Japan nears switching on reactors after Tepco's meltdown
fuelfix.com -- Jul 03
A countdown is starting in Japan for restarting some of the 48 nuclear reactors that were idled after the 2011 Fukushima meltdowns caused the worst atomic accident since Chernobyl.

The nation's Nuclear Regulation Authority will receive applications for switching on plants starting July 8, and more than five utilities plan to seek permits. Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the wrecked Dai-Ichi plant that spread radiation in the Fukushima area, said yesterday it will seek permission to start its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant as soon as possible. Its shares jumped 19 percent yesterday.

Meeting new safety rules to restart is urgent for utilities bleeding cash from importing extra oil and gas for backup generation. Japan paid 24.7 trillion yen ($241 billion) for fossil fuels in the year ended in March, up 36 percent from the 12 months before the disaster. Imports this year are even more expensive with the yen's 14 percent drop against the dollar.

"The decision to seek this safety review is an important one," Tokyo Electric President Naomi Hirose told reporters at a briefing in Tokyo yesterday. "In our existing turnaround plan, restarts were scheduled from this past April. It's almost impossible to become profitable again when conditions are different from the ones anticipated in the plan."

Japan's nine utilities with atomic plants reported combined losses of 1.59 trillion yen ($16 billion) in the year ended March 31. Only Hokuriku Electric Power Co. posted a profit, ending the year 100 million yen ahead, and only two reactors are currently running, both belonging to Kansai Electric Power Co.

Source: fuelfix.com
May 25
Osaka Prefectural Police have accused a chain of members-only restaurants of illegally serving the innards of a poisonous blowfish to customers, reports NHK (May 24). (Tokyo Reporter)
May 25
Nine Ground Self-Defense Force members shot as many as 79 live rounds at one another by mistake in an exercise in Hokkaido on Monday, the GSDF said Tuesday. (Japan Today)
May 24
Japan's Diet, or parliament, enacted Tuesday a set of bills that bring about drastic changes in the ways that criminal investigations and trials are conducted in the country. (Jiji Press)
May 24
The Japanese government says it will increase funds for infrastructure exports over the next 5 years to 200 billion dollars. (NHK)
May 23
Japan's total fertility rate in 2015 rose 0.04 point from the previous year to a 21-year high of 1.46, aided by indications of economic recovery, the health ministry said Monday. (Kyodo)
May 25
You know something has become a cultural phenomenon when it gets its own slang! (rocketnews24.com)
May 25
Most of the 750 million yen ($6.8 million) in relief money for victims of the powerful earthquakes that hit Kumamoto Prefecture in southwestern Japan last month has not been disbursed, local government officials said Tuesday. (Japan Today)
May 24
Rakugo storyteller Katsura Utamaru has left the "Shoten" television comedy show after 50 years of appearances. (the-japan-news.com)
May 23
A woman was arrested for sneaking into singer Masaharu Fukuyama's apartment in Tokyo, police said on Sunday. (Tokyo Reporter)
May 23
Two men have been killed in apparent bear attacks over the weekend in the same area of a forest region in Kazuno, Akita Prefecture. (Japan Today)
May 23
Osaka Prefectural Police have arrested a 77-year-old man in the stabbing death of a man at an apartment building in Nishinari Ward, reports Nippon News Network (May 22). (Tokyo Reporter)
May 23
Hyogo Prefectural Police have arrested a 67-year-old man for attacking a 61-year-old female neighbor and her daughter, who later died, at an apartment building in Amagasaki City, reports NHK (May 20). (Tokyo Reporter)
May 23
A Japanese idol who was stabbed repeatedly by a male fan on Saturday before an event had previously told police of concerns the suspect was a stalker, authorities said. (Tokyo Reporter)
May 23
A Japanese businessman was seriously injured after being hit by a train while taking a selfie on the famed River Kwai Bridge in western Thailand, Thai media reported. (Japan Times)
May 22
A young female idol was in critical condition after she was repeatedly stabbed for apparently refusing a gift from a fan in the city of Koganei, Tokyo, police said Sunday. (Japan Times)