The Japanese government plans to set up a new organization to strengthen coordination with Chinese municipalities over an airborne pollutant known as PM2.5.
The Environment Ministry announced the plan on Tuesday in Tokyo at a meeting designed to improve air quality in China.
About 50 people attended the event. They included officials from the Chinese embassy in Japan and 9 Japanese municipalities including Yokkaichi City, Mie Prefecture, which has suffered from serious air pollution.
Ministry officials said the new body is designed to enhance coordination between local governments in Japan and China. So far the issue has been handled by central governments.
Officials say the center is to open as early as next month and will be managed by private entities.
A total of 36 people were confirmed dead and seven remain missing on Wednesday after a series of landslides and flooding triggered by torrential rain overnight engulfed residential areas in Hiroshima, western Japan. (Kyodo)
The sports ministry has deemed a proposal to renovate the National Stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics unrealistic, because of a number of drawbacks including insufficient earthquake resistance and building regulations that prohibit the blocking of sunlight from nearby structures. (The Japan News)
East Japan Railway Co., or JR East, announced new plans on Tuesday for three train lines linking Tokyo International Airport at Haneda and key stations in the Japanese capital by building a new underground station and tunnel. (Jiji Press)
The chief suspect in the murder of a wealthy Swiss-based Japanese asset manager and his wife whose bodies were found buried in a vacant lot in Kuki, Saitama Prefecture, in February 2013, pleaded not guilty as his trial opened in Tokyo on Tuesday. (Japan Today)
Local summer festivals in Tokyo were once lined with many street stalls run by organizations with links to organized crime. But festivals have undergone a makeover after a metropolitan government ordinance enacted in October 2011 banned event organizers from allowing gangs from becoming involved. (The Japan News)
A Sapporo assemblyman has drawn fire for posting comments online stating the indigenous Ainu group "no longer exists," and suggesting those who identify as Ainu are motivated by government programs that benefit the ethnic minority. (Japan Times)