Japan still battling to decommission crippled Fukushima plant 10 years on
05 March 2021 | 11:03 am
Ten years after the Fukushima nuclear accident, Japan's TEPCO continues its battle to decommission the crippled plant. One of the greatest challenges the operator is facing is to remove fuel rods which melted and accumulated at the bottom of three reactors after a massive earthquake and tsunami triggered the biggest nuclear crisis since Chernobyl. AFP visits the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant to report on the conditions on site.
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Japan is holding a parliamentary election, which is the first big test for the new prime minister. A poor showing for the ruling party could threaten a return to the country's history of revolving-door premiership.
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Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's Liberal Demorats are expected to retain enough seats to keep power, but the new administration will need to get the economy back on track while navigating regional security challenges.
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India's Narendra Modi has spoken in Glasgow on Monday and Japan's new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was en route. But President Xi Jinping of China, the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, skipped attendance.
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In 2015, Shiori Ito was a young journalist who went to meet a would-be mentor for drinks, only for the night to end in him raping her. She won a civil case against him in 2019, but only after years of fighting a judicial system that seemed determined to look the other way. Ito's memoir "Black Box" is the story of one young woman's quest for justice in a country where talking about sexual assault, and even sex education, is still very much taboo. She joined us for Perspective and told us that things are gradually moving in the right direction, but that she still receives "threatening emails every day" for speaking out.
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Japan has stopped new bookings onto incoming flights after identifying the first cases of the Omicron strain of Covid-19. The country has also tightened its quarantine requirements for all arriving passengers, and extended a ban on non-citizens coming from ten countries in southern Africa. Travel companies have seen their shares tumble in recent days as governments tighten border rules in response to the new strain. Also today, Australia's economy feels the pinch from the recent lockdowns.
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For a wealthy nation, Japan has a high proportion of seniors who have jobs - from babysitters to gardeners. With an aging population, the country is encouraging the "silver generation” to go back to work. Many are reveling in the new challenge.
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Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa returned to Earth on Monday after a 12-day journey into space, ending a practice run for his planned trip around the moon with Elon Musk's SpaceX in 2023.
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The Yakuza have long been one of the biggest criminal organisations in the world. At the height of their power in the 1960s, the Japanese Yakuza had more than 180,000 members. This Japanese mafia was rich, much feared, and virtually untouchable. But now their numbers, money and power have dwindled. There are only 23,000 Yakuzas left today, and they are older and poorer.
Japan recently became the first country in the world to sell genome-edited tomatoes. This technology, which alters a crop's genetic information, does not involve adding outside genetic material – unlike with genetically modified foods. Experts claim that some genome-edited foods are healthier than their conventional counterparts. But environment campaigners are calling for more testing to be carried out amid safety concerns. Our correspondents Louis Belin, Rie Fukushima, Yuko Sano and Justin McCurry report.
Bullying at school, or "ijime", is a persistent problem in Japan. In 2020, there were 612,000 recorded cases at schools across the country – more than three times the number a decade ago. What begins as a joke among friends can end in insults and violence. Bullying leads to academic failure, isolation and, in some cases, suicide. Last year, 80 percent of Japanese schools reported bullying incidents. Our correspondents Louis Belin, Ryusuke Murata, Aruna Popuri and Justin McCurry report from Tokyo.
Military experts in South Korea are analyzing exactly what type of missiles were launched, but said they appeared to be cruise missiles. Pyongyang has increased weapons testing in the past few weeks.
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