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Concept: Japan


This paper focuses on an overview of radioactive cesium 137 (quasi-Cs137 included Cs134) contamination of freshwater fish in Fukushima and eastern Japan based on the data published by the Fisheries Agency of the Japanese Government in 2011. In the area north and west of the Fukushima Nuclear plant, freshwater fish have been highly contaminated. For example, the mean of active cesium (quasi-Cs137) contamination of Ayu (Plecoglossus altivelis) is 2,657 Bq/kg at Mano River, 20-40 km north-west from the plant. Bioaccumulation is observed in the Agano river basin in Aizu sub-region, 70-150 km west from the plant. The active cesium (quasi-Cs137) contamination of carnivorous Salmondae is around 2 times higher than herbivorous Ayu. The extent of active cesium (quasi-Cs137) contamination of Ayu is observed in the entire eastern Japan. The some level of the contamination is recognized even in Shizuoka prefecture, 400 km south-west from the plant.

Concepts: Chernobyl disaster, Japan, Freshwater fish, Prefectures of Japan, Government of Japan, Honshū, Shizuoka Prefecture, Ayu


Kikai submarine caldera to the south of the Kyushu Island, SW Japan, collapsed at 7.3 ka during the latest supereruption (>500 km3 of magma) in the Japanese Archipelago. Multi functional research surveys of the T/S Fukae Maru in this caldera, including multi-beam echosounder mapping, remotely operated vehicle observation, multi-channel seismic reflection survey, and rock sampling by dredging and diving, provided lines of evidence for creation of a giant rhyolite lava dome (~32 km3) after the caldera collapse. This dome is still active as water column anomalies accompanied by bubbling from its surface are observed. Chemical characteristics of dome-forming rhyolites akin to those of presently active small volcanic cones are different from those of supereruption. The voluminous post-caldera activity is thus not caused simply by squeezing the remnant of syn-caldera magma but may tap a magma system that has evolved both chemically and physically since the 7.3-ka supereruption.

Concepts: Japan, Volcano, Rhyolite, Lava, Volcanology, Caldera, Kagoshima Prefecture, Kumamoto Prefecture


After the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in March 2011, radioactive elements were released from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Based on prior knowledge, concern emerged about whether an increased incidence of thyroid cancer among exposed residents would occur as a result.

Concepts: Chernobyl disaster, Uranium, Nuclear fission, Japan, Nuclear power, Nuclear safety, Electricity generation, Sellafield


In Fukushima, Japan, a prolonged refugee situation caused by a major nuclear incident after the earthquake of March 11, 2011 has led to the unintentional abandonment of many pets. We received stray or abandoned dogs from rescue centers in Fukushima Prefecture. During re-socialization training and health care, we accessed the behavioral characteristics and the urine cortisol level of each dog and compared them with those of other abandoned dogs not involved in this earthquake. The dogs from Fukushima showed significantly lower aggression toward unfamiliar people, trainability, and attachment to their caretakers; also, urine cortisol levels in the dogs from Fukushima were 5-10-fold higher than those in abandoned dogs from another area of Japan. These results suggested that the dogs from Fukushima suffered through an extremely stressful crisis.

Concepts: Health care, Japan, Dog, Earthquake, Prefectures of Japan, Fukushima Prefecture, Tōhoku region, Honshū


Understanding natural selection is crucial to unveiling evolution of modern humans. Here, we report natural selection signatures in the Japanese population using 2234 high-depth whole-genome sequence (WGS) data (25.9×). Using rare singletons, we identify signals of very recent selection for the past 2000-3000 years in multiple loci (ADH cluster, MHC region, BRAP-ALDH2, SERHL2). In large-scale genome-wide association study (GWAS) dataset (n = 171,176), variants with selection signatures show enrichment in heterogeneity of derived allele frequency spectra among the geographic regions of Japan, highlighted by two major regional clusters (Hondo and Ryukyu). While the selection signatures do not show enrichment in archaic hominin-derived genome sequences, they overlap with the SNPs associated with the modern human traits. The strongest overlaps are observed for the alcohol or nutrition metabolism-related traits. Our study illustrates the value of high-depth WGS to understand evolution and their relationship with disease risk.

Concepts: Genetics, Human, Natural selection, Evolution, Genome-wide association study, Sequence, Japan, Human evolution


 To examine the association between adherence to the Japanese Food Guide Spinning Top and total and cause specific mortality.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Nutrition, Japan, Ainu people, Japanese people, Japanese diaspora, Yamato people, Haruki Murakami


Potential risks of supply shortages for critical metals including rare-earth elements and yttrium (REY) have spurred great interest in commercial mining of deep-sea mineral resources. Deep-sea mud containing over 5,000 ppm total REY content was discovered in the western North Pacific Ocean near Minamitorishima Island, Japan, in 2013. This REY-rich mud has great potential as a rare-earth metal resource because of the enormous amount available and its advantageous mineralogical features. Here, we estimated the resource amount in REY-rich mud with Geographical Information System software and established a mineral processing procedure to greatly enhance its economic value. The resource amount was estimated to be 1.2 Mt of rare-earth oxide for the most promising area (105 km2 × 0-10 mbsf), which accounts for 62, 47, 32, and 56 years of annual global demand for Y, Eu, Tb, and Dy, respectively. Moreover, using a hydrocyclone separator enabled us to recover selectively biogenic calcium phosphate grains, which have high REY content (up to 22,000 ppm) and constitute the coarser domain in the grain-size distribution. The enormous resource amount and the effectiveness of the mineral processing are strong indicators that this new REY resource could be exploited in the near future.

Concepts: Geographic information system, Japan, Pacific Ocean, Ocean, Rare earth element, Yttrium, Terbium, Dysprosium


The United Nations Paris Agreement creates a specific need to compare consequences of cumulative emissions for pledged national commitments and aspirational targets of 1.5° to 2°C global warming. We find that humans have already increased the probability of historically unprecedented hot, warm, wet, and dry extremes, including over 50 to 90% of North America, Europe, and East Asia. Emissions consistent with national commitments are likely to cause substantial and widespread additional increases, including more than fivefold for warmest night over ~50% of Europe and >25% of East Asia and more than threefold for wettest days over >35% of North America, Europe, and East Asia. In contrast, meeting aspirational targets to keep global warming below 2°C reduces the area experiencing more than threefold increases to <10% of most regions studied. However, large areas-including >90% of North America, Europe, East Asia, and much of the tropics-still exhibit sizable increases in the probability of record-setting hot, wet, and/or dry events.

Concepts: United States, Europe, Japan, Asia, North America, United Nations, Subregion, Cold War


Several epidemiological studies have reported that high concentrations of circulating ferritin, a marker of iron stores, are related to insulin resistance (IR); however, questions remain regarding inconsistent data between Asian men and women and the inadequate consideration of potential confounding effects on the relationship between ferritin and IR. Our aim was to examine the relationship between serum ferritin concentrations and IR markers in the Japanese population.

Concepts: Japan, Iron deficiency anemia, Asia, Demographics of Japan


We investigated the effects of mirodenafil, a phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor developed in South Korea, on the female rat bladder in a partial bladder outlet obstruction (BOO) model.

Concepts: Developed country, Japan, Asia, South Korea, Republic of China, PDE5 inhibitors, Developed market