Rainy season ends in Japan's Kanto-Koshin region, giving way to intense heat

The Japan Times

The rainy season has ended in Tokyo and other areas in the Kanto-Koshin region of eastern and central Japan 30 days later than last year, the Meteorological Agency said Monday, giving way to intense heat. Rainfall between June 7 and July 28 hit 526 milimeters in Choshi, Chiba Prefecture, 480.5 mm in Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture, 459 mm in Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, and 446 mm in Yokohama. Now that the rainy season has passed, temperatures of over 31 degrees are forecast through this weekend across the nation. In the cities of Osaka and Fukuoka, temperatures are expected to exceed 35 degrees. On Monday the weather agency urged precautions against heatstroke, advising that people stay hydrated and find places to cool off.


Measles quickly spreading in Japan, data shows

The Japan Times

The number of measles patients in Japan has been growing quickly since the beginning of this year, according to the latest data compiled by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases. The reported patient count came to 566 for the period between Jan. 1 and May 26, more than double the preliminary figure of 282 for the whole of 2018, the institute said Tuesday. Among the 47 prefectures, a total of 142 infected patients were reported in Osaka, followed by 96 in Tokyo, 54 in Mie, 50 in Kanagawa and 37 in Aichi. In just seven days from May 20, at least 20 new patients were reported across the country, including five in Kanagawa, four each in Saitama, Fukuoka and Saga prefectures and three in Miyagi Prefecture. As the disease is highly infectious, the institute is calling for thorough measures to prevent hospital-acquired infections.


Police ID all nine dismembered corpses found in man's Zama flat, including that of girl, 15

The Japan Times

Police have identified all nine of the dismembered bodies found at an apartment near Tokyo late last month, including three high school girls, with the youngest aged 15, officials said early Friday. The bodies were found in the apartment of 27-year-old Takahiro Shiraishi, who was arrested by police on Oct. 31 and has since confessed to killing the nine. The police had been trying to identify the nine bodies through DNA analysis and other means. According to the officials and investigative sources, the victims included Kureha Ishihara, a 15-year-old high school student from Ora, Gunma Prefecture, and two 17-year-old high school students from the cities of Saitama and Fukushima -- Natsumi Kubo and Akari Suda. The police on Monday identified one victim as Aiko Tamura, 23, from the Tokyo suburb of Hachioji, the only victim identified by name so far.


False quake alarm gives Tokyoites a midnight scare

The Japan Times

Brace yourself, a strong quake is coming. This dramatic emergency message sent to smartphones and loudspeakers caused a brief panic after midnight Wednesday in Tokyo and neighboring prefectures, with many taking to social media to express their confusion over whether or not to get ready for the worst. The Meteorological Agency warned of a strong quake off the east coast of Chiba Prefecture at 12:15, warning of possible severe jolts in the capital and Ibaraki, Kanagawa, Saitama and Tochigi prefectures. The agency warned that a 6.7 magnitude quake could reach lower 5 on the Japanese intensity scale in Ibaraki, but even though a quake did occur, it was relatively weak and unnoticeable in some areas. "The advance warning system predicting quakes miscalculated the location of the epicenter and predicted a quake of a larger magnitude with more intense shaking," an official with the agency said in explaining the cause of the erroneous alert.


JR railways to use seafloor censors to provide swifter train-stopping alert in event of offshore temblors

The Japan Times

Three railways signed a deal with a state research institute Monday to implement a system to halt shinkansen trains more swiftly in the event of a major offshore quake near the Japanese archipelago. The emergency stop signals of the new system, to be introduced Wednesday on certain sections of the Tohoku and Joetsu Shinkansen lines operated by East Japan Railway Co., activate 10 to 30 seconds faster than the current system by utilizing seismic data captured by a quake sensor on the Pacific seafloor, the railroads and institute said. JR East, Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai) and West Japan Railway Co. agreed with the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Resilience on data distribution for railway safety to prevent disasters involving bullet trains, following a series of powerful earthquakes in Japan since the massive March 2011 quake in the country's northeast. The system will be introduced first on sections where earthquake data from the sensor located off the Boso Peninsula in Chiba Prefecture will be utilized -- the Tohoku Shinkansen Line section between Tokyo and Fukushima Prefecture and the Joetsu Shinkansen Line section between Tokyo and an area around Kumagaya in Saitama Prefecture. Regarding the Tokaido Shinkansen Line connecting Tokyo and the Osaka area and the Sanyo Shinkansen Line linking the Osaka area and Fukuoka Prefecture, operated by JR Tokai and JR West, respectively, the system is planned to be introduced around spring 2019.