As a town’s older residents move to assisted living facilities or die, their homes pass down to their heirs. Younger generations, now increasingly located in Japan’s major cities, often have no interest in inheriting or maintaining the family’s ancestral home deep in the countryside, beyond paying the required property taxes. In other cases, officials are unable to locate or identify the proper heirs, leaving the fate of the property in a state of limbo.
Greenery surrounds a disused farmhouse in Ehime. (John Steele/Alamy)
Long story short, UTC is an attempt to keep pace with sidereal time (i.e. based on position of celestial objects at a certain time of day) using SI seconds (i.e. a fixed number of caesium-133 transitions). This is why we have leap seconds.
What causes changes in Earth's rotation speed?
It's all about conservation of angular momentum.
Anything that changes Earth's mass distribution affects the speed at which Earth rotates on its axis. These include: