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Japanese Greenhorns

Posted: April 18 2009

It's a worldwide trend - young folks getting back to the land.  This time, in a government-sanctioned program.
YOKOSHIBAHIKARI, Japan - A motley group of unlikely farmers descended on the countryside here one recent Sunday, fresh towels around their necks, shiny boots on their feet.
"This is harder than it looks," said Tatsunori Kobayashi, a spiky-haired janitor from Tokyo Disney Resort, as he tromped through a mustard spinach patch with a seed planter, irregular furrows stretching out behind him.
He is part of Japan's 2,400-strong Rural Labor Squad, urban trainees dispatched to the countryside under a pilot program to put Japan's underemployed youth to work tilling its farms.
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