Japan’s new supercomputer ranks as world’s most powerful

UNTV News   •   June 23, 2020   •   483

A Japanese supercomputer has taken the top spot among the world’s most powerful systems for the first time in nine years, a U.S.-European ranking of the world’s top supercomputers said on Monday (June 22).

“Fugaku”, jointly developed by Japanese Riken research and Fujitsu Ltd in Kobe, Japan, took first place on the TOP500 list, a twice-yearly listing of the world’s most powerful computers announced by an international conference of experts.

Fugaku also took the top spots in three other categories that measure performance in computational methods for industrial use, artificial intelligence applications and big data analytics.

“I am relieved and happy at the same time for this brilliant accomplishment,” Riken president Hiroshi Matsumoto said at a news conference on Tuesday (June 23) in Kobe.

Governments use supercomputers to simulate nuclear blasts to perform virtual weapons testing. They are also used for modelling climate systems and biotechnology research. The Fugaku supercomputer will be used in such research as part of Japan’s Society 5.0 technology program. (Reuters)

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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)

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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)

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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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