Tag Archives: Japanese

Scientists discover new 'beaked' whale species off Japanese coast

Scientists discover new 'beaked' whale species off Japanese coastA small black whale found in Pacific Ocean waters off the northern coastline of Japan has been identified by scientists as a new species. Whalers based in Japan’s northernmost island Hokkaido are thought to have long been aware of the existence of the beaked whales, referring to them by a local name karasu, meaning “crow”. Scientists from the National Museum of Nature and Science at Hokkaido University have confirmed that the rare whales are a species that has never been formally identified. Their findings were based on the examination of several deceased specimens, including DNA testing, which led to the cetaceans being officially named the Black Baird’s beaked whale, or Berardius minimus (B. minimus). Professor Takashi Matsuishi, from the Fisheries Sciences faculty at Hokkaido University, told Science Daily: “There are still many things we don't know about B. minimus. We still don't know what adult females look like, and there are still many questions related to species distribution, for example. We hope to continue expanding what we know about B. minimus.” The animals were known to whalers but had never been formally identified Beaked whales are known to be low profile, with a capacity to dive for long periods and a preference for deep waters, which means their behaviour has not been as well documented as many other cetaceans. Researchers reportedly tapped into the Marine Mammal Stranding networks, which shares information among scientists about stranded or deceased marine mammals. They subsequently collected six stranded beaked whales along the Japan’s northern coast off the Okhost Sea before conducting in-depth analysis of their make-up. “Just by looking at them, we could tell that they have a remarkably smaller body size, more spindle-shaped body, a shorter beak, and darker color compared to known Berardius species," added Tadasu Yamada, a member of the research team and curator of the National Museum of Nature and Science. The discovery of the new whale species, suspected to be the same as the “karasu” type long spotted by local whalers, comes shortly after Japan resumed its controversial whaling practices after a 33 year hiatus. Hokkaido has long been known as one of Japan’s whaling hubs, with many whalers based in Kushiro port.



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Japanese scientists find new dinosaur species

Japanese scientists find new dinosaur speciesJapanese scientists have identified a new species of dinosaur from a nearly complete skeleton that was the largest ever discovered in the country, measuring eight metres (26 feet) long. After analysing hundreds of bones dating back 72 million years, the team led by Hokkaido University concluded the skeleton once belonged to a new species of hadrosaurid dinosaur, a herbivorous beast that roamed the Earth in the late Cretaceous period. A partial tail was first found in northern Japan in 2013 and later excavations revealed the entire skeleton.



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Japanese whaling ships prepare first commercial hunt in more than 30 years

Japanese whaling ships prepare first commercial hunt in more than 30 yearsJapanese whaling ships were preparing on Sunday to set to sea, with crews gathering on decks in a northern port as Japan undertakes its first commercial whaling hunt in more than 30 years on Monday. Japan announced last year it was leaving the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and would resume commercial whaling on July 1, sparking global condemnation and fears for the world’s whales. Japan has long maintained that eating whale is an important part of its culture and that most species are not endangered. A global whaling moratorium was imposed in 1986, but Japan then began what it called scientific research whaling in the North Pacific and Antarctic. Critics said the it was simply commercial whaling in disguise. "I used to eat whale when I was young, but it's been too expensive recently,” said Sachiko Sakai, 66, a taxi driver waiting for fares in Kushiro, a port town on the northernmost main island of Hokkaido. "Maybe now that commercial whaling is going to restart, it’ll be cheaper and we can get our hands on it more easily.” The hunt will be confined to Japan’s exclusive economic zone. Whaling vessels ready to be deployed in Kushiro on Sunday Credit: REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon The five small whaling ships due to set off early Monday morning were moored at a wharf in a quiet corner of Kushiro port. On their decks were what appeared to be harpoon guns covered in tarpaulins. The vessels come from whaling ports around Japan, including one from Taiji, the town made notorious for its dolphin drive-hunts featured in the Oscar-winning documentary “The Cove”. Some vessels were decorated with good luck flags, flapping in a cold wind. Some crew members carried groceries while others held towels and shampoo, apparently headed to a public bath. One wore brightly coloured shorts decorated with images of whales and other animals. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose district includes the old whaling centre of Shimonoseki, has long campaigned to restart commercial whaling, but the industry’s future is far from clear. Only about 300 people around Japan are directly connected to whaling, and the annual supply of whale – about 5,000 tonnes – amounts to roughly 40-50 grams per Japanese person a year. "To resume this so we can eat it – well, that’s good,” said Yuya Kusakari, 37, who was fishing for flounder with his 8-year-old son not far from where the whaling ships were docked. Mr Kusakari said he ate whale maybe once or twice a year. "It’s really not all that available now, and it’s expensive,” he said.



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Surveillance drone may have tracked Japanese tanker: experts

Surveillance drone may have tracked Japanese tanker: expertsA “flying object” which flew over a Japanese tanker before it was rocked by a blast in strategic Gulf waters last week could have been a reconnaissance drone, experts have told AFP. The owner of the Kokuka Courageous said the tanker’s Japanese and Filipino crew saw a “flying object”, just before a blast that caused a fire on board the vessel, sparking a crisis between Washington and Iran. “The crew members are saying that they were hit by a flying object.



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Debris Found After Japanese F-35A Stealth Fighter Crashes at Sea

Debris Found After Japanese F-35A Stealth Fighter Crashes at SeaThe plane and its pilot, a man in his 40s, went missing about 135 kilometers (85 miles) off the Japanese coast Tuesday after departing Misawa Air Base on the northeastern corner of Honshu Island, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force said in a statement. A part of what’s believed to the the plane’s tail was spotted floating near where it disappeared, Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya told reporters Wednesday. The Lockheed Martin Corp. F-35 is considered the most expensive U.S. weapons system.



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A Japanese spacecraft just shot at an asteroid… to try and make a crater

A Japanese spacecraft just shot at an asteroid... to try and make a craterTell you what, it's certainly not everyday someone shoots at an asteroid.Japan's space agency, JAXA, tried to do just that with its Hayabusa-2 spacecraft, which was launched in 2014. It's been hanging out on asteroid called Ryugu since June 2018, where it's been studying the surface. SEE ALSO: Astronaut Anne McClain shares stunning moonset from the International Space StationA bit before midday Japan Standard Time (JST) on Friday, the spacecraft attempted to blast a new crater on Ryugu by firing something called a "small carry-on impactor" (SCI) toward the asteroid.> [SCI] April 5 at 11:56 JST. The SCI operation time has passed and we have confirmed there is no problem with the spacecraft during the evacuation operation.> > — HAYABUSA2@JAXA (@haya2e_jaxa) April 5, 2019The SCI is a 2 kilogram (4.41 pound) copper lump which was fired toward the asteroid at a speed of 2 km per second (4,473 mph). Shaped like a cone and containing an explosive, the SCI is designed to create an artificial crater on the surface. The SCI was shot from an altitude of 500 metres (1,640 feet) from the asteroid's surface, and the time from release and explosion was about 40 minutes.In a press conference following the explosion, mission managers were worried about the potential debris from the operation, but said none of it made contact with the spacecraft.You can catch the feed of the operation in its entirety below.The purpose of the experiment is so researchers can analyse changes to the asteroid's surface after shooting at it, and capture materials that might be hidden underneath.You can see what it looks like when they shoot the SCI into Ryugu, thanks to a ground test simulating the experience. The fragments of gravel are meant to simulate the asteroid's surface, but you can imagine the lack of gravity in space would make for a lot more debris floating about.It'll be a few more weeks until the team goes hunting for the crater, with the search operation set to begin the week of Apr. 22.Researchers will take images of the surface where they think the bullet has hit, then look through the images by eye to see where they've made their mark. As for Hayabusa-2, it's expected to make its return to Earth sometime between November and December, with landing set for late-2020. WATCH: NASA's Administrator Jim Bridenstine warns India's anti-satellite test could be dangerous for the ISS



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Carlos Ghosn to 'vigorously' defend himself in Japanese court: son

Carlos Ghosn to 'vigorously' defend himself in Japanese court: sonFormer Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn will “vigorously” defend himself in a Japanese court this week after refusing to sign a confession in return for being released from custody, his son has told a French Sunday newspaper. The auto tycoon who has been held since his shock arrest in November on allegations of financial misconduct is due to appear in a Japanese court on Tuesday to hear the reasons for his detention.



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US, Japanese pair win Nobel Medicine Prize for cancer therapy

US, Japanese pair win Nobel Medicine Prize for cancer therapyTwo immunologists, James Allison of the US and Tasuku Honjo of Japan, won the 2018 Nobel Medicine Prize for research that has revolutionised the treatment of cancer, the jury said on Monday. The pair were honoured “for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation,” the Nobel Assembly said. The proteins can stop the body’s natural defences from killing cancer cells.



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Photos from Japanese space rovers show asteroid is … rocky

Photos from Japanese space rovers show asteroid is ... rockyTOKYO (AP) — New photos taken on the surface of an asteroid show that it is (drum roll, please) … rocky.



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Japanese Billionaire Will Fly To The Moon With SpaceX, Elon Musk Says

Japanese Billionaire Will Fly To The Moon With SpaceX, Elon Musk SaysSpaceX, Elon Musk's ambitious rocket endeavor, said Monday it had signed a



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