Japan looks west, holds its breath as mainland pollution heads its way
South China Morning Post -- Feb 01
The choking pollution that has shrouded large parts of the mainland is moving east to Japan, threatening to push levels of health-threatening PM2.5 particles there beyond World Health Organisation health standards.
Japanese computer simulations show the fine air particulates could reach 40 micrograms per cubic metre today or tomorrow and cause smog in parts of western Japan such as Nagasaki.
Dr Toshimasa Ohara, head of the National Institute of Environmental Studies' Centre for Regional Environmental Research, conceded this figure was very low by Chinese standards, as cities such as Beijing often measure PM2.5 levels in the hundreds. But 40 was twice the level generally seen in Japanese cities this time of year and higher than the 25 micrograms level set by the WHO.
The number of people who committed suicide in Japan in 2012 was 27,858, dropping below 30,000 for the first time in 15 years, the Cabinet Office said in a white paper on Tuesday. The figure was 2,800 fewer than in 2011. (Japan Today )
A collection of materials related to a 17th century mission sent by a Japanese feudal lord to Europe and the world's oldest autographic diary left 10 centuries ago by a Japanese regent have been selected for the UNESCO Memory of the World registry, the Japanese education ministry said Wednesday. (Global Post )
Almost 1,500 people were transported to hospitals by ambulance due to heatstroke last week, up sharply from 942 in the preceding week, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said Tuesday. (Japan Times )
Among about 200,000 traffic signals nationwide, 16 percent are being used beyond the end of the expected lifetime of their electrical systems and some have even toppled over due to age, according to the National Police Agency. (Yomiuri )
In May, Akira Ikoma, the editor of a guide to men's entertainment called Ore no Tabi (My Journey), said that "Abenomics" had caused a spike in prices at high-end soapland bathhouses in Tokyo. However, the same editor tells Shukan Post (June 28) that the initiative is not impacting the low-end market in the same way. (Tokyo Reporter )