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More Than Just a Weather Service: Japan’s Multifunctional Meteorological AgencyFurukawa Takehiko

The Japan Meteorological Agency is playing an increasingly prominent role as extreme weather events continue to strike the Japanese archipelago. More than just a weather service, JMA also monitors volcanic and seismic activity on land and waves and currents at sea, and it helps protect lives by issuing various types of warnings.

Five Maps of TokyoPeter Durfee

Tokyo is one of the great cities of the world. Including the urban sprawl that surrounds it, extending into several other prefectures, it is one of the most populous, too. As of December 2014, Tokyo Metropolis is home to 13,390,116 people. The greater Tokyo region, which includes neighboring Saitama, Chiba, and Kanagawa Prefectures, had a population of 35,739,042 in 2013 (see p. 15 of this report)…

Will Warmer Oceans Trigger a Climate Catastrophe?Yamagata Toshio

Average global temperatures have stabilized since the turn of the millennium, but this does not mean global warming has come to a halt. Latest geophysical research reveals that heat is being absorbed by the sea and that the resulting warming of the oceans could bring climate change of even greater ferocity.

The Long-Term Macroeconomic Impact of Natural DisastersToya Hideki

Natural disasters triggered by abnormal weather invariably result in huge short-term economic losses. But Toya Hideki, a professor at Nagoya City University, points out that from a long-term perspective changes caused by such devastation can at times spur macroeconomic growth.

Addressing Natural Disaster Risks: The Need for Greater Self-RelianceKatada Toshitaka

When the city of Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture, was hit by a tremendous tsunami following the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, almost all of its 3,000 elementary and junior high school pupils survived. They were quick to flee thanks in part to the disaster-preparedness training by Katada Toshitaka, who here calls for greater self-reliance in the face of the growing risks from natural disasters.

In the Path of the Storm: Japan and Typhoons

Typhoons are a part of life in Japan, with several storms lashing the archipelago every year. So far in 2014 typhoons have blustered Okinawa, flooded rivers in Kyoto, and triggered flooding and landslides on the island of Shikoku. Mitigating measures have helped limit storm damage, but over the years Japan has felt the wrath of big storms. Here we present information on some of the most destructive typhoons to have struck Japan.

Hot and Getting Hotter

On August 12, 2013, the city of Shimanto in Kōchi Prefecture recorded a temperature of 41.0°C, a new high for Japan. As the country heats up, temperatures are rising most rapidly in major cities; the capital Tokyo has seen a three-degree increase over the past century.

“Guerrilla Rainstorms” Assault Tokyo

Sudden, localized summer downpours, known as “guerrilla rainstorms,” have become a recurring problem in Japan. They are particularly prevalent in Tokyo and other large cities, where the “heat island” phenomenon is believed to contribute to their regular occurrence.

The Need for Nuclear PowerToichi Tsutomu

Securing a stable energy supply is vital to resource-poor Japan and may well determine its viability as a nation. In this article, Toichi Tsutomu argues that even in the midst of the anxiety and anger surrounding the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the government needs to calmly work out its future energy policy.

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