venture further to places like Guam and Hawaii.

The Japanese government is also taking steps to address the problem of hay fever, with plans in place to cut down Japanese cedar, which produces high levels of pollen, and replace them with less-pollen-producing trees.

Additionally, the government is planning to utilize artificial intelligence to identify pollen spreading from forests and produce anti-allergy prescriptions at a mass rate.

The severe impact of hay fever on productivity levels in Japan has led to other companies permitting their staff to work remotely during the hay fever season, with some companies covering the relocation costs.

The issue remains critical in Japan, with university professor of otorhinolaryngology, Mitsuhiro Okano, finding that the allergy can cause a decline in labor productivity of over 30%, leading to a negative impact on the economy.

Hay fever remains a significant challenge for workers in Japan, but innovative measures like Aisaac's policy of allowing its employees to work from tropical islands are helping alleviate the problem.

The government's plans to tackle the issue using technology and anti-allergy prescriptions are also expected to have a positive impact in the coming years.