Pages

Tepco resumes water filtration at Fukushima nuke plant - ( J44P44NN )

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The shutdown of the ALPS water treatment system at the Fukushima No. 1 plant may have been caused by a rubber mat left in its water tank, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Sunday.

Just a day after resuming trial runs of the advanced liquid processing system, Tepco detected technical problems with line C of the high-tech radiation-filtering machine at around 10:40 p.m. Friday.

On Sunday, the utility said it had found that a rubber mat used to keep ladders from slipping had been left inside an ALPS tank by workers.

The utility said it was still investigating whether the sheet was the cause of Friday’s shutdown.

ALPS was restarted on a trial basis after midnight Thursday and had processed around 100 tons of toxic water before its suspension.

ALPS extracts most radioactive materials from contaminated water and is seen as crucial in the utility’s efforts to process the vast amount of toxic water that continues to accumulate at the crippled No. 1 nuclear plant. The system operates via three separate lines.

While Tepco’s existing water treatment facility at Fukushima No. 1 can only remove cesium, ALPS can extract 62 different types of radioactive materials, with the exception of tritium.

Tepco and the government had trumpeted the ability of ALPS to process tainted water faster than it builds up at the wrecked complex, which suffered three meltdowns in March 2011. They planned to expand the system and enhance its performance in the future.

Initially, Tepco started a trial run of lines A and B in March, but halted all operations in June after the tank of line A was found leaking because of internal corrosion. While Tepco commenced repairs and investigated the problem, it sped up efforts on line C, which at the time was still waiting to be tried out.

Industry minister Toshimitsu Motegi said Sunday he believes Tepco will soon decide to decommission aging reactors 5 and 6 as well.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, during his second visit to the plant on Sept. 19, strongly urged Tepco to decommission the two undamaged units but did not explain why. He also sought a deadline for filtering the stored radioactive water.



Read more ...

Mayor of Sakai returned in fresh blow to Hashimoto - ( J44P44NN )

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Mayor Osami Takeyama’s victory Sunday in the Sakai mayoral election in Osaka Prefecture has cast a shadow over the political future of brash Nippon Ishin co-leader Toru Hashimoto, the mayor of Osaka.

Takeyama, a 63-year-old independent, defeated former Sakai Assemblyman Katsutoshi Nishibayashi, his sole challenger, with the backing of the Democratic Party of Japan and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, early returns showed.

Nishibayashi, 43, was backed by Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party).

The main issue in the election was whether to let prefecture absorb the major cities by turning them into wards, as in Tokyo. Sakai would have been one of those cities.

One of Hashimoto’s main goals is to integrate the city of Osaka with the prefecture, giving it the same administrative structure and status as Tokyo.

During his campaign, Takeyama 63, argued that integration would only “steal Sakai’s financial resources and authority.”

Nishibayashi claimed that Sakai would be “left behind” in terms of economic development unless it was part of the larger entity.

Takeyama was elected to his first term four years ago with Hashimoto’s backing when Hashimoto was the governor of Osaka Prefecture. He later butted heads with Hashimoto over the integration plan, making it clear that Sakai would not take part in the merger.

Despite Sunday’s defeat, however, Hashimoto denied at a news conference in Sakai that he would resign as Nippon Ishin’s co-leader.

The Sakai election and Nippon Ishin are “separate matters,” he said. “I must fulfill my responsibilities.”

He also said his goal of creating a larger Osaka would not be deterred.

Even so, the election defeat will inevitably affect his already weakened clout in national politics, observers said.

Indeed, a Kyodo exit poll showed that more than 66 percent of so-called swing voters in the election sided with the incumbent — a sign that Hashimoto is fading fast.

Hashimoto’s meteoric rise to local stardom, and then national politics, owes much to the support of this segment of the voting populace. But Sunday’s poll suggests that Nippon Ishin’s repeated conservative forays, as well as inflammatory remarks made by its own leaders, have disillusioned many of its supporters.

Earlier this year, Hashimoto enraged people at home and abroad by saying he believes Japan’s wartime brothels, where thousands of women and girls were forced into sexual servitude, was “necessary to maintain discipline” in the Imperial Japanese military.

In addition, feisty co-leader Shintaro Ishihara, the one who came up with the plan to purchase the Senkaku Islands from their Japanese owner to further assert Japan’s claim to sovereignty, only resulted in bringing ties with China to their lowest in years, and dragging down the economy.



Read more ...

Shutdown nears as House delays health law - ( J44P44NN )

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives approved legislation early Sunday imposing a one-year delay on key parts of America’s health care law and repealing a tax on medical devices as the price for avoiding a partial government shutdown Tuesday.

Senate Democrats had already pledged to reject the measure, and the White House issued a statement vowing a veto. Republicans are pursuing “a narrow ideological agenda . . . and pushing the government towards shutdown,” it said.

The Senate is not scheduled to meet until midafternoon on Monday, 10 hours before a shutdown would begin. Even some Republicans said privately they feared that Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid held the advantage.

The Senate rejected the most recent House-passed bill to avert a shutdown on a party-line vote of 54-44 on Friday, insisting on a straightforward continuation in government funding without health care-related add-ons.

That left the next step up to the House, with time to avert a partial shutdown growing ever shorter.

The House Republican Party rank and file, which includes numerous conservative tea party allies, will soon have to choose between triggering the first partial shutdown in nearly two decades or coming away empty-handed from their latest confrontation in the deepening struggle with President Barack Obama.

Undeterred, House Republicans pressed ahead with their latest attempt to squeeze a concession from the White House in exchange for letting the government open for business normally on Tuesday.

” ‘Obamacare’ is based on a limitless government, bureaucratic arrogance and a disregard of a will of the people,” said Republican Rep. Marlin Stutzman.

While conservative lawmakers hailed the move, the White House slammed it.

“Any member of the Republican Party who votes for this bill is voting for a shutdown,” spokesman Jay Carney said.

Reid attacked the move as “pointless” brinkmanship that could end in economic crisis: “The Senate will reject both the one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act and the repeal of the medical device tax. The American people will not be extorted by tea party anarchists.”

The finger-pointing coursed through hours of raucous debate on the House floor.

Democrat David Scott stood up to say that what was occurring in the House was nothing less than “a shutdown being ordered by the Republican Party.”

“You have been hijacked by a small group of extreme folks who simply hate this president,” Scott said, breaking House protocol as he addressed Republican members directly. “The American people are never going to forget that it was you who shut down the government.”

Apart from its impact on the health care law, the legislation that House Republicans decided to back would assure routine funding for government agencies through Dec. 15. Under House rules, the measure went to the Senate after lawmakers voted to repeal the medical tax, then for the delay in Obamacare.

A companion measure that was headed for approval assures that U.S. troops will be paid in the event of a shutdown.

The government spending measure marked something of a reduction in demands by House Republicans, who passed legislation several days ago that would permanently strip the health care law of money while providing funding for the government.

It also contained significant concessions from a party that long has criticized the health care law for imposing numerous government mandates on industry, in some cases far exceeding what Republicans have been willing to support in the past.

Republican aides said that most portions of the health law that already have gone into effect would remain unchanged. That includes requirements for insurance companies to guarantee coverage for pre-existing conditions and to require children to be covered on their parents’ plans until age 26. It would not change a part of the law that reduces costs for seniors with high prescription drug expenses.

One exception would give insurers or others the right not to provide abortion coverage, based on religious or moral objections.

The measure would delay implementation of a requirement for all individuals to purchase coverage or face a penalty, and of a separate feature of the law that will create marketplaces where individuals can shop for coverage from private insurers.

By repealing the medical device tax, the Republican measure also would raise deficits — an irony for a party that won the House majority in 2010 by pledging to get the nation’s finances under control.



Read more ...

Crime › Japanese woman shot during robbery in Cambodia - ( J44P44NN )

Sunday, September 29, 2013

PHNOM PENH —

A Japanese woman was shot in the left thigh as she resisted two men trying to steal her handbag in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Japanese embassy sources said Sunday.

TBS quoted an embassy spokesperson as saying the incident occurred Saturday night. The 33-year-old woman and her younger sister had arrived in Cambodia for a holiday. As they were walking near a market in the center of the city, two men approached them. One grabbed the woman’s handbag and when she resisted, the second man shot her with a pistol, police said.

The woman was taken to hospital but her injuries are not life-threatening, an embassy official told TBS. The two men escaped with the woman’s handbag.

A Japanese man was shot dead in Phnom Penh in March and the embassy has issued an alert to Japanese visitors to be careful. 

Japan Today



Read more ...

National › U.S. to upgrade Japan’s early warning radar aircraft - ( J44P44NN )

Sunday, September 29, 2013

WASHINGTON —

The Pentagon has notified the U.S. Congress of a proposed contract with Japan worth nearly $ 1 billion to upgrade the country’s early warning radar aircraft.

The planned $ 950 million deal would modernize Japan’s fleet of four Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) planes, bolstering electronic systems used to identify other aircraft and providing new cryptographic computers, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said.

“The proposed sale will provide Japan with an upgraded AWACS command and control capability” and “allow Japan’s AWACS fleet to be more compatible with the U.S. Air Force AWACS fleet baseline,” according to an agency statement.

Manufactured by aerospace giant Boeing and flown by NATO countries and other U.S. allies, AWACS carry a rotating radar antenna mounted on the back of the plane, using systems to track other aircraft or enemy air defenses at long distances.

The Pentagon’s announcement came before Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry travel to Tokyo this week for security talks with their Japanese counterparts.

(C) 2013 AFP



Read more ...

National › Water decontamination system at Fukushima halted due to glitch - ( J44P44NN )

Sunday, September 29, 2013

TOKYO —

A system to decontaminate radioactive water at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant has been halted due to a defect only hours after it started operations, the plant’s operator said Saturday.

The Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) is designed to remove radioactive materials contained in contaminated water and is expected to play a crucial role in the utility’s fight against the toxic water accumulating at the plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said.

The equipment was started in the early hours of Friday but was stopped at 10:37 p.m. the same day when it was found not to be properly flushing fluid used to remove radioactive particles, TEPCO said in a press release.

“We are in the process of investigating the cause of the incident,” the statement said.

There are three ALPS systems at the plant, which was left in a meltdown crisis by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The utility initially started trial operations of two of the three systems in March but halted them in June after corrosion in one was found to be causing water leakage. A third system was activated on Friday before the stoppage.

TEPCO has poured thousands of tons of water onto the plant’s reactors and continues to douse them to keep them cool.

The utility says they are now stable but need more water every day to prevent them running out of control again.

Highly polluted water from the plant is contaminating hundreds of tonnes of groundwater daily and is also leaking from temporary storage tanks, making its way into the sea.

TEPCO has so far revealed no clear plan for disposal of the stored polluted water.

(C) 2013 AFP



Read more ...

Japan, China and South Korea designate Yokohama as East Asia City of Culture - ( J44P44NN )

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The culture ministers of Japan, China and South Korea met Saturday in the ancient South Korean city of Gwangju and designated one East Asia City of Culture in each country.

Culture minister Hakubun Shimomura nominated Yokohama, a historic port city known for international exchanges, while China’s envoy chose Quanzhou, an ancient trading port in southern Fujian province, and South Korea’s representative selected Gwangju, for its more than 2,000-year history.

The three cities will serve as the principal venues for a series of cultural and arts exchange programs to be organized next year to promote mutual understanding among the three neighbors, whose ties have been harmed by increasingly rancorous territorial clashes and conflicting historical interpretations.

Shimomura’s trilateral get-together with Chinese Minister of Culture Cai Wu and South Korean Culture Minister Yoo Jin-ryong was the first Cabinet-level meeting among the three countries since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office last December.

Tokyo’s relations with Beijing and Seoul have been badly strained over the past year by the Senkaku and Takeshima territorial disputes, as well as differing historical views of Japan’s invasion of China and colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula in the last century.

“One big achievement of this meeting is that we have come to share the understanding that cultural exchanges are important to develop the ties of our countries,” Shimomura told reporters after the one-day summit.

The three also agreed to hold the next trilateral meeting of cultural ministers next year in Japan. As host nation, Japan will additionally put on an arts and culture festival featuring events and performances from the three countries.

The three sides will designate new East Asia Cities of Culture from 2015.

Japan, China and South Korea launched the trilateral minister-level culture summits in 2007. The Gwangju meeting was the fifth held. The three neighbors also held a ministerial conference on environmental issues in May, but, reflecting its soured diplomatic ties with Japan, China only dispatched a deputy minister.



Read more ...

JR Shikoku failed to repair 50 railway bridges found defective three years ago - ( J44P44NN )

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Shikoku Railway Co. has neglected to repair around 50 bridges on its network even though irregularities were detected by regular checks more than three years ago, sources revealed.

The railway operator, better known as JR Shikoku, also failed to keep proper records of cracks, corrosion and other defects on some 1,100 bridges, representing more than 40 percent of all the bridges in its service area, the sources said Friday.

Some of the defects date back 23 years.

Although 100 of the bridges were found to rapidly require maintenance, half of them have been waiting for repairs for over three years, according to the sources.

The Board of Audit discovered the irregularities while examining the results of JR Shikoku’s regular checks of roughly 2,600 bridges in fiscal 2012. The board is set to urge JR Shikoku to swiftly work out and implement measures to fix the defects and to start maintaining proper inspection records.

JR Shikoku said it did not carry out repairs because it believed the irregularities didn’t threaten to disrupt services. But following the board’s findings, the company said it will examine steps to quickly rectify the situation.

JR Shikoku conducts regular bridge checks every other year based on a transport ministry ordinance and, if abnormalities are found, it is required to quickly repair them. The company is subject to the board’s examination because a government-linked entity holds its shares.

The findings follow revelations last week that Hokkaido Railway Co., also part of the Japan Railway group, had failed to repair numerous rail defects on its network.



Read more ...

Obama, Rouhani speak in historic call - ( J44P44NN )

Saturday, September 28, 2013

U.S. President Barack Obama and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, spoke by phone Friday in a historic and first direct contact between leaders of their estranged nations since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The stunning 15-minute call, starting at 2:30 p.m., was the fruit of a diplomatic opening forged by Rouhani’s election in June on a mandate to ease confrontation with the West and lift nuclear sanctions that have pulverized the Iranian economy.

“Just now, I spoke on the phone with President Rouhani of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Obama said in a televised statement, revealing the most intriguing turn yet in relations between the Islamic Republic and a superpower it branded the “Great Satan.”

“The two of us discussed our ongoing efforts to reach an agreement over Iran’s nuclear program.”

The impetus for the call came from Iranian officials, who U.S. officials said told them hours earlier in New York that Rouhani wanted to speak to Obama before leaving the United Nations General Assembly.

The White House had indicated to Tehran earlier last week that it was open to an informal encounter between the leaders at the United Nations.

But the Iranians at the time said such a meeting was too complicated, raising questions as to whether Rouhani was wary of angering hardliners in Iran’s clerical hierarchy.

The leaders’ momentous conversation took place when Rouhani was on his way to the airport in his official limousine, the Iranian side said.

Obama spoke in English and Rouhani spoke Farsi as they chatted through interpreters, according to U.S. officials.

But before hanging up, in an exchange that would have been thought impossible only days ago, Obama bade Rouhani “khodahafez” — farsi for “goodbye.”

Rouhani replied “have a good day, Mr. president” in English, according to tweets by the Iranian leader’s office and a U.S. official.

The two countries severed diplomatic relations in 1980, a year after the Islamic Revolution in Iran toppled the U.S.-backed shah. The aftermath of the revolution also triggered a 444-day standoff at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in which a total of 52 American hostages were held by militant students until January 1981.

Obama said that, despite the unprecedented nature of the call with Rouhani and hopes for a lasting diplomatic breakthrough, he was mindful of obstacles ahead.

“The very fact that this was the first communication between an American and Iranian president since 1979 underscores the deep mistrust between our countries, but it also indicates the prospect of moving beyond that difficult history.”

Obama said he told Rouhani that he believed a “resolution” was possible to the dispute over Iran’s uranium enrichment program, which the West believes is a covert effort to produce nuclear weapons — a charge Tehran denies. Obama noted that Rouhani had said that Iran would never develop nuclear arms and that Washington respected the right of Iranians to access peaceful nuclear energy.

“So the test will be meaningful, transparent, and verifiable actions, which can also bring relief from the comprehensive international sanctions that are currently in place,” the U.S. president added.

Washington and Israel have both warned of possible military action if diplomacy fails to assuage their concerns over the nuclear program.

But most foreign leaders who met Rouhani said they were impressed, or at least hopeful, that he can find a peaceful resolution to the row.

“My frank impression of President Rouhani was that he is willing to fully cooperate with the international community,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.

The Iranian presidency confirmed the telephone call between Obama and Rouhani.

“The two insisted on political will for quick resolution to the nuclear issue, as well as paving the ground for resolving other issues and cooperation in regional issues,” it said on its website.

A Twitter account run by Rouhani’s office also gave details of the call. “In phone convo, President Rouhani and President @BarackObama expressed their mutual political will to rapidly solve the nuclear issue,” one tweet said.

The call took place after bilateral talks Thursday between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at the U.N., on the sidelines of wider discussions on the nuclear program between Iran and major world powers.



Read more ...

Sports › Kvitova downs Kerber to win Pan Pacific Open - ( J44P44NN )

Saturday, September 28, 2013

TOKYO —

Czech Petra Kvitova recovered from a second-set meltdown to beat fellow left-hander Angelique Kerber 6-2, 0-6, 6-3 and capture the Pan Pacific Open on Saturday for her second title of the year.

Seventh seed Kvitova, the 2011 Wimbledon champion, burst from the blocks in the Tokyo final, storming through the first set, but inexplicably suffered a dreaded 0-6 ‘bagel’ in the second.

She quickly rediscovered her poise in the decider, screaming in delight and pumping her fist as she put away a sharp volley to take a 4-0 lead.

The 23-year-old put fifth seed Kerber out of her misery on her fourth match point, a blistering crosscourt forehand ending the German’s resistance after an hour and 39 minutes, giving Kvitova an 11th career singles title.

“I really want to qualify for the end of season championships but I want to enjoy this feeling first,” said Kvitova, projected to rise from 11th to seventh in the new world rankings and closing in on sixth place in the race for next month’s WTA Championships in Istanbul.

“I felt a bit tired,” the Czech added after her tour-high 32nd three-set match of 2013. “Angie came back at me but I tried to stay focused and it’s amazing to win such a big tournament.”

It was Kvitova’s first title since winning in Dubai in February and winning the premier five event earned her $ 426,000.

Kerber, who had been seeking a third title and first of the year, took home $ 213,000.

© 2013 AFP



Read more ...

Chinese ships still circling Senkakus but door to dialogue open, Abe says - ( J44P44NN )

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Chinese government vessels are still steaming into territorial waters around the Japan-administered Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, but the door to dialogue with Beijing is always open, according to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The conflicting claims by Asia’s two largest powers to the remote islets, known as Diaoyu by China, have badly strained bilateral relations. Beijing says it, too, is ready to talk, but only if Tokyo formally acknowledges a territorial dispute exists.

On Friday, Abe said Japan will make no concession on sovereignty over the Senkakus. But he said his administration does not intend to escalate the issue, and emphasized the importance of ties between the world’s second- and third-largest economies.

“The door to dialogue is always open, and I really hope that the Chinese side will take a similar attitude and have the same mindset,” Abe told a news conference in New York after attending the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations.

The standoff over the uninhabited chain intensified in September last year after Japan bought three of the five main islets from their private owner, a businessman from Saitama Prefecture.

The Japanese government portrayed the purchase as an attempt to block a proposal by Shintaro Ishihara, Tokyo’s ultranationalist then-governor, to buy and develop the three islets. However, Japan’s move deeply angered China, which says the islets have been part of its territory since ancient times.

That sparked an acrimonious exchange between Chinese and Japanese officials at last year’s U.N. General Assembly, but the tone was mild this time round, with only brief and indirect allusions to territorial disputes.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the world body Friday that Beijing wants to resolve its territorial and maritime disputes through negotiations with the “countries directly involved.” China also has conflicting claims with a host of Southeast Asian nations in the South China Sea.

“Those disputes that cannot be resolved now can be shelved for future resolution. This is our consistent position and practice,” Wang said. “On the other hand, we will, under whatever circumstances, firmly safeguard China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Abe did not mention China in his address to the General Assembly on Thursday, but said “changes to the maritime order through use of force or coercion cannot be condoned.”

Also Friday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to move swiftly to reach a code of conduct for the South China Sea in order to address disputes “without threats, without coercion and without use of force.”

Beijing has been reticent to negotiate with a regional bloc, though consultations with ASEAN on a code were held in China recently after years of delay.

Speaking at the U.N. gathering Thursday, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said there is broad consensus on the goals for a legally binding code, but he declined to set a deadline for completing it. He said nations are discussing preliminary steps to build confidence, such as setting up communications hot lines to cope with security incidents.

China claims jurisdiction over most of the South China Sea, a critical conduit for world trade that is potentially rich in oil and gas. Beijing’s assertive behavior at sea in recent years has irked its neighbors. Other claimants include Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

Without specifying any country, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dun spoke in stark terms Friday about the territorial disputes in the South and East China seas, warning the General Assembly that “just one single incident or ill-conceived act could trigger conflict, even war.”

Over the past year, the Japan Coast Guard says there have been scores of intrusions by Chinese vessels into Japanese territorial waters near the Senkakus.

“The incursion by Chinese government vessels in our territorial waters is continuing, much to our regret,” Abe said Friday. “We have been dealing with this issue calmly and resolutely, and we shall continue to do so.”

The U.S. is concerned about the standoff as well. As a security treaty ally of Japan, it could be dragged in if a conflict breaks out.



Read more ...

Ex-JR West chiefs cleared of ’05 crash - ( J44P44NN )

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Kobe District Court on Friday acquitted three former presidents of West Japan Railway Co. over the horrific 2005 train derailment that killed 107 people and injured more than 560 in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture.

Masataka Ide, 78, Shojiro Nanya, 72, and Takeshi Kakiuchi, 69, were each found not guilty by a three-judge panel presided over by Eiichi Miyazaki.

Court-appointed prosecutors had sought three-year terms for each of the three defendants for allegedly neglecting their duties and causing the fatal accident on the JR Fukuchiyama Line on April 25, 2005, in Amagasaki. The driver and 106 passengers died.

The three former executives were not originally indicted, but a team of court-appointed lawyers slapped criminal charges against them following two separate decisions by an 11-member independent panel that called for their indictment.

The focal point of the trial was whether the three could have predicted the derailment at the accident site and should have set up an automatic train stop (ATS) system in advance.

In Friday’s decision, Miyazaki, the presiding judge, said the train driver hit the brakes too slowly as the train tore into the sharply curved stretch of track, noting that railways were not at that time required to set up ATS systems on bends and that high-speed derailments had been rare.

The train was racing at 116 kph when it entered the sharp bend, where drivers were supposed to slow to less than 70 kph. It derailed and two of the seven cars crashed into a condominium by the track. The driver, under heavy pressure from JR West’s strict timetables and alleged hazing traditions, was rushing to make up for lost time after overshooting the previous station.

The court-appointed lawyers argued that the three JR West executives failed to order ATS installment at the accident site. They also argued that that section of track was laid down under their stints at the helm and that they were also responsible for the busy train schedule.

The only JR West executive to face criminal charges was former President Masao Yamazaki, who was found not guilty at the Kobe District Court in January 2012.



Read more ...

Olympus reaches first shareholder settlement over accounting scandal - ( J44P44NN )

Friday, September 27, 2013

Olympus Corp. said Friday that it has reached the first settlement in a series of shareholder lawsuits filed in Japan and abroad over a bubble-era accounting fraud that gutted the company’s value after it came to light.

The camera and precision instruments maker agreed to pay $ 2.6 million to settle a suit filed by shareholders in the United States.

The suit was filed with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in November 2011, claiming losses from a decline in the value of Olympus’ American depository receipts caused by the accounting scandal and coverup attempt.

The scandal-tainted company has been accused of concealing huge losses on speculative investments made in the 1990s by using funds from corporate acquisitions since 2005.

After the cover-up finally came to light in 2011 because of questions about past acquisitions asked by its first foreign president, Britain Michael C. Woodford, the company’s share price briefly dropped below ¥500 from levels above ¥2,000 while its equity capital ratio, a barometer of financial health, fell sharply. Woodford was sacked shortly after becoming president because he wouldn’t let his suspicions about the acquisitions go.

Olympus faces 22 pending damage suits in Japan and abroad, with claims totaling more than ¥50 billion.

In July, the company raised some ¥120 billion through a public offering of new shares and other methods to prepare for potential damages, a senior company official said.

In addition, Olympus expects the robust performance of its mainstay medical equipment business to continue.

“Even if the company faces further damage payments, it will be able to meet them from its annual profits,” said Yusuke Takayama, analyst at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc.



Read more ...

Picture of the Day › Economic reflection - ( J44P44NN )

Friday, September 27, 2013

People are reflected in mirrors at the entrance to a shopping complex in Harajuku in Tokyo on Friday.



Read more ...

Stop lending money to the yakuza, FSA tells Mizuho - ( J44P44NN )

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Financial Services Agency on Friday ordered Mizuho Bank to stop lending money to yakuza and said it appeared to be making little progress in addressing the problem.

Mizuho, one of the country’s biggest banks, has processed about ¥200 million worth of transactions for “anti-social forces,” a wide-ranging term Japan commonly uses to refer to mobsters.

The financial watchdog scolded the nation’s third-biggest bank for taking “no substantial steps” to deal with the issue after it was revealed two years ago and pointed to “serious problems” with its compliance monitoring.

Mizuho has a month to draft a plan to address the issue, the FSA said.

Mizuho said it “takes this order very seriously and deeply regrets these occurrences.”

It also issued a statement that said it “expresses its deepest and most sincere apologies to its clients and all related parties for any concern or inconvenience this may have caused.”

Like the Italian mafia or Chinese triads, the yakuza engage in activities ranging from gambling, drugs, and prostitution to loan sharking, protection rackets, white-collar crime and business conducted through front companies.

The gangs, which themselves are not illegal, have historically been tolerated by the authorities, although there are periodic clampdowns on some of their less savory activities.



Read more ...

National › Ships collide off Japan coast; 5 in critical condition,1 missing - ( J44P44NN )

Friday, September 27, 2013

TOKYO —

Japan’s coast guard was searching Friday for six crew of a Japanese cargo ship that capsized after colliding with a Sierra Leone-registered vessel.

The Eifukumaru No. 18 was found capsized in waters off Izuoshima island, around 100 kilometers south of Tokyo by patrol boats and a plane that had been dispatched to the area, a spokesman said.

“We are still searching for six crew members, all Japanese, who were on a vessel carrying steel from Nagoya to Chiba,” he said, adding that the Sierra Leone-registered ship was not in danger.

© 2013 AFP



Read more ...

Crime › 3 former JR West execs cleared of negligence in fatal 2005 derailment - ( J44P44NN )

Friday, September 27, 2013

KOBE —

Three former presidents of one of Japan’s biggest rail operators on Friday were cleared by the Kobe District Court of professional negligence in the deaths of 106 passengers when a speeding train derailed in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, in 2005.

On April 25, 2005, a speeding train on the JR Fukuchiyama Line jumped the tracks on a sharp curve during the morning rush hour at 9:18 a.m. and plowed into a residential tower. The driver and 106 passengers died in the accident, which also left 550 people injured in Japan’s worst rail disaster for four decades.

It was determined later that the driver had been going over the speed limit because he was running late—an offense for which he had been punished once before.

In the aftermath of the crash, four JR West executives were charged with professional negligence—Shojiro Nanya, 72, Masao Yamazaki, 68, Masataka Ide, 78, and Takeshi Kakiuchi, 69. Yamazaki was found not guilty in January 2012.

The designated attorney, who played a prosecution role after prosecutors dropped the case, had demanded a jail term, arguing that Nanya, Ide and Kakikuchi should have anticipated the danger.

The attorney and family members of the crash victims said JR West should have been held accountable for failing to take proper safety precautions such as installing an Automatic Train Stop (ATS) device that can stop a train from traveling too fast. The company’s corporate culture of punishing employees for their mistakes was also harshly criticized.

But the court ruled that the three did not have proper opportunities to recognize the danger and that they were also not legally obliged to install such a device when the accident occurred.

Public prosecutors had stopped short of indicting them, citing a lack of evidence, but a judicial review panel found the decision inappropriate, which led to their indictment in 2010 and the court appointment of a designated attorney.

Japan Today/AFP



Read more ...

Tepco asks NRA to check safety of two reactors at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant - ( J44P44NN )

Friday, September 27, 2013

Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Friday filed for formal safety assessments of reactors 6 and 7 at its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture, joining moves by other utilities seeking to reactivate atomic power stations.

Tepco spent more than two months seeking local approval to apply for the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s safety inspections, reflecting the sensitivity of reactor restarts by the operator of the destroyed Fukushima No. 1 complex.

The move brings the number of reactors for which power companies have applied for NRA safety checks to 14. To resume operations, reactors have to be checked by the nuclear industry watchdog to determine whether they satisfy a set of new safety requirements introduced in July.

Tepco, struggling to meet the massive costs of the Fukushima nuclear crisis, is desperate to reactivate idled atomic units so it can reduce spending on expensive fossil fuel imports for thermal power generation. Niigata Gov. Hirohiko Izumida on Thursday gave the green light to Tepco’s plan to seek the safety assessments.

While it is not clear how long the NRA evaluation process will take, it is important for Tepco to show that it is at least making progress on improving its business conditions so it can continue to receive loans from its creditors.

If reactors 6 and 7 at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa are brought back online, Tepco estimates it could cut fuel costs by ¥200 billion to ¥300 billion per year.

The two advanced boiling water reactors and the newest of the seven atomic units at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, which, with a combined capacity of 8.2 million kw, is the world’s largest.

Under the new NRA regulations, reactors must be equipped with filtered venting systems to reduce radioactive substances if gas and steam have to be released from containment vessels in an emergency. Izumida, the Niigata governor, said Thursday the ventilation system should not be used at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa without securing local approval first.



Read more ...

National › Niigata governor reverses course; OKs reactor safety screening - ( J44P44NN )

Thursday, September 26, 2013

TOKYO —

Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) on Friday filed an application with the Nuclear Regulation Authority to seek permission for safety screening tests with the aim of restarting two of seven reactors at Kashiwazaki Kariwa in Niigata Prefecture.

TEPCO filed the application after winning approval from previously reluctant Niigata Gov Hirohiko Izumida to apply to restart the plant.

Izumida, in a statement issued Thursday, a day after a highly publicized appeal from TEPCO’s president, said he was allowing the utility to apply for safety approval. But he was withholding final judgment on restarting the plant.

“Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power plant may be halted but it is a living facility, and safety must be ensured at the plant,” Izumida said in a statement faxed to Reuters.

There was no immediate explanation for the change of heart by Izumida, who had previously denounced TEPCO as unfit to run a nuclear plant and had called for the company’s liquidation.

Getting the green light to seek safety approval for the Kashiwazaki Kariwa facility, the world’s largest nuclear plant, is a core element of the utility’s turnaround plan as it struggles to contain contaminated water at the wrecked Fukushima plant.

All of Japan’s 50 reactors were shut down after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami crippled Fukushima, and triggered a nuclear crisis, amid a wave of public revulsion against the industry. Two units were brought back on line last year, but shutdowns in recent weeks have left Japan without nuclear power for only the third time since 1970.

The return to power last year of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a proponent of nuclear power who says Fukushima is “under control”, has given rise to suggestions that idled reactors may be restarted under safety guidelines. The process is expected to take well into next year.

Approval from the Nuclear Regulation Authority, established after its predecessor was discredited by the 2011 disaster, is uncertain and any decision could take many months at best.

On Wednesday, NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka declined to comment on prospects for a restart of Kashiwazaki Kariwa.

The nuclear shutdowns have obliged Japan to import costly fuel to meet its power needs. The country has run trade deficits for 14 months, the longest string since 1979-80.

TEPCO is already behind schedule on its revival plan, which called for firing up at least one Kashiwazaki Kariwa reactor by April of this year. If all seven reactors were operational, Tepco says, it would save the company $ 1 billion a month in costs to generate power for Japan’s biggest economic region.

TEPCO president Naomi Hirose said in a statement that the company would uphold its safety commitments. On Wednesday, he told Izumida the company would attach a second filter to ease pressure inside containment vessels if an emergency arose.

Four other electric utilities have sought NRA approval for restarts, which must also be approved by local authorities. 

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2013.



Read more ...

Politics › Russia threatens travel restrictions for Japanese officials to disputed islands - ( J44P44NN )

Thursday, September 26, 2013

MOSCOW —

Russia threatened on Thursday to ban visa-free travel for Japanese officials to four disputed Pacific islands if they make statements demanding the territories be returned to Japan.

The renewed tension could set back a fresh drive by the countries’ leaders to end a decades-old territorial dispute over the small islands north of Hokkaido which were seized by Soviet troops at the end of World War Two.

The spat over the islands, known as the Southern Kuriles in Russia and as the Northern Territories in Japan, has prevented Moscow and Tokyo signing a treaty formally ending hostilities and still hinders efforts to improve relations.

“If for some reason Japanese politicians cannot refrain from making public statements on the subject of the islands after a visit to Russian territory, we reserve the right to limit their participation in such trips,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

It underlined in a written statement that visa-free travel was permitted for Japanese officials as a “humanitarian act”, mainly to enable them to visit the graves of their ancestors.

The ministry made clear it was referring to comments by Ichita Yamamoto, Japan’s Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs, during a visit to the islands and quoted him as saying that his view of “the need to return territories” was reinforced by his trip.

Tokyo did not immediately respond. Asked about the Russian Foreign Ministry’s warning at a news conference, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said he was not aware of it and declined further comment.

A report by the Nikkei business daily on a news conference given by the minister on September 23 following his visit appeared to contain no inflammatory comments.

“We intend to calmly accept the current condition surrounding the Northern Territories and solve the territorial issue through tenacious negotiations, without fluctuating between hope and despair,” Nikkei quoted him as saying.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japan’s then prime minister, Shinzo Abe, agreed to revive talks on the islands during a summit in Moscow in April. Any new tensions over the islands would be likely to set back those efforts.

An end to the dispute is not in sight, but reviving long-stalled talks is a first step to improving economic cooperation, which both sides say has failed to live up to its potential.

The islands were seized by the Soviet Union, of which Russia was then the biggest part, after it declared war on Japan in August 1945 and days before Japan surrendered, forcing about 17,000 Japanese to flee. They are near rich fishing grounds.

Japan and Russia are still nominally at war, although hostilities ended shortly after Japan surrendered. The conclusion of a peace treaty depends on the resolution of the territorial dispute.

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2013.



Read more ...

Bad weather damages silt fence at No. 1 plant - ( J44P44NN )

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Bad weather has damaged a silt fence erected to contain radioactive material escaping from the crippled reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Thursday, raising fears that more tainted water might flow into the Pacific Ocean.

The breach was found at 10:40 a.m. Thursday near intact reactors 5 and 6, which take in core-cooling seawater that is later pumped back into the ocean.

Unfavorable weather has prevented a thorough examination of the fence, a Tepco spokesman in Tokyo said Thursday afternoon. Repair work will start as soon as the sea calms.

The fence is meant to keep earth and sand out of seawater intakes for units 5 and 6. It is also designed to block radioactive material coming from damaged units 1, 2, 3 and 4, where another silt fence is set up.

The fences are suspended from floats and anchored with weights on the seafloor. But it is thought that large amounts of radioactive materials have already drifted into the Pacific anyway.

However, the density of radioactive substances outside the artificial bay remains well within legal limits, probably because it is being diluted by seawater.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority has ordered Tepco to take seawater samples and monitor the density of radioactive materials. In April, the same fence near units 5 and 6 was damaged by rough waves and bad weather.



Read more ...

Politics › Suga defends Abe’s ‘Gordon Gekko speech’ on Wall Street - ( J44P44NN )

Thursday, September 26, 2013

TOKYO —

Japan’s top government spokesman on Thursday defended a speech by the prime minister in which he compared the career of fictional Wall Street titan-turned-criminal Gordon Gekko with his own country’s economic resurgence.

Shinzo Abe’s address to the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday—which touched on everything from hot dogs and sushi to baseball and U.S. heavy metal rock band Metallica—repeatedly mentioned the anti-hero of the 1987 film “Wall Street.”

“Today, I have come to tell you that Japan will once again be a country where there is money to be made, and that just as Gordon Gekko made a comeback in the financial world… so too can we now say that ‘Japan is Back,’” Abe said.

The Oliver Stone-directed film portrays Gekko as a corporate raider who is ultimately sent to prison on insider trading charges and other securities violations. His memorable line that “greed is good” became a popular symbol of 1980s excess.

Actor Michael Douglas, whose performance netted him an Academy Award, reprised the role in the 2010 sequel “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” which chronicles Gekko’s release from prison and subsequent redemption.

“What the prime minister wanted to say the most was that ‘Japan is back.’ And in the sequel, Gordon Gekko was redeemed, wasn’t he?” Chief cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.

Suga was responding to questions about why Japan’s leader had cited a cinematic convicted criminal as an inspiration for a policy blitz aimed at reviving the country’s long-limp economy.

Abe noted that the original film a quarter-century ago portrayed Japan as an economic powerhouse, while in the sequel “the investors that appear are Chinese—Japan is conspicuous only in its absence”, reflecting its two-decade slide.

Abe’s speech pointed to hopes that sushi carts would one day be lined up alongside New York City’s famous hot dog vendors—apparently confirming Japan’s revival.

New York Yankees star Ichiro Suzuki and Japan’s super-efficient bullet trains also got a mention in a speech that finished with a reference to the Metallica song “Enter Sandman.”

(C) 2013 AFP



Read more ...

Info Saingi Apple, Samsung segera rilis Galaxy S4 Gold Edition ( J44P44NN )

Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Read about Saingi Apple, Samsung segera rilis Galaxy S4 Gold Edition
Here: Saingi Apple, Samsung segera rilis Galaxy S4 Gold Edition
http://www.sepintaslalu.com/2013/09/saingi-apple-samsung-segera-rilis.html
Read more ...

Info Sebuah pulau muncul setelah gempa Pakistan ( J44P44NN )

Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Read about Sebuah pulau muncul setelah gempa Pakistan
Here: Sebuah pulau muncul setelah gempa Pakistan
http://www.sepintaslalu.com/2013/09/sebuah-pulau-muncul-setelah-gempa.html
Read more ...

World › Kenyan police search mall wreckage after militant attack - ( J44P44NN )

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

NAIROBI —

U.S., British and Israeli agencies are helping Kenya investigate an attack by Islamist militants on a Nairobi shopping mall that killed at least 72 people and destroyed part of the complex.

After a four-day siege, President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Tuesday troops had defeated the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabaab group that targeted the shopping center popular with prosperous Kenyans and foreigners. He declared three days of mourning.

The attack has highlighted the reach of the Somali al Shabaab and the capabilities of its crack unit believed to be behind the bloodshed in Westgate mall, confirming international fears that as long as Somalia remains in turmoil it will be a recruiting and training ground for militant Islam.

The militants stormed the mall, known for its Western shops selling iPads and Nike shoes, in a hail of gunfire and grenades at lunchtime Saturday. The attack ended on Tuesday when Kenyan troops detonated explosives to get through locked doors inside the mall as they searched for militants or booby traps.

“We have moved to the next phase,” Interior Minister Joseph ole Lenku told a news conference on Wednesday.

He said that alongside U.S., British and Israeli agencies, Kenya was also receiving help from Germany, Canada and the police agency Interpol in the investigation.

He said he did not expect the death toll of 61 civilians, six members of the security forces and five attackers to rise significantly, and that the only bodies still likely to be found were those of slain assailants.

Three floors collapsed after the blasts and a separate fire weakened the structure of the vaulted, marble-tiled building. Officials said the blaze arose from militants lighting mattresses as a decoy.

Kenya has said 10 to 15 attackers launched the raid. Ole Lenku said the investigation would seek to ascertain if there were any females among the assailants, as some witness accounts suggest, and would also see if the groups had rented a store in the mall prior the attack as part of their preparation.

Al-Shabaab said it launched the assault to demand Kenya withdraw its troops fighting with African peacekeepers in Somalia. It said hostages were killed when Kenyan troops used gas to clear the mall. Officials dismissed this as “propaganda”.

Kenyatta has said Kenyan forces would not leave Somalia.

“We have ashamed and defeated our attackers,” he said in his televised address on Tuesday.

U.S. President Barack Obama, whose father was Kenyan, said he believed the country – scene of one of al-Qaida’s first big attacks, in 1998, when a bomb devastated the U.S. embassy in Nairobi – would continue to be a regional pillar of stability.

“The investigators will be looking to see what information they can extract to identify the terrorists and their nationalities, including DNA tests,” a senior official from the National Disaster Operation Center told Reuters, after officials described the attack as a “multinational” operation.

Eleven people suspected of involvement with the well-planned assault are in custody, but Kenyan officials have not said how many, if any, were gunmen taken alive and how many may have been people arrested elsewhere.

It was unclear whether intelligence reports of American or British gunmen would be confirmed. Al-Shabaab denied that any women took part, after British sources said the fugitive widow of one of the 2005 London suicide bombers might have some role.

In Washington, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Wednesday there had been no verification that Americans were involved in the mall attack.

A thin trail of smoke still drifted up on Wednesday above the Israeli-built shopping complex, a symbol of Africa’s economic rise that has drawn in foreign investors.

Faster growth has also created wider wealth gaps, adding to grievances tapped by several violent Islamist groups from Mali to Algeria and Nigeria to Kenya. All have espoused an anti-Western, anti-Christian creed.

“If #Westgate was Kenya’s symbol of prosperity, it is now a symbol of their vulnerability, a symbol of defeat and overall Kenyan impotence,” al Shabaab said on its Twitter account, one of several taunts it sent after the attack.

Al Shabaab, which derided Kenya as it was battling militants inside the mall, said action by Kenyan troops using gas were responsible for the “lives of the 137 hostages who were being held by the mujahideen (fighters).”

Ole Lenku said he could not confirm intelligence reports of British and American militants. One cabinet minister had earlier denied speculation that women were among the guerrillas, but said some had been dressed as women, a possible ploy to get weapons past the mall’s unarmed private security guards.

It is unusual, if not unknown, for Islamist militants to use female fighters: “We have an adequate number of young men who are fully committed & we do not employ our sisters in such military operations #Westgate,” al-Shabaab said on Twitter.

The group dismissed comments by one Kenyan minister that two or three of the militants were young Somali or Arab Americans.

A British security source said it was possible Samantha Lewthwaite, widow of one of the London suicide bombers of July 7 2005, was involved in the Nairobi siege. “It is a possibility. But nothing definitive or conclusive yet,” the source said.

Lewthwaite is wanted in connection with an alleged plot to attack expensive hotels and restaurants in Kenya.

Kenyatta thanked other leaders, including Obama, for their support and used his address to praise the response of the Kenyan people and call for national unity, six months after his election was marked by ethnic tensions.

Many Kenyans agree that the bloodshed has helped foster a greater sense of national unity.

“We are all talking about it. The one good thing is that the whole of Kenya has become one, except for al-Shabaab,” said Vipool Shah, who helped pull bodies out of the mall.

Kenyatta’s focus on Kenya’s troubles, and of his role in a global campaign against terrorism, was a reminder that he faces trial at The Hague in a few weeks time for crimes against humanity over violence that followed a 2007 election.

The International Criminal Court adjourned the trial of his vice president this week because of the Westgate attack.

Kenyatta and his government have urged the ICC to drop the case. Warm words for the Kenyan leadership from Western allies during the siege may have boosted their hopes that the court might be pressed to shelve proceedings in the interests of shoring up an important partner in the fight against al-Qaida.

Al-Shabaab had threatened revenge since Kenyan troops joined the war against Islamists in its northern neighbor two years ago. The group has created funding, recruiting and training networks in Kenya.

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2013.



Read more ...

Info Berlian paling mahal di dunia dijual Rp.673 miliar ( J44P44NN )

Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Read about Berlian paling mahal di dunia dijual Rp.673 miliar
Here: Berlian paling mahal di dunia dijual Rp.673 miliar
http://www.sepintaslalu.com/2013/09/berlian-paling-mahal-di-dunia-dijual.html
Read more ...

Info Meskipun laris, rumah makan ini buka 2 kali seminggu ( J44P44NN )

Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Read about Meskipun laris, rumah makan ini buka 2 kali seminggu
Here: Meskipun laris, rumah makan ini buka 2 kali seminggu
http://www.sepintaslalu.com/2013/09/meskipun-laris-rumah-makan-ini-buka-2.html
Read more ...

Track defects grow to 260 at JR Hokkaido - ( J44P44NN )

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hokkaido Railway Co. said Wednesday it has found 170 more unaddressed track defects, bringing to 267 the total uncovered by an investigation into a derailment last week.

The new defects may include some that have been there since 1985, when changes were made to the maintenance rules drafted by the Japan National Railways following their privatization.

JR Hokkaido said all of the defects, including the newly found ones, had been repaired by Wednesday morning.

The transport ministry meanwhile bolstered its inspection team by 20 officials from nine.

JR Hokkaido said it found the new defects after going over the report it filed with the transport ministry on Sunday, which said it found defects relating not only to rail width but also to height and evenness at 97 locations.

At the site of last Thursday’s freight train derailment, the tracks were found to be 20 mm wider than normal last October and then 25 mm too wide in June. Although the railway’s rules stipulate that a deviation of 19 mm or more must be rectified within 15 days of discovery, it had not undertaken repairs.

JR Hokkaido customers expressed anger Wednesday over the track repair debacle.

“I was stunned this morning to hear that they found more defects. I don’t understand why they couldn’t find them until now. What have the president and executives of this company doing all this time?” said Mariko Mitsuyoshi, 78, a resident of Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture, who was visiting Hakodate with a friend.

A 53-year-old woman who runs a souvenir shop in front of JR Hakodate Station said the railway has been sloppy.

“I wonder if they realize that leaving a situation like this could lead to a major accident and loss of lives,” she said.

On Tuesday, the ministry extended its inspection period to a week through Friday from the initial three days through Monday, to cover not only the railroad’s track maintenance division but also train maintenance and operation units, officials said.

Ministry sources said the inspection period may be further extended if the team finds problems at divisions other than the track maintenance department.

After the freight train derailed last Thursday at Onuma Station on the Hakodate Line, JR Hokkaido said Saturday it had found that a failure to quickly repair a track section that had a width that exceeded the safety limit could have been a factor in the derailment and that similar problems were found at eight other locations.

The inspection team visited JR Hokkaido’s headquarters in Sapporo on Tuesday to interview senior officials in the transport and track maintenance departments. They are also expected to look into train operations and the rail equipment division that manages rail signals and power cables.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, JR Hokkaido reported another incident, this one on the Nemuro Main Line in eastern Hokkaido.

At around 2:15 p.m., the driver of a passenger train found a fuel leak and white smoke rising from under the floor of the one-car diesel train at Shiranuka Station, JR Hokkaido officials said.

The incident happened when the train was about to leave after two of its 14 passengers had disembarked. The remaining 12 left the train immediately. Nobody was injured.



Read more ...

Sports › Williams advances at Pan Pacific Open - ( J44P44NN )

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

TOKYO —

Venus Williams rallied from a set down on Wednesday to defeat Simona Halep of Romania 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 and reach the quarterfinals of the Pan Pacific Open.

Williams, making her first appearance in the Tokyo tournament since 2009, broke serve to go up 5-3 in the second set at Ariake Colosseum and then won with a crosscourt forehand that Halep hit into the net.

“It was a very tough match,” Williams said. “She played very well. I don’t know how I was able to win the match. I just wanted to stay in Japan longer.”

Williams, who ousted top-seeded Victoria Azarenka on Tuesday, will face Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard in the quarterfinals.

Bouchard upset sixth-seeded Jelena Jankovic of Serbia 7-5, 6-2.

Making her debut in the Tokyo tournament, Bouchard broke Jankovic to go up 5-2 in the second set and then held serve to win.

Jankovic had a 5-4 lead in the first set but Bouchard won the last three games after a talk with her coach.

“I felt like I wasn’t playing my best in the first set,” Bouchard said. “But I stayed with her and started to get a lot more aggressive near the end of the first set and that was the turning point.”

Bouchard, who is 46th in the world rankings, said winning last year’s junior Wimbledon title has given her confidence to compete at a higher level.

“That gave me a lot of confidence to play in the pros,” Bouchard said. “Playing week in, week out against the top players has made me a better player.”

In another third-round match, fourth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, defeated Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia, 6-1, 6-1.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



Read more ...

National › JR Hokkaido says track defects found in 170 more locations - ( J44P44NN )

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

HOKKAIDO —

JR Hokkaido Railway Co, which is already under fire for a series of derailments and other problems, said Wednesday that track defects had been left unrepaired in 170 more locations.

The announcement came after a JR Hokkaido spokesman was visibly uncomfortable at a televised news conference on Tuesday afternoon, admitting that he didn’t have enough information to answer reporters’ questions.

After a freight train derailed on the Hakodate line last Thursday, JR Hokkaido said an emergency inspection revealed that track defects had been neglected at 97 locations. In many cases, track width had increased beyond the safety limit.

JR Hokkaido said Wednesday that all defects have now been repaired, Fuji TV reported.

Adding to the company’s problems was another incident on Tuesday when white smoke was seen rising from beneath a car on a train at Shiranuka Station on the Nemuro line.

On Tuesday, the company was reprimanded by the transport ministry which has extended its investigation of the rail operator’s maintenance procedures until Friday, Fuji TV reported.

Meanwhile, Hokkaido Gov Harumi Takahashi said she plans to meet Thursday with JR Hokkaido President Makoto Nojima and urge him to make sure the company pays greater attention to safety measures.

Japan Today



Read more ...

Info 7 aplikasi chatting gratis alternatif BBM ( J44P44NN )

Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Read about 7 aplikasi chatting gratis alternatif BBM
Here: 7 aplikasi chatting gratis alternatif BBM
http://www.sepintaslalu.com/2013/09/7-aplikasi-chatting-gratis-alternatif.html
Read more ...

Info Membanting bayi, pria ini dihukum mati ( J44P44NN )

Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Read about Membanting bayi, pria ini dihukum mati
Here: Membanting bayi, pria ini dihukum mati
http://www.sepintaslalu.com/2013/09/membanting-bayi-pria-ini-dihukum-mati.html
Read more ...

Info Cara Mengatasi Dengkuran Saat Tidut ( J44P44NN )

Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Read about Cara Mengatasi Dengkuran Saat Tidut
Here: Cara Mengatasi Dengkuran Saat Tidut
http://www.sepintaslalu.com/2013/09/cara-mengatasi-dengkuran-saat-tidut.html
Read more ...

Canada agrees to begin exporting shale gas to Japan - ( J44P44NN )

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Canadian leader Stephen Harper agreed Tuesday that Canada will begin exporting shale gas to Japan, making it the second country after the U.S. to provide the nation with the natural gas.

During the summit talks in Ottawa, Abe and Harper also agreed to have the Self-Defense Forces and Canadian military provide logistics support to each other when engaged in international humanitarian assistance missions such as U.N. peacekeeping operations, as well as other relief efforts, a Japanese government official said.

The logistics deal, when formally signed, will be the third of its kind for Japan after other pacts with the United States and Australia. It is the latest in a series of defense cooperation deals that that Abe is hoping to pitch to other countries.

Abe visited Canada on the first leg of a tour that later Tuesday took him to New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly.

With the Syrian crisis emerging as a major topic at the General Assembly, both Abe and Harper confirmed their support for a U.S.-Russian deal to eliminate Damascus’ chemical weapons, with Abe vowing to provide humanitarian aid to refugees from the war-torn nation.

To prepare for shale gas exports to Japan, the two leaders said they would accelerate ministerial level talks, the Japanese official said.

Abe also offered assistance in developing the necessary infrastructure in Canada to ship shale gas, asking Harper to allow Japanese firms to participate in shale gas-related projects.

Shale gas, a relatively inexpensive energy source, is expected to help reduce soaring costs at utilities that have been forced to rely on fossil fuels after nuclear power plants were shut down in the wake of the Fukushima atomic crisis.

As negotiations continue for the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade initiative, the two leaders agreed to jointly cooperate in boosting trade within bilateral and multilateral frameworks.

Both leaders agreed to hold a meeting at the vice-ministerial level of foreign and defense officials at an early date, after officials from the two countries met in 2011 to discuss security cooperation under the same framework, the Japanese official said.

Abe is aiming to review the nation’s defense posture with an eye to amending the pacifist Constitution to allow the Self-Defense Forces to engage in collective self-defense in order to take a greater global security role.



Read more ...

Info Mendengkur bisa menybabkan kematian, lhoo ( J44P44NN )

Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Read about Mendengkur bisa menybabkan kematian, lhoo
Here: Mendengkur bisa menybabkan kematian, lhoo
http://www.sepintaslalu.com/2013/09/mendengkur-bisa-menybabkan-kematian-lhoo.html
Read more ...

Info Inilah tandanya Atasan Anda menyukai pekerjaan Anda ( J44P44NN )

Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Read about Inilah tandanya Atasan Anda menyukai pekerjaan Anda
Here: Inilah tandanya Atasan Anda menyukai pekerjaan Anda
http://www.sepintaslalu.com/2013/09/inilah-tandanya-atasan-anda-menyukai.html
Read more ...

Harumi urged not to sit back and squander Olympic windfall - ( J44P44NN )

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Residents in Tokyo’s Harumi seafront district sometimes have to put up with the rather ignominious joke that their neighborhood is a “lonely island” cut off from the capital’s bustling center.

“Geographically speaking, it’s actually quite close to Ginza,” says Chiyoko Kanno, principal of the JCQ Bilingual Preschool in Harumi. “But people who don’t live here aren’t familiar with the local transportation. So although it’s situated within Tokyo, many experience difficulty getting here.”

Tokyo’s triumph in the race to host the 2020 Olympics earlier this month, therefore, has been widely celebrated by locals as a harbinger of a dramatic transformation for their neighborhood, where the Olympic Village is slated to be built.

Capable of accommodating 17,000 athletes, the village will occupy a 44-hectare parcel of land on the seafront. Under the plans as they currently stand, the accommodations will be remodeled into residential space once the Olympics are over.

Jubilant though the local mood might be right now, experts caution that for the area to truly benefit in a sustainable manner, simply jumping on the Olympic bandwagon won’t be enough.

Without better infrastructure and genuine improvements in inhabitants’ livelihoods, the seafront area, they say, will soon slip back into long-familiar obscurity once the sporting festival is over.

Flanked by Tokyo Bay and located in Chuo Ward, Harumi was built on reclaimed land. It underwent sweeping development in the late 1990s, followed by breakneck construction of high-rises, including the Harumi Island Triton Square, an office and residential complex that has become a local landmark.

Accessibility to trains also improved around that time, as Kachidoki Station began operations with the launch of the underground Oedo Line in 2000.

But despite these improvements, the district remains far too inconvenient to get to and lacks the entertainment facilities necessary to handle the anticipated upsurge of visitors over the next seven years.

According to real estate appraiser Takashi Matsuoka, the fact that Kachidoki is practically the only rail station close to the intended site of the Olympic Village is a major problem, as it still takes visitors around 20 minutes on foot to reach the site.

With a walk of 10 minutes or less seen as the acceptable norm in the Tokyo metropolitan area, this is uncomfortably long, Matsuoka said. Buses are available, but their frequency is far from sufficient, he added.

“With the addition of another train station or the launch of a trolley system, for example, I believe the way people view Harumi would improve drastically,” said Matsuoka, who described the area as by and large devoid of traffic.

It would appear, however, that poor transportation is not Harumi’s only potential Achilles’ heel.

“I sometimes bike to a nearby neighborhood just so I can buy daily groceries because here in Harumi, Triton Square is virtually the only place where you can go shopping,” said Naomi Sato, a 36-year-old local mother and homemaker.

Sato said there aren’t many family-friendly entertainment venues suitable for a casual weekend outing, and many people who live in the district go elsewhere in search of fun.

“It would be great if we could have amusement centers of our own as the arrival of the Olympics nears,” she said.

The broad consensus among experts is that it won’t take long before the area is reborn with more commercial and entertainment facilities, as the need burgeons for such infrastructure in the runup to the Olympics.

The prospect of radical urban development is generating excitement, with many real estate firms suddenly deluged with inquiries about properties in Harumi following the Sept. 8 announcement that Tokyo had won over the International Olympic Committee.

Mitsubishi Estate Co., for one, has rejoiced at the surge in public interest. Its showroom for twin skyscrapers in the area lured more than 300 couples over the three-day weekend from Sept. 14, double the usual number, according to the firm’s chief spokesman.

“We saw many first-time visitors come to the showroom who said they suddenly found the area attractive after the arrival of the Olympics became certain,” he said.

However, Takeshi Ide, chief market researcher at Tokyo Kantei Co., is skeptical the demand will continue to be significant in the years to come due to overall economic woes. On the other hand, there will be acute interest from buyers overseas, Ide said, citing the yen’s recent depreciation.

“There are many foreign buyers planning to purchase condo apartments in the neighborhood and put them up for lease for a couple of years. And once the Olympics are finished, they may just sell them, depending on how much more valuable they will have become by that time so they can rake in more profits,” Ide said, predicting that land prices will rise.

Aside from beefing up transportation and commercial facilities, Ide argued that another imperative is making sure that high-rises under construction be equipped with thorough precautions against potential cataclysms, especially tsunami, given Harumi’s proximity to the bay, and soil liquefaction, given it is built on reclaimed land.

“At the end of the day, what people care about is whether the area is truly comfortable to live in and resistant to disasters,” Ide said.

Yasuhiko Nakajo, a professor who heads Meikai University’s Faculty of Real Estate Sciences, meanwhile suggested the area actively explore the possibility of morphing into what he described as a hub of international activities.

Thanks to its close proximity to Haneda airport and the Tokyo International Exhibition Center in the popular Odaiba district, he said, Harumi should harness these advantages to court more foreign visitors, whether tourists or businesspeople.

“We don’t want to be remembered as the generation who had a wonderful opportunity like the Olympics and let it slip away as a mere temporary boom among a limited circle of real estate and construction firms and workers,” Nakajo said.



Read more ...

Ex-top U.S. nuclear regulator counsels end to atomic power - ( J44P44NN )

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The ongoing crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 plant is a sign that the world needs to seriously rethink nuclear safety and consider possibly ending its dependence on atomic power, the former chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Tuesday in Tokyo.

“When you look at what happened around the Fukushima Daiichi (No. 1) area, it’s simply unacceptable,” as tens of thousands of people have been unable to return to their homes due to radioactive contamination, said Gregory Jaczko, who served as the top U.S. nuclear regulatory official for nearly three years until July 2012.

Given that Japan is extremely prone to earthquakes and tsunami, among other disasters, using nuclear power poses serious risks unless some kind of new technology is created to completely eliminate the possibility of severe accidents, Jaczko told reporters at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan.

However, Jaczko also said that creating such zero-risk technology is next to impossible.

Instead, Jaczko said, he hopes Japan pours its resources and energy into coming up with ways to function without atomic power.

“I think the Japanese people have the ability to do that,” he said.

While Japan’s atomic watchdog, the Nuclear Regulation Authority, is now examining requests from utilities to restart reactors, Jaczko stressed the importance of getting the public actively involved in the process.

“There needs to be a thorough public debate and a public dialogue to ensure that those decisions” have received as much support from the public as possible, said Jaczko, who headed the NRC when the Fukushima crisis erupted on March 11, 2011.

As for the ongoing issue of tainted groundwater flowing into the ocean at the No. 1 plant, Jaczko expressed befuddlement that the issue has only recently come under the spotlight.

“This was known from the beginning that there would potentially be these contamination problems,” he said.



Read more ...

Sports › Williams reaches 3rd round at Pan Pacific Open - ( J44P44NN )

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

TOKYO —

Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia advanced to the third round of the Pan Pacific Open by beating third-seeded Sara Errani of Italy 6-4, 6-4 Tuesday.

Kuznetsova, a two-time major winner, hit seven aces in the match and will next face 15th-seeded Sorana Cirstea of Romania. Cirstea beat Japanese wild-card entry Misaki Doi 6-1, 6-2.

In other second-round matches, Eugenie Bouchard of Canada defeated ninth-seeded Sloane Stephens of the United States 5-7, 7-6 (7), 6-3. Bouchard will next play sixth-seeded Jelena Jankovic of Serbia, who beat Ayumi Morita of Japan 6-4, 6-1.

Other winners include Samantha Stouser of Australia, Ana Ivanovic of Serbia, Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia and Madison Keys of the United States.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



Read more ...

Info Motor Honda RCV1000 dibandrol Rp. 1,5 miliar ! ( J44P44NN )

Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Read about Motor Honda RCV1000 dibandrol Rp. 1,5 miliar !
Here: Motor Honda RCV1000 dibandrol Rp. 1,5 miliar !
http://www.sepintaslalu.com/2013/09/motor-honda-rcv1000-dibandrol-rp-15.html
Read more ...

Info Foto: Iqbal Mahmud As’ad, Dokter Paling Muda di Dunia ( J44P44NN )

Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Read about Foto: Iqbal Mahmud As’ad, Dokter Paling Muda di Dunia
Here: Foto: Iqbal Mahmud As’ad, Dokter Paling Muda di Dunia
http://www.sepintaslalu.com/2013/09/foto-iqbal-mahmud-asad-dokter-paling.html
Read more ...

Info Apple jadi merek paling terkenal di Inggris ( J44P44NN )

Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Read about Apple jadi merek paling terkenal di Inggris
Here: Apple jadi merek paling terkenal di Inggris
http://www.sepintaslalu.com/2013/09/apple-jadi-merek-paling-terkenal-di.html
Read more ...

Politics › Japan urges Iran to be flexible on nuclear dispute - ( J44P44NN )

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

UNITED NATIONS —

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida on Monday urged Iran to be “flexible” to allow for concrete progress on the issue of Tehran’s contested nuclear drive.

Kishida met new Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at United Nations headquarters in New York, a Japanese official said. Japan historically has had cordial relations with Iran.

In a diplomatic breakthrough, the foreign ministers of arch rivals, the United States and Iran, will hold their first talks on Tehran’s contested nuclear drive at a landmark meeting on Thursday.

Secretary of State John Kerry and Zarif will join counterparts from Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia at the meeting at U.N. headquarters, officials said.

The U.S.-educated Zarif, whose knowledge of Western culture has endeared him to foreign diplomats, confirmed Thursday’s meeting on his Facebook page.

Zarif said he spoke to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton of Iran’s “political will as well as a conceptual framework to reach a solution that would ensure the Iranian people’s rights and would lift the sanctions.”

“It is evident from her post-meeting interview that she took it positively,” Zarif commented on the social media site.

The United States, which has spearheaded an international drive to cut Iran’s oil exports, has insisted it will not lift sanctions without progress.

Earlier this month,, the U.S. extended a waiver on Iran sanctions for six months to Japan in exchange for its reduction in oil imports from the Islamic republic. Japan has cut its imports of Iranian oil by 38.1% from a year earlier.

© 2013 AFP



Read more ...

Info Inilah Perbedaan Miss World dengan Miss Universe ( J44P44NN )

Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Read about Inilah Perbedaan Miss World dengan Miss Universe
Here: Inilah Perbedaan Miss World dengan Miss Universe
http://www.sepintaslalu.com/2013/09/inilah-perbedaan-miss-world-dengan-miss.html
Read more ...

Info Smartphone OPPO N1, Kamera bisa diputar 206 derajat ( J44P44NN )

Monday, September 23, 2013
Read about Smartphone OPPO N1, Kamera bisa diputar 206 derajat
Here: Smartphone OPPO N1, Kamera bisa diputar 206 derajat
http://www.sepintaslalu.com/2013/09/smartphone-oppo-n1-kamera-bisa-diputar.html
Read more ...

Info Akhirnya Perusahaan BlackBerry Dijual ke Fairfax Senilai US$ 4,7 Miliar ( J44P44NN )

Monday, September 23, 2013
Read about Akhirnya Perusahaan BlackBerry Dijual ke Fairfax Senilai US$ 4,7 Miliar
Here: Akhirnya Perusahaan BlackBerry Dijual ke Fairfax Senilai US$ 4,7 Miliar
http://www.sepintaslalu.com/2013/09/akhirnya-perusahaan-blackberry-dijual.html
Read more ...

Info La Tomata Festival: Perang tomat di Spanyol ( J44P44NN )

Monday, September 23, 2013
Read about La Tomata Festival: Perang tomat di Spanyol
Here: La Tomata Festival: Perang tomat di Spanyol
http://www.sepintaslalu.com/2013/09/la-tomata-festival-perang-tomat-di.html
Read more ...

Crime › Osaka man saves wife after she tries to kill him in fire - ( J44P44NN )

Monday, September 23, 2013

OSAKA —

Osaka prefectural police have arrested 48-year-old Masumi Nishino for the attempted murder of her husband and arson of their home and office. The arrest, on Sept 20, was made possible only after Nishino’s allegedly intended victim/husband saved her life by pulling her from the very same building she set on fire.

According to police, Nishino’s husband worked at home from a split-off “office” portion of the residence doing graphic design. On the night of Aug 31, the couple got into a heated altercation that went on until the next morning. Unable to reconcile, the husband went to sleep in the office side of the home.

However, Nishino who later said, “I wanted to smoke him out,” began using a lighter to set fire to pieces of paper and shoved them into the gaps between the wall to the office side. A few minutes later, she got tired and retired to the residential side of the complex to sleep. Not too long after that, her husband awoke from the heat of the flames engulfing his room. Quickly he escaped but realized his wife was still inside the house.

Already suffering from burns to his respiratory tract, the husband went back into the home and pulled Nishino from the building. Both were taken to the hospital where Nishino was released on Sept 3 following smoke inhalation treatment which her husband is still undergoing but is expected to pull through.

After questioning Nishino, police pressed charges for arson and attempted murder. Nishino made a statement saying, “I was just trying to annoy him. I had no intention of killing him or even burning down the house. I had no idea this would happen.”

Source: Sports Hochi

Read more stories from RocketNews24.
—Man Pulls Knife on Teenagers For Littering
—Shocking Video of Young Japanese Girl Giving Anti-Korean Speech Appears Online
—Mother to Reporter: “I Wish My Daughters Were Never Born”

RocketNews24



Read more ...

World › Militants hold out as Kenyan mall siege enters 4th day - ( J44P44NN )

Monday, September 23, 2013

NAIROBI —

Islamist fighters from Somalia’s al Shabaab held out at a Nairobi shopping center after killing at least 62 people, surrounded by Kenyan forces trying to crush their group’s cross-border jihad.

President Barack Obama offered U.S. support as the raid went into its fourth day, saying he believed Kenya – the scene of one of al-Qaida’s first major attacks and a neighbor of chaotic Somalia – would continue to be a regional pillar of stability.

It remained unclear how many fighters and hostages were still cornered in Nairobi’s Westgate shopping center on Tuesday, after a series of blasts and gunfire were followed by black smoke billowing from one part of the complex on Monday.

However, the Interior Ministry said on Twitter it was “in control” of the mall and believed all hostages had been freed.

As long ago as 1998, al-Qaida killed more than 200 people when it bombed the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi. When fighters from its Somali ideological counterpart stormed the mall last weekend, they hit a high-profile symbol of Kenya’s economic power.

Patronised by well-to-do Kenyans and expatriates, Westgate mall epitomised the African consumer bonanza that is drawing foreign investment – from West and East – to one of the world’s fastest growing regions.

Obama, whose father was born in Kenya, said the United States stood with Kenyans against “this terrible outrage”.

“We will provide them with whatever law enforcement support that is necessary. And we are confident that Kenya will continue to be a pillar of stability in Eastern Africa,” he said in New York.

Kenya has sent troops to Somalia as part of an African Union force trying to stabilize the country, which was long without a functioning government, and push back al-Shabaab.

It has also suffered internal instability. President Uhuru Kenyatta, who lost a nephew in the weekend bloodbath, faces charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court for his alleged role in coordinating violence after disputed elections in 2007.

Kenyatta has dismissed a demand that he pull Kenyan forces out of Somalia, saying he would not relent in a “war on terror”.

British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond said he believed six Britons had died in the attack. Other known foreign victims are from China, Ghana, France, the Netherlands and Canada.

Kenya believes there are also foreigners among the attackers, with military chief Julius Karangi saying they came from all over the world. “We are fighting global terrorism here,” he said, without giving their nationalities.

White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said he had no direct information that Americans had participated in the attack, but expressed U.S. worries.

“We do monitor very carefully and have for some time been concerned about efforts by al-Shabaab to recruit Americans or U.S. persons to come to Somalia,” Rhodes told reporters traveling with Obama to the United Nations in New York.

The siege has followed a pattern of bursts of gunfire and activity followed by long lulls. In the small hours of Tuesday, the mall was quiet after a day in which the flow of survivors escaping the complex slowed to trickle.

Armed police patrolled but from behind the security cordon there was no sign of forces preparing to end the stalemate overnight.

Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku said the militants had set fire to mattresses in a supermarket on the mall’s lower floors and his ministry later said the blaze was under control. Two attackers were killed on Monday, taking the total of dead militants so far to three, he told a news conference.

Speculation rose about the identity of the attackers. Ole Lenku said they were all men but that some had dressed as women.

Despite his assertion, one intelligence officer and two soldiers told Reuters that one of the dead militants was a white woman. This is likely to fuel speculation that she is the wanted widow of one of the suicide bombers who together killed more than 50 civilians on London’s transport system in 2005.

Called the “white widow” by the British press, Samantha Lewthwaite is wanted in connection with an alleged plot to attack hotels and restaurants in Kenya. Asked if the dead woman was Lewthwaite, the intelligence officer said: “We don’t know.”

Survivors’ tales of the assault by squads of attackers throwing grenades and spraying automatic fire have left little doubt the hostage-takers are willing to go on killing. Previous raids around the world, including at a desert gas plant in Algeria nine months ago, suggest they are also ready to die.

A spokesman for al-Shabaab warned they would kill hostages if Kenyan troops tried to storm their positions. “The mujahideen will kill the hostages if the enemies use force,” Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage said in an online audio statement.

From Mali to Algeria, Nigeria to Kenya, violent Islamist groups – tapping into local poverty, conflict, inequality or exclusion but espousing a similar anti-Western, anti-Christian creed – are striking at state authority and international interests, both economic and political.

John Campbell, a former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, said he believed insurgents such as those who rebelled in Mali last year, the Nigerian Boko Haram Islamist sect and the Nairobi mall raiders were also partly motivated by anger with what he called “pervasive malgovernance” in Africa.

“This is undoubtedly anti-Western and anti-Christian but it also taps into a lot of deep popular anger against the political economy in which they find themselves, in which a very small group of people are basically raking off the wealth,” he said.

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2013.



Read more ...

Crime › Woman causes disturbance at airport; body of daughter found in home - ( J44P44NN )

Monday, September 23, 2013

KUMAMOTO —

Police said Monday they have found the body of a teenage girl at the home of a woman who was taken into custody after causing a disturbance at Fukuoka Airport.

According to police, the 58-year-old woman was taken into protective custody after she arrived at the airport on Saturday afternoon without money or a passport and tried to board a flight. TBS quoted police as saying that the woman had only a few yen on her person and next to nothing in her bank account.

After detaining the woman, officers visited her Kumamoto home and found the decaying remains of a girl, believed to be the woman’s 16-year-old daughter, in her kitchen. An autopsy on the girl’s partially skeletal remains revealed she died between two and six months ago, police said.

The girl’s mother had reportedly not met her best friend or husband, who was living and working elsewhere, for a number of years. She had reportedly removed her daughter from the school system several years earlier and refused to accept visits from state welfare officers, TBS reported.

Police said she has been rambling and kept repeating, “I wanted to go overseas.”

Japan Today



Read more ...

Games planners target airport access - ( J44P44NN )

Monday, September 23, 2013

Before hosting the 1964 Summer Olympic Games, Tokyo carried out an unprecedented upgrade of its transportation system that gave the capital a bullet train system, elevated highways and a monorail connecting the city with Haneda airport.

Giving a similar boost to the infrastructure before the 2020 Games may be tricky, as the metropolis today has little space available for major new infrastructure projects. But a new subway line and an expansion of Haneda airport are some of the projects being pitched for development over the next seven years.

Touching on how preparations for the Olympics alone will have a positive influence on the economy, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has said that “efforts to end deflation will gain a big momentum.”

“There is no doubt that things will start rolling for the better” once projects related to the Olympics move forward, he added.

One of the keywords Tokyo rolled out while it was bidding for the Olympics was “compact,” as the city proposes to fit 28 of the major Olympic venues within an 8-km radius. But in addition to the 13 million residents the city now is home to, estimates forecast somewhere in the region of 10 million visitors will arrive in Tokyo to attend the event.

A major makeover being considered by the government and the land ministry will include both Haneda and Narita airports. According to the ministry, a panel is to meet within this fiscal year to discuss feasible ways of increasing the capacity of the two facilities, including the possibility of building a fifth runway at Haneda and easing restrictions for takeoffs and landings at the two international airports.

Improving access from the two airports to the downtown area, which has long been an inconvenience for travelers, is also being discussed.

Under the latest blueprint, a subway station tentatively named New Tokyo will be build in the Marunouchi area. A new rail line going through it will connect Sengakuji and Oshiage stations, effectively shortening the time it takes to get from Haneda to the heart of Tokyo from over 30 minutes to just 18.

The journey from Narita to central Tokyo will also be less time-consuming, taking less than 40 minutes compared with the current 50 minutes or more.

In regards to transportation in the city, building a new subway line in southeast Tokyo, where many of the Olympic events will be held, is being discussed.

“We are going to make Koto Ward the ‘Olympic city,’ ” ward, Mayor Takaaki Yamazaki said after Tokyo was selected to host the games. “Our plans for the Hachigo-sen subway will take a huge step forward as well,” he predicted.

The 5.2-km-long subway line, which will be called Hachigo-sen (No. 8 Line), was under consideration even before Tokyo was named the host of the prestigious event. It is scheduled to connect Toyosu Station with Toyocho Station and head north to Sumiyoshi Station, thereby providing new access routes between northern and southern Tokyo.The plan has been around for years, with the waterfront area known for having easy access from the east and west but lacking any routes from north to south. The trip from Sumiyoshi to Toyosu will be halved to less than 10 minutes once the line is complete, the ward said.

Yet, while the to-do list keeps growing, pundits warn the price tags for many of the projects cannot be ignored. For example, construction of the Hachigo-sen subway line is expected to cost ¥120 billion, according to Koto Ward estimates. Building the New Tokyo station to connect Haneda with Narita, meanwhile, will cost about ¥400 billion, some say.

Lack of time is also a problem.

Although 2020 would have given Central Japan Railway Co. the perfect stage for launching its state-of-the-art maglev train, President Yoshiomi Yamada has ruled out the possibility as impossible.

Land minister Akihiro Ota said Sept. 17 that the process of digging just the tunnels for the maglev route between Tokyo and Nagoya will take at least 10 years.

Tokyo is also already crisscrossed with 13 subway lines and about 300 stations, not to mention the complex underground levels of high-rise buildings across the city. Dodging such areas or digging deeper to avoid obstructions will add more money and time to vast projects like the Hachigo-sen subway line.

In that case, starting a new bus service between the Ginza shopping district and the Olympic venues appears to be the most cost effective and feasible plan. The so-called Bus Rapid Transit will use buses that can carry over 100 people at the same time.

So far, Chuo Ward, which will be the main entity running the project, seems to be in the early stages of development and has not revealed the specifics of the BRT plan. Reports say there could be about 600 shuttle services a day between Ginza, the Olympic venues and the accommodation sites where the athletes will stay.

Constructing a new loop route connecting the Toyosu area with Minato Ward has also been raised as a possibility.

As spending on reconstruction in the Tohoku region starts to wind down two years after the 2011 megaquake and tsunami, hosting the 2020 Olympics gives the government the perfect excuse to keep pumping cash into public projects.

But Hisashi Yamada, chief economist at Japan Research Institute, advised the government not to be swayed by the momentum and not to embark on a spending spree without considering the outcome.

“Japan is already a developed country and there isn’t the need for spending big on massive construction projects,” he recently told The Japan Times. “It’s not a bad thing to modernize the city’s infrastructure, but it’s crucial that the investment is worth it for the years beyond 2020.”

According to a report by JRI, 25.5 percent of Tokyoites will be 65 or older by 2020, compared with 21 percent in 2010. By 2035, it has been estimated that that age group will make up 30 percent of the capital’s population.

Since Tokyo is also expected to experience a population drop in the years after 2020, investing in compact and efficient buildings and infrastructure, complete with barrier-free designs, should be one of the main goals, Yamada said.



Read more ...