Tokyo, Japan, 30 May 2006 – An attempt is being made to apply state-of-the-art technology to rice paddies in Hokkaido, the northernmost main island of Japan, to predict whether the grain being cultivated will be palatable. If pictures of rice taken by a satellite 450 kilometres above the paddies show a green colour, the grain is bound to be tasty, scientists said.
Pointing at a map dubbed “tampaku (protein) map,” which has been developed on the basis of the satellite images taken during the rice harvest, Daiji Asaka, 44, of the central agricultural experiment station of the Hokkaido prefectural government said: “Green portions of rice fields are considered having delicious rice. You know it right away if you see (the satellite images).”Rice containing less protein is regarded as appetising. Satellite images depict rice with less protein in green due to the reflection of light. The station has been buying images taken by US and French satellites for six years. Satellites have advantage of taking pictures of a wide area.