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MUA wins ongoing screening of Japanese car imports

Weekly radiation screening of used vehicles in shipments Thanks to continued lobbying and work by the MUA, ARPANSA - Australia's nuclear safety authority - are planning to continue selective screening of imports of used cars from Japan.This is a great win for the union who have been campaigning for ongoing screening of car imports since the Fukushima disaster.ARPANSA will undertake weekly radiation screening of used vehicles in shipments arriving in Brisbane, Port Kembla, Melbourne and Fremantle."This is a great win for the union," said Assistant National Secretary Warren Smith."We've been campaigning on this issue for months."Whilst a batch screen of new cars was undertaken there is no knowing which part of Japan imported used cars come from."Ongoing screening will ensure that our members and the public are not put at risk."Source: MUA

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Japanese coast guard warns Chinese ship sailing near disputed island chain

Against conducting surveys there Japan's coast guard on Sunday warned a Chinese marine research ship sailing near a disputed island chain against conducting surveys there.The ship, named the Beidou, was spotted early Sunday by a coast guard plane some 60 kilometers off Uotsuri, part the islands known as Senkaku by Japan and Diaoyu in Chinese, the Japan coast guard said.The chain, rich in undersea natural resources, is also claimed by Taiwan.It is the first time this year that a Chinese research vessel has been confirmed as having deployed near the Senkaku Islands, the coast guard said.The plane and a coast guard patrol ship issued a warning for the ship not to conduct marine research in Japan's exclusive economic zone without its approval.But the Chinese ship continued sailing without responding, trailing four wire-like objects from its stern, the coastguard said.On July 4, Beijing lodged a formal complaint with Tokyo about Japanese fishing boats plying waters off the island chain in the East China Sea.Beijing and Tokyo have repeatedly quarrelled over disputed maritime territories, and Japan has often voiced concern about China's rising defence spending and increasingly assertive stance as a naval power.Last year, China and Japan locked horns over the same ...

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Japan may end Antarctic whaling

The possibility of Japan discontinuing whaling is now mentioned as an option Japan has raised the possibility of ending its annual whale hunt in the Antarctic.In a review conducted by Japan's fisheries agency, the possibility of Japan discontinuing whaling in the Antarctic is mentioned as an option.It is the first time any Japanese Government agency has raised the possibility of putting an end to so-called research whaling.But the report also includes the option of continuing the program, as well as scaling it down.The review was set up after the Sea Shepherd conservation group forced an early end to Japanese whaling in the Antarctic in February.Source: Radio Australia/ PACNews

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Oceanographers urge more stringent monitoring of radioactivity at sea

Call for more highly sensitive analysis methods The Oceanographic Society of Japan on July 25 urged the government to more stringently analyze radioactivity in seawater to get a precise picture of the contamination from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, which is checking seawater in the Pacific Ocean off Miyagi, Fukushima and Ibaraki prefectures, has reported that many radioactive substances are "not detectable" at many sampling locations.A proposal presented by the society said this lack of information is because the measurement method is not stringent enough.For example, the detection threshold for cesium-137 is currently about 9 becquerels per liter, and any value below this limit is labeled "not detectable."The oceanographers called for more highly sensitive analysis methods because even radioactivity on the order of a few becquerels per liter could accumulate in fish and shellfish, and thus the food chain."If fish and shellfish live long spans of time, they could come to contain several hundred becquerels of cesium per kilogram in their body tissues," the oceanographers warned.Source: AJW

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Japan Extends Anti-Piracy Efforts

Mission allows authorities take action on uncooperative pirate boats Japan will extend the Self-Defense Forces' anti-piracy mission in the waters off Somalia for another year starting July 23.The SDF also opened its first overseas base since the end of World War II in Djibouti, Somalia's neighboring country, earlier this month to further strengthen its anti-piracy operations off Somalia.The Anti-Piracy Law, which was enacted in Japan's Parliament on June 19, 2009, and took effect on July 24, 2009, allows the SDF to escort foreign commercial ships and fire at pirate boats if they ignore warning signals and approach merchant ships.Japan's post-World War II pacifist constitution imposes strict restrictions on the SDF's activities abroad. The SDF had previously been allowed to escort only Japan-related ships, such as Japanese-registered and Japanese-operated vessels, and its use of weapons had been limited to legitimate self-defense.According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, SDF vessels escorted a total of 1,858 commercial ships in the waters of the Gulf of Aden off Somalia between July 28, 2009, and June 30, 2011, to protect them against pirate attacks under the Anti-Piracy Law.Of the 1,858 commercial ships escorted by the SDF vessels on 217 occasions during the ...

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Sekimizu said that Japan should play leading role in developing international shipping rules

Permanent standards for governments to allow private armed security agents Japan should continue playing a leading role in working out international regulatory standards for shipping, including those for fuel efficiency of vessels, for the sake of Japan's national interests, Koji Sekimizu, incoming chief of the International Maritime Organization, said.International standards incorporating Japanese ideas are beneficial to Japan as Japanese shipbuilders and shipping companies can readily adapt to them, Sekimizu, 58, said during a press interview.Japan's leading role in developing international shipping rules will be appreciated internationally and thus will lead to its national interests, he said, noting that Tokyo has considerably contributed to the preparation of standards for reducing the emission of global warming gases from ships.Sekimizu, director of the IMO's Maritime Safety Division, will become the first Japanese to assume the post of secretary general next January at the London-based U.N. agency, which has 169 member countries and specializes in maritime security and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.Noting that pirate activities are increasing especially in the Indian Ocean, Sekimizu said there should be permanent standards for governments to allow private armed security agents to board ships.Source: Kyodo News

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A powerful earthquake struck off northeastern coast of Japan on Sunday

No immediate reports of injuries or damage A powerful earthquake struck off Japan's northeastern coast on Sunday. Tsunami advisories were issued following the Japan earthquake, Tokyo Breaking News reported. The alert was later lifted.According to Reuters, Fukushima nuclear plant workers evacuated to higher ground following the earthquake, with no immediate reports of injuries or damage. Tokyo Electric Power said that there did not appear to be any further damage at the nuclear plant.In March, Japan's earthquake and tsunami devastated the country, and wreaked havoc at the Fukushima nuclear plant.The Associated Press reports:The quake hit at 9:57 local time (0057 GMT), and a warning of a tsunami was issued for most of the northeastern coastline. The epicenter of the quake was in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Japan's main island, Honshu, at a depth of about 20 miles (30 kilometers).Japanese officials predicted the quake could generate tsunami of up to 20 inches (50 centimeters), but the initial waves were only about 4 inches (10 centimeters).The tsunami warning was lifted after the forecast arrival time of the waves passed in most areas without any tsunami being recorded.Japan's Meteorological agency at first estimated the strength of the quake at 7.1, but ...

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Japan is looking to get involved in Vietrnamese ports and shipping sector

Increasing international interest in Vietnam's port sector The Japanese government, investors, contractors, and shipping lines are all looking to get involved in the Vietnamese ports and shipping sector, said the London-based Business Monitor International's (BMI) Vietnam freight transport report for 2011's third quarter, according to Vietnam News Briefs Service.Japanese interest in Vietnam's ports and shipping industry was surging, BMI noted, cited Kobe Steel as saying it will build its own US$244 million to $365 million port in Vietnam to secure iron nugget supplies.Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) will deploy Europe-bound container vessels for the first time that will have a handling capacity of 6,500 TEUs. MOL will operate 10 such vessels through Vietnam on a weekly basis.Besides, Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) was to launch freight services between Southeast Asian countries in association with state-run Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines).Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha ("K'' Line) along with a Vietnamese logistics firm will establish a joint venture in Hanoi to operate an international freight forwarding business by sea and air. The venture was also considering establishing a branch in Ho Chi Minh City.Meanwhile, Japan International Cooperation Agency was funding the bulk of the US$1.7 billion to Lach Huyen's new port project in the ...

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China slams Japan after confrontation at sea

Between a Taiwanese fishing boat and a Japanese coast guard vessel China's Foreign Ministry lambasted Japan yesterday after a confrontation between a Taiwanese fishing boat and a Japanese coast guard vessel near a group of disputed islands in the East China Sea."The Diaoyu Islands and attached islets have been Chinese territory since ancient times, and China has incontrovertible sovereignty over them," ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a brief statement on the ministry's website (www.mfa.gov.cn)."Any actions taken by Japan in the seas around the Diaoyu Islands are illegal and invalid," he added, referring to the incident with the fishing boat.China and Japan have bickered for years over the group of uninhabited islets in the East China Sea, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, which are also claimed by Taiwan.Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told a news conference in Tokyo that the Japanese Coast Guard found a Taiwanese fishing boat approaching the islands and warned the boat not to enter Japanese waters."From the viewpoints of history and international law, there is no doubt that the Senkaku islands are our inherent territory," Edano said.Source: The Peninsula

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Japan to strengthen shipbuilding industry

Intends to heighten the global competitive edge of Japan's shipyards The Japanese government is working with industry players to establish some basic guidelines in a move to strengthen the country's shipbuilding industry.The ministry of land, infrastructure, transport and tourism (MLIT) intends to heighten the global competitive edge of Japan's shipyards through industry restructuring and business revamp.The broad outline of the guidelines include corporate alliance and business consolidation, entering new market and new sector, and strengthening the maritime cluster.Shipyards that develop their business according to those directors would receive tax incentives or other regulatory benefits.Meanwhile, the Japan Ship Exporters' Association announced Tuesday that Japanese shipbuilders signed 18 newbuilding orders totalling 550,000 gross tonnes in May, down 41% year-on-year in gross tonnes terms.Source: Seatrade-Asia

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