JAPAN: Japanese President Shinzo Abe has announced a ban on “Aarp” balloons, as a result of a public health crisis caused by the airborne particles.
The announcement was made during a speech at the National Diet session of parliament, during which he outlined a ban for two years.
“The public health concerns are real, and the risks of airborne particles are grave,” Abe said.
“It is regrettable that a ban has been announced in the name of public health.”
The government also announced the temporary suspension of a planned Aarp balloon tour by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), which will take place in February.
The Aarp balloons were being launched to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the first Aarp flights, which were conducted by the Japan Aerospace Corporation in 1957.
The first balloon flew in October 1956.JAXB has announced that they will continue to conduct the “Aarps” flights, but that the government is not cancelling the trip.
A spokesperson for the JAXA told reporters that it will “continue to work with the government to resolve this issue and ensure safety of passengers and crew”.
The Aarps were a major part of Japan’s space program, which was launched in 1963 with the goal of establishing a permanent space station and launching a lunar rover to explore the moon.
The balloons were intended to bring Japan into the fold of the International Space Station, but the project fell through, with the US government withdrawing its support in 2016.
Japan has had no Aarpos since 2020, when a balloon exploded in a Tokyo suburb and injured two people.
The balloons were later dismantled and the cause of the accident is still under investigation.