PNR extends line to Los Baños with additional trains from Japan

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 5, 2019   •   866

The Philippines National Railways (PNR) officially extended its operations to Los Baños, Laguna on December 1 with the addition of new stations and train sets from Japan.

According to the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the five new flag stop stations past the Calamba station are Pansol, Masili, Los Baños, College, and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

The fare from Tutuban to Los Baños (IRRI) is P150.

Passengers will also experience reclining and rotating seats, stowable tables, leg rests, and a comfort room inside the Kogane train set from Japan. The DOTr said the Kogane train consists of three coaches and can accommodate 81 passengers.

Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade commended the efforts of the PNR for modernizing its train sets.

Umpisa pa lamang po ito, dahil marami pa pong ihahandog ang PNR na makakaabot ang riles sa iba’t ibang parte ng bansa (This is just the beginning because the PNR still has a lot to offer in order for its services to reach other parts of the country),” he said in a statement.

Apart from the Kogane train, two new train sets from Indonesia will arrive next week. The PNR ordered a total of 37 rail cars from Indonesia, 31 of these coaches are set to be delivered from December 2019 to February 2020.—AAC

Japan’s new supercomputer ranks as world’s most powerful

UNTV News   •   June 23, 2020

A Japanese supercomputer has taken the top spot among the world’s most powerful systems for the first time in nine years, a U.S.-European ranking of the world’s top supercomputers said on Monday (June 22).

“Fugaku”, jointly developed by Japanese Riken research and Fujitsu Ltd in Kobe, Japan, took first place on the TOP500 list, a twice-yearly listing of the world’s most powerful computers announced by an international conference of experts.

Fugaku also took the top spots in three other categories that measure performance in computational methods for industrial use, artificial intelligence applications and big data analytics.

“I am relieved and happy at the same time for this brilliant accomplishment,” Riken president Hiroshi Matsumoto said at a news conference on Tuesday (June 23) in Kobe.

Governments use supercomputers to simulate nuclear blasts to perform virtual weapons testing. They are also used for modelling climate systems and biotechnology research. The Fugaku supercomputer will be used in such research as part of Japan’s Society 5.0 technology program. (Reuters)

(Production: Hideto Sakai, Akiko Okamoto)

Japan to ease entry for Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, NZ – Abe

UNTV News   •   June 19, 2020

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday (June 18) said his country would ease entry restrictions for people coming from Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam.

Speaking at a news conference on a day after the parliament session closed, Abe said Japan, which bans entry from more than 100 countries, will start coordinating discussion with the four countries.

Abe emphasised Japan needs a measure to restore people’s livelihoods and the economy hit by the new coronavirus pandemic. “We need a measure which controls the risk of infections with as few restrictions as possible, a measure which focuses more on protecting our jobs and livelihoods,” he said.

Abe also delivered an apology at the beginning of the news conference, over the arrests of former justice minister Katsuyuki Kawai and his wife, upper house lawmaker Anri Kawai, on suspicion of vote-buying. “I’m keenly aware of my responsibility as I once appointed him (Katsuyuki Kawai) Justice Minister,” Abe added.

Support for Abe, who had close ties to the ex-justice minister, has declined over what critics say is his clumsy handling of the coronavirus outbreak, a furore over efforts to extend top prosecutors’ retirement age, and questions about government programmes to support tourism and smaller companies. (Reuters)

(Production: Hideto Sakai)

160 stranded Filipinos in Japan return home

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 2, 2020

After weeks of being stranded in Japan due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, a total of 160 Filipinos are finally sent home on Monday (June 1).

The 160 Filipino tourists, workers, and students departed from Narita International Airport via a chartered flight mounted by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), through the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo.

On the department’s Facebook post, Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs, Atty. Sarah Lou Y. Arriola, said that “the repatriation of distressed Filipinos abroad is firm commitment of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte which is dutifully being implemented by the Department of Foreign Affairs.”

Philippine Ambassador to Japan, Jose C. Laurel V assured the repatriates that the Philippine government will continue to provide assistance to Filipinos abroad.

According to the DFA, the said repatriated Filipinos will undergo COVID testing and hotel quarantine to wait out the results of their test. –AAC

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