LNG prices starting to tail off on slower Asian demand


The prices for liquefied natural gas shipped to Asia next winter may be the lowest for years, according to a Bloomberg analysis, which cites rising supplies in the region and dropping demand in Japan, which is preparing to restart a number of its nuclear reactors.

Fukushima farmers appeal to Tokyo with live bull

TOKYO (AP) — Two Japanese farmers whose livelihoods were wrecked by the 2011 nuclear disaster staged a protest Friday at Tokyo's agriculture ministry, scuffling briefly with police as they unsuccessfully tried to unload a bull from a truck.

Masami Yoshizawa and fellow farmer Naoto Matsumura have remained at their farms to care for their own and others' abandoned livestock in areas where access has been restricted due to radiation fears since the March 2011 meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant.

The two drove down from Fukushima, bringing the black bull in the back of a truck, to appeal for help with the livestock, some of which have developed unexplained white spots on their hides.


Japan oil tanker explodes off SW coast; 1 missing

TOKYO (AP) — The coast guard says a Japanese oil tanker has exploded off the country's southwest coast near Himeji port, leaving one of the eight people aboard missing and the other seven injured.

Public broadcaster NHK says four of the injured people were severely burned.

Japan court rejects startup of 2 nuclear reactors

TOKYO (AP) — A court Wednesday refused to let two nuclear reactors restart operations in western Japan, saying their risk assessment is too optimistic and safety measures insufficient despite lessons from the Fukushima disaster.

The denial by the district court in Japan's nuclear hub of Fukui is the first since the crisis and comes as some Japanese reactors are in the final stages of safety screening before a restart, and plaintiffs and their anti-nuclear supporters say the court ruling could sway local acceptance.

US Ambassador Kennedy visits Fukushima plant

TOKYO (AP) — U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy has gotten a firsthand look inside the Japanese nuclear plant devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Kennedy toured the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant for about three hours Wednesday.

She wore a yellow helmet and a white protective suit with her last name emblazoned on it as she was shown around the plant.

Former worker sues Fukushima plant operator

TOKYO (AP) — A former worker is seeking 11 million yen ($110,000) in compensation from the operator of Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant for exposing him to high levels of radiation after the 2011 tsunami.

The worker was part of a team sent to lay electric cables in one of the reactors 13 days after the disaster.

Experts question ice wall at Japan nuclear plant

TOKYO (AP) — Experts on Friday expressed skepticism about a plan to build a costly underground frozen wall at Japan's crippled nuclear plant, a development that could delay the start of construction on the project.

The experts and Japanese nuclear regulatory officials said during a meeting in Tokyo that they weren't convinced the project can resolve a serious contaminated water problem at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, which suffered multiple meltdowns following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Japan unhappy about width limits proposed for expanded Panama Canal

The Wall Street Journal

Japan is protesting that limiting ships to 49 meters wide in the expanded Panama Canal would exclude the giant Q-Flex carrier, which would affect possible U.S. LNG export deals, The Wall Street Journal reports

Japan logs record $134B trade deficit in FY 2013

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's trade deficit surged nearly 70 percent to a record 13.75 trillion yen ($134 billion) in the last fiscal year, the third straight year of deficit, as exports failed to keep pace with surging energy costs.

The Finance Ministry reported Monday that exports in the year that ended March 31 rose 10.8 percent over the year before to 70.8 trillion yen ($690.5 billion) while imports climbed 17.3 percent to 84.6 trillion yen ($825 billion).

Preliminary data showed the deficit at 1.45 trillion yen ($14.1 billion) in March, the 21st straight month of shortfall. The annual rate of growth in exports sank to 1.8 percent in March from a peak of 18.6 percent in October, while the growth rate for imports has remained mostly in the double digits.

Japan favors coal over renewables in latest energy plan


Looking for other sources of energy in the wake of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is recommending expanded coal use, while his energy plan fails to set renewable energy goals, angering some environmentalists, Bloomberg reports.


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