1992 年 40 巻 6 号 p. 1106-1112
The Japanese Association of Rural Medicine (JARM) was established in 1952. In those years, the living standards of rural communities were poor, contagious diseases were prevalent and rural people fell with malnutrition. As the Japanese economy began to grow at a high pace in or around 1960, rural communities have drastically changed, enabling farmers to enjoy a better life. With farmers having access to jobs other than agriculture, their cash incomes increased, rural manpower drifted to cities, and the number of farming families has since been on the downswing. It is inconceivable that agriculture, which forms part of the primary industry, will die out, and authoritative sources agree that there will appear an international food crisis toward the 21st century.
When it comes to “agricultural medicine” in Japan, I must point out, more than anything else, that deaths in labor accidents become increasingly frequent. The safety measures are inadequate, so are the measures to compensate for labor accidents. In the ongoing development of agricultural technology, meanwhile, it is noted that there appear new types of health disorders and diseases. They include pesticide poisoning, greenhouse diseases, abortions caused by vibrating cultivators and pollinosis. The future question is to compensate for them as “agricultural diseases.” As regards “rural health, ” it must be pointed out that there are cases of family disruption and many cases with stress diseases in the midst of the ongoing trend in which farmers try to have access to better side jobs. The most crucial issue is the rapid pace at which aging is in progress in rural communities. How do we deliver care to bedridden old people and those with dementia? How to organize such community care? Those are questions we have yet to find solutions.
In the past, there were struggles against diseases caused by pollutants (such as Minamata Disease and Itai-Itai Disease). There will be the need for a positive campaign for the protection of water and green in the rural environment. Environmental issues have to be taken up in an international perspective. On the question developing countries is a major causative factor. We are no longer able to discuss about agricultural medicine and rural health without relevance to the developing world.