Farmland in Fukushima that was rendered unusable after the disastrous 2011 nuclear meltdown is getting a second chance at productivity. A group of Japanese investors have created a new plan to use the abandoned land to build wind and solar power plants, to be used to send electricity to Tokyo. The plan calls for the construction of eleven solar power plants and ten wind power plants, at an estimated cost of $2.75 billion. Fukushima has been aggressively converting land damaged by the 2011 meltdown, such as this golf course (pictured above) into a source of renewable energy. A new $2.75 billion plan will add eleven new solar plants and ten wind power plants to former farmland The project is expected to be completed in March of 2024 and is backed by a group of investors, including Development Bank of Japan and Mizuho Bank.
The situation was further compounded by demographic changes. Ongoing rural depopulation in Japan has seen the average age of farmers rise to 67, according to 2015 census figures. To counter the situation and encourage greater cultivation, Asahi Shuzo joined forces with Fujitsu. The ICT company's solution involved the deployment of solar-powered IoT sensors and cameras in paddy fields, with the resulting data connected to the Fujitsu Akisai food and agriculture industry cloud. The sensors measured environmental conditions, including atmospheric humidity levels, ground and air temperatures, ground moisture and electroconductivity. "The use of Fujitsu's Akisai system in Dassai production has created a win-win for both Asahi Shuzo and its farmers."
Facebook has taken a major step towards creating a drone designed to beam internet access to remote areas of the world. The I.F.O. is fuelled by eight electric engines, which is able to push the flying object to an estimated top speed of about 120mph. Japan's On-Art Corp's CEO Kazuya Kanemaru poses with his company's eight metre tall dinosaur-shaped mechanical suit robot'TRX03' and other robots during a demonstration in Tokyo, Japan Japan's On-Art Corp's eight metre tall dinosaur-shaped mechanical suit robot'TRX03' performs during its unveiling in Tokyo, Japan Singulato Motors co-founder and CEO Shen Haiyin poses in his company's concept car Tigercar P0 at a workshop in Beijing, China A picture shows Singulato Motors' concept car Tigercar P0 at a workshop in Beijing, China Connected company president Shigeki Tomoyama addresses a press briefing as he elaborates on Toyota's "connected strategy" in Tokyo. Aurora Flight Sciences' technicians work on an Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automantion System (ALIAS) device in the firm's Centaur aircraft at Manassas Airport in Manassas, Va. The drone, which is solar-powered and has the wingspan of a Boeing 737, flew at 3,000 feet for an hour and 46 minutes.
Tokyo-based SoftBank is one of Japan's biggest telecoms providers, with more than 63,590 employees, a solar power business, humanoid robots for home use, ride-booking services and financial technology. It recently set up a $25 billion private fund for technology investments, along with Saudi Arabia and other investors, that Son says could grow to $100 billion.
Japan's space program, JAXA, soars this weekend after its robotic cargo spacecraft began its four-day journey to the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday. Onboard the spacecraft, called Kounotori (after the Japanese word for "white stork"), are more than four tons of cargo, including JAXA's massive debris clearing space whip and a new array of lithium ion batteries for the space station's solar arrays. Friday's cargo launch is particularly important after the failure of a Russian Progress cargo launch earlier this month. Several other cargo launches have met similar fates over the past two years. "Spaceflight's not an easy thing," said NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson in an interview aboard the ISS.
Koichiro Otaki started taking aerial pictures of photovoltaic power stations in April 2015. At first, it was an innocent desire to capture their sheer scale and aesthetic value that motivated him, he says. Solar parks, mostly in rural, desolate areas, were also among the few places where he could practice flying a drone without having to worry about hitting people or tall structures, he says. Weather permitting, the 38-year-old freelance photographer would toss a compact drone into his backpack and venture out to the suburbs of Tokyo or up north to the Tohoku region by motorcycle, snapping away at solar panels neatly lined up along river banks, mountain slopes and even abandoned golf courses. "I was simply captivated by their geometric beauty," Otaki said of the panels.
SoftBank also sells the Pepper human-shaped companion robot for homes and businesses, and runs a solar energy business in Japan, highlighting a critical stance against nuclear energy that has spread since the 2011 Fukushima disaster. Its investment empire encompasses financial technology and ride-booking services.