Tag - our-planet

 
 

OUR PLANET

Tenugui towels hang up to dry at a dyeing company in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture, on May 8. The durable and versatile tenugui, which many people have in their homes, can be used in many ways to cool one’s body.
ENVIRONMENT / Sustainability / OUR PLANET
Jul 14, 2024
How to beat Japan’s summer heat in ways better for the planet
As summers get hotter across the world we’re met with a paradox: To stay cool, it seems we’re compelled to consume more.
A gyrotron, which is used to heat plasma for nuclear fusion reactions, developed by Kyoto Fusioneering
ENVIRONMENT / Energy / OUR PLANET
Jul 7, 2024
Kyoto Fusioneering looks toward a 'Made in Japan' approach for nuclear fusion
Although it recognizes that international collaboration is key, the startup sees the country playing an integral role in the fusion ecosystem.
Wind turbines near New Brighton, England. According to the International Energy Agency, Japan could produce over 900% of its energy demand with offshore wind alone.
ENVIRONMENT / Energy / OUR PLANET
Jun 30, 2024
Japan looks farther out to sea for overdue wind power boost
A bill enabling development in the country's exclusive economic zone is seen as key to Japan achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
Seaweed in the ocean off Hayama, Kanagawa Prefecture. Local residents aim to restore seagrass and seaweed beds suffering from marine desertification, and their project has also been certified to receive "blue carbon" credits.
ENVIRONMENT / OUR PLANET
Jun 23, 2024
Japan looks to 'blue carbon' to cut emissions — and restore its coasts
The nation's net zero goal has driven interest in these ecosystems, but verifying the amount of carbon stored by seaweed presents a challenge.
A person uses a tong with a camera and GPS system attached to pick up litter, part of an initiative to boost participation in collecting trash.
ENVIRONMENT / Sustainability / OUR PLANET
Jun 16, 2024
Japan’s gamified environment apps target a greener mindset
Government funding has helped drive a boom in environmental and social app development.
An earthquake-damaged area in Suzu, Ishikawa Prefecture, in May 2023. The Noto Peninsula has been experiencing an ongoing “seismic swarm” since late 2020.
ENVIRONMENT / Earth science / OUR PLANET
Jun 3, 2024
How rain and snow play a role in Noto’s ‘seismic swarm’
The seismic activity in the region is synchronized with changes in underground pressure, which is influenced by seasonal patterns of precipitation.
Pedestrians holding umbrellas during a downpour in Tokyo in June 2023
JAPAN / Science & Health / OUR PLANET
Jun 2, 2024
The growing link between extreme rain and respiratory health in Japan
Researchers have found a strong association between respiratory mortality and severe downpours of the kind being made worse by climate change.
A 2-megawatt solar farm in the city of Fukushima. “Megasolar” refers to farms with a minimum output of 1 MW of electricity — enough to power around 300 homes for a year.
ENVIRONMENT / Energy / OUR PLANET
May 26, 2024
‘Megasolar’ is a dirty word in Japan. Where do solar projects go from here?
Vocal campaigns are pushing back against projects as dangerous eyesores, but "dual-use" approaches and community engagement may offer a solution.
While not the most outspoken politician on the issue, digital minister Taro Kono has a track record of being serious in his commitment to addressing the climate crisis.
ENVIRONMENT / Climate change / OUR PLANET
May 19, 2024
The politicians moving Japan forward on climate
In the halls of power, climate-friendly voices may be few and far between, but some in politics are pushing for more aggressive action on decarbonization.
A screencap of a performance of Hiroto Nagai's “String Quartet No. 1 ‘Polar Energy Budget’” by the PRT Quartet
CULTURE / Music / OUR PLANET
May 7, 2024
How a Japanese scientist is turning the climate crisis into music
Hiroto Nagai has sonified polar climate data, resulting in a string quartet piece that he thinks can get people to care more about what the data expresses.
Much like other hot spots across Okinawa, Onna has diligently strived to captivate both domestic and international tourists, while at the same time grappling with the environmental strain induced by the influx of visitors.
ENVIRONMENT / Sustainability / OUR PLANET
May 5, 2024
As visitors surge, Japan seeks ways to make tourism eco-friendly
A record tourism boom has raised concerns over the enormous stress visitors put on the environment.
A farmer plants seedlings in Satsumasendai, Kagoshima Prefecture. Japan’s self sufficiency rate for rice is nearly 100%, compared with 38% for food overall, on a calorie basis.
ENVIRONMENT / Climate change / OUR PLANET
Apr 28, 2024
Climate change, chalky grains and the risks for Japan’s rice farmers
As Japan’s rice farmers prepare for a new planting season, many will be hoping that this summer brings a reprieve from 2023’s brutal weather conditions.
Toshihiro Kinjo (center), a research support technician at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, inspects an audio recording device in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, on April 3 as Masako Ogasawara, a research support specialist at OIST, looks on.
ENVIRONMENT / Wildlife / OUR PLANET
Apr 21, 2024
Hearing the impact of climate change in Okinawa, one bird call at a time
From Okinawa to Australia, “passive acoustic monitoring” projects are feeding scientists with data about changes to ecosystems and biodiversity.
A helmet jellyfish recorded at depth in the Lurefjord, Norway. The creatures experience acute physical effects from short-term exposure to suspended sediment, which could be caused by deep-sea mining.
ENVIRONMENT / Wildlife / OUR PLANET
Apr 7, 2024
The weird deep-sea world, and how mining threatens it
Demand for metals such as lithium and nickel has driven a rush to take a stake in the seabed, with Japan being a major advocate of deep-sea mining.
Children wash their hands with a new public pump installed as part of a climate resilient water system in Inn Chey in Kratie Province.
ENVIRONMENT / Climate change / OUR PLANET
Mar 31, 2024
Japan sits at the forefront of climate resilient infrastructure in Southeast Asia
Japanese businesses and government agencies are pouring billions of yen into various programs across Cambodia and Southeast Asia to reduce climate risks.
Containers transporting coal at a dock in Cam Pha, Vietnam. Enthusiasm for Vietnam’s renewables boom is dampened by factors such as its underdeveloped electricity grid and patchy regulatory framework, while the country’s major source of electricity remains coal.
ENVIRONMENT / OUR PLANET
Mar 25, 2024
With Japan’s help, is Vietnam headed for a flawed energy transition?
The climate-vulnerable nation is looking to renewables, but also questionable solutions promoted by Tokyo, for its energy needs.
A hiker walks toward Asahidake in Hokkaido. The health and environmental issues around PFAS could be a particular problem for Japan, which boasts a number of globally renowned outdoor brands and related suppliers.
ENVIRONMENT / Sustainability / OUR PLANET
Mar 10, 2024
Japan’s revered outdoor brands face down PFAS challenge
Outdoor apparel consumers are generally more environmentally conscious, but are likely to be using products that have a big environmental footprint.
Solar panels on display at PV Expo in Tokyo on Wednesday. Japan's "transition bonds" will cover cutting-edge solar cells, as well as more controversial projects.
ENVIRONMENT / Energy / OUR PLANET
Mar 3, 2024
Japan wants cash for its green transition. But what are investors actually backing?
"Transition bonds" are intended to fund a wide variety of net-zero projects, but it's not clear all of them will actually help with decarbonization.
Specimen M831 stored at the National Museum of Nature and Science’s Tsukuba Research Departments in Ibaraki Prefecture
ENVIRONMENT / Wildlife / OUR PLANET
Feb 22, 2024
How a 13-year-old discovered a possible Japanese wolf specimen
A new paper by Hinako Komori and two academics says a specimen she found could be one of two Japanese wolves kept at Ueno Zoo in the late 19th century.
Tourists in Tokyo's Asakusa district ditch their jackets amid unseasonably warm temperatures in the capital and across Japan on Thursday.
ENVIRONMENT / Climate change / OUR PLANET
Feb 18, 2024
Preparing for the hottest year Japan has ever seen
In 2023, summer heat persisted across Japan well into the fall. Predictions by scientists indicate 2024 could be even worse.

Longform

Traditional folk rituals like Mizudome-no-mai (dance to stop the rain) provide a sense of agency to a population that feels largely powerless in the face of the climate crisis.
As climate extremes intensify, Japan embraces ancient weather rituals