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…
The strongest tremor, off Hokkaido island, was 6.8 magnitude and caused tidal changes that prompted some communities to issue evacuation orders or tsunami advisories to residents nearest the coast.
A swelling of 20 centimeters (8 inches) was observed in the port of Hachinohe in Aomori, northern Japan, about one hour after the tremor. Smaller changes were reported in several locations on Hokkaido island and Aomori prefecture.
The Japan Meteorological Agency lifted all tsunami advisories about an hour and half later.
Within about three hours, a magnitude-6.1 quake shook buildings in the capital. It was centered just Read more…
China’s defense spending – now officially $106 billion but estimated by the Pentagon and independent researchers to be more than $160 billion – is on track to exceed that of all its Asian neighbors combined within a few years. This is particularly striking in light of a wider Asian arms race: India is the world’s Read more…
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Radioactive contamination from the Fukushima power plant disaster has been detected as far as almost 400 miles off Japan in the Pacific Ocean, with water showing readings of up to 1,000 times more than prior levels, scientists reported Tuesday.
But those results for the substance cesium-137 are far below the levels that are generally considered harmful, either to marine animals or people who eat seafood, said Ken Buesseler of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.
He spoke Tuesday in Salt Lake City at the annual Ocean Sciences Meeting, attended by more than 4,000 researchers this week.
The results are for water samples taken in June, about three months after the power plant disaster, Buesseler said. In addition to thousands of water samples, researchers also sampled fish and plankton and found Read more…
China’s Navy ships moved to the Western part of the Pacific for military exercise. In response Tokyo expressed its concern about the growing naval activity of the Chinese Armed Forces in that region.
According to Japanese mass media, a group consisting of four battle ships (frigates) of the Chinese Navy passed through the waters between the Japanese islands of Okinawa and Miyako. The Chinese Defense Ministry already made a statement that the tour of the ships is connected to the preparation of the annual military exercise of routine nature. In response to the concern of the Japanese side, Beijing stated that China has a free right to pass in those waters. According to the Chinese authorities, that is completely Read more…
Japan has already suffered one earthquake in 2012. But the New Year’s Day rumble caused little damage because it was centered deep below the surface. A new study warns, however, that the Tokyo region has a 70 percent chance of experiencing a major earthquake within four years.
Seismologists at the University of Tokyo said the study was based on an increase in earthquake activity in the region following the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami that killed almost 20,000 and led to a nuclear disaster. Working at the university’s earthquake research institute, the seismologists said the number of earthquakes in the region is rising — to 343 of 3.0 magnitude or higher in the past six months versus 47 the previous six months.
The seismologists believe that the probability of bigger earthquakes increases proportionately with smaller earthquakes. Therefore, the team has calculated a 98 percent chance of a 6.7 to 7.2 magnitude earthquake for the Tokyo region in the 30 years and a 70 percent chance over the next four years.
“When we ask when a probability of such a quake reaches 70%, then we get a 70% chance over the Read more…
Typhoon Roke – the 15th Pacific storm of the season – was expected to make landfall in central Japan today, before moving in a northeasterly direction across the country, and possibly passing near the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant.
The storm arrives just weeks after another typhoon swept across Japan leaving more than 90 people dead or missing and causing widespread flooding, mudslides and structural damage.
This time, about 1.1 million people in the industrial city of Nagaya in central Japan’s Aichi prefecture were urged to evacuate as the storm approached, with wind gusts of up to 134 mph.
Nagoya officials also called the Self-Defence Forces to send in troops for disaster prevention amid growing fears of Read more…
Mysterious booming sounds are occasionally heard on the North Carolina coast, often powerful enough to rattle windows and doors. They cannot be explained by thunderstorms or any manmade sources — their source is a mystery.
Such dins are not unique to North Carolina or the modern age. People living near Seneca Lake in upstate New York have long known of similar booming sounds, which they called “Seneca guns.” In coastal Belgium, they are known as “mistpouffers,” or fog belches; in the Ganges delta and the Bay of Bengal, “Bansal guns;” in the Italian Apennines, “brontidi,” or thunder-like; and by the Harami people of Shikoku, Japan, “yan.”
“What’s going on is an interesting challenge, whatever it might be,” said seismologist David Hill, scientist emeritus at the U.S. Geological Survey office in Menlo Park, Calif.
Long list of explanations
A host of plausible explanations may now exist for these enigmas, including Read more…