Japanese professor among 2017 Gairdner medical prize laureates

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON – Japanese professor Akira Endo will be one of this year's Canada Gairdner Award laureates for his discovery of statins, an achievement that led to the development of cholesterol-lowering medicines, the award's foundation said Tuesday. Endo, 83, a distinguished professor emeritus at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, discovered statins when he was working as a researcher for pharmaceutical-maker Sankyo Co., the predecessor of Daiichi Sankyo Co. His discovery and development of statins "have transformed the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease," the foundation said in a statement. Previous Japanese winners of the Gairdner prize, awarded for medical discoveries, include 54-year-old Kyoto University professor Shinya Yamanaka, who developed iPS cells, and Satoshi Omura, the 81-year-old Kitasato University professor emeritus who discovered and helped develop therapies to fight tropical infections. Both also won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.


Three Japanese high schoolers win gold medals at physics olympiad held in Switzerland

The Japan Times

Japanese high school students won three gold medals in the International Physics Olympiad, or IphO, the education ministry has said. Japanese students also clinched one silver and one bronze in the 47th IphO, held in Zurich, Switzerland, for a week through Sunday. The gold winners are Akihiro Watanabe, 17, of Todaiji Gakuen High School in Nara Prefecture; Satoshi Yoshida, 17, of Osaka Seiko Gakuin High School in Osaka Prefecture, and Kota Fukuzawa, 17, of High School at Komaba, Tsukuba University, in Tokyo. Watanabe was awarded the highest prize in the international competition in physics for secondary school students younger than 20 years old for the second consecutive year, while Yoshida grabbed gold after earning silver last year. A silver medal was given to Kosuke Yoshimi, 16, of Nada High School in Hyogo Prefecture, and a bronze medal to Yuki Takaha, 17, of St. Viator Rakusei Senior High School in Kyoto Prefecture.


Three Japanese high schoolers win gold at physics olympiad in Switzerland

The Japan Times

Japanese high school students won three gold medals in the International Physics Olympiad, or IphO, the education ministry has said. Students from Japan also clinched one silver and one bronze in the 47th IphO in Zurich. The weeklong event ran through Sunday. The gold winners are Akihiro Watanabe, 17, of Todaiji Gakuen High School in Nara Prefecture; Satoshi Yoshida, 17, of Osaka Seiko Gakuin High School in Osaka Prefecture; and Kota Fukuzawa, 17, of High School at Komaba, Tsukuba University, in Tokyo. Watanabe was awarded the highest prize in the international competition in physics for secondary school students below 20 years old for the second consecutive year, while Yoshida grabbed gold after earning silver last year.


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.


Governors seek state compensation for business closures due to virus

The Japan Times

Japanese governors on Wednesday urged the state to compensate businesses so they can comply with requests to halt operations and cancel events, a day after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a state of emergency to curb the spread of the new coronavirus. The governors, including the chiefs of the seven prefectures covered by the state of emergency that runs through May 6, also called for central government support for the country's health care system to prevent its collapse due to a sudden increase in patients. Following the governors' request made during an online meeting, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga reiterated at a news conference that individual businesses would not receive compensation for suspending operations. Suga acknowledged businesses not directly requested to close down under the emergency declaration would be impacted and said the central government plans to provide subsidies to business operators whose earnings drop significantly due to the virus outbreak. Roughly 56 million people, or about 45 percent of the country's population, in Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama, Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka are subject to the emergency declaration, which calls for residents to refrain from nonessential outings and some businesses to shut.