Solving Farmer Shortage with Technology
[On-Site Report]
Japan's agriculture industry is struggling with both an aging workforce and a labor shortage. According to national estimates, the number of farmers across the country has dropped about 57% over the past 20 years. One company is drawing attention for its AI-driven robots, that are assisting farmers with harvesting produce. Another company has created a matching service that introduces farms that need more staff to people who are interested in giving farming a try. In exchange for their help, guests receive a paycheck as well as a place to stay. The service is proving especially popular with young people, as it gives them an affordable way to travel around the country while trying a new kind of work. This episode examines how technology may play a key role in saving Japan's agriculture industry.

[In Depth: Pandemic Pushes Struggling Businesses into Corner]
The coronavirus pandemic is having its toll on smaller businesses in Japan, many of which were already struggling. It is a worrying trend for local economies, but we see efforts that are underway to keep businesses afloat.

[World Perspective: Geothermal Power Gains Steam in Kenya]
Geothermal power generation uses a renewable source to create a stable supply at low cost. It is gaining ground in Kenya, which has active volcanos that create the necessary steam and a rapidly-growing economy that is driving demand for electricity. A major geothermal power plant was developed with financial and technological support from Japan. This week, we look at this international collaboration that is using renewable energy to power an African economy.

On-Site Report

A tomato farmer gives advice to a guest worker who was introduced via an online matching service
An AI-driven robot autonomously navigates through a field while harvesting asparagus

World Perspective

Kenya's active volcanoes create the underground steam needed for geothermal power generation, which is supplying power for the country's growing economy
The Japan International Cooperation Agency sends specialists to Kenya to train engineers and research geothermal power