Chinese planes fly close
Tokyo scrambled military jets yesterday to counter three Chinese military planes that flew near its airspace, defense officials said. One Y-8 information-gathering plane and two H-6 bombers flew over the East China Sea, traveling in international airspace between southern islands and went to the Pacific Ocean before returning toward China on the same route yesterday morning, a Joint Staff of the Ministry of Defense spokesman said. “They flew above public seas, and there was no violation of our airspace,” he said, declining to release more details about the incident.
Aid groups demand access
Nearly 130 organizations have called for immediate and permanent humanitarian access to civilians to help relieve the immense suffering caused by the country’s civil war. The 128 groups making the appeal include UN agencies and relief organizations from around the world. In a statement released yesterday, the groups urge all sides in the conflict “to listen to the voice of the international community as expressed unanimously through the Security Council.” The UN says more than 9 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian assistance.
Yunnan vice governor probed
A province vice governor is being investigated, the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) internal disciplinary body announced yesterday, the latest high-ranking official to fall in a high-profile anti-graft campaign. Shen Peiping (沈培平), vice governor of Yunnan, was suspected of “serious disciplinary and legal violations,” the CCP’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said in a one-sentence statement on its Web site. The phrase is usually a euphemism for corruption, an issue which causes widespread public anger. Shen was born in Yunnan and has been vice governor of the province since last year, according to the provincial government Web site.
Tuna quota to be cut
Plans are underway to slash by half the amount of juvenile bluefin tuna taken from the Northern Pacific starting next year, compared to the 2002 to 2004 average, reports said yesterday. The Fisheries Agency has decided to increase protection for bluefin tuna amid international concerns about declining stocks, according to major media, including the Yomiuri Shimbun and the Mainichi Shimbun. Studies have found bluefin tuna stocks, prized by sushi lovers, have fallen dramatically, with juveniles forming the majority of specimens now being caught, pushing the species closer to extinction. Last year, an international conference agreed to cut each nation’s quota for juvenile bluefin tuna this year by more than 15 percent from the 2002 to 2004 average, according to Kyodo News. The plan is aimed at encouraging other nations to adopt bigger cuts in their tuna catch quota, Kyodo said.
Anti-nuclear rally held
Banging on drums and waving “Sayonara nukes” signs, thousands of people rallied in a Tokyo park and marched to parliament to demand an end to nuclear power ahead of the third anniversary of the Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster. The demonstration yesterday, planned across the country is one of many such protests that have erupted since the March 11, 2011, nuclear disaster. The government has expressed interest in restarting some of the country’s 48 idled reactors. Oil imports have soared since the disaster, hurting the economy.