Japanese TV – Q Ax http://q-ax.com/ Tue, 21 Jun 2022 07:14:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://q-ax.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/q-ax-icon-150x150.png Japanese TV – Q Ax http://q-ax.com/ 32 32 The bird brought back from extinction in Japan https://q-ax.com/the-bird-brought-back-from-extinction-in-japan/ Tue, 21 Jun 2022 04:44:27 +0000 https://q-ax.com/the-bird-brought-back-from-extinction-in-japan/ Sado (Japan) (AFP) – Every day for 14 years, 72-year-old Masaoki Tsuchiya has gone before sunrise in search of a bird saved from extinction in Japan.

Starting his car under a starry sky unpolluted by light, he works alone in the cold of dawn, marking observations or absences in a diary, interrupted only by the crackle of a walkie-talkie.

The bird he is looking for is called “toki” in Japanese, and its presence at his home on Sado Island is testament to a remarkable conservation program.

In just under two decades, Japan’s population of wild toki has grown from zero to nearly 500, all on Sado, where the bird’s delicate pink plumage and distinctive curved beak now attract tourists.

It’s a rare conservation achievement when one in eight bird species in the world is threatened with extinction, and involves international diplomacy and an agricultural revolution on a small island off the west coast of Japan.

A cautionary tale

Tsuchiya, stocky and lively with a mischievous grin, doesn’t eat breakfast until he’s made all his stops, and after years of practice he can spot chicks hiding in nests through the monocular. strapped to his car window.

He points to virtually imperceptible marks on a road or wall that help him remember where to park and start surveying.

Japanese crested ibis conservation timeline Janis LATVELSAFP

“The number I see there depends on the season,” he explains.

On some days, dozens of birds appear in an area, something unimaginable in 2003, when a toki called Kin or “gold” died in a cage in Sado at the record age of 36.

Its death meant that there was not a single wild-born toki left in Japan, although the bird is so synonymous with the country that it is also known as the Japanese crested ibis.

“I knew the day would come. She was very old and frail,” Tsuchiya said. “But it was still really a shame.”

Also known as the Asian crested ibis, Japan's last toki died in 2003
Also known as the Asian crested ibis, Japan’s last toki died in 2003 Charly TRIBALLEAUAFP

Efforts to get Kin to mate with Sado’s last wild male toki, Midori—meaning “green”—had long since failed, and she lived out her final years as a curiosity and environmental cautionary tale.

His death made national headlines and seemed to mark the end of a long and seemingly futile battle to protect the toki in Japan, where its feathers even inspired the peachy pink word: “toki-iro”.

But now there are so many roaming the skies and rice paddies of Sado that local authorities have gone from discouraging keen birdwatchers to training guides to help visitors spot the local icon, and the government is even investigating the reintroduction of the bird elsewhere.


The wild toki once lived across Japan, as well as in Russia, Taiwan, and South Korea.

They were considered a pest that damaged rice plants, but during Japan’s Edo era, from 1603 to 1867, hunting restrictions meant that only high officials could actively pursue birds like the toki.

This changed in the Meiji era and as firearms became more available. Toki meat was believed to have health benefits, and its feathers were favored for everything from feather dusters to decorative frills on hats.

A small population of toki has been found in China and a successful breeding program has allowed the birds to be reintroduced to Sado
A small population of toki has been found in China and a successful breeding program has allowed the birds to be reintroduced to Sado Charly TRIBALLEAUAFP

“In just 40 years, the toki has all but disappeared,” Tsuchiya said from an observation deck where visitors now try to spot the bird.

By the early 1930s, there were only a few dozen toki left in Japan, mostly in Sado and the nearby Noto Peninsula, and the species was granted protected status.

A new threat then emerged during Japan’s post-war growth campaign: the increasing use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Toki primarily forage in rice paddies that mimic swampy wetland habitats and they are indiscriminate diners, eating everything from insects to small crabs and frogs.

Authorities initially struggled to persuade farmers in Sado to switch to environmentally friendly fertilizers
Authorities initially struggled to persuade farmers in Sado to switch to environmentally friendly fertilizers Charly TRIBALLEAUAFP

The chemicals affected the birds and their food, and in 1981 only five wild toki remained in Japan, all in Sado, where authorities took them into protective captivity.

But by a strange coincidence, in the same year, a population of seven wild toki was discovered in a remote area of ​​China’s Shaanxi province, reviving hopes of the bird’s survival.

Captive Sado birds failed to mate, but the Chinese program was more successful, and when then-Chinese President Jiang Zemin made a historic first state visit in 1998, he gave Japan a pair of toki.

You You and Yang Yang arrived in first class seats the following year, producing their first chick months later in an event that led national television broadcasts.

Other birds arrived from China, and over time Sado had a large enough population to consider reintroducing the toki into the wild.

But first they had to tackle the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in Sado.

The creation of a premium
The creation of a ‘toki-friendly’ premium rice brand has encouraged farmers to support conservation efforts Charly TRIBALLEAUAFP

“Back then, people didn’t think about the environment when they cultivated. Their priorities were to sell produce at a high price and harvest as much as possible,” said Shinichiro Saito, a 60-year-old rice farmer.

Farmers have been told to halve chemical fertilizers and pesticides from the level allowed by local rules, but there has been backsliding.

Fewer chemicals meant smaller harvests, lost income and more weeding.

And some farmers didn’t see the point of other proposals like underground canals connecting rice paddies to rivers to increase the flow of aquatic life.

“Compatible with Toki”

Local officials used a carrot and stick approach, refusing to buy rice from farmers who rejected the new chemical limits and creating a new premium brand of “toki-friendly” rice for those who did.

But Saito, who was an early adopter, said the real difference came when the first birds were released in 2008.

Sado local Masaoki Tsuchiya documents toki nests every morning
Sado local Masaoki Tsuchiya documents toki nests every morning Charly TRIBALLEAUAFP

“It was the toki that made them change their minds,” he said with a smirk.

Even farmers reluctant to adapt were “delighted” to see a bird of almost mythical status on Sado roaming their fields.

“It’s a true story. The toki was almost like an environmental ambassador, he helped create a good environment for himself.”

Tsuchiya’s daily tours started with the 2008 release.

Since then he has witnessed triumphs including the first chick born in the wild and the first chick born to birds born in the wild – moments he describes with the proud anxiety of a parent sending a child to the school for the first time.

Japanese crested ibis
Japanese crested ibis Janis LATVELSAFP

He still runs his own business, though the toki feather tucked into his car’s folding rear view mirror makes it clear where his heart lies.

And the breeding program has continued, supplemented by birds from China that are helping to expand the gene pool.

About 20 birds are released twice a year after completing a three-month training program that prepares them for life outside a cage.

“They are learning to fly, finding food and getting used to being around humans,” said Tomoki Tsuchiya, who is working with the local government of Sado to make the island toki-friendly.

City officials even practice farm around the birds to familiarize them with sound.

“Like family”

When the first toki were released on Sado, there were so many gaps in knowledge about the species that volunteers analyzed their droppings to find out what the birds ate.

There were missteps: Officials prepared a remote mountain site for the release, thinking the birds would prefer isolation, but the toki instead flew to fields frequented by farmers.

Tomoki Tsuchiya’s interest in toki was encouraged by his father, Masaoki.

But it’s a fascination shared by many on Sado, where the bird is rendered as a cute mascot on everything from T-shirts to milk cartons.

In just under two decades, Sado's wild toki population has grown from zero to nearly 500
In just under two decades, Sado’s wild toki population has grown from zero to nearly 500 Charly TRIBALLEAUAFP

“How can I express it? Toki is so important to Sado people,” the 42-year-old said.

“It’s like a family.”

Even after training, a toki’s future is precarious: only about half survive predators like snakes and weasels, and the survival rate of newborn chicks is similar.

But enough has flourished for Japan to expand the Sado program, and there have been successes elsewhere.

China’s wild population now numbers over 4,450 individuals, and a South Korean project released 40 toki for the first time in 2019.

For Saito, who speaks like toki squawk nearby, the bird’s resurrection is part of a bigger achievement on Sado – a new approach to farming and the environment.

“When this project started, what I dreamed of the most was seeing toki flying above me while I was cultivating,” he said.

“An environment that’s good for toki is an environment that’s also safe for humans, and that’s something the people of Sado can be proud of.”

Prime Minister Kishida wary of Japan’s acquisition of nuclear submarine https://q-ax.com/prime-minister-kishida-wary-of-japans-acquisition-of-nuclear-submarine/ Sun, 19 Jun 2022 05:51:35 +0000 https://q-ax.com/prime-minister-kishida-wary-of-japans-acquisition-of-nuclear-submarine/

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida attends a press conference at his office in Tokyo on June 15, 2022. (Mainichi/Kan Takeuchi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida sounded cautious on Sunday over acquiring a nuclear-powered submarine to bolster the country’s defense capability, a call by some opposition parties before next month’s upper house elections.

“I don’t know if making the jump to a nuclear submarine is a good idea,” Kishida said during an appearance on a Fuji TV show with other party leaders. He referred to the difficulty of using nuclear energy for military purposes under Japan’s Atomic Energy Law and the high operating costs.

But Kishida, who leads the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, stressed the need to bolster Japan’s defenses at a time when Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Chinese military assertion have highlighted the Japan’s security issues.

“We will see what needs to be prioritized to protect people’s lives and their livelihoods,” he said.

Natsuo Yamaguchi, head of the LDP’s junior coalition partner Komeito, echoed Kishida’s view, calling the idea of ​​a nuclear-powered submarine “unrealistic”.

Ichiro Matsui, leader of Japan’s Innovation Party, and Yuichiro Tamaki, leader of the People’s Democratic Party, called for the acquisition of a nuclear-powered submarine to enhance deterrence and reconnaissance capability.

Japan “should have an advanced type (of submarine) to increase deterrence,” Matsui said, while Tamaki pointed to the advantage of a nuclear submarine’s ability to stay underwater for long periods of time. months for enhanced surveillance and reconnaissance operations.

Japan embarked on an exclusively defense-oriented policy under the pacifist constitution, and its defense spending was limited to around 1% of gross domestic product.

Kenta Izumi, the leader of Japan’s main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party, opposed the acquisition of a nuclear-powered submarine, saying the country’s defenses “won’t get stronger just because luxury amenities will be added.”

Among other issues, Kishida reiterated his commitment to implement measures to mitigate the impact of high energy and food prices resulting in part from the weak yen, which has increased the cost of imported goods.

Kazuo Shii, leader of the Japanese Communist Party, has urged the government to halve the consumption tax rate to 5% and take steps to raise wages.

In a separate debate of major party political leaders on public broadcaster NHK, the CDPJ and the Japan Innovation Party called for a reduction in consumption taxes to stimulate the economy.

But Sanae Takaichi, chair of the LDP’s policy research council, said the current level of consumption tax was needed to fund the national pension and health systems.

In the July 10 election for the House of Councillors, in which the coalition currently holds the majority, 150 of the 248 seats will be up for grabs. The official campaign will begin on Wednesday.

]]> Singapore, most Asian markets down on recession fears; The Bank of Japan in the spotlight https://q-ax.com/singapore-most-asian-markets-down-on-recession-fears-the-bank-of-japan-in-the-spotlight/ Fri, 17 Jun 2022 04:02:31 +0000 https://q-ax.com/singapore-most-asian-markets-down-on-recession-fears-the-bank-of-japan-in-the-spotlight/

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) – Stocks fell in Asia on Friday (June 17) amid fears of an economic slowdown as monetary policy tightens to tackle high inflation.

Singapore stocks fell early Friday morning, dragging losses across global and regional markets.

The Straits Times index fell about 0.5% to around 3,083 points at midday.

Japanese stocks fell around 2%, but China and Hong Kong managed to buck the regional trend with consistent performance. U.S. equity futures made modest gains after the S&P 500 closed at its lowest level since December 2020.

Treasuries pared the declines, taking the 10-year yield to around 3.22%. The US dollar rebounded from its worst two-day decline since 2020.

Markets end a week rocked by interest rate hikes, including the Federal Reserve’s biggest move since 1994, a shock hike by the Swiss National Bank that boosted the franc and the latest increase in borrowing costs British.

Japan, on the other hand, stuck to monetary easing on Friday. But the Bank of Japan made a rare reference to the need to pay close attention to currencies. The yen – the weakest performer in the Group of 10 currency basket this year – fell about 1% against the dollar.

Doubts about the sustainability of the central bank’s stance had sparked speculation about a potential policy surprise. The yield on Japanese 10-year bonds hit 0.265% earlier on Friday, the highest since 2016, defying a curve-control policy that aims for a ceiling of 0.25%.

Rate hikes drain liquidity, causing losses across a range of assets. Global stocks face one of their worst weeks since the pandemic-induced turmoil of 2020. Investors focus on ‘all the half-empty stuff and how narrower the Fed’s lane is’ to try to achieve a soft landing, Ms. Carol Schleif, deputy chief investment officer at BMO Family Office, said on Bloomberg TV.

Spreads on junk-listed US corporate bonds have reached levels not seen in 2020, a sign that investors expect economic woes to undermine corporate performance.

Bitcoin fell towards the US$20,000 level.

Oil faltered as traders weighed the prospect of slowing economic growth amid tight supplies, while gold pared its rally.

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