Floating Wind Turbine Arrives in Fukushima

 Iwaki, Fukushima Pref., July 1 (Jiji Press)–A floating wind turbine to be used for an offshore power generation project arrived at Onahama port in the city of Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, on Monday.

Member institutions hope that the project, commissioned by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, will help facilitate the reconstruction of Fukushima, one of the three prefectures hit hardest by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

   The wind turbine was made at a Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co. <7003> plant in Ichihara, Chiba Prefecture, eastern Japan.


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Japan: Online Archive for March 2011 Disasters to Open Thursday

The Japanese internal affairs ministry said Tuesday that it will open a Web site Thursday to allow people to search for photos and video clips related to the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters.

The online archive contains some 200,000 items related to the disasters, together with about two million items about other earthquakes and nuclear power.

The Web site is designed to pass down records of the disasters to future generations, help rebuild badly affected areas and take measures against disasters.

An English version of the site is also available.

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Japan: Kumamoto Issues Air Pollution Warning caused by PM2.5

The Kumamoto prefectural government has become Japan’s first municipality to issue a warning over air pollution caused by PM2.5 under provisional state guidelines introduced last week.

The Kumamoto government issued a warning Tuesday on its Web site and by e-mail after the daily average level of PM2.5, or particulate matter up to 2.5 micrometers in size, was forecast to exceed 70 micrograms per cubic meter of air.

At 5 a.m. (8 p.m. Monday GMT), the level reached 91 micrograms per cubic meter of air at Kumamoto’s Arao government building. The level was 90 micrograms at 6 a.m. and 101 micrograms at 7 a.m.

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Environment Ministry of Japan huddles on what to do about China smog

Officials of the Environment Ministry and about 130 municipalities nationwide met Monday in Tokyo to boost cooperation on measures against possible high concentrations of toxic smog spreading to Japan from China.

The ministry briefed the officials from major cities and prefectures on the current air pollution situation and its possible impact on people’s health in Japan, caused by so-called PM2.5, an air pollutant found in such smog that covered 25 percent of China in January.

PM2.5, hazardous particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns, or 2.5 thousandths of a millimeter, in diameter, can be absorbed by the lungs and lead to heart and lung disease.

The Environment Ministry also explained measures listed under the emergency action program it announced Feb. 8, including a plan to create guidelines for municipalities to issue alerts in case of high concentrations of toxic smog.

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Scientists Warn Pacific Tuna Stocks Have Plummeted

The Pacific bluefin tuna, fished relentlessly for decades, is in trouble.

A report issued this week by fisheries scientists on behalf of fishing nations, including the United States and Japan, shows that decades of uncontrolled overfishing have left stocks vulnerable, with conservationists warning that there is a real possibility of their collapse.

The fisheries scientists, working for an organization known as the International Scientific Committee to Study the Tuna and Tuna-Like Species of the North Pacific Ocean, spell out the crisis in unusually stark language.

The current biomass of the Pacific bluefin “is near historically low levels and experiencing high exploitation rates above all biological reference points commonly used by fisheries managers,” they write. “Based on projection results, extending the status quo (2007-2009) fishing levels is unlikely to improve stock status.”

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Energy Policy Chief Makes Remarks on Moving Toward a Nuclear-free Japan

The nation’s new energy policy goal should be to no longer depend on nuclear power, national policy minister Motohisa Furukawa said Tuesday.

Furukawa told reporters this means Japan would have to embark on a broad quest to become totally nuclear-free. His comments could spark a backlash because he chairs the government panel that this month must unveil the nation’s future energy mix.

His remarks came as he announced the government will convene a meeting of experts Wednesday to study public opinions it collected during the course of hearings on the future use of atomic power. Furukawa said the government will reflect the results when drawing up a plan that will wean Japan off nuclear power.

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Japan to Combine Emission Credit Programs to Improve Efficiency

Japan will combine two emission credit programs as the government seeks to improve efficiency in the country’s efforts to curb production of greenhouse gases.

“It’s important for Japan to keep promoting measures to cut and absorb emissions,” a study group set up this year to review the country’s incentives said today in a report. “We need to keep the credit programs for fiscal 2013 and after.”

The industry, environment and agriculture ministries began a program in 2008 to spur low-carbon energy investment by small- and medium-size businesses by offering larger companies credits in return for providing their smaller peers with financial and technical help.

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Anti-nuclear Campaigners Launch Japans First Green Party

Anti-nuclear campaigners in Japan have launched the countrys first green party, more than a year after the triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi power plant created a groundswell of opposition to atomic energy.

Greens Japan, created by local politicians and activists, hopes to satisfy the legal requirements to become an officially recognised political party in time for the general election, which must be held by next summer but could come much earlier.

The party said it would offer voters a viable alternative to the two main parties, both of which have retained their support for nuclear power, particularly after the recent decision to restart two nuclear reactors in western Japan.

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Japans Hitachi in Deal with Britain for High-speed Rail Project

Japans Hitachi will supply nearly 600 train carriages for Britains inter-city high-speed rail project in a deal worth £4.5 billion, the company and the British government said Wednesday.The giant conglomerate won the project along with British partner John Laing in 2009 but negotiations had been delayed after a change of government in Britain.The firms will supply 92 complete trains — comprised of 596 carriages — to replace the ageing fleet on Britains inter-city rail networks, with Hitachi holding a 70-percent stake in the consortium while John Laing has 30 percent.

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Japan’s Tsunami Towns Create Jobs by Going Green

Rikuzentakata, like many towns on Japan’s rugged north-east Pacific coast, was in decline even before last year’s tsunami killed 1 700 of its 24 000 inhabitants and destroyed most of its downtown buildings.

With two-thirds of the remaining residents homeless, mayor Futoshi Toba questioned whether the town could recover. Damage to infrastructure and the local economy, he said, would force people to move away to find jobs.

Sixteen months later, the town is trying to rebuild in a way that Toba says will reinvent the region and provide a model to overcome obstacles that have hobbled the Japanese economy for more than 20 years: the fastest-ageing population in the developed world, loss of manufacturing competitiveness to China and South Korea and reliance on imported fossil fuels.

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