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Animals

Brutal Hunt That Has Already Killed Thousands of Porpoises in Japan Resumes Again Today

Otsuchi, in northern Japan, is the focal point of the hand harpoon hunt which has claimed up to 15,000 Dall's porpoises in previous years.

In the most recent hunting seasons for which information is available, Japan allocated itself a quota of 13,493 Dall's porpoises in 2013/14, 12,928 in 2014/15 and 12,364 in 2015/16. The catch, however, has been significantly less than the quota for many years. In 2016, just over a thousand porpoises were killed.

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Humpback whale. Christopher Michel / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Humpback Whales Are Falling Silent and the Reason Will Make You Cry

Male humpback whales are known for their evocative songs, but their classic melodies are being shortened or silenced in reaction to shipping noise, Japanese researchers found.

Baleen whales such as humpbacks use songs to communicate, search for food, find mates and navigate the seas,but in Japan, their voices are being drowned out by the din of cacophonous human activity.

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Climate
Japan's cherry blossoms are unexpectedly blooming this autumn. Coniferconifer / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Cherry Blossoms Are Blooming Across Japan. It's October.

Each year, Japan's iconic cherry blossoms herald the arrival of spring. But after a bout of extreme weather, blooms are being reported several months early.

The Japanese weather site Weathernews said it had received more than 350 reports of blossoms throughout the country. The flowers usually appear in March or April.

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Ola Jennersten / WWF-Sweden

Online Ivory Trade Perpetuated by Yahoo Japan, Weak Legislation

Yahoo Japan is the single biggest online platform for elephant ivory sales in Japan, according to a new TRAFFIC investigation, which recorded a staggering 4,414 ivory items plus 35 whole tusks for sale over a four-week period in June and July 2018.

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Animals
Minke whales dragged aboard the Japanese whaling vessel Nisshin Maru. Customs and Border Protection Service, Commonwealth of Australia

Japan Aims to Overthrow 32-Year-Old Global Whaling Ban

Japan is proposing a slew of rule changes at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in Florianópolis, Brazil this week that conservationists worry would ultimately lift a 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling.

Japan, which launched a "scientific whaling" program in 1987 as a loophole to the moratorium, has killed more than 15,600 whales in the Antarctic since the ban (including juvenile and pregnant minke whales), according to a report released last month by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI).

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Major Earthquake Strikes Japan in Latest String of Natural Disasters

A powerful earthquake rocked Hokkaido, Japan in the early hours on Thursday, triggering landslides, destroying roads and buildings and left the northern island's 5.3 million residents without power.

The 6.7-magnitude quake struck at 3:09 a.m. local time at a depth of 40 kilometers (24 miles), according to the Associated Press.

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Climate

Powerful Typhoon Hits Japan After Summer of Killer Heat and Floods

A powerful typhoon made landfall in western Japan on Tuesday, bringing heavy rain and violent winds up to 135 miles per hour, reports say.

Typhoon Jebi, which translates to "swallow" in Korean, is classed as a "very strong" typhoon, the weather agency's chief forecaster Ryuta Kurora told AFP.

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A woman holds an umbrella as she walks along a street in Tokyo on July 23, as Japan suffers from a heatwave. MARTIN BUREAU / AFP / Getty Images

More Than 70,000 People Hospitalized Amid Record-Breaking Heat in Japan

An ongoing heatwave has sent a record 71,266 people to hospitals across Japan between April 30 and Aug. 5 with 138 people dying from heat-related illnesses, The Japan Times reported, citing the nation's Fire and Disaster Management Agency.

The busy capital of Tokyo saw the highest number of people taken to hospitals, at 5,994. Osaka followed with 5,272. About 40 percent of the total tally consists of elderly people.

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Tokyo residents run from rains caused by Typhoon Jongdari. JIJI PRESS / AFP / Getty Images

Typhoon Slams Into Flood-Ravaged Japan

After historic flooding killed hundreds and a record-breaking heat wave killed scores in Japan this month, the country prepared to weather yet another disaster as Typhoon Jongdari made landfall on the country's main island of Honshu Sunday, BBC News reported.

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