TOKYO — Japan Railway stations in Tokyo metropolitan areas became smoke-free Wednesday, according to a JR East release.

Smoking is now prohibited even on platforms of JR stations in Tokyo and four surrounding prefectures including Kanagawa, the release posted on the JR Web site said, citing customer concerns about secondhand smoke.

JR East had set up smoking areas at the end of platforms — with all smoking banned during morning rush hours — but smoke bothered riders waiting in line on platforms and riders exiting stopped trains, the release said. Ashtrays were removed from 226 stations, according to a Yomiuri Shimbun report.

Iwakuni pool reopens with safety enhancementsThe Iron Works Gym indoor pool at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni reopened to normal business hours Wednesday, Marine Corps Community Services said.

The pool was closed because the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act that went into effect in December required the installation of new safety drain covers, which protect against entrapment and drowning.

The pool was required to close until the new drains were certified by an engineer.

It’s open from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

Band to treat Iwakuni to classic, modern rockFools and Horses, of Baltimore, is scheduled to perform two free concerts at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni next week, according to Marine Corps Community Services.

Set to take the stage Wednesday and Thursday, the band plays a combination of classic and modern rock, reminiscent of The Who and Coldplay, organizers said.

Each show begins at 9 p.m. at Club Iwakuni, and admission is free. For more information, call MCCS at 253-3727.

Korean fighter jet crashes into seaAuthorities continued to investigate Wednesday what caused a South Korean F-16 fighter jet to crash in the Yellow Sea a day earlier.

The fighter jet, known as a KF-16, was flying in a routine training mission around 12:20 p.m. when the pilot and co-pilot were forced to eject, a spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense said. They were rescued and are still being treated in a hospital. The spokesman said he didn’t know the nature of their injuries, but the pilots were not in critical condition.

Two South Korean pilots died in July 2007 when their KF-16 crashed during a training flight off the west coast.

Yongsan employee executive of the yearA U.S. Army Garrison-Yongsan employee will be recognized next week for his role in helping the garrison save money on maintenance and infrastructure projects.

John Ghim, deputy director and business operations chief for Yongsan’s Directorate of Public Works, won the Directorate of Public Works Operations and Maintenance "Executive of the Year" award. He will be recognized during the DPW Awards program in Houston on April 7.

Among other accomplishments, Ghim started an annual maintenance program to address "critical needs and services" at Yongsan last year. Since then, infrastructure-related service order numbers dropped by more than half, saving $1.4 million and 40,000 per year, according to the garrison’s Web site. The program also saved $11 million by identifying and canceling unnecessary projects.

He also developed an energy savings package that led to a $1.3 million Energy Conservation Investment Program for Yongsan in 2009.

Ghim also won the 2006 Secretary of the Army Energy Award for the individual category.

First aid, CPR class to be held at Camp HenryThe American Red Cross is offering a community first aid and safety course Saturday at Camp Henry.

Three certifications are available: lay responder adult, child and infant CPR; automated external defibrillation (AED); and lay responder first aid.

The course is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Building 1425. For more information, call DSN 768-7993.

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