Showing posts with label tokyo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tokyo. Show all posts

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Japan tornado: One dead and many injured in Tsukuba, city northeast of Tokyo

tornado in japan
Tornado at Tsukuba, city northeast of Tokyo
TOKYO - A tornado tore through a city northeast of Japan's capital on Sunday, killing one person, injuring dozens of others and destroying scores of houses.

Firefighters and medical teams rushed to the area after the tornado struck Tsukuba city, 60 kilometres (40 miles) from Tokyo. The city is a science centre, with dozens of research and academic institutes, but the tornado appeared to be mostly in residential areas.

A 14-year-old boy died after being injured by the storm, Tsukuba Medical Center said.

More than 30 other people were injured, including at least 10 who were being treated at hospitals, fire officials said. Details of the death and injuries were not immediately available.

Public broadcaster NHK showed rows of houses without roofs, apartment complexes with smashed balconies and shattered windows, and tilting telephone poles that could barely stand.

tornado in Tsukuba, city northeast of Tokyo
Tornado at Tsukuba, city northeast of Tokyo

It said about 200 homes were damaged.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said 24,000 homes were without electricity as lightning added to the storm's damage.

Tornadoes are relatively rare in the Tokyo area.

News by 570news

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Saturday, May 05, 2012

Thousands march as Japan shuts off nuclear power

Japan shuts off nuclear power
Participants raise banners with a slogan, "Good bye, nuclear power station"
TOKYO (AP) -- Thousands of Japanese marched to celebrate the switching off of the last of their nation's 50 nuclear reactors Saturday, waving banners shaped as giant fish that have become a potent anti-nuclear symbol.

Japan was without electricity from nuclear power for the first time in four decades when the reactor at Tomari nuclear plant on the northern island of Hokkaido went offline for mandatory routine maintenance.

After last year's March 11 quake and tsunami set off meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, no reactor halted for checkups has been restarted amid public worries about the safety of nuclear technology.

"Today is a historic day," Masashi Ishikawa shouted to a crowd gathered at a Tokyo park, some holding traditional "koinobori" carp-shaped banners for Children's Day that have become a symbol of the anti-nuclear movement.

"There are so many nuclear plants, but not a single one will be up and running today, and that's because of our efforts," Ishikawa said.

The activists said it is fitting that the day Japan stopped nuclear power coincides with Children's Day because of their concerns about protecting children from radiation, which Fukushima Dai-ichi is still spewing into the air and water.

The government has been eager to restart nuclear reactors, warning about blackouts and rising carbon emissions as Japan is forced to turn to oil and gas for energy.

Japan now requires reactors to pass new tests to withstand quakes and tsunami and to gain local residents' approval before restarting.

The response from people living near nuclear plants has been mixed, with some wanting them back in operation because of jobs, subsidies and other benefits to the local economy.

The mayor of Tomari city, Hiroomi Makino, is among those who support nuclear power.

"There may be various ways of thinking but it's extremely regrettable," he said of the shutdown.

Major protests, like the one Saturday, have been generally limited to urban areas like Tokyo, which had received electricity from faraway nuclear plants, including Fukushima Dai-ichi.

Before the nuclear crisis, Japan relied on nuclear power for a third of its electricity.

The crowd at the anti-nuclear rally, estimated at 5,500 by organizers, shrugged off government warnings about a power shortage. If anything, they said, with the reactors going offline one by one, it was clear the nation didn't really need nuclear power.

Whether Japan will suffer a sharp power crunch is still unclear.

Electricity shortages are expected only at peak periods, such as the middle of the day in hot weather, and critics of nuclear power say proponents are exaggerating the consequences to win public approval to restart reactors.

Hokkaido Electric Power Co. spokesman Hisatoshi Kibayashi said the shutdown was completed late Saturday.

The Hokkaido Tomari plant has three reactors, but the other two had been halted earlier. Before March 11 last year, the nation had 54 nuclear reactors, but four of the six reactors at Fukushima Dai-ichi are being decommissioned because of the disaster.

Yoko Kataoka, a retired baker who was dancing to the music at the rally waving a small paper carp, said she was happy the reactor was being turned off.

"Let's leave an Earth where our children and grandchildren can all play without worries," she said, wearing a shirt that had, "No thank you, nukes," handwritten on the back.

News by AP

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Yen drops to its lowest level in eight and a half months

Yen drops to its lowest level in eight and a half months
Yen Hui to its lowest level in eight and a half months against the dollar on Tuesday after strong economic data in the United States increased the expectations of investors to raise interest rates this year.

And approached the lowest level of the euro in the year with the growing concerns about the success of the plan of financial assistance to Greece and settled the Australian dollar was up before an expected increase in interest rates.

The dollar rose 0.4 percent to 94.98 yen, its highest level since 24 August. And later settled near 94.90 yen.

The Commerce Department reported Monday that manufacturing in the United States recorded the fastest growth rate in nearly six years in April and rose U.S. consumer spending, which represents more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity in March for the sixth consecutive month.

The yen fell against the euro and Australian dollar.

The euro of $ 1.3195, unchanged from the closing price in New York, which fell 0.7 percent.

The transaction is expected to be light due to the closure of the market in Tokyo on Tuesday.

News by Mecbiz

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Japan relaxes decades-old arms exports ban

japanese fighter
Japanese Fighter
(Reuters) - Debt-riddled Japan Tuesday relaxed its self-imposed decades-old ban on military equipment exports in a move that will open new markets to its defense contractors and help the nation squeeze more out of its defense budget.

The government's security council agreed to the relaxing of the ban to allow Japan to take part in the joint development and production of arms with other countries and to supply military equipment for humanitarian missions, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said at a news conference.

"The new standards (on weapons exports) are a result of the government considering measures that required attention amid recent changes to the environment surrounding international defense equipment," Fujimura said, referring to rising arms costs that could put strain on the government, with public debt twice the size of its economy.

The rule adopted in 1967 banned sales to communist countries, those involved in international conflicts or subject to United Nations sanctions.

It later became a blanket ban on exports and on the development and production of weapons with countries other than the United States, making it impossible for manufacturers to participate in multinational projects.

"The regulations on weapons exports are based on the concept that as a pacifist country Japan should aim to avoid fanning international conflicts, and we will keep a close watch on exports," Fujimura said.

The relaxing of the rules does not mean Japan will begin openly selling its military products to the world -- exports will be limited to strategic allies like the U.S.

The move could still allow companies such as Mitsubishi Heavy (7011.T) to join the development of Lockheed Martin's (LMT.N) F-35, which Tokyo picked last week as its next frontline fighter, planning to buy 42 machines at an estimated cost of more than $7 billion.


Although Japan is the world's sixth-biggest military spender, it often pays more than double other nations for the same equipment because local export-restricted manufacturers can only fill small orders at a high cost.

Removing the ban would stretch its defense purse further as military spending in neighboring China expands.

This year, Beijing raised military outlays by 12.7 percent. That included money for its own stealth fighter, the J-20, which made its maiden flight in January.

In contrast, Japan's defense budget has been shrinking in past years as ballooning costs for social security and servicing its growing debt pile squeeze other spending.

Given fiscal restraints, Tokyo is keen to make its defense program more efficient to maintain its military capability in the face of China's rise and growing uncertainties in the region.

The relaxation of the ban, that has been modified in the past to allow sharing of military technology with the U.S., could also be a boon for Japanese manufacturers as the strong yen weighs on their civilian exports and weak domestic demand and budget constraints restrict growth at home.

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Japan: a minister gives up his salary after a mistake of an official

Goshi Hosono
Japanese Environment Minister

AFP - Japanese Minister of the Environment announced Friday that he renounced his monthly salary of 15,000 euros after some employees of his ministry were thrown on a vacant contaminated soil sent by a resident of Fukushima for that it is tested. Goshi Hosono, a rising star of the Democratic Party of Japan (in power), said it would affect more than his salary for the duration of its mandate to assume the fault of his subordinates. The minister, who is also responsible for the management of the accident at the nuclear Fukushima, however, will continue to receive his parliamentary allowances, which amount to about 13,000 euros a month.

"I have a heavy responsibility as head of that department," he said, following the announcement of stupidity committed by an official. A resident of the city of Fukushima, located about sixty miles from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, sent last week to the Department of Environment package containing soil taken from his garden so that it is analyzed . The samples taken showed a rate of 0.18 mSv of radiation per hour, roughly the same as that tested in the vicinity of Tokyo.

After that discussion to the package, an employee offered to unload the contents of a vacant lot near his home in Saitama prefecture, northeast of the capital. The land has since been recovered and the employees involved and their superiors, have received disciplinary sanctions, including temporary salary reductions, transfers and warnings, said Hosono.

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Monday, November 07, 2011

Tokyo's gigantic flood prevention system

Tokyo's gigantic flood prevention system
Tokyo's gigantic flood prevention system
The Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel, also known as the G-Cans Project or the "Underground Temple", is an subterranean water infrastructure project built to protect the capital Tokyo against floodwaters during rain and typhoon seasons. It is believed to be one of the largest water collection facilities in the world. Building began in 1992 and the massive structure now consists of five concrete silos, a large water tanks and 59 pillars connected to a number of pumps that can pump up to 200 tons of water into the Edogawa River per second. It has also become a tourist attraction, as well as a location for movies, TV shows and commercials.

The pressure-controlled water tank at the Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel in Kusakabe, north of Tokyo. The facility, which is believed to be one of the largest facilities in the world, is composed of giant concrete containment silos (65m tall, 32m wide), connected by 3.97 miles of underground tunnels 50m beneath the surface as well as a large water tank called the "Underground Temple" which is 25.4m tall, with a length of 177m and 78m wide, with 59 concrete pillars.

News by Yahoo

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