Japan may have to dump radioactive water into the sea, minister says

Robie de Guzman   •   September 10, 2019   •   341

Japan’s Tokyo Electric Power will have to dump radioactive water from its destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean as it runs out of room to store it, the environment minister Yoshiaki Harada said on Tuesday (September 10).

Tokyo Electric, or Tepco, has collected more than 1 million tonnes of contaminated water from the cooling pipes used to keep fuel cores from melting since the plant was crippled by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

But Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, in a separate press briefing, described Harada’s comments as “his personal opinion”.

The government is awaiting a report from an expert panel before making a final decision on how to dispose of the radioactive water.

Any green light from the government to dump the waste into the sea would anger neighbors such as South Korea, which summoned a senior Japanese embassy official last month to explain how the Fukushima water would be dealt with.

South Korea’s foreign ministry said in a statement that it had asked Japan “to take a wise and prudent decision on the issue.” (Reuters)

(Production: Kwiyeon Ha)

Japanese firm recalls 1.7M bottles of Craft Boss Tea due to bacillus bacteria

Marje Pelayo   •   November 7, 2019

JAPAN – A Japanese beverage manufacturer has ordered the recall of its tea drink following reports that it causes severe stomachache.

The manufacturer, Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd, has ordered a recall of around 1.7 million 500ml bottles of ‘Craft Boss Tea’ specifically those marked “best before” August 2020, with blue caps and production facility code of ‘/JJ’.

The company admitted that bacillus cereus bacteria were detected in the said batch of tea drink which causes food poisoning and serious infections in humans.

In October, one customer complained that the tea tasted sour.

After laboratory tests and investigation, Suntory Beverage discovered that microbes were present even in other bottles.

Suntory Beverage vowed to refund its customers for every bottle of Craft Boss Tea Drink returned through a gift certificate corresponding their purchase costs. – MNP (with details from Danny Ticzon Jr.)

Japan, US sympathize with PH as it reels from powerful earthquakes

Marje Pelayo   •   October 31, 2019

US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim (L) and Japan Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda (R)

MANILA, Philippines – The governments of Japan and the United States extended their condolences to the victims of the powerful earthquakes that rocked parts of Mindanao.

In a statement, Japan Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda expressed his sincerest condolences to the families of the victims and offered his sympathies to all those affected.

“As an earthquake-prone country, Japan fully understands the hardship caused by such natural disasters,” Haneda said.

“We stand in solidarity with the Government and the people of the Philippines,” he added.

Meanwhile, outgoing US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim tweeted his message of condolences to the families of the victims in the powerful earthquakes.

“I would like to offer our sincerest condolences to the victims of yesterday’s earthquake in Mindanao,” he said.

“To those in affected communities, please stay safe and know that our thoughts and prayers are with you,” he continued.

Strong aftershocks of up to magnitude 6.5 were felt in several parts of Mindanao following the main tremor on Tuesday (October 29).

Since then, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) recorded more than 700 aftershocks with strength equal to the main tremor in the same epicenter specifically in Tulunan town, North Cotabato.

As of this writing, search and rescue operations for the missing and relief efforts for the displaced residents are ongoing in the affected areas.

Iraqis defy tear gas, upcoming curfew as protests stretch on

Robie de Guzman   •   October 29, 2019

 Iraqi protesters react after police fired tear gas at them during a protest at al-Tahrir square, central Baghdad, Iraq, 28 October 2019. EPA-EFE/MURTAJA LATEEF

Thousands of people in Baghdad continued their protests at Tahrir Square in central Baghdad on Monday (October 28), defying a curfew scheduled to be imposed from midnight until 6am (2100GMT to 0300 GMT).

Protesters took to the streets for a fourth day, despite having endured bloody clashes over the weekend and an overnight raid by security forces seeking to disperse them.

At least 74 Iraqis were killed and hundreds wounded across the country on Friday (October 25) and Saturday (October 26) as demonstrators clashed with security forces and militia groups in the second wave of this month’s protests against Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s government.

More than 200 people have been killed in October so far.

Iraqi security forces on Monday fired tear gas at school and university students who defied a warning from the prime minister and joined anti-government protests.

A spokesman for Abdul Mahdi, whose position is increasingly precarious as he faces the largest challenge since he came to power a year ago, said on Sunday (October 27) that anyone disrupting work or school days would be severely punished.

Mass street protests in Baghdad and other cities in the southern Shi’te heartland against economic hardship began at the start of the month and resumed on Friday after a pause of about two weeks. (Reuters)

READ: DFA cautions Filipinos against travel to Iraq

(Production: Haider Kadhim, Mohammed Al-Ramahi, Mohammed Katfan, Hannah Ellison)

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