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The amount of noise pollution generated by traffic is still a serious problem as only 13 percent of the sites monitored nationwide met the government’s environmental quality standards in 1998, according to the results of an Environment Agency survey released on Thursday. The annual survey, which measured noise generated by traffic at 5,264 points considered to be potential noise pollution areas, tested noise levels four times throughout the day — morning, afternoon, evening and late at night — to determine whether they met government-set acceptable levels. The results were little changed from the year before. Overall, 2,504 sites — or 53.4 percent of the points monitored — exceeded the environmental quality standards at all times of the day, compared with 54.8 percent the year before. The study found that a mere 28.1 percent of expressways met environmental standards at all four times. The figures for municipal roads stood at 22.3 percent and 16.3 percent on prefectural roads. Less than 10 percent of major rural roads, national highways and municipal highways adhered to the standard. The survey also showed that 69.6 percent of sites met the more lenient “required limits” standard. While the environmental standard is meant to protect the public’s health, failure to meet the “required limit” standard means the noise pollution is excessive and suggests that governors act to improve the situation. 30 billion yen injection The Financial Reconstruction Commission on Thursday formally approved the pumping of 30 billion yen in public funds into the capital-depleted Kumamoto Family Bank. The Kumamoto-based second-tier regional bank will become the sixth regional institution to receive public funds under the government’s bank bailout program enacted in October 1998. The bank, which applied for the capital injection Dec. 2, will receive the fund by the end of February by selling preferred stocks to the government, the FRC said. That is expected to bring the bank’s capital adequacy ratio from 4.7 percent to 8.5 percent — even above the 8 percent minimum standard for internationally active banks.

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