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Japan’s suicide rate for job seekers jumps

Posted by arnon_k On March - 4 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

(CNN) — The number of people in Japan who killed themselves last year because they couldn’t find a job jumped 20%, the National Police Agency reported Thursday.

The figures were released as part of the agency’s annual study of suicides.

In 2010, 424 people killed themselves because they failed to find a job, according to the NPA. In 2009, the number was 354.

Police said the greatest growth in the category came among students. In 2009, 23 students killed themselves. In 2010, the number grew to 53 — a 130% increase.

The stark figures stood in contrast to the overall decrease in the number of suicides in Japan, down 3.5% to 31,690. About 127 million people live in the island nation.

Police figures also showed an increase in the number of child caretakers who killed themselves. The number in 2010 grew to 157, up 44% from 2009.

Japan has one of the developed world’s highest suicide rates. The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry says the number of suicides in Japan has been over 30,000 per year for 13 years in a row.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan has made tackling suicides one of his priorities, saying, in the past that he aimed to “reduce the factors that make people unhappy.”

On World Suicide Prevention Day last September, the government launched a website featuring a popular soccer star, urging the country become more aware of the warning signs of suicide.

But the suicide rate persists, in a society where a stigma surrounds mental health issues.

Japan wants to join with Thailand in Dawei project

Posted by arnon_k On February - 18 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Japan sees a role for itself in Burma’s Dawei Port industrial-estate project, particularly in financing, by joining with Thailand.
“We’re thinking about how Japan can contribute to the Dawei project. We will try to establish the bond market and stimulate the flow of money into this area,” said Hiromasa Yonekura, chairman of Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation).

Japan is interested in developing the port, roads, infrastructure and even the upstream steel project as part of its policy to promote the Greater Mekong Subregion. It will seek cooperation from Thai companies, as the countries have had a long history together, Yonekura said.

The Dawei (Tavoy) project is a massive one in the region. Besides taking part in the development, Japan would like to finance the project. The Japan Bank for International Cooperation may get involved, he said.

Yonekura, who is also chairman of Sumitomo Chemical, said Japan had not yet negotiated with the Burmese government about participating in the project.

Keidanren visited Thailand for a few days and met with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij and Commerce Minister Porntiva Nakasai.

On Wednesday, it held talks with the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking on the topic “Deepening Economic Partnership: Towards Regional Connectivity”.

Visit Limprana, vice chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, said Thailand wanted to collaborate with Japan in investing in infrastructure projects in neighbouring countries. For instance, if both countries could take part in road construction, it would help companies save on logistics costs when shipping to countries in the region.

“Many countries now look at Asia as an opportunity to invest. We encourage Japan to participate actively in Mekong/Asean connectivity,” he said.

Man arrested in Japan after wounding 13 people on a bus

Posted by arnon_k On December - 17 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

(CNN) — Police arrested a 27-year-old man Friday after he wounded 13 people with a knife while on a commuter bus in Japan, according to an official with the Toride Police Station.

Yuta Saito was arrested in the city of Toride northeast of Tokyo aboard a public bus after police received emergency calls that a man was wielding a knife at the bus station, police said. Bystanders managed to grab the suspect and hold him until officials arrived, police said.

The Toride Fire Station, which also responded to the incident, said five of the victims were either stabbed or slashed by the suspect. The other victims were injured while fleeing the attacker. One of the victims, a student, sustained a more serious injury to the head and ear while trying to flee, the official said. Most of the victims were students in junior high or high school.

Japan brings first asteroid dust back to Earth

Posted by arnon_k On November - 24 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

(Reuters) – A Japanese space probe that ended a seven-year voyage earlier this year brought back dust from the surface of an asteroid for the first time, Japan’s space agency said on Tuesday.

Scientists hope the particles will help unlock secrets of the solar system’s formation.

The unmanned craft Hayabusa, meaning “falcon” in Japanese, was destroyed on re-entry in June, but managed to drop a container bearing the sample after landing on the near-Earth asteroid Itokawa in 2005.

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) says the particles may offer clues about how the solar system was formed 4.6 billion years ago.

Asteroids are believed to have retained their original state over time, unlike the Earth’s surface, which has been affected by atmospheric changes, water and volcanic activity.

“There is so much that humans don’t know, such as how the Mo on was formed,” a JAXA spokesman said. “But research, not just into these particles but into other findings, could provide us with hints on how the solar system and the planets were formed.”

Part of the sample would be distributed next year to researchers around the world for further tests, JAXA said.

Most of the particles were smaller than one-100th of a millimeter and components included minerals such as olivine, pyroxene and plagioclases.

Scientists also hope the findings will shed light on the risk to Earth from asteroid impacts.