TOKYO—When a Japanese coast guard cutter spotted a small Chinese aircraft flying above disputed East China Sea islands in December, Japan’s air force scrambled eight F-15 fighter jets, but they reached the scene only after the intruder had left. Japan’s radar or surveillance planes had missed the low-flying aircraft entering what the nation considers its airspace, causing a delay in scrambling.
The embarrassing incident underscores the need for Japan to beef up the defense of air, sea and land in its southwest, said Gen. Shigeru Iwasaki, the top uniformed official of Japan’s military, known as the Self-Defense Forces. He said China’s navy and air force have been gradually shifting activities closer to the waters and skies near Japan’s southwestern islands and “establishing a tenacious presence” in what’s becoming an Read more…
The status of two Chinese government ships sent to assert Beijing’s claim over Japanese-controlled islands in the East China Sea remained a mystery early Wednesday, with no word from either government on the ships’ whereabouts.
China’s official news agency Xinhua reported that the two China Marine Surveillance ships “reached the waters around” the disputed islands Tuesday morning. It said the Chinese agency in charge of the vessels had a plan to safeguard Chinese sovereignty and would “take actions pending the development of the situation.” Since then, Chinese state media have been silent on the ships’ movements.
Japanese officials also had no comment on the status of the Chinese government ships. Japan’s coast guard has confronted Chinese fisherman and nationalists in the waters of the archipelago several times in recent years. It was not clear if Japanese authorities were taking similar action this time.
Japan refers to the disputed islands as Senkaku, while China calls them Diaoyu. The waters around the islands contain Read more…
Tectonic shifts triggered by last year’s huge 9.0 magnitude undersea quake have left the chamber under 16 times the minimum pressure at which an eruption can occur, researchers said.
Researchers at the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention studied the tectonic movements caused by the tsunami-triggering quake on March 11, 2011 and a magnitude 6.4 quake that rocked central Japan four days later, Kyodo News reported.
They estimated that 1.6 megapascals of pressure, equivalent to atmospheric pressure of some 15.8 kilograms per square centimetre (226 pounds per square inch), was being exerted on the magma chamber.
Volcanic eruptions can be triggered by as little as 0.1 megapascals of pressure, and the reading of 1.6 megapascals is “not a small figure”, said senior researcher Eisuke Fujita, according to Kyodo.
Mount Fuji, an almost perfectly cone-shaped mountain that stands as one of Japan’s national symbols, last erupted in 1707, after an earthquake struck and Read more…
Friday, Aug 31, 2012
JAPAN – Up to 323,000 people could die if three earthquakes occur simultaneously along the Nankai Trough, killing about 70 per cent of victims in subsequent tsunami, according to new predictions by two Cabinet Office panels.
The panels on Wednesday released predictions of damage that would be caused by a magnitude-9 Nankai Trough triple quake. This is the largest triple quake expected to occur in the trough–which stretches from off Shizuoka Prefecture down to Shikoku and Kyushu–with the so-called Tokai, Tonankai and Nankai earthquakes happening simultaneously.
The size of the predicted focal area is twice that of the magnitude-8.7 triple quake predicted by the government’s Central Disaster Management Council in 2003.
One of the study panels was tasked with estimating the height of tsunami and the area of inundated regions, while the other was a Read more…
Though it was the season when Mt. Fuji has the most snow, snow is already disappearing.
From December to January, most of the snow melted only within a month. Mt. Fuji is heated.
Citizens near Mt. Fuji talks they haven’t seen such a thing.
Two Russian anti-submarine aircraft have flown over a Japanese destroyer preparing to shoot down a North Korean rocket if it passes over Japan’s territory, a Japanese TV channel reported on Wednesday, citing the country’s Defense Ministry.
According to the ministry, the Il-38 planes were seen on Tuesday off the south-west coast of the largest Japanese island of Honshu, where the destroyer is currently based. The ministry said that Japanese fighters accompanied the IL-38s during their flight.
The NHK TV channel suggested that the Russian planes had been collecting information on the multi-purpose combat system Aegis which is installed on the destroyer. Russian patrol aircrafts have been spotted performing reconnaissance missions, without Read more…
A Japanese bank will introduce ATMs that use palm scanners in place of cash cards, it said Wednesday.
on an ATM (Credit: Fujitsu)
Ogaki Kyoristu Bank said the new machines will allow customers to withdraw or deposit cash and check their balances by placing their hand on a scanner and entering their birthday plus a pin number. The ATMs will initially be installed at 10 banks, as well as a drive-through ATM and two mobile banks, from September.
Ogaiki announced the new ATMs with the slogan “You are your cash card.”
One reason the bank decided to use the new technology was the massive earthquake and tsunami that ravaged the country’s northeast coast last year, it said. Many who escaped the tsunami lost their homes, personal possessions and all forms of identification, and so were unable to access their bank accounts until weeks or months later.
Finger and palm scanners are currently used by many large Japanese banks along with cash cards as an additional safety feature, but Ogaki said it will be the first bank in the country to do away with cards Read more…
North Korea is preparing a long-range rocket for launch, defying international warnings against violating a ban on missile activity.
Pyongyang said last month it would launch what it claims is an observation satellite, the Kwangmyongsong-3 (Shining Star), using a three-stage rocket during celebrations for the 100th anniversary of North Korean founder Kim Il-Sung’s birth.
Experts say the launch of the Unha-3 (Milky Way 3) rocket, which is Read more…
Dual jolt could trigger Tokyo temblor up to magnitude 9
Two previously unknown active faults were found off the Boso Peninsula in Chiba Prefecture, with one researcher warning that a jolt in the two faults at the same time could trigger an earthquake of magnitude 8 to 9.
The two faults, one at least 160 km long and the other more than 300 km, were found on the floor of the Pacific Ocean around 100 to 200 km southeast of the southern tip of the peninsula, according to a group of researchers from Hiroshima University, Nagoya University, the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology and other parties.
“The faults have been unmarked and uninvestigated. There is a possibility of strong jolts and tsunami reaching the southern Kanto region (including Tokyo) and the Tokai region (central Honshu). It should be promptly investigated in detail,” said research group member Mitsuhisa Watanabe, a professor at Toyo University.
The group will report its findings at a Thursday meeting of the Association of Japanese Geographers in Tokyo.
The group used a bathymetric chart made by the Japan Coast Guard to analyze the geography of the seafloor in detail. It then estimated the location of the active faults by taking into consideration cliffs formed by earthquakes and other elevated features.
According to Watanabe, the two faults were Read more…