• Kyodo

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The Meshima lighthouse on one of Nagasaki Prefecture’s Danjyo Islands changed its power source from diesel to solar light Sunday, in a move to automate the nation’s last manned lighthouse.

The change at the lighthouse, which went on-stream in 1927 and appeared in a 1957 film featuring a lighthouse keeper’s life, completed the Japan Coast Guard’s project to automate all 3,337 lighthouses throughout the country.

Due to some remaining operations, workers will stay on at the Meshima lighthouse until early December but after that, the lighthouse will be unmanned.

The workers at the lighthouse gave up making visual measurements of wave heights at the end of March, with measurements now carried out by the radar of Fukue Island’s lighthouse in the same prefecture.

From now on, the Meshima lighthouse will automatically transmit weather data such as barometric pressure, wind speed and the direction of wind, electronically.

“We sincerely respect workers such as the lighthouse keepers and their families who strove hard to ensure the safety of vessel traffic night and day,” Kazuhiko Masuda, head of the JCG’s Maritime Traffic Department, said at a press conference on Fukue Island.

The Meshima lighthouse, about 15 meters high, stands on a cliff on one of the Danjyo Islands. The islands are recognized as a natural treasure and permission is required to visit them. The sea around the islands is popular with fishermen.

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