The Japanese Ministry of the Environment’s Web site has been overloaded as worried users log on to try to find out what is coming their way.
“Access to our air pollution monitoring system has been almost impossible since last week and the telephone here has been constantly ringing because worried people keep asking us about the impact on health,” a ministry official said.
Pictures of Beijing and other Chinese cities shrouded in thick, choking smog played out across television screens in Japan last week.
News programs have broadcast maps showing a swirl of pollution gathering strength across China and then spreading out over the ocean toward Japan.
Pinks, reds and oranges that denote the highest concentrations form a finger of smog that inches upward to the main southern island of Kyushu.