Plant quarantine officials in Japan have had a number of inquiries about unsolicited packages of seeds apparently sent from China. They are calling on people not to plant them.
On Tuesday, a man in Miura City in Kanagawa Prefecture near Tokyo received a silver packet containing a bag of dozens of seed-like objects, each measuring about 2 millimeters. The shipping label suggests it came from China.
Officials at the Yokohama Plant Protection Station say they have been contacted by people across the country about suspicious seed shipments since late July.
They say the packages appear to be from abroad, and bear no marks showing they passed through quarantine.
Similar incidents have been reported in more than 20 US states since June, including more than 1,000 in Virginia alone. The majority are postmarked from China.
Authorities in Canada, Britain and Australia are also reporting cases.