Heatwaves hurt cherry harvest in northeastern Japan

Heatwaves are hurting cherry harvests in Japan's northeastern prefecture of Yamagata, the country's leading producer of the fruit.

Municipalities in the prefecture are having difficulty securing enough cherries for a program that sends gifts to people donating money in exchange for a tax reduction.

Yamagata Prefecture accounts for nearly 80 percent of nationwide cherry output, but this year's harvest is likely to be much lower than previously expected.

Extremely hot weather for two summers in a row has resulted in low-quality cherries that are not fit for shipping.

The prefecture says that about 76,000 cherry gift boxes, or almost 20 percent of the total, had been affected as of June 26.

It says some municipalities would not be able to ship cherries by planned dates, or would have to send a different variety or size.