• Kyodo


Officials of the Environment Ministry and about 130 municipalities nationwide met Monday in Tokyo to boost cooperation on measures against possible high concentrations of toxic smog spreading to Japan from China.

The ministry briefed the officials from major cities and prefectures on the current air pollution situation and its possible impact on people’s health in Japan, caused by so-called PM2.5, an air pollutant found in such smog that covered 25 percent of China in January.

PM2.5, hazardous particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns, or 2.5 thousandths of a millimeter, in diameter, can be absorbed by the lungs and lead to heart and lung disease.

The Environment Ministry also explained measures listed under the emergency action program it announced Feb. 8, including a plan to create guidelines for municipalities to issue alerts in case of high concentrations of toxic smog.

The ministry also asked the local governments to increase the number of monitoring points for PM2.5 in their regions to bolster the surveillance system for the air pollutant across the country.

The ministry has set a target of increasing the number of monitoring posts to some 1,300 by the end of March but has yet to reach half the figure due to municipal fiscal shortfalls, among other reasons.

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