April 14, Thursday : sakura

[ . BACK to TOP of this BLOG. ]

10 sakura walk END

this land of
sakura - this land of

. Gabi Greve .

Yesterday I took a short walk around my valley, just 30 minutes among the budding cherry blossoms.

о, эта страна
сакуры -- это страна

Translation into Russian by Origa san


Gabi reports:

Slightly up at Fukushima:
. Daily Radiation Levels  

They tried to build temporary houses for the evacuees on the school ground in one village in Sanriku, but through the constant strong aftershocks the ground showed deep gaps and cracks and is now not suited any more for construction.

The residents within the 20 km zone of Fukushima will be allowed to visit their homes to gather their luggage and close down properly. Details are still to be worked out though.

. Tsunami hit
more than 100 designated evacuation sites

. . . . .

Be not defeated by the rain,
Nor let the wind prove your better.
Succumb not to the snows of winter.
Nor be bested by the heat of summer,

Miyazawa Kenji

. Tohoku character key to Japan's tsunami survivors   

. . . . .

The temperature at the storage pool keeps rising, see the diary from April 13.

. . . . .

The Emperor and his wife will visit evacuees in Chiba today.

Governor Ishii of Okayama prefecture promised to revise all evacuation centers and safety precausions for the coastline along the Inland See.

The Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka in Tokyo has offered 700 rooms for evacuees a few days ago (April 9), but they only got about 100 rooms with evacuees.

Just as we watched the lunch news,
dingdong dingdong ...

. . . . . at 12:09
Earthquake M 5.5, Fukushima Hamadori

and during the evening news, a few more earthquake warnings . . .

March condo supply in Tokyo area is stagnant, if not to say down from the same figures last year ... people are not spending any more.


Bulletins from NHK Online

source : www3.nhk.or.jp

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 21:08 (last night)
Temperatures rise at No.4 spent fuel storage pool

Thursday, April 14, 2011 07:27
WHO: No need for new public health measures

The World Health Organization says there is no need for new public health measures against the nuclear incident at the Fukushima nuclear plant at the moment. But it says studies may be needed to keep watch over public health for up to 20 years.
WHO Director of Public Health and the Environment Maria Neira held a news conference on Wednesday after the Japanese government raised the severity level of the nuclear accident to a maximum 7 on the international scale.
She said that public health measures taken by the Japanese government, including enforcing an evacuation zone and relocating nearby residents, are appropriate.
But she also said the organization will need to reassess the situation almost on an hourly basis, because the situation is not yet under control.
Neira said studies will have to be conducted over the next 10 to 20 years, to keep a watch over any public health issues.

Thursday, April 14, 2011 07:28
Radiation in seawater drops but remains high

The operator of the disabled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station says radiation levels in seawater near the plant are on the decline, but remain high.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says it detected 100 becquerels of iodine-131 per cubic centimeter in samples collected near the water intake of the No.2 reactor on Tuesday afternoon. That represents 2,500 times the legal limit.
The density was down from 7.5 million times the limit found in the same area on April 2nd. The decline in radioactivity levels comes after the firm stopped highly radioactive water from leaking through a pit outside the reactor on April 6th.
The company released 1,320 tons of relatively low radioactive water into the ocean near the outlets of the No.5 and No.6 reactors for the 6 days through April 9th.
The company discovered 1.7 becquerels of iodine-131 per cubic centimeter in seawater samples taken from a zone about 30 meters north of the outlets on Tuesday afternoon. That amounts to 43 times the legal limit.
The firm also found 1.1 becquerels of the radioactive element in seawater samples collected near a beach 16 kilometers south of the plant on Tuesday morning. That represents 28 times the legal limit. Radiation levels at the same spot have remained almost the same since April 5th.

Thursday, April 14, 2011 07:28
High radioactivity detected in fish, vegetables

The health ministry has detected radioactivity above the legal limit in fish caught off Fukushima Prefecture and 11 kinds of vegetables grown in the prefecture.
The ministry says it found 12,500 becquerels per kilogram, or 25 times the limit, of radioactive cesium in small fish called sand lances caught off Iwaki City, south of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on Wednesday. It also discovered 12,000 becquerels, or 6 times the limit, of radioactive iodine in the fish.
On April 7th, sand lances caught off the city were already found to be contaminated with radioactive cesium in excess of the limit. Sand lances caught off Ibaraki Prefecture, south of Fukushima, were also found to be polluted with the radioactive substance.
The central government says sand lances are currently not being sold as fishing cooperatives in the 2 prefectures are not in operation.
Radioactivity was also detected on 11 kinds of vegetables sampled in Fukushima on Monday.
Authorities detected 1,960 becquerels per kilogram, or 4 times the legal limit, of cesium on Japanese parsley, known as Seri, grown in Soma City.
Fishing group cancels sea urchin, abalone catch
A fishing cooperative in Fukushima Prefecture has cancelled sea urchin and abalone fishing in response to the radioactive contamination from the crippled nuclear plant in the prefecture.
The decision was unanimously made at a meeting of the group's representatives in Iwaki City, south of the plant, on Wednesday ahead of the start of the fishing season next month.
They said the nuclear incident made it unclear whether seafood will sell and skin diving is safe.
In 2009, skin diving fishing off Iwaki City caught 16.6 tons of sea urchin and 20.6 tons of abalone, each accounting for about 90 percent of the catches in the prefecture.
The head of the fishing group, Kazuo Akiyama, said they will demand that the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, pay compensation for the expected damages caused by the cancelation of the fishing.

Thursday, April 14, 2011 07:28
Govt. to certify shipping containers

The Japanese government is going to begin certifying the safety of shipping containers at some of the country's major ports to prevent concerns over the Fukushima nuclear accident from hurting exports.
The transport ministry is trying to reassure foreign shipping companies about the safety of Japanese exports. Its website has messages in English, Chinese, and Korean that say radiation levels around Tokyo Bay including Tokyo and Yokohama ports are safe.
Last month, China barred a Japanese ship from unloading containers at one of its ports after high levels of radiation were detected on the freight.
More than 10 foreign vessels have canceled making port calls at Tokyo Bay.
To stop the situation from worsening, the ministry has decided to gauge radiation levels on containers set to be exported from some of the country's major ports including Tokyo and then issue safety certificates.
The ministry will also measure radiation levels on request from shipping firms.
It plans to create guidelines on how to assess radiation amounts and will start issuing certificates by the end of the month.

Thursday, April 14, 2011 09:53
Quake resistance at nuclear plants in doubt

The government's nuclear safety agency is set to review safety measures at nuclear power plants across Japan.
This follows the discovery that one of the aftershocks following the March 11th earthquake was stronger than the level thought of as safe for measures in place at the Onagawa nuclear power plant in Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan.
In last month's massive earthquake the intensity of the temblor was up to 10 percent stronger than the level to which the No. 1 to No.3 Reactors were designed for at the Onagawa plant.
On April 7th, the prefecture was hit by an aftershock with an intensity of 6-plus on the Japanese seismic scale of zero to 7.
That aftershock last Thursday was 5.6 percent stronger than the level Onagawa's No. 1 Reactor is designed to handle.
The Nuclear and Industrial safety Agency has asked power companies twice so far to review earthquake safety measures at their nuclear power plants. Once was following the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake that devastated Kobe, and once was after the 2007 Niigata Chuetsu coastal quake, which also caused huge amounts of damage.
The Onagawa plant passed the government's safety inspections those times.
The plant was built to withstand extremely rare, but possible, quakes with a magnitude up to 7.1, like the one that occurred in 2003 beneath the seabed off Miyagi Prefecture.
Last week's aftershock was the same 7.1 magnitude, but the registered tremors were beyond the assumed strength.
The nuclear safety agency says it will check if nuclear plants across the country are making sufficient preparations for such unexpectedly strong quakes.

Thursday, April 14, 2011 09:56
Russia nuclear agency chief doubts Level 7 rating

The head of Russia's state atomic energy corporation says the Level 7 assessment of the nuclear crisis in Japan may be an exaggeration.
Japan's government on Monday raised the severity of the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant from level 5 to 7, the highest on the international scale. This puts it on par with the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in the former Soviet Union.
Rosatom Director General Sergey Kirienko, now visiting China, told reporters on Wednesday that the situation at the Fukushima plant is not as bad as he had thought, and that his agency's estimates show it does not even reach level 6.
Kirienko suggested the decision may be more of a financial issue, aimed at reducing huge insurance liabilities.

Thursday, April 14, 2011 12:14
Fukushima plant workers brace for aftershocks

Workers at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant are bracing for more powerful aftershocks while continuing their efforts to clear the compound of radioactive wastewater.
Highly contaminated water has pooled inside turbine buildings and tunnels, hampering efforts to restore reactor cooling systems.
The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, transferred about 660 tons of wastewater from the Number 2 reactor tunnel to a turbine condenser on Wednesday.
As a result, the water level in the tunnel dropped by 8 centimeters. But it was up again by 3 centimeters as of Thursday morning.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says water being injected to cool the reactor may be leaking out.
TEPCO also plans to transfer contaminated water to the plant's waste processing facility. But the facility has not yet been made leak-proof.
The utility firm says it doesn't know when it can start removing water from reactors other than No. 2.
On Thursday, workers continued to relocate emergency diesel generators to higher ground where they would be safe from aftershocks and tsunamis.
The area around Fukushima Daiichi plant has been hit by a series of aftershocks since earlier this month. A tremor on Monday temporarily cut off external power supply to the plant.
After the generators are moved to an area about 30 meters above sea level, they could be switched on by evacuating workers when a tsunami warning is issued.
TEPCO will also have power trucks and hose-equipped fire trucks standing by on higher ground.
The power company is also rewiring the external power supply to avoid a total blackout.
Another challenge is to prevent the spread of radioactive substances into the sea. Work is continuing on Thursday to put up and reinforce underwater barriers near water intakes at the reactors.

Thursday, April 14, 2011 14:36
First shipment of thermal power generation turbine

A giant turbine used for thermal power generation was shipped by a major electric company in Ibaraki Prefecture to a power plant in the Kanto region on Thursday.
This was the first such shipment since a massive earthquake and tsunami devastated the road connecting a local port to the factory operated by Hitachi in Hitachi City.
The turbine left the factory for the power plant after the road was repaired. The plant will use the turbine to resume operations to deal with regional power shortages.
A special trailer with more than 60 tires was used to carry the turbine, which weighs over 50 tons.
Workers had to change the direction of traffic lights and raise a pedestrian overpass to accommodate the 5-high-meter vehicle.
It took 90 minutes for the trailer to travel 15 kilometers from the factory to the port. A crane then hoisted the turbine onto a ship.
Hitachi says it has received many orders for power generation turbines, as electricity shortages are expected this summer due to the ongoing problems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The plant was damaged by the magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunamis on March 11th.
Hitachi says it will maximize output to meet the demand.

Thursday, April 14, 2011 16:12
Fukushima-produced milk returns to stores

Milk from farms in inland regions of Fukushima Prefecture has returned to supermarket shelves after clearing weeks of safety checks for radiation.
The shipment of raw milk from the prefecture was banned in late March in the wake of problems at the quake-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
But the restriction was lifted last Friday for farms in 7 cities and towns in the Aizu region, over 100 kilometers west of the damaged plant. The move came after three separate tests found that milk produced there contained radiation levels below the government's acceptable limit.
A local supermarket began selling the milk on Thursday.
The manager said the shop will try to keep stocking the milk now that it has been permitted for sale.
A shopper said he came after hearing the news because he prefers locally produced milk.
Shipments of milk from 500 farms in 30 other cities, towns and villages in Fukushima are still banned while central and local governments continue their weekly radiation tests.

Thursday, April 14, 2011 16:12
Edano apologizes over Kan's reported remark

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano has apologized to the public over media reports about the long-term inhabitability of areas around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
An adviser to the Cabinet, Kenichi Matsumoto 松本健一, at first told reporters on Wednesday that the Prime Minister remarked that areas around the nuclear plant will be inhabitable over a long period. He later retracted his comment and the Prime Minister himself also denied making such a statement.
But the reports have angered local leaders, including the Fukushima governor.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Edano reiterated that Kan never made such remarks.
But Edano said it is regrettable that the reports have caused concern to residents who have evacuated from around the plant.

Thursday, April 14, 2011 16:39
Kan calls for creative plans for reconstruction

Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan has asked a panel of advisors to come up with creative plans to rebuild areas devastated by the March 11th disaster that hit eastern Japan.
Kan on Thursday attended the inaugural meeting of the panel tasked with studying a blueprint for reconstruction.
The 14-member panel includes the governors of the 3 hardest-hit prefectures -- Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima -- and is led by National Defense Academy President Makoto Iokibe and his deputy, political scientist Takashi Mikuriya.
The session began with a moment of silent prayer for the victims of the disaster.
Kan called the disaster Japan's worst crisis since World War Two, and said the panel will start discussions on how to overcome the crisis and rebuild Japan. He said he wants the panel to present a plan for creative reconstruction rather than restoration of affected regions to their original state.
Kan asked the panel to compile by the end of June a proposal on which the government can base specific steps for reconstruction.
Iokibe spoke of the need to create a Japanese society in which people can have new hope. He added that he hopes to see the panel share wisdom and enthusiasm to revive Japan.

Thursday, April 14, 2011 20:18
Convenience stores to work on power saving

Two leading Japanese convenience store chains have announced plans to cut their electricity consumption by 25 percent this summer.
Lawson and Seven-Eleven Japan made the announcements amid expectations of a sharp power shortage in summer due to the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.
The announcements follow a request by the Japan Franchise Association that its members work to reduce power consumption in summer by 25 percent.
Lawson says it will switch to light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, for all illuminations at its 3,000 stores in Tokyo and surrounding areas.
It also says it will raise the temperatures of its refrigerators by around one degree Celsius and use coolant inside the appliances.
Seven-Eleven says it will also switch to LEDs for illuminations and signs for its 5,000 outlets in the region, and begin using solar panels at some of the stores.
Other firms in the distribution industry are expected to follow suit.

Thursday, April 14, 2011 20:46
Fukushima Daiichi prepares for aftershocks

Work is underway at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to ensure that multiple backup power supplies keep its reactors cool in the event of another strong earthquake and tsunami.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company said workers on Thursday relocated emergency diesel generators and pumps for injecting water into the plant's No. 1 to 3 reactors to higher ground, about 23 meters above sea level.
On Friday, backup power trucks and fire engines are to be brought to the plant to be used if a tsunami washes the pumps away.
Work is also in progress to rewire 2 grid power lines to 4 reactors to avoid a total blackout.
The firm says it is also considering setting up a second system for pumping water into the reactors.

Thursday, April 14, 2011 21:41
Reactor makers draft 10-year decommission plan

Japanese manufacturer Toshiba, which helped build the Fukushima Daiichi plant's now crippled nuclear reactors, says decommissioning them will take at least 10 years.
Toshiba has drafted a plan with 4 US companies in the nuclear power industry to decommission the plant, including the Number 2 and 3 reactors that it built.
The company's President Norio Sasaki said on Thursday that it has submitted the proposal to Tokyo Electric Power and the Industry Ministry. Prime Minister Naoto Kan had earlier asked the utility to come up with a plan to end the nuclear crisis.
The proposal is divided into 3 phases. The short-term plan, likely to take several months, involves cooling and stabilizing reactors and spent fuel pools, while preventing radioactive water from increasing.
Toshiba will then move toward the medium-term plan, involving the safe removal of nuclear fuel rods from the pools and pressure vessels, using special cranes to be set up near the reactor buildings. Toshiba says this work will take 5 years.
The final phase, dismantling the reactors and clearing the land, will take another 5 years. Toshiba says that radioactive substances released in the process must be removed during this phase.

Thursday, April 14, 2011 22:47
Search in 10-kilometer zone begins

Police and firefighters have combed through an area within 10 kilometers from the troubled Fukushima Daiichi power plant looking for missing people.
In the Takase River running through the town, many cars are submerged. Along the riverbank, 4 cows apparently kept by a local farmer were seen running.The NHK crew found that the radiation level at the site stayed at around 0.3 microsieverts for the roughly 2 hours they were there.
The police say they have recovered 10 bodies. They will continue search operations within the 10-kilometer zone for about 10 more days.



Voices from around

. The Daily Reading List .  

. Japan Times, April 14   

. . . . .

Dr. Michio Kaku, Theoretical Physicist:
Fukishima Daiichi Nuclear Facility is a "Ticking Time Bomb"
The Japanese government is trying to calm fears about radiation levels and food safety in the region around the heavily damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility, even as it has raised the severity rating of the crisis to the highest possible level.
"Radiation is continuing to leak out of the reactors, the situation is not stable at all,"
says Dr. Michio Kaku, professor of theoretical physics at the City University Of New York and the City College of New York, in an interview on Democracy Now! April 13.
"The slightest disturbance could set off a full scale melt down at three nuclear power stations—far beyond what we saw at Chernobyl."
source : www.youtube.com

. . . . .

Social Media's Role as a Crucial Lifeline During Japan Disaster
This is the story of seven people connected by the Great Tohoku Kanto Earthquake that rocked northern Japan in March and their need to obtain immediate and accurate information. Mass confusion combined with their desire to reach loved ones compelled them to turn to social media as a lifeline.

Through networked, digital technologies, they created new ways to supplement lifelines for those at the heart of the disaster. Some of the members took action from within the quake’s impact zone while others reached out from continents away. All were connected by the social network.

IAIN CAMPBELL | The Twitter Project
MASASHIGE MOTOE | On the Ground and Linked in
BRIAN STARKEY | The Smartphone Connection
CHRIS HUDLER | The Wiki-writer
BRETT BULL | Twitter Emergency Response
ERIC BUTLER | The Facebook Search Party

source : www.pbs.org/mediashift


02 cherry blossoms sakura

haiku about the land of sakura from my
friends at facebook

It's sakura time in Japan. So beautiful!

. . . . .

spring breeze...
flowers that bloom so brightly
amidst much despair

tsunami or not...
dainty sakura thrives
in Japan


. . . . .

So Beautiful! what I see is hope blooming in Japan.

goddesses promise
of renewal


. . . . .

with each new blossom --
spring offers everyone
a new beginning

dawn's diamonds
dew on each blade of grass
Sakura morning

Catbird 55

. . . . .

petals blown into the waves
return, return
we name each victim again, again

Tim on facebook



[ . BACK to TOP of this BLOG. ]


  1. (CNN) --
    Timeline: How Japan's nuclear crisis unfolded
    Authorities in Japan are battling to resolve a series of crises at the nuclear power plant at Fukushima Daiichi, which was badly hit by the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck over a week ago.

    Here's a look at efforts to contain the damage and avert a potential nuclear meltdown. (all times and dates are local).

    Friday, March 11 :

  2. The U.S. national called on the government to "prepare for the unexpected" and "tell the public frankly that earthquakes cannot be predicted."

    Tokyo Univ. professor calls on Japan to stop predicting quakes

    Referring to the well-documented 1896 Sanriku tsunami which had a maximum height of 38 meters and hit the Tohoku area in northeastern Japan, Geller said tsunami that hit and crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant could have been "foreseen" if the historical record had been used as the basis for estimating seismic hazards.


  3. Radiation, Disaster & Hubris
    by James Heaton

    Chernobyl produced about 400 times the amount of radioactive material as the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, but this is still only 1/100th (or by some estimates 1/1000th) of what is thought to have been released into the atmosphere as fallout from cold war nuclear weapons testing. Radioactive isotopes like strontium-90 (half-life: 28 years), cesium-137 (30 years) and carbon-14 (5,700 years), are now found in the soil worldwide. The US alone conducted 1,054 tests (including 331 atmospheric tests) between 1945 and 1992.*

    We all now live with the consequences of our policy makers willingness to make and use things that we cannot fully control.


  4. Sakura at peak---
    like its trees
    Japan will recover

    Fred Masarani