April 15, Friday . Misaki

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From my town, Misaki (beautiful blossoming)

. Misaki Yellow Happy Project .
美咲黄福物語 Misaki Kofuku Monogatari

Misakicho, like other towns in Okayama prefecture, is looking for empty houses and revises abandoned schools and kindergardens for evacuees from Tohoku.

as we learned later (Japanese is below)

Seven members from our town office, including the deputy mayor, went to Misato village 福島県会津美里町 as volunteers for 5 days to bring them local food (boiled rice with egg) from our village. (I remember, seeing them leaving by bus on the local TV report.)
It seems after the event they went to a local ramen soup shop and started making merry, drinking, inviting the waitress to join them, asking for sashimi and better foodstuff.
Anyway the group seems to have behaved in a way not appropriate for volunteers in a disaster zone and have been reprimanded by many.

Well, I remember my encounters with this deputy mayor, about 13 years back, when fighting against two waste incinerators to be installed in our mountain village Ohaga... but that is another story from the past.

A few more days later
we hear that the whole town of Misaki is angry about this behavior, some do not even dare to admit they live here any more. They say he has destroyed the reputation of our town and of the food speciality, tamagokake gohan, tanada rice with egg.
And he might have destroyed the prospects of getting any evacuees to come and live here now (word spreads fast on the internet ...).

our local boiled rice with raw egg
. TKG 卵かけご飯 / 卵掛けご飯 .


Gabi reports:

Not much change :
. Daily Radiation Levels  

It is warm but raining today, a welcome rain in our dry area, with some wildfires in the last few days.

. . . . .

The preparations for more aftershocks continue at the reactors, the insecurity still lingers.
They begun to measure radioactivity in the air above the power plant now, a project of Fukushima University.

. . . . .

A charity art auction was organized by 8 galleries in Tokyo, even featuring the "Atomkraft Baby" by Nara Yoshimoto.

In order to save electricity in Kanto, the 24 hour convenience stores are taking new measures. Some will mount solar panels on the roofs, others will stop the vending maschines outside (they showed two maschines consume the same electricity than one-family home per day). The lighting inside will also change and the temperature of the refrigerators lowered just a bit. (No other country in the world has so many vending maschines outside on the road.)

Tokyo Disneyland
opened today during daytime.
More than 10.000 people waited outside. Tokyo DisneySea is still closed.

The Vienna Boys' Choir (Wiener Saengerknaben) had a concert "A Bridge to Japan".

Foreign tourists much less, Asakusa and Akihabara quite empty ... they ara now 73% less since the quake on March 11 to the end of March. Even at Kyoto universities, students from abroad are not coming as planned for fear of radioactivity (Kyoto is more than 500 km away from Fukushima).

. Earth Day Tokyo アースデイ東京 .   
April 23/24 in Yoyogi Park, Tokyo

. . . . .

More than 100.000 children have been displaced by the tsunami.
More than 100 children lost both parents and most of them now live with relatives.
More than 100 children are among the dead, and there are many still missing.

13.538 people have been confirmed dead
14.589 are listed as missing.

More than 10.000 cows from the region around the plant will have to be evacutated with their owners to farms in other parts of Tohoku.

. . . . .

The government is proposing a "disaster reconstruction tax", said Chairman Makoto Iokibe 五百旗頭(いおきべ)真.


Bulletins from NHK Online

source : www3.nhk.or.jp

Friday, April 15, 2011 01:38
Netherlands tightens radiation test on Japan goods

The Netherlands has started to take stronger measures to check radiation on imports from Japan following the accidents at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
On Thursday, the media was allowed to cover inspections at the Port of Rotterdam, one of the busiest ports in Europe. The first ship from Japan since the nuclear power plant crisis entered the port on the day.
Custom officials checked trucks carrying Japanese goods using devices measuring radioactivity.
In addition to their normal procedures, the Dutch government is conducting radiation checks not only on ships from Japan at sea, but also on Japanese goods before they land in the port.
The EU has already announced that it will ban all food imports from 12 prefectures in north and central Japan unless accompanied by a safety guarantee.

Friday, April 15, 2011 07:00
March 11th tsunami a record 38.9 meters

A Japanese research team has established that the tsunami of March 11th reached 38.9 meters in one coastal city in Iwate Prefecture. The figure exceeds the record tsunami height in the prefecture from 115 years ago. ... in the Aneyoshi district of Miyako City.
Professor Okayasu added he wants people to learn from this area when rebuilding towns damaged by the disaster.

Friday, April 15, 2011 07:46
More time needed to build tanks to hold wastewater

It is still difficult for the Tokyo Electric Power Company to determine when the work to restore reactor cooling systems at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility will begin. The company says more time is needed to install makeshift water tanks in order to contain the highly radioactive water used to cool the reactors.
The contaminated water has pooled inside turbine buildings and tunnels, hampering efforts to restore reactor cooling systems. Removal of the wastewater is necessary before restoration work can begin.
TEPCO collected wastewater samples from the No.1 and No.2 reactors on Wednesday, and found that radioactivity levels had increased dramatically during the past week.
According to TEPCO, 400 becquerels of iodine-131 and 53 becquerels of cesium-134 per cubic centimeter were detected in the wastewater of the No.1 reactor. These levels are 6 times and 38 times higher than a week ago respectively. In the No.2 reactor, 610 becquerels of iodine-131 and 7.9 becquerels of cesium-134 per cubic centimeter were detected. These levels are 17 times and 8 times higher than a week ago respectively.
On Wednesday, the power company completed the transfer of roughly 660 tons of wastewater from the Number 2 reactor tunnel to a turbine condenser.
However, the work to transfer contaminated wastewater from other reactors has not started yet because there are not enough facilities available.
TEPCO plans to use makeshift storage tanks and a steel mega float to hold most of the highly radioactive water.
On Thursday, the company completed the installation of makeshift tanks in the compound of the nuclear plant, which can contain 1000 tons of water.
However, TEPCO plans to build more tanks to hold 27-thousand tons of wastewater by the end of May.

Friday, April 15, 2011 07:58
Japan to stress economy is sound at meeting

Japan's Finance Minister says he wants to stress the fundamental strength of the country's economy at the meetings of the Group of 7 industrialized countries and the Group of 20 nations. ...

Friday, April 15, 2011 09:57
Fukushima Uni. to check high-altitude radiation

Fukushima University will check radiation levels high in the atmosphere to get a better grasp of the extent of contamination from the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The university says it will release a large balloon on Friday carrying a weather observation device called a "radiosonde" as well as radiation measurement equipment into the skies above Fukushima City.
It plans to gauge radiation levels and collect other data up to 30 kilometers above ground. Readings will be taken at intervals of 10 meters over a period of 20 days.
The university has so far been measuring radiation closer to the ground. It has checked more than 300 locations in Fukushima Prefecture.
But it deems the current method insufficient to make a correct assessment of the diffusion of radioactive materials.
The university says the balloon survey will help make predictions about how toxic particles will spread across the globe.
University vice president Akira Watanabe, who is also a member of the research team, says the findings will be disclosed to the world along with projected radiation levels.

Friday, April 15, 2011 10:43
Radiation levels in underground water rise

The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says radiation levels in underground water gathered in so-called sub-drain pits rose by up to 38 times during the past week.
TEPCO is working to remove contaminated water from the basements of the turbine buildings and tunnels. The contaminated water is hindering efforts to restore the reactors' cooling systems.
TEPCO said that in its monitoring on Wednesday, it found 400 becquerels of iodine-131 and 53 becquerels of cesium-134 per cubic centimeter in the No. 1 reactor's sub-drain pit. These levels are 6 times and 38 times higher than a week ago respectively.
In the No.2 reactor's pit, 610 becquerels of iodine-131 and 7.9 becquerels of cesium-134 per cubic centimeter were detected. These levels are 17 times and 8 times higher than a week ago respectively.
TEPCO says the sub-drain pits of the 2 reactors are connected by a pipe and that the highly radioactive water in the No. 2 reactor could be leaking underground.
TEPCO is to increase its radiation readings to 3 times per week from Saturday on the instructions of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.

Friday, April 15, 2011 10:49
G20 meeting

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde has expressed the hope that the G20 economies will unite in extending help to Japan in the aftermath of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
Japan's envoy to the United Nations says that although Japan is struggling to procure funds for earthquake reconstruction, he is opposed to a plan to cut Japanese aid to developing countries.

Friday, April 15, 2011 11:01
More SDF and police personnel in relief mission

Japan's government says Self-Defense Force personnel will remain in the earthquake-hit areas for up to 6 months. It is also sending more police officers to the disaster zone. The Defense Ministry says the 100,000-strong SDF relief mission needs to continue its work. ...

Friday, April 15, 2011 12:09
TEPCO urged to pay temporary damages

The Japanese government has requested that Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, quickly make temporary payments to affected residents for damages. TEPCO has agreed to make the payments.
A government task force set up to deal with compensation and other economic matters related to the nuclear accident met for the first time on Friday.
The task force decided to urge TEPCO to make the payments to residents around the plant as soon as possible, instead of waiting for the results of negotiations on legal compensation.
Residents in areas within 30 kilometers of the plant that are under instructions to evacuate or stay indoors are eligible for the payments.
The task force asked TEPCO to pay each household one-million yen, about 12,000 dollars, and single residents 9,000 dollars.
Following the request, TEPCO decided at a board meeting on Friday to make the payments.
Trade and industry minister Banri Kaieda, who chairs the task force, told reporters that the government urged TEPCO to make the payments soon.
Kaieda pointed out that it may take time before the money is distributed to all eligible households because the recipients have scattered, and some could be in any of nearly 150 evacuation shelters.

Friday, April 15, 2011 12:18
TEPCO monitoring wastewater at No.2 reactor

Tokyo Electric Power Company says the level of radioactive water is increasing in a tunnel at the No.2 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The large amount of contaminated water in basements and tunnels is hampering operations to restore the plant's cooling systems.
On Wednesday, TEPCO finished transferring some of the wastewater -- about 660 tons -- from the No.2 reactor tunnel to a condenser in a turbine building.
It says the water level in the tunnel dropped 8 centimeters after the transfer, but had returned to its previous level by Friday morning.
Earlier this month, TEPCO found highly radioactive water leaking into the sea from a pit near the No.2 reactor.
The utility suspects that plugging the leak has trapped radioactive water from the No.2 reactor in the tunnel.
TEPCO says there are at least 50,000 tons of contaminated water at the plant. It will use a waste-processing facility, makeshift storage tanks and a floating tank to store the radioactive water.
The company is also preparing for a possible shutdown of external power sources, as major aftershocks continue. It plans to finish moving emergency diesel power generators to higher ground on Friday to protect them from tsunami.

Friday, April 15, 2011 16:02
US lifts voluntary evacuation advisory for Japan

The United States has lifted its voluntary evacuation advisory for families of government employees in Tokyo and other Japanese cities.
The department said the health and safety risks for areas outside the 80-kilometer radius of the plant, including Tokyo and Nagoya, are low and do not pose significant risks to US citizens.
It said it will maintain the recommendation to avoid travel within the 80-kilometer zone, saying the situation there remains serious.

Friday, April 15, 2011 18:52
Wastewater level at No.2 reactor again rises

Tokyo Electric Power Company is trying to secure storage facilities for radioactive water that is filling a tunnel at the No.2 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to prevent it from overflowing.
A large amount of contaminated water in basements and tunnels is hampering operations to restore the plant's cooling systems.
On Wednesday, TEPCO finished transferring some of the wastewater -- about 660 tons -- from the No.2 reactor tunnel to a condenser in a turbine building.
The water in the tunnel dropped 8 centimeters after the transfer, but had returned to its previous level by Friday morning.
Earlier this month, TEPCO found highly radioactive water leaking into the sea from a pit near the No.2 reactor.
The utility suspects that plugging that leak resulted in trapping radioactive water from the No.2 reactor in the tunnel.
The condenser at the No.2 reactor is holding more than half of its capacity of about 3,000 tons. The government's nuclear safety agency says it is not desirable to fill the condenser for fear of aftershocks, making it necessary for the company to find alternate storage facilities.
The company is also preparing for a possible interruption of external power, as major aftershocks continue to rock the area. It has already installed makeshift tanks and pumps in case the freshwater supply from a dam that is cooling the reactors is cut off by an aftershock.

Friday, April 15, 2011 18:52
Residents react to TEPCO announcement

Evacuees from towns near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have reacted to a decision by the plant's operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, to provide them with provisional damage payments.
Evacuees from Futaba Town in Fukushima Prefecture are taking refuge in Kazo City in Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo.
A man in his 40s said the payments would be helpful because he has to pay for school and club activities for his children in elementary and junior high school.
A 65-year-old man said the firm should have made the decision earlier as all evacuees face difficulty in making a living.
A 70-year-old woman said the money will be helpful at least for a while, but will certainly not be enough if their evacuation is prolonged.
News of the decision also reached people from Okuma Town in Fukushima Prefecture taking shelter in Aizuwakamatsu City, also in Fukushima Prefecture.
A 76-year-old farmer said the firm should not use the payments to blur its responsibility for the trouble it has caused residents. He said he wants to return home as soon as possible to see what happened to his home and his livestock.
A 73-year-old man said he would rather return to his hometown than receive money.

Friday, April 15, 2011 18:52
Matsumoto says farm products safe

Japan's Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto 松本剛明 has promoted the safety of the country's farm products by eating vegetables produced by farmers affected by the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
At the ministry's dining hall on Friday, Matsumoto ate rice with curry, potatoes and carrots from Fukushima Prefecture, where the plant is located.
The ongoing trouble at the plant has prompted moves abroad to strictly restrict farm products from Japan.
Matsumoto said his ministry is responsible for providing correct information abroad, and that individual efforts like eating vegetables will help convey messages overseas.
He later visited a vegetable market in the ministry to support farmers suffering from a recent slowdown in sales. The market sells vegetables from Fukushima and surrounding prefectures in eastern Japan.
Matsumoto bought vegetables including lettuce from Ibaraki Prefecture and cucumbers from Gunma Prefecture. Both prefectures are north of Tokyo.
The dining hall will continue to offer vegetables from the areas to promote Japanese foodstuffs.

Friday, April 15, 2011 20:19
Farm coop demands state, TEPCO compensation

Prime Minister Naoto Kan says the government will make sure that farmers in Fukushima Prefecture receive sufficient compensation for the damage caused by the nuclear crisis.
Kan made the remark on Friday in a meeting with officials of an agricultural cooperative from the prefecture where the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is located.
The head of the cooperative, Tokuichi Shojo JA福島中央会・庄條徳一会長, told Kan that local farmers are suffering from public concerns over radioactivity as well as from the damage caused by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami. Shojo called for full compensation for the farmers so that they can again make their livings in agriculture.
Kan said that Tokyo Electric Power Company, which operates the nuclear plant, holds the primary responsibility for paying damages, but that the government will make sure that farmers are fully compensated.
The agricultural cooperative officials also met with Tokyo Electric Power Company president Masataka Shimizu, and called for quick payments to the local farmers affected by the nuclear accident.
Shimizu apologized for the damage and promised to provide adequate compensation.
Prime Minister Kan, in a separate meeting with the governor of Ibaraki Prefecture, apologized for the release into the sea of irradiated water from the Fukushima plant. Kan said prior notice should have been given to the local people.

Friday, April 15, 2011 20:19
Keidanren aims at power saving

Japan's main business federation, Keidanren, has hosted a meeting of member companies on ways to conserve electricity.
With summer coming, companies are studying how to cope with power shortages caused by the massive earthquake last month.
At Friday's session, Keidanren called on member firms to formulate plans to cut electricity use by 25 percent.
At the talks, the Japan Building Owners and Managers Association said it may restrict elevator and escalator use and suspend vending machine operations.
The Tokyo Stock Exchange said it will save power by switching off electronic display boards showing share prices from July through September. ...
TEPCO now expects its supply capacity this summer will recover to more than 50-million kilowatts. But it says demand last summer reached 60-million kilowatts, and is calling on the public to conserve power.

Friday, April 15, 2011 22:20
No radiation change observed after water release

Japan's nuclear safety agency says no major changes have been observed in the concentration of radioactive substances in the sea around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant after the release of low-level contaminated water.
TEPCO, discharged a total of 10,393 tons of low-level radioactive wastewater from its damaged Fukushima plant between April 4th and 10th.
The government's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says the amount of wastewater disposed of was 1,100 tons less than originally planned, resulting in the reduced release of radioactive substances.
To assess the effect of the contaminated water, the power company collected sea water samples from around the plant as well as from 15 kilometers offshore.
The nuclear safety agency says it has concluded that the data shows no major change in the concentration of radioactive substances.
But the agency also directed TEPCO to carry out long-term monitoring over a wider area and to assess the impact of the discharge by measuring radiation levels in fish and shellfish caught in nearby waters.
When releasing the wastewater, TEPCO had said that even if a person were to eat seafood from nearby waters every day for one year, the radiation exposure would total 0.6 millisieverts, which is below the annual permissible level of one millisievert.

Friday, April 15, 2011 22:45
Quake insurance claims surge to 380,000

Japan's non-life insurers say about 380,000 claims have been filed so far by victims of the March 11th Earthquake and tsunami.
The insurers say the claims made through Thursday are nearly 6 times the number after a similar period following the Great Hanshin Earthquake that struck Kobe and other parts of western Japan in 1995.
Payouts to date account for just over 20 percent of total claims, or about 1.3-billion dollars.
The insurers plan to speed up payments by sending more staff to quake-hit regions and by using satellite photos to assess damage.
Payouts on life insurance are expected to total about 2.4-billion dollars.
The head of Japan's association of life insurance companies, Koichiro Watanabe, says as of Thursday more than 154-million dollars has been paid against nearly 1,600 claims resulting from the March 11th disaster.


Voices from around

. The Daily Reading List .  

. Japan Times, April 15 .  
. . . . .

quote  (March 15) 
Japan earthquake: 100,000 children displaced, says charity
Save the Children warns of psychological strain and behavioural problems facing Japanese children living in makeshift shelters

The earthquake and tsunami, which are so far known to have killed at least 2,700 people, struck in the mid-afternoon when many children were at school or kindergarten.

The organisation believes around a fifth of the 500,000 thousand people displaced by the disaster are children.

Stephen McDonald, leading Save the Children's team in Japan ...
About 25% of the 1,200 people sleeping on cardboard mats at one shelter in Sendai are children, many of them with disabilities.
source : www.guardian.co.uk

. . . . .

quote (from April 12, 2011)
New evacuation order may force Fukushima farmer to abandon beloved cows
For one farmer here, the newly expanded evacuation zone around the crippled nuclear power plant nearby may mean doing the unthinkable: abandoning his cows.

"You can't just leave living things behind," says village cattle farmer Nagakiyo Yamada, 60. "Compensation hasn't been decided, either. If I have to move to a shelter, I want to stay as close to my farm as I can and keep taking care of my cows."
source : mdn.mainichi.jp
(Today in the news I heard they will evacuate cows too now.)


Daruma for Recovery

復興ダルマ by Aishi (イラストレーター アイシ)






(2011年4月15日10時30分 読売新聞)
source : www.yomiuri.co.jp/










source : raicho.2ch.net Sanyo Shinbun



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  1. When Will Japan's Aftershocks Stop?

    By Katherine Harmon / April 7, 2011
    After the magnitude 7.1 aftershock, a seismologist explains why Japan's seismic future looks even more uncertain than it did before the massive March earthquake

    Aftershocks—larger than any quake to hit the mainland U.S. in years—continue to rattle a beleaguered Japan. Thursday's magnitude 7.1 earthquake was among the largest so far ...

    But the March 11 magnitude 9.0 quake was the largest in the country's recorded history. And even in the earthquake-ready country, most local seismologists had not expected a temblor so large.

    Thomas Heaton, who directs the Earthquake Engineering Research Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology, explains what might be in store for the area—and why a magnitude 7.1 aftershock is no surprise.

    Can we expect any aftershocks larger than the magnitude 7.4 quake today?
    On average, about one in 20 earthquakes is a foreshock, and there's actually a chance that this 9 was a foreshock. But it's not a very high probability given this sequence of earthquakes.

    ... If it's been locked for 1,000 years, then it implies a tremendous amount of accumulated strain in the region. And the earthquake doesn't seem to be big enough to account for the accumulated strain. We're still left with the question: Where do we put the remainder of the slip of the fault?


  2. Experts on Japan nuclear crisis answer questions from Nature readers
    During the morning of April 6, our colleagues at Nature ran a live, online question-and-answer event about the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis. Visitors posted questions for Jim Smith, an environmental physicist from the University of Portsmouth, U.K., and Geoff Brumfiel, Nature’s senior physical sciences correspondent. Brian Owen served as moderator.

    To start off, we’ve had a couple of people asking about the safety of traveling to the region, including someone whose daughter is studying in Japan, and someone on their way to Korea. Jim, could you tell us a bit about the risks from radiation to travelers?

    April 6

  3. Anonymous4/15/2011

    It´s my hope and my wish that you and your family and all Japan overcome this tragedy and live well and happy with no fear.
    . . from South America

  4. Silent bids for Tohoku

    By JAE LEE (Japan Times)

    The Kiyosumi art gallery complex of prominent commercial galleries, including Taka Ishii Gallery, ShugoArts, Kido Press, Hiromi Yoshii Gallery, Ai Kodawa Gallery, Miyake Fine Art, SPROUT Curation and Tomio Koyama Gallery, is holding a charity silent auction to raise money for the Great Eastern Japan earthquake and tsunami-affected areas. Titled "Silent Auction in Kiyosumi for East Northern Japan," the event is organized by Tomio Koyama, who explains that it was his gallery's artists who first had the idea of raising funds.


  5. quote Zeit Online

    Fukushima ist nun offiziell ein katastrophaler Unfall. Zu Recht, das war längst bekannt. Doch zu suggerieren, alles sei weit dramatischer, ist falsch, meint S. Stockrahm.

    Die Einstufung Fukushimas als zweiter "katastrophaler Unfall" in der Geschichte war in der Tat überfällig. Dass große Mengen Radioaktivität aus den Unglücksreaktoren entwichen sein mussten, war selbst Laien klar, nachdem die Bilder der explodierenden Blöcke um die Welt gingen.

    Die Ines-Stufe 7 sei das "Schandmal, dass man so lange wie möglich vermeiden wollte", formulierte Claus Kleber es im Heute-Journal.


  6. Anonymous4/15/2011

    The true felicity of life is
    to be free from anxieties and perturbations;
    to understand and do our duties
    to God and other people,
    and to enjoy the present
    without any serious dependence on the future.


  7. Anonymous4/16/2011

    Written By: Jedd Medefind

    The shortest verse in the Bible is also among its most profound: Jesus wept. It is not hard to imagine that he does so again now over the anguish following Japan’s Tsunami. Thousands are dead, countless more wounded and displaced. ...

    But the sorrow and emotional hurt of children and so many others besides calls out for comfort, encouragement and love alongside the more visible, physical needs. Let us not feel without acting, even if that acting is primarily prayer at this point. In addition, for those desiring to help financially, I am aware of one excellent Alliance organization involved in response and recovery efforts:
    The Global Aid Network (GAIN).

  8. Anonymous4/16/2011

    HI,Gabi san. We just had a wonderful evening attending a performance of taiko. Drumming by the Matsuriza group. There was a collection for Disaster relief for Japan. It was a good way to donate.

  9. Anonymous4/16/2011

    Hi, Gabi-san! Daruma is a suitable design for reconstruction, isn't it?
    Yesterday charity badges went on sale in my city and I bought some badges as my little donation. You'll see the photos on my page. Bary-san badges are cute! "みんなでひとつに" and "きずなで愛を" are the main theme!