Japan to join space-debris monitoring effort
Nikkei -- Feb 20
Japan will collaborate with the U.S. and others to monitor the skies for orbiting space debris, suspicious satellites and other objects, sharing its data with international partners.

The U.S. is working on a framework for sharing data on objects in orbit with the U.K., Australia and Canada -- already Washington's partners on space defense -- as well as with France and Germany. Scanning the skies from a larger number of points around the globe will help prevent oversights and make for more precise observations. The U.S. signed an agreement with Japan on space-debris monitoring in 2013 and has been calling for greater sharing of information for national security purposes.

Japan's Self-Defense Forces will set up optical telescopes and radar facilities by fiscal 2022. The Air Self-Defense Force will assemble a team as soon as April to begin preparations. Each telescope and radar would cost at least 10 billion yen ($88.8 million), putting the total cost of the project at several times that or more if multiple stations are built.

Japan will also create a system to quickly share image and other data with the U.S. Japan currently receives radar data from the American military. But the SDF has no current space-monitoring operations. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency collects observations with telescope and radar facilities in Okayama Prefecture originally built for civilian use, but hands only part of its data to the U.S.

News source: Nikkei
Feb 22
Japanese speed skaters have won gold in the women's team pursuit event at the PyeongChang Olympics. (NHK)
Feb 22
Japan has some amazing prison food, which should be no surprise. Inmates are served healthy, nutritious meals of grilled fish, salads, rice and soup - which are actually healthier than most school lunches around the world! Would you like to try what prisoners eat? There's a prison in Hokkaido that serves authentic meals to the public and that is where I went -- Abashiri. (ONLY in JAPAN)
Feb 22
Workers at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have finished installing a new roof covering for the No.3 reactor building. (NHK)
Feb 22
The estimated number of foreign visitors for January rose 9 percent from a year earlier to 2,501,500, a record for the month, the Japan Tourism Agency said Wednesday. (Japan Times)
Feb 22
A 62-year-old woman has been arrested on suspicion of animal abuse after keeping 23 cats in unsanitary conditions at her apartment in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture. (Japan Today)
Feb 22
Investigative sources revealed on Tuesday that a 25-year-old man who was shot and wounded by an officer in Miyakojima Ward over the weekend while wielding a knife was actually in possession of two knives, reports NHK (tokyoreporter.com)
Feb 22
Japan tops the world as the country with the lowest rate of newborn mortality in 2016, followed by Iceland and Singapore, while Pakistan is the riskiest place to be born according to a new UNICEF report launched on Tuesday. (Japan Today)
Feb 22
An uproar in Japan over the homeland of the "Moomin" storybook characters was elevated to a diplomatic matter on Wednesday, with the Japanese and Finnish foreign ministers assuring each other the issue has been well and truly resolved. (Kyodo)
Feb 22
An increasing number of couples from overseas are having wedding ceremonies in Kyoto, western Japan, attracted by the ancient capital's reputation as symbolizing traditional Japanese culture. (Jiji)
Feb 22
While President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership initially put the deal on life support in January 2017, details released Wednesday revealed that the remaining 11 countries have managed to agree on terms close to the agreement’s original form. (Japan Times)