Japan’s 2018 greenhouse emissions lowest in 2 decades

Robie de Guzman   •   November 29, 2019   •   364

Steam rises from a chimney at a plant in Kawasaki, south of Tokyo, Japan, 13 December 2018. EPA-EFE/KIMIMASA MAYAM

Tokyo – Japan in 2018 recorded its lowest greenhouse gas emissions in two decades thanks to a warm winter and increased generation of nuclear power, according to data released Friday.

However, the country still has a long way to go to reach its Paris Agreement goal.

In 2018, total carbon dioxide emissions were recorded at 1.24 billion tons, a year-on-year decrease of 3.6 percent and the lowest figure since data compilation began in 1990, according to the preliminary figures released by the Japanese Ministry of Environment.

The previous low was recorded in 2009 with 1.25 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Although this is the fifth consecutive year of dropping emissions, the ministry acknowledged that a lot remained to be done to achieve the 2030 goal of 26 percent cut in emissions from the 2013 levels – a target set under the Paris climate agreement.

From 2013 to 2018, Japan’s cumulative reduction in greenhouse gas emissions has been 11.8 percent, according to the government’s figures published a week before the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Madrid.

The government said the main factors that contributed to the reduction were the decreasing production in power stations that use fossil fuels and gradual return to energy generation through nuclear plants.

Japan established a stricter safety framework following a nuclear standstill after the 2011 Fukushima accident.

Although the approval to reactivate was given in 2017, it was not until 2018 that the plants started functioning.

Household emissions fell by 10 percent in 2018 due to increased use of energy-saving appliances and a warm winter which led to lower usage of heating systems during the season.

However, an increased use of air conditioners caused a 9.4 percent rise in hydroflurocarbon emissions and other similar compounds.

The Japanese government aims to tackle this problem by introducing new regulations in 2020 to strengthen control over the disposal of hydroflurocarbon-using equipment. EFE-EPA

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Tokyo 2020 expects to secure all venues for Games — local media

UNTV News   •   July 9, 2020

Tokyo Olympics organizers expect to be able to use all the venues as originally planned at next year’s rearranged Games, several Japanese media outlets reported on Thursday (July 9).

Securing venues was a top priority for organisers after the Games were pushed back to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Kyodo and NHK, citing unnamed sources, said they were now confident they would be tied down for Olympics use again.

However, at his regular weekly news conference, Tokyo 2020 spokesman Masa Takaya said the reports were “optimistic” and that nothing had been announced.

Last month, Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said 80% of all venues needed had been secured, with the Athlete’s Village and Tokyo Big Sight, the planned media centre, among those yet to be fully secured.

Thursday’s reports also said the competition schedule would remain largely unchanged and that all tickets holders would be eligible for refunds, and that organisers would seek approval of these decisions from the IOC’s General Assembly on July 17.

Asked to confirm those details, Takaya said nothing had been decided and Tokyo 2020 did not expect to seek approval from the IOC next week. (Reuters)

(Production: Jack Tarrant)

Residents in southwestern Japan clean up after floods

UNTV News   •   July 9, 2020

People in southwestern Japan were busy cleaning up on Wednesday (July 8) following the aftermath of torrential rain that has pounded the area since the weekend killing dozens of people in floods and landslides.

In Hitoyoshi, a severe flood of the Kumagawa River destroyed houses along the riverbanks. Ruined home appliances and furniture lined local streets, while residents shovelled mud and bagged garbage. An excavator worked to clear debris.

As of Wednesday, 59 people have been confirmed dead, including 18 in Hitoyoshi. Seventeen people remain missing.

Meanwhile, the heavy rain moved into central Japan’s Nagano and Gifu prefectures. The country’s meteorological agency issued a heavy rain emergency in the two prefectures early Wednesday but downgraded the alert to a warning later in the day.

Water levels of rivers in the region were seen rising and officials are telling residents to stay vigilant. (Reuters)

(Production: Kim Kyung-Hoon, Akiko Okamoto)

Japan warns of more heavy rain in flood-hit areas, as death toll rises

UNTV News   •   July 7, 2020

Japan warned of more heavy rain on the southwestern island of Kyushu on Tuesday (July 7) as the death toll in flood-hit areas reached at least 50, with more than a dozen people reported missing.

“The ground formation has weakened from the rain. We fear there may be landslides even if it rains slightly. I ask residents to please be on alert for information released by local offices and watch out for rivers flooding,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a regular news briefing, urging people to take the necessary precautions to ensure their safety.

Japan on Monday (July 6) issued a heavy rain emergency warning in three prefectures on Kyushu, including Nagasaki, Saga and Fukuoka but officials have downgraded the emergency warning to a warning on Tuesday. Police, Self Defense Force and Coast Guard units are conducting search and rescue effort, Suga said. (Reuters)

(Production: Akira Tomoshige, Akiko Okamoto)

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