The gigantic pollution cloud that has had China in its poisonous grip for the last month (above, Shanghai in January) has now begun a slow creep over the rest of Asia. According to new reports, the latest victim of China's "airpocalypse" cloud is none other than Japan.
Commonly known as photochemical smog, which is produced when factory and car exhaust smoke is exposed to sunlight, pollution from China reportedly hit the west coast of Japan on Monday, prompting scores of worried calls to environmental officials from alarmed Japanese citizens.
Japan is now sandwiched between the threat of Fukushima nuclear waste on its East coast and China smog on its West coast, a situation that will likely only heighten already strained nerves regarding local environmental effects on human health. According to Kyushu University professor Toshihiko Takemura, who spoke with AFP, pollution from China has become a regular concern in western Japan in recent years, hitting a brief peak in 2011.
The pollution in Beijing has become so bad that companies like Apple and Toyota have reportedly issued masks to employees to protect them from the smog. The elevated levels of pollution currently coming into Japan from China have prompted Japan's Ministry of Environment to advise those in Western Japan to don masks, with officials expecting the air to improve by Wednesday.