IEA ANNOUNCES LARGEST-EVER RELEASE OF OIL RESERVES
The International Energy Agency has decided on its largest-ever release of oil reserves. The move is aimed at easing surging prices.
The IEA says its member states will tap an additional 120 million barrels over the next six months. They agreed on this amount last week. Half will come from the United States. Japan’s amount is 15 million barrels.
This is the second time this year the IEA has decided on a coordinated oil stock release. The other time was last month.
IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol calls the two emergency moves taking place a month apart “unprecedented.” He says they reflect “the determination of member countries to protect the global economy from the social and economic impacts of an oil shock following Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.”
The U.S. also plans an independent release of more of its stockpile.
‘DEMON SLAYER’ TO BE ADAPTED INTO NOH PLAY
Record-setting Japanese anime “Kimetsu no Yaiba,” or “Demon Slayer,” is now being adapted as a traditional noh play.
“Demon Slayer” is a manga series by Gotouge Koyoharu. The story is about a boy who battles demons in Japan about a century ago. Its film adaptation set a box-office record in Japan.
Actors and producers involved with the planned performance announced some details on Tuesday. Actor Ohtsuki Bunzo, who’s a government-designated Person of Cultural Merit, will perform in the noh play, while Nomura Mansai will play the key demon and serve as stage director.
(Nomura Mansai / Kyogen actor)
“The story is well-suited to noh as its theme is demons, which are often a key feature of noh plots.”
The noh performance will last just over two hours and depict part of the original story. It’s scheduled to start late July in Tokyo, then go to Osaka in December.
COLONIES OF INVASIVE ANT SPECIES FOUND AT OSAKA AIRPORT
Large breeding colonies of Argentine ants have been found at Osaka Airport in western Japan. The insects native to South America are designated as an invasive alien species here in Japan. One expert has warned they could interfere with vital airport equipment.
Officials of the airport operator and Itami City say they found numerous colonies last week when they inspected over 10 hectares of the facility’s grounds. They say each colony could comprise tens of thousands of ants. The insects are believed to have been breeding for several years.
The expert says reproduction of non-native ants in large numbers should be taken seriously, especially at places like airports, where safety is the top priority.
(Goka Kouichi / National Institute for Environmental Studies)
“These ants have a tendency to get inside electronic equipment and cabling. When that happens, they can cause problems with air traffic control equipment.”
The airport operator plans to conduct a full-scale inspection and exterminate the pests.
‘SHO-TIME’ MAKES MORE HISTORY ON 2022 MLB OPENING DAY
Japanese baseball superstar Ohtani Shohei has kicked off his fifth season in the United States. It was the first time in major league history a starting pitcher also led off an opening game at the plate. Ohtani and the Los Angeles Angels faced the Houston Astros, last year’s American League champs.
Fans are hoping Ohtani will repeat his historic season last year. He started on the mound with a strikeout in a scoreless first inning. And at the plate, he hit the first pitch, but grounded out.
Ohtani allowed one run in the third inning, but he struck out all three batters in the fourth. He had a total of nine strikeouts before leaving the game as pitcher in the middle of the fifth inning.
In the eighth inning, Ohtani hit a towering fly ball, but his night ended without a hit. The Astros beat the Angels 3-1, and Ohtani took his first loss of the year.
JACKSON CONFIRMED AS FIRST BLACK WOMAN ON SUPREME COURT
In a historic vote, the U.S. Senate has confirmed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. She will become the first Black woman to serve on the top court.
The Senate approved President Joe Biden’s nominee on Thursday in a 53-47 vote. Jackson will be formally sworn in this summer.
Biden tweeted, “Judge Jackson’s confirmation was a historic moment for our nation. We’ve taken another step toward making our highest court reflect the diversity of America.”
The nine justices of the Supreme Court make final decisions on socially divisive issues, such as abortion, gun control, and same-sex marriage.
Currently, there are six conservatives and three liberals. Jackson is seen as a liberal. She will succeed retiring Justice Stephen Breyer, who is also a liberal. The ideological balance on the court is expected to remain unchanged.