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Japanese firm builds mobile phone that can detect radiation

The Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan Credit: REUTERS/KYODO/Files

A Japanese mobile phone operator has cashed in on residual fears from the Fukushima nuclear accident by designing a smartphone with a built-in radiation detector.

Softbank Corp claims the phones are more compact and user-friendly than conventional geiger counters, which have become a familiar sight in some parts of the country.

The company announced today that it would begin selling the phones this summer at an "affordable price".

Although there is an exclusion zone around the nuclear plant and all residents have been evacuated, there are still concerns about nuclear hotspots along Japan's eastern coast. Anti-nuclear activists have campaigned for radiation monitoring in schools.

Softbank president Masayoshi Son said: "The threat from the nuclear accident cannot be seen by the human eye and continues to be a concern for many people, especially for mothers with small children."

Japan close to nuclear power-free summer

police in protective suits
Police officers in protective suits after the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster. Credit: Reuters

Tokyo Electric Power Co, the operator of the Fukushima plant, will shut down its last running reactor at the Kashiwazaki Kariwa plant, leaving online just one of Japan's 54 reactors.

Safety worries have kept those reactors taken off-line after the Fukushima disaster from being restarted.

damaged power plant
Fukushima nuclear power plant after the disaster in 2011. Credit: Reuters

Anti-nuclear activists may welcome the prospect that the reactors that supplied nearly 30 percent of Japan's electricity before the March 2011 disaster will be shut down.

But experts say firms will have to bear a costly burden and that mandatory limits on power use may be necessary to avoid blackouts.

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Japan's images of remembrance

Relatives of earthquake and tsunami victims offer chrysanthemums during the national memorial service for the victims in Tokyo
Relatives of earthquake and tsunami victims offer chrysanthemums during the national memorial service for the victims in Tokyo Credit: Press Association
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda speaks in front of an image of disaster-hit areas
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda speaks in front of an image of disaster-hit areas Credit: Press Association
Moment of silence close to the 330 ton fishing vessel which was flung 800 meters inland from Kesennuma
Moment of silence close to the 330 ton fishing vessel which was flung 800 meters inland from Kesennuma Credit: Press Association
A woman cries during a ceremony for victims at Jyodoji temple in Rikuzentakata
A woman cries during a ceremony for victims at Jyodoji temple in Rikuzentakata Credit: Reuters
A woman kneels near a pile of debris while offering prayers in the devastated city of Rikuzentakata
A woman kneels near a pile of debris while offering prayers in the devastated city of Rikuzentakata Credit: Press Association

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Japan's leader remember disaster victims

Japan's Prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda and Emperor Akihito have spoken of the terrible events of a year ago and promised to emerge from the crisis even stronger.

A year has passed since the Great East Japan Disaster but it is still unbearable to think of the pain of the survivors and the despair of families who's loved ones have passed away. Our forebears who built this country's prosperity have emerged from each crisis even stronger. We will fulfill our historic mission of realizing the rebirth of this nation through reconstruction while holding hands with people in the disaster affected regions and being close to them.

– YOSHIHIKO NODA, JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER

I would like to take this opportunity to deeply thank the people who helped the victims and those in the disaster zones, and those that helped deal with the nuclear crisis. It is important that we do not forget the memories of this big earthquake and pass them onto our descendants, so that readiness for natural disasters is fostered and we can make progress towards building a safer country.

– JAPANESE EMPEROR AKIHITO

Japan pauses to remember dead

Japan held a minute's silence for the thousands of people killed exactly one year ago today in a devastating earthquake and the resulting Tsunami.

The main memorial service was in Tokyo and was attended by Japan's Emperor Akihito and prime minister Yoshihiko Noda. But dozens of communities hit by the terrifying tsunami also stopped to remember the dead and missing.

The quake that measured 9 on the Richter scale struck at 05.46 British time and 14.46 local time on March 11th 2011. Half an hour later the 75 foot Tsunami ripped through coastal towns and villages leaving a trail of death and destruction.

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