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China’s thick smog arrives in Japan



This combination of photos shows Beijing’s second ring road during heavily polluted weather (top) on January 30, 2013, and during clear weather (bottom) on February 1, 2013. Residents across huge swathes of northern China have in recent weeks battled through choking pollution at extreme levels, as Beijing was plunged into toxic twilight for the fourth time this winter. AFP

TOKYO—The suffocating smog that blanketed swathes of China is now hitting parts of Japan, sparking warnings Monday of health fears for the young and the sick.

The environment ministry’s website has been overloaded as worried users log on to try to find out what is coming their way.

“Access to our air-pollution monitoring system has been almost impossible since last week, and the telephone here has been constantly ringing because worried people keep asking us about the impact on health,” said an environment ministry official.

Pictures of Beijing and other Chinese cities shrouded in thick, choking smog played out across television screens in Japan last week.

News programs have broadcast maps showing a swirl of pollution gathering strength across China and then spreading out over the ocean towards Japan.

Pinks, reds and oranges that denote the worst pollution form a finger of smog that inches upwards to the southern main island of Kyushu.

Relations between Tokyo and Beijing are already strained, over the sovereignty of a chain of islands in the East China Sea.

Officials were coy about lumping the blame all on their huge neighbor, but Yasushi Nakajima of the environment ministry said “we can’t deny there is an impact from pollution in China”.

Air pollution over the west of Japan has exceeded government limits over the last few days, with tiny particulate matter a problem, said Atsushi Shimizu of the National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES).

Prevailing winds from the west bring airborne particles from the Asian mainland, he said.

Of specific concern is the concentration of a particle 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter, which has been as high as 50 micrograms per cubic metre of air over recent days in northern Kyushu.

The government limit is 35 micrograms.

Yellow sand from the deserts of Mongolia and China is a known source for these particles, as are exhausts from cars and smoke from factories.

“At this time of year they are definitely not yellow sands so they’re toxic particles,” Shimizu said, warning that “people with respiratory diseases should be careful.”

Toshihiko Takemura, associate professor of Kyushu University who runs another air pollution monitoring site, said “the impact of air pollution originating from China on Japan was scientifically discovered more than a decade ago”.

“Especially in Kyushu, the level of air pollution has been detectable in everyday lives since a few years ago,” he said.

“People in eastern and northern Japan are now belatedly noticing the cross-border air pollution,” he told AFP.

Takemura noted that pollution in Japan over the last few days has not been quite as bad as it was in February 2011, when “very hazy days continued for several days in western Japan.”

He agreed with Shimizu that people with respiratory disease, as well as small children, should take extra care to avoid the problems.

Takemura’s website forecast an “extremely large” amount of air pollutants would arrive in part of Kyushu Monday and Tuesday.

Shimizu said information-sharing with China on air pollution has been difficult but “there are many things Japan can do, for instance encouraging China to use pollutant-filtering equipment in factories.”


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Tags: China , environment , Japan , Pollution , Public Health


  • Paranoid Android

    Chinese made environment disaster is now open for export.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/BV6DWTSUHKJGFANJJ5P3WPPTQM Paul

    air for free….made in china….

  • http://twitter.com/soulassassin547 soul.assassin

    Second-hand pollution. What’s next, a Chinese version of the Minamata Mercury Disaster?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charles-Lynel-F-Joven/685946584 Charles Lynel F. Joven

    hooray for China’s rapid development, and woe to all of us who will die from this toxic Chinese-made smog…

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/WTAON5IXMNB43HD4UY5JLY434U Reynaldo

    that is china. they don’t care about anything but themselves..in our experience in canada there were numerous gov’t orders to closed chinese restaurants, grocery stores and recreation areas etc managed and run by business people of chinese origin. I worked with several chinese people too and they are like that they look after their welfare forget if they cause harm from protecting themselves. They are selfish people. not all of them but most of them.

  • divictes

    To Our Most Valued Customers of Cheap China made Products: In appreciation of your continuing support and unwavering patronage, we are sending you unlimited supply of smog for your toxic enjoyment for free! Don’t forget to inhale deeply. 

  • dikoy321

    Mga Kabayan, please Pass this on…  Marami pong Salamat!
     ==============
     Propaganda on the Internet
      
    More than 540 million people currently use the Internet in China, but there are also millions of Internet-based “opinion-guiding” agents employed by the Chinese government to control and censor every single Internet forum and portal.
     Secretly in the employment of the Chinese government, these censors officially are called “Internet commentators” but popularly known as the “50-Cents Party.” The nickname can be traced to October 2004 when the Hunan provincial Community Party Propaganda Department pioneered the system of paying 50 cents in Chinese yuan per posting to Internet agents hired specifically to write postings that seek to counter every piece the government dislikes.
    Based on the Hunan model in 2007, then-Communist Party General Secretary Hu Jintao issued a directive in creating a massive “Internet commentator army” made up of “comrades who are ideologically resolute, skilled in Internet technology and familiar with the approach and language of the common Internet users.” The job of the agents is to “guide public opinions expressed on the Internet.”
     Since then, these diligent 50-Cents Party members have proliferated by the millions at every Internet portal in China’s vast cyberspace, scanning and searching, incognito, for any “negative opinions” to counter. The postings are designs to appear as spontaneous, individual responses.
    In reality, these 50-Cents Party members are under the control of Communist Party propaganda apparatus at all levels of government.
    In Beijing alone, 1 in 10 residents in the capital city of 20 million are “propaganda workers,” according to the city’s vice mayor and municipal party propaganda chief Lu Wei, who spoke at a Propaganda Workers’ Conference on Jan. 17.
    He disclosed that 60,000 professional “propaganda workers” are directly in the employ by the city government and more than 2 million informal collaborators work as the city’s propaganda team, most of them on university campuses and youth-oriented organizations that are most likely Internet-based.
     At the conference, the Beijing propaganda chief ordered his propaganda army troops to master the Internet posting skills “in order to create positive energy” by posting Twitter-like messages exalting the Communist Party’s image and achievement, providing “opinion-guidance” on “hot topics” such as corruption, housing, and inequality.

  • delpillar

    part of these smog particulates, though not yet in alarming level have already reach the Philippines Region 1,2 3 4A/4B and NCR from Jan. 31 to February 4.



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