The following news summaries are by Jeff Durbin. They are based mainly on information taken from The Asahi Evening News (AEN), The Daily Yomiuri (DY), and The Japan Times (JT).
The New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization is subsidizing wind power projects of non-power companies. A recent wind power symposium in Tokyo showed markedly greater interest by companies, with many products on display. Traditionally, power companies have opposed wind power projects, and the government has provided little support. (AEN 1 Dec)
Sasaguchi Takaaki, who ran on a platform of letting voters decide whether a nuclear power plant will be built, won the election for mayor in Makimachi. The incumbent had resigned in December in the face of a recall election because he wouldn't hold such a referendum. The town assembly must approve the referendum. (DY 23 Jan)
An advisory council of the Environment Agency has devised a standard to reduce pollution in Tokyo and Ise Bays and the Inland Sea. The standard is based on measurements of chemical oxygen demand, or COD; higher readings signify greater pollution. By June, prefectural governments will make plans to reduce discharges of pollutants. (DY 27 Jan)
The International Coral Reefs Initiative has pegged Japan to lead the way in managing coral reefs in the Asia region. Later this year the region will plan a conservation program. Already Japan's Marine Parks Center is working with the Philippines on the Tubbataha Reefs, a world heritage site. The Center says that tourism, including limited development, must co-exist with conservation. Most of the world's reefs are threatened by water pollution and land development. Australia has been chosen to oversee conservation in the Oceania, while the U.S. will take charge of the Caribbean region. (DY 27 Jan)
In fiscal 1994 Japan was 46 percent self-sufficient in food staples, higher than last year's 37 percent due to an excellent rice harvest. The general trend, however, is steadily down. Japanese eat less rice and more imported meat and produce than before. (DY 27 Jan)