Category Archives: Japan

Japan | No Foreign Bases US Base Relocation Plan Opponent Denny Tamaki Wins Okinawa Governatorial Race

by Eric Johnston

In a major defeat for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the ruling bloc, Kyodo News and other media reported Sunday evening that former Lower House member Denny Tamaki, a staunch opponent of a controversial central government-backed plan to relocate a U.S. military base, won Okinawa’s governor race over a candidate heavily backed by the ruling parties.

Japan | 70,000 protest U.S. base plan in honor of late Okinawa governor

On August 11 a massive crowd gathered in Okinawa to protest the government’s controversial plan to relocate a contentious U.S. air base to another part of the prefecture.

Some 70,000 people took part in the rally at a park in Okinawa’s capital Naha, where they adopted a resolution urging the central government to abandon the plan to transfer U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from densely populated Ginowan to the coastal area of Henoko in Nago, according to an organizer.

At the start of the gathering, the participants offered a silent prayer to late Gov. Takeshi Onaga, who died of cancer Wednesday in the midst of his anti-base campaign.

Japan | Move over Chernobyl, Fukushima is now officially the worst nuclear power disaster in history

by John LaForge

The radiation dispersed into the environment by the three reactor meltdowns at Fukushima-Daiichi in Japan has exceeded that of the April 26, 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe, so we may stop calling it the “second worst” nuclear power disaster in history.

Japan | As Japan’s workers are facing increasing economic difficulties, Student Debt is still a major concern in the country

by Tsutomu Teramoto

In Japan, the student loan issue is so serious that at last the government now started a programme of scholarships and grants since this April. Despite its limits, the implementation of this programme was only made possible thanks to the pressure of social movements, making voices heard for improving the student loan system. This year, about 25,000 students can get these scholarships and grants. Of course, the problems are not solved at all.

Early trace of life from 3.95 Ga sedimentary rocks in Labrador, Canada

A group of scientists including Takayuki Tashiro, Akizumi Ishida, Masako Hori, Motoko Igisu, Mizuho Koike, Pauline Méjean, Naoto Takahata, Yuji Sano, Tsuyoshi Komiya find evidence of early life in Canada. The scientists write:

The vestiges of life in Eoarchean rocks have the potential to elucidate the origin of life. However, gathering evidence from many terrains is not always possible, and biogenic graphite has thus far been found only in the 3.7–3.8 Ga (gigayears ago) Isua supracrustal belt. Here we present the total organic carbon contents and carbon isotope values of graphite (δ13Corg) and carbonate (δ13Ccarb) in the oldest metasedimentary rocks from northern Labrador. Some pelitic rocks have low δ13Corg values of −28.2, comparable to the lowest value in younger rocks. The consistency between crystallization temperatures of the graphite and metamorphic temperature of the host rocks establishes that the graphite does not originate from later contamination. A clear correlation between the δ13Corg values and metamorphic grade indicates that variations in the δ13Corg values are due to metamorphism, and that the pre-metamorphic value was lower than the minimum value. We concluded that the large fractionation between the δ13Ccarb and δ13Corg values, up to 25‰, indicates the oldest evidence of organisms greater than 3.95 Ga. The discovery of the biogenic graphite enables geochemical study of the biogenic materials themselves, and will provide insight into early life not only on Earth but also on other planets.