The success of the nation's first methane hydrate extraction experiment from the deep seafloor off the coast of Aichi Prefecture is a milestone on the way to commercial production of the resource.
The world's first extraction of natural gas from the seafloor prompted expectations for production of a purely homegrown energy source. The next task is finding a way to extract gas from methane hydrate in an efficient and stable manner.
The operation was conducted by Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC), an independent administrative institution contracted by the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry. Methane gas was successfully extracted from a well created by the deep-sea drilling vessel Chikyu about 1,000 meters to 1,300 meters below the ocean's surface.
Methane hydrate, known as "burnable ice," exists in a solid state in low-temperature, high-pressure environments such as the seafloor and underground permafrost. Reserves of the resource are believed to be distributed across the world. Mainly composed of methane gas and water, the substance is primarily produced by bacterial degradation of organic matter in a low-oxygen environment.
Weather officials say the average density of carbon dioxide in Japan is rising above the international standard at all 3 observation points in the country.
Carbon dioxide is one of the greenhouse gases associated with global warming. (NHK )
The Diet passed a bill Friday to set up a system that will assign an identification number to every citizen to improve government management of income, social security and tax information despite public concerns about the potential for data abuse. (Japan Times )
Keeping the meltdown-stricken Fukushima nuclear plant in northeastern Japan in stable condition requires a cast of thousands. Increasingly the plant's operator is struggling to find enough workers, a trend that many expect to worsen and hamper progress in the decades-long effort to safely decommission it. (AP )
The government of Japan has bestowed one of that nation's highest honors on a Japanese-American, a former U.S. Soldier and World War II veteran, for his work furthering relationships between the Japanese and Americans. (army.mil )
This Monday, members of the seminal metal band X Japan were in Odaiba rubbing shoulders with the likes of Brad Pitt, Lady Gaga and AKB48′s Yuko Oshima. The catch? They were all made out of wax. (Japan Times )