Nuclear issues involving North Korea, Japan on table at Washington summit

The Japan Times

OSAKA – When Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, North Korea's nuclear weapons program is expected to be high on the list of topics that leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama and South Korean President Park Geun-hye, will discuss. Obama plans to hold a trilateral summit with Abe and Park on Thursday morning, and later in the day he is scheduled to have a one-on-one meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Also on the agenda will be Japan's own nuclear problems, especially proliferation concerns if and when Aomori Prefecture's Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant for spent nuclear fuel goes into operation. The summit is aimed at preventing nuclear materials and technologies from falling into the hands of rogue states and terrorist groups. This year's summit is also the last before a 1988 agreement between the U.S. and Japan on peaceful uses of nuclear energy expires in 2018.

Aftershocks continue as death toll from strong Kyushu quake rises to nine; 765 injured

The Japan Times

At least nine people were killed and 765 injured by a magnitude-6.5 The temblor logged a 7, the highest level on the Japanese intensity scale. Most victims were in the hardest-hit town of Mashiki, Kumamoto Prefecture, about 15 km (9 miles) east of the city of Kumamoto, said Kumamoto prefecture disaster management official Takayuki Matsushita. As of Friday at 5 a.m., 44,400 people were evacuated from their homes and staying at 500 shelters in the prefecture. The quake struck at 9:26 p.m. at a depth of 11 km (7 miles) near the city of Kumamoto, the Meteorological Agency said.

Strong quake kills 2 and injures hundreds in Japan; people are trapped in houses

Los Angeles Times

The strongest earthquake to strike Japan since 2011 shook a southern swath of the country late Thursday, killing at least two people and leaving hundreds injured, some trapped in the debris of fallen buildings. The quake, centered in southern Japan's Kumamoto Prefecture, about 600 miles southwest of Tokyo, was calculated at a magnitude of 7.0 by the Japan Meteorological Agency and at 6.2 by the U.S. Geologic Survey. The greatest damage was reported in the town of Mashiki, where more than 20 homes collapsed and the two deaths occurred. The Kumamoto Prefectural Police said one person died after being trapped under debris and another in an earthquake-related fire. A third person was gravely injured and on life support, authorities said.

Britain to ship record amount of nuclear waste to U.S.

The Japan Times

LONDON – Britain will ship 700 kilograms of nuclear waste to the United States under a deal to be announced by Prime Minister David Cameron at a nuclear security summit in Washington on Thursday, a British government source said. In return for the shipment, the largest-ever movement of highly enriched uranium, the United States will send Europe a different type of nuclear waste that can be used to produce medical isotopes for the treatment of some cancers. "The prime minister will be announcing a landmark deal that we have agreed with the U.S. and with (European Atomic Energy Community) Euratom," the British government source said. We get rid of waste, and we get back something that will help us to fight cancer." At the two-day summit, being attended by more than 50 world leaders, Britain and the U.S. will also announce plans to host a joint exercise later this year to test the ability of their governments and nuclear industries to deal with a cyberattack in the civil nuclear sector.

Jordanians reject 'stolen gas' in Israel-Jordan deal

Al Jazeera

Jordanian activists vowed to continue their protest against a 10bn gas deal signed by the Jordanian government and Israel last month. The agreement will see US-based Noble Energy and other investors in Israel's largest gas field supply Jordan's national electric company with 8.5 million cubic metres of gas over 15 years. Upon announcement of the deal, thousands of protesters took to the streets of the capital Amman on Friday chanting "The enemy's gas is occupation" and "No to gas imports from the Zionist enemy" and calling for the cancellation of the deal. The protest was the largest of its kind since 2012, when tens of thousands demonstrated for reforms in the midst of a wave of popular uprisings in the Arab world. "A large aspect of this is about making Jordan dependent on Israel.