1) Chubu Electric Power Company has shown to media a 22-meter-high tsunami defense barrier at its Hamaoka nuclear power station in central Japan.
2) Researchers in Japan have detected relatively high levels of radioactive substances in sediment in multiple rivers running through Fukushima Prefecture.
3) The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has compiled a plan to turn the village for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics into an eco-friendly residential and commercial area after the games.
4) Japan’s governing coalition has drafted a bill calling for greater government efforts to raise public awareness of hate speech.
The Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito adopted the first draft on Thursday at a meeting of a taskforce on the problem in Japan. The team was set up by the parties.
The draft defines hate speech as inflammatory speech intended to incite hatred against people from certain ethnic groups, to exclude them from society.
It says hate speech often involves blatant language that threatens the lives, property or freedom of such minorities. It also says the government must take measures to end hate speech in Japan.
5) Work has finally begun to freeze the soil around four damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Engineers are trying to reduce the buildup of contaminated water at the site.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, the owner of the plant, started the work on Thursday, after the Nuclear Regulation Authority gave the go-ahead. It took TEPCO about two years to install the system.
TEPCO says it will freeze soil in phases, first, on the downstream side of the reactors, using 1,000 of the 1,700 underground pipes. TEPCO says it will take about 45 days for the ice wall to generate effects.
6) Japanese consumers can choose their electricity supplier from Friday as full deregulation of the power-retail market comes into effect.
Consumers had previously only been able to buy electricity from power companies in the regions where they live. The full deregulation ends the monopoly of the major utilities that continued for about 60 years.
7) The Bank of Japan’s quarterly Tankan survey shows that business sentiment among Japanese major manufacturers worsened for the first time in two quarters.
The central bank surveyed roughly 11,000 companies across Japan from late February to March 31, and released the latest survey results on Friday.