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Massive quake tipped to hit Tokai region by 2040

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Takig up herewith recent Japanese Science & Technology Trend News by Media.
Science & Technology Trend will be read via these News.
Aug 22 Satellites put into orbit for Japan and Australia (Reuters)
 An Ariane-5 rocket put into orbit satellites for Japan and Australia after being launched from French Guiana on Friday, space officials said. One of the satellites, a JCSAT-12, will provide telecommunications services covering Japan, the Asia-Pacific region and Hawaii for Japan's Sky Perfect JSAT Corp.
Aug 22 Seismic intensity meters found to be inaccurate at 26 spots (AP)
 The Japan Meteorological Agency said Friday it has found problems with the accuracy of seismic intensity meters at 26 locations across Japan, and will stop announcing data measured there for now. The 26 are part of the 627 observation points the agency has set up, but aside from them, it has already found problems at four other spots during a thorough checkup of about 4,200 such locations nationwide since May, including those set up by local governments.
Aug 22 Japan streamlines embryonic stem cell reviews (sciencemag.org)
 Research involving human embryonic stem (ES) cells will become easier in Japan as a result of new ethical review requirements that take effect today. Previously, research groups had to get approval for each project involving human ES cells from their own Institutional Review Board (IRB) and then from a national committee under the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science, Sports, and Technology. This two-step process took 3 months or more, frustrating researchers trying to keep up with a fast-moving field. Even simply adding members to a research team required this dual approval.
Aug 21 Plastic breaks down in ocean, after all -- and fast (National Geographic)
 Though ocean-borne plastic trash has a reputation as an indestructible, immortal environmental villain, Japan-based scientists announced yesterday that some plastics actually decompose rapidly in the ocean. And, the researchers say, that's not a good thing. The team's new study is the first to show that degrading plastics are leaching potentially toxic chemicals such as bisphenol A into the seas, possibly threatening ocean animals, and us.
Aug 20 Japan: Fly Me to the Moon (Forbes)
 When Japan's sixth H IIA rocket launch failed in 2003, Tomihisa Nakamura took the loss personally. An official with the Japanese space agency, JAXA, he was in charge of the solid rocket boosters that caused the problems, so he worried and worried while working on the next launch -- a success, fortunately. But as next month's planned launch of the new Japanese H-IIB rocket approaches, Nakamura, now the project manager, is calm.
Aug 20 Scientists develop high-yield deep water rice (AP)
 A team of Japanese scientists has discovered genes that enable rice to survive high water, providing hope for better rice production in lowland areas that are affected by flooding. The team, primarily from the University of Nagoya, reported their findings in Thursday's issue of Nature, the science magazine.
Aug 20 No culinary cure for imported snail outbreak (Asahi)
 Since their discovery at an apartment complex here last autumn, garden snails native to Europe and served in French cooking have puzzled residents and experts alike. Because of the threat the snails pose to agriculture, the central government is determined to eradicate them. The technical name of the snails is Helix aspersa.
Aug 20 Medical tests scaled back after reactor accident (Asahi)
 A shortage of a radiochemical used to diagnose metastasized breast and prostate cancers is causing hospitals around Japan to delay examinations and surgery for cancer and other illnesses. The shortage occurred after an accident in May at a nuclear reactor in Canada, which produces one-third of the world's supply of molybdenum-99. Japan relies entirely on imports for the radiochemical, brought in by the Japan Radioisotope Association.
Aug 19 New-flu epidemic in Japan has fully begun, health minister says (AP)
 An epidemic in Japan of the new H1N1 strain of influenza A has fully begun, Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Yoichi Masuzoe said Wednesday. Masuzoe made the remarks at a press conference commenting on the rapid increase in infections, with one local government announcing the same day a woman in her 80s from Nagoya has died of the H1N1 strain in the third confirmed death in Japan from the disease.
Aug 19 Concern over coral's northern migration (Asahi)
 A literal sea change is taking place off Japan's coasts: Coral that thrived in southern seas is taking hold in more northern reaches. Researchers suspect rising sea temperatures have made it easier for some coral species to survive at more northern latitudes.
Aug 18 Japan reports second death from swine flu (AsiaOne)
 Japan on Tuesday reported its second swine flu death, a man in his late 70s who had suffered other illnesses and succumbed to the virus in the western port city of Kobe, a municipal official said. "He had lung emphysema, diabetes and high blood pressure," the official at the city's health division said. "He died today after developing a fever and cough two days ago. He tested positive for the virus."
Aug 18 Japanese supercomputer calculates Pi to record 2.5 trillion digits (examiner.com)
 Forget "3.14...," a Japanese supercomputer has calculated Pi to over 2.5 trillion decimals in what should become a new Guinness Book World Record. The T2K Open Supercomputer, located at the University of Tsukuba's Center for Computational Sciences, reaching 2,576,980,377,524 decimals in an approximately 73 hours and 36 minutes long calculation, according to an announcement made to the Japanese press on August 17th.
Aug 18 New-flu death grim reminder of threat posed (Yomiuri)
 While most people infected with the new H1N1 Type A flu avoid serious problems and make a full recovery, people with lowered immunity risk falling critically ill, as occurred in the nation's first fatal new-flu case last week. The victim, a man from Okinawa Prefecture, had been receiving dialysis for chronic renal failure.
Aug 17 Tsunami warnings issued after 2 quakes jolt southwestern Japan islands (AP)
 The Japan Meteorological Agency temporarily issued tsunami warnings for Miyako Island and neighboring islands in Okinawa Prefecture following two earthquakes on Monday morning and evening in the area. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage either from the 9:06 a.m. quake, which registered a preliminary magnitude of 6.8, or the 7:11 p.m. quake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.5.
Aug 17 Earthquake strikes off Japan's coastline (CNN)
 A 6.7-magnitude earthquake hit off the shores of Japan on Monday morning, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The epicenter of the quake was located 65 miles (105 kilometers) from Japan's Ryukyu Islands and 132 miles (212 kilometers) from the coast of Taiwan.
Aug 15 Gene therapy helps patients with Parkinson's (Yomiuri)
 Jichi Medical University has succeeded in restoring the motor function of patients suffering from Parkinson's disease by injecting their brains with a virus with a built-in gene that has an enzyme to produce dopamine, it has been learned.
Aug 15 Ogasawara islands seek World Heritage status (Yomiuri)
 The Ogasawara island chain, which comprises more than 130 islands in the Pacific Ocean about 1,000 kilometers south of Tokyo, is so remote that many animals and plants that have evolved there are unique to the islands.
Aug 15 Low-tar cigarettes found just as harmful (Yomiuri)
 Smokers of low-tar, low-nicotine cigarettes are exposed to as many harmful chemical substances as smokers of high-tar, high-nicotine cigarettes, a study group with the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has found, due to the more aggressive smoking behavior of low-tar smokers and other factors.
Aug 15 Recent series of big earthquakes not related, say scientists (Mainichi)
 The three magnitude-6 earthquakes that recently hit Japan within a span of five days have no direct relation to one another, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. A tremor originating in the Pacific Ocean off the southern coast of the Tokaido area struck on Sunday evening, a second with an epicenter in Suruga Bay hit early on Tuesday morning, and yet another occurred on the Thursday off the eastern coast of Hachijojima island. All were measured at a magnitude of at least 6.
Aug 13 Another strong quake strikes disaster-hit Japan (AFP)
 A strong offshore earthquake jolted central Japan, including Tokyo, on Thursday, just two days after a powerful tremor left one person dead and 120 injured. The 6.7-magnitude quake struck at 07:49 am (2249 GMT) in the Pacific Ocean, some 325 kilometres (202 miles) southeast of the capital, according to the US Geological Survey.
Aug 13 Stroke-induced brains of mice show signs of rewiring (Japan Times)
 When one side of the brain loses function due to a stroke, the other side rearranges its neuronal circuits to replace the lost functions, according to a study by Japanese researchers. A team at the National Institute for Physiological Sciences in Aichi Prefecture found such rearrangements of neuronal circuits through experiments on mice.
Aug 12 New gene linked to muscular dystrophy (Science Daily)
 Muscular dystrophy, a group of inherited diseases characterized by progressive skeletal muscle weakness, can be caused by mutations in any one of a number of genes. Another gene can now be added to this list, as Yukiko Hayashi and colleagues, at the National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, Japan, have now identified mutations in a gene not previously linked to muscular dystrophy as causative of a form of the disease in five nonconsanguineous Japanese patients.
Aug 12 Massive quake tipped to hit Tokai region by 2040 (Yomiuri)
 There is an 87 percent chance that a massive quake registering a magnitude of 8 on the Richter scale will hit the Tokai region within 30 years, research by the government's Earthquake Research Committee has found. The epicenter of the giant quake is expected to be sited around the west-central area of Shizuoka Prefecture.
Aug 11 Will maglev sacrifice speed for station stops? (Asahi)
 Even though commercial operation of a super high-speed magnetically levitated train is still years away, local communities are desperately jockeying to land a station in their areas. Dubbed linear motor cars, the maglev trains, which are capable of speeds in excess of 500 kph, will link Tokyo and Nagoya in just 40 minutes. They are scheduled to go into service in 2025.
Aug 11 Daiichi Sankyo says new flu drug effective (AFP)
 A new flu drug under development has been shown to be as safe and effective as Tamiflu in clinical trials, Japanese pharmaceutical maker Daiichi Sankyo Co. said Monday. The drug, known as CS-8958 or Laninamivir, demonstrated the same level of efficacy as Tamiflu for adults and was even more effective among children, the company said in a statement.
Aug 11 Japanese utilities to test 'low emissions' coal plant (greenbiz.com)
 Two of Japan's largest utilities -- Electric Power Development Co., Ltd. (J-POWER) and The Chugoku Electric Power Co. -- have joined forces in a new company, Osaki CoolGen Corporation, to undertake a large-scale demonstration test of oxygen-blown coal gasification combined cycle technology and CO2 separation and recovery technology.
Aug 11 Efficiency of iPS cells boosted 100-fold (Yomiuri)
 A research team has increased the reprogramming efficiency of adult cells to become iPS (induced pluripotent stem) cells by up to 100-fold, British science journal Nature has reported. The team, led by Kyoto University Prof. Shinya Yamanaka, achieved the huge boost in efficiency by controlling the activity of the p53 (protein 53) gene--a tumor suppressor.
Aug 11 Tohoku to go from rain season to fall (Japan Times)
 The Tohoku region has entered a transitional phase into autumn without an official end to the rainy season being declared, local weather authorities said Monday.
Aug 10 Monju reactor set for March restart (Asahi)
 The Japan Atomic Energy Agency plans to restart by the end of March the prototype fast breeder reactor Monju, a key facility for the government's nuclear fuel recycling program, sources said. Monju was shut down after sodium coolant leaked in December 1995. The resumption of its operation has since been postponed four times.
Aug 10 6.9 magnitude earthquake shakes central and northern Japan, Aug. 9th (examiner.com)
 At 7:56pm, August 9th (JST), an earthquake measuring at a magnitude of 6.9 on the Richter scale shook central and northern Japan. The earthquake's epicenter was located south of Tokyo in the Pacific Ocean and at a depth of 211 miles, according to Japan Meteorological Agency. No reports of damage or injury have been issued yet, but bullet trains heading north from Tokyo were briefly stopped.
By J.S. on Aug 27, 2009



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