April 18, Monday

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a hazy moon
on the cherry blossoms
on the debris

It has been raining the whole day,
keeping the temperatures
and the mood down.

painting source : matsuog gallery
With paintings of Daruma san.

. WKD : hazy moon 朧月 oborozuki .  


Gabi reports:

Tokyo level is going down :
. Daily Radiation Levels  

. . . . .

A charity concert in Brazil with Japanese instruments like Koto, Shakuhachi and others with about 50 musicians was held, donations will go to the Brazilian Red Cross.

Japanese dancers in New York had a charity performance too, like Yuriko Kajiya. They raised more than 30,000 dollars. Well danced !

. . . . .

Car Maker Toyota has now resumed production at all the plants in Japan, some still working half-time though.
Things are slowly getting back to normal.

The Shinkansen in Tohoku region will be back by April 30.

Even in Okayama the repercussions are felt. A company making nets for fishing can not sell its order-made nets to the fishing boats in Tohoko, which are destroyed. The fishing industry will take a long time to pick up its former volume.


Bulletins from NHK Online

source : www3.nhk.or.jp

Monday, April 18, 2011 00:27
Govt may let evacuees return when plant stabilizes

Japan's industry minister has hinted that the government may be able to tell evacuees if they can return home when the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is stabilized.

Banri Kaieda
spoke to reporters on Sunday shortly after Tokyo Electric Power Company presented a road map to cool down the reactors and significantly reduce radiation leaks in 6 to 9 months.
Kaieda called the plan an important step for moving from the first-aid phase to the stabilization phase.
He urged the utility to implement the road map and move up the schedule if possible.
He also called on the company to assign sufficient workers and find enough materials and equipment to carry out the task.
The minister said the government will regularly check the progress being made and the safety of the plant.
Kaieda hinted that the government is likely to review the evacuation instructions issued for the area around the plant after radiation leaks from the utility are controlled.
By that time, the government will study detailed criteria for evacuation and try to decontaminate as much land as possible.
He expressed hope that the government will be able to tell some of the evacuees if they can return home when the nuclear plant is put under control.

Monday, April 18, 2011 00:27
Robot used to investigate reactor buildings

Tokyo Electric Power Company has started using a remote-controlled robot to investigate the reactor buildings at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
High levels of radiation have kept workers from approaching the buildings of the first 3 reactors, which lost their cooling functions in the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
The utility started investigating the buildings using a US-made remote-controlled robot on Sunday, starting with the No.3 reactor building.
The robot took photos inside the building and measured radiation and oxygen levels as well as the temperature and humidity.
The utility says it is analyzing the findings.
If successful, the condition inside the No.3 reactor building will be known for the first time since a hydrogen explosion occurred there on March 14th.
TEPCO says it will conduct the same investigation inside the No.1 and 2 reactor buildings, and use the findings to study what work can be done.

Monday, April 18, 2011 00:27
Builders submit plans to dismantle Fukushima plant

The builders of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have submitted draft plans to dismantle the reactors over the medium to long term.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, which operates the plant, issued a schedule on Sunday for putting the crisis under control in 6 to 9 months.
However, various issues remain over the medium term for completely decommissioning the crippled reactors.
Toshiba, which helped build the 2nd and 3rd reactors, has submitted to TEPCO and the industry ministry a draft plan to decommission the plant, jointly with US companies in the nuclear power sector.
The plan states that it will take about 5 years to safely remove nuclear fuel rods from the pools and pressure vessels, and another 5 years to dismantle the reactors and clear the land while removing radioactive materials that leaked outside the plant.
The company says the process may take even longer, depending on the conditions inside the reactors.
Hitachi, which was involved in the construction of the 4th reactor, submitted its draft plan to TEPCO earlier this month.
It states that the complete dismantling of the reactors will take more than 15 years, in view of the lessons learned from past accidents and the fact that 4 reactors broke down simultaneously.
TEPCO is taking these proposals into consideration in studying concrete measures.

Monday, April 18, 2011 00:27
Japan,US agree to join hands for reconstruction

The foreign ministers of Japan and the United States have agreed to keep working closely to contain the ongoing nuclear crisis and to reconstruct the areas affected by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
In a bilateral meeting on Sunday, Japanese Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto thanked the United States for its support for Japan.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responded that she came to Japan to show the strong ties between the 2 countries.

Monday, April 18, 2011 06:09
31% walked home from central Tokyo after quake

A survey has found that 30 percent of people living in Tokyo and 3 neighboring prefectures had to walk home after the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11.
Nippon Research Center surveyed 1,000 people aged 15 or above living in Tokyo and neighboring Kanagawa, Chiba, and Saitama prefectures. They examined how people responded to the emergency.
The survey found that 60.5 percent of people were at work or school when the earthquake struck. With many railway lines in the Tokyo metropolitan area not running in the hours after the quake, 31.4 percent of people say they had to walk home. Twenty-two and a half percent say they drove home, and 9.8 percent cycled home. Almost 12 percent of people stayed overnight in offices or schools.
When asked what they did the day after the quake, about half the respondents said they hoarded various supplies. Twenty-two percent say they bought water and instant noodles, and about 18 percent say they bought rice. About 16 percent bought batteries.

Monday, April 18, 2011 06:09
TEPCO issues 6-9 month containment plan

The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has announced a schedule for getting the crisis under control in 6 to 9 months.
Tokyo Electric Power Company chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata explained the plan at a news conference on Sunday.
He said a two-stage process is scheduled. In the first stage over the next 3 months, TEPCO aims to cool the Number 1 and 3 reactors in a stable manner. It plans to cover fuel rods with water by injecting water into the containment vessels. The company also plans to purify contaminated water and return it to the reactors. It will set up heat exchangers to remove heat from the reactors.
TEPCO says it will contain the radioactivity leakage from the Number 2 reactor by patching the damaged section. Then it will take the same measures as at the Number 1 and 3 reactors.
In the second stage, TEPCO plans to lower the temperature of the fuel in the reactors to below 100 degrees Celsius to stabilize its condition.
Regarding the release of radioactive substances, it will set up water purification facilities to tackle highly contaminated water.
TEPCO also plans to put giant covers over the reactor buildings to prevent the release of radioactive substances into the air.
Regarding environmental monitoring, in the first stage, TEPCO will increase the number of monitoring points within the government-set evacuation areas. In the second stage, it will carry out decontamination to reduce radiation levels in the area.
University of Tokyo graduate school professor Koji Okamoto says officials must approach the work flexibly, be prepared for unexpected situations, and be sure to release plenty of information as they make progress.

Monday, April 18, 2011 08:44
Workers cannot approach reactor buildings

At the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, high levels of radiation have kept workers from approaching the buildings housing the first 3 reactors, which lost their cooling functions in the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
On Friday, the highest radiation level measured outside the double-entry doors of the Number 1 to 3 reactor buildings was 2 to 4 millisieverts per hour.
Radiation levels measured between the double doors of those reactor buildings was 270 millisieverts in the Number One reactor, 12 in Number 2, and 10 in Number 3.
The radiation level detected at the Number One reactor exceeds the national exposure limit of 250 millisieverts for nuclear contract workers.
TEPCO, has started using a remote-controlled robot inside the reactor buildings.
But issues remain as radioactive water has been found in turbine buildings and the utility tunnel outside the reactors.
At the Number 2 reactor, the level of highly contaminated water in the tunnel is still rising. To prevent overflow, TEPCO is stepping up the inspection of the nuclear waste processing facility, to which it aims to transfer contaminated water.
Underground water at the plant is also contaminated.
On Wednesday, the level of radioactive substances sharply increased at facilities where underground water from the Number 1 and 2 reactors is collected.
On Friday, workers kept on monitoring the situation.
They say the level of radioactive substances has stabilized or decreased in every reactor from 1 to 6.
So they say it's unlikely that highly radioactive water is still seeping into underground water.

Monday, April 18, 2011 09:59
Kan, DPJ agree to submit extra budget this month

Prime Minister Naoto Kan and executives from the governing Democratic Party have agreed to submit to the Diet by the end of this month an extra draft budget to help rebuild areas devastated by the March 11th disaster.
... The participants agreed that the plan will be about
4 trillion yen, or about 48 billion dollars, and that no new government bonds will be issued to finance it.
... After the meeting, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters that the Democrats will do their best to enact the draft budget because failure to do so will prolong the difficulties of the disaster survivors. He says he believes other parties will help the DPJ achieve its goal.
TSE to ease delisting standard for quake-hit firms
Tokyo Stock Exchange has decided to ease its listing and delisting standards for companies that have been hit hard by the March 11th quake and tsunami in a bid to help rebuild their businesses.
Companies with plants and other facilities in disaster-affected areas are expected to post sharp drops in their annual net profits in the term ending in March.

Monday, April 18, 2011 12:44
Robot measures radiation

The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says the maximum radiation level inside the No. 3 reactor building is 57 millisieverts per hour.
Tokyo Electric Power Company used US-made remote-controlled robots on the 1st floor of the No. 1 and No. 3 reactor buildings on Sunday to measure radiation levels, temperatures and oxygen densities.
It announced on Monday that radiation readings were 10 to 49 millisieverts per hour in the No.1 building, and 28 to 57millisieverts per hour in the No. 3 building.
Exposure to the maximum reading in the No. 3 building for 4 and a half hours would exceed the emergency safety limit for nuclear power plant workers, set at 250 millisieverts.
Oxygen densities in both buildings were around 21 percent, high enough for workers to enter the buildings.
On Monday, TEPCO plans to use the robots to take measurements inside the No. 2 reactor.
Based on the collected data, the company will study what kind of work can be done inside the reactor buildings.
Meanwhile, the level of contaminated water in the tunnel of the No. 2 reactor continues to rise.
The level dropped 8 centimeters after about 660 tons of the highly radioactive water was moved into a turbine condenser.
But as of 7 AM on Monday, the water had risen again, to a point 9 centimeters higher than before the transfer.
TEPCO says contaminated water could be flowing into the tunnel since it plugged water leaks from a concrete pit outside the No. 2 reactor into the sea earlier this month.
It hopes to move the radioactive water from the tunnel to an onsite waste processing facility by the end of this week.
Workers at the plant have been looking for and fixing water leaks at the facility.

Monday, April 18, 2011 12:55
Kan urges thorough nuclear policy review

Prime Minister Naoto Kan has pledged a thorough review of the government's nuclear energy policy in the wake of Japan's nuclear emergency.
Speaking in a Diet committee meeting on Monday,
Kan said a thorough and fundamental examination is needed to determine why an accident like the one at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant could have happened.
Kan said he had previously been in favor of nuclear power generation, believing that multilayered safety measures were in place at power plants. But he said all such preconceived, conventional views should be put aside for a review of the nation's nuclear administration.
The March 11th earthquake and tsunami knocked out the Fukushima plant's emergency power supply equipment, which was needed to cool its reactors and spent fuel storage pools.
During the same Diet committee meeting, Kan said the government should also consider a permanent disposal site for spent nuclear fuel.
He spoke of the need for a final disposal site for spent fuel, pointing out that spent fuel at the plant was stored inside the reactor buildings because of the lack of such a disposal site.
On Sunday, Tokyo Electric Power Company disclosed a schedule for stabilizing the plant and curbing the release of radioactive substances within 6 to 9 months. Kan told the committee that the government will do all it can to ensure that TEPCO sticks to this schedule.

Monday, April 18, 2011 13:28
Edano: evacuees may return home in 6 months

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary says residents around the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, who are currently displaced, may be able to return to their homes in 6 months at the earliest.
Yukio Edano was speaking on Monday, one day after the plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company unveiled a plan to get the plant under control..
The plan aims to achieve a steady reduction of radiation in the first 3 months and, in the next stage, to get the release of radioactive materials under control 6 to 9 months from now.
Edano said the timetable was compiled by experts and he believes it is feasible.
He added that the government will closely monitor the situation because it is still too early to relax with continuing aftershocks.
Edano said the completion of the second stage of the plan will serve as a target after which some residents may be able to return to their homes.

Monday, April 18, 2011 14:03
School relocation

School children from an evacuation zone around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have begun a new term at a school outside the zone.
The people of the Yamakiya district of Kawamata Town in Fukushima Prefecture have been advised to evacuate within a month because their annual radioactive exposure is expected to top the safety limit of 20 millisieverts.
The district's public school has been temporarily closed, and all of its students and teachers have been moved to a school 8 kilometers away.
The school accepting the evacuating students and teachers partitioned its dining hall and made vacant classrooms available to them.

Monday, April 18, 2011 18:42
TEPCO to prevent radioactive dust migration

The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant will spray a chemical hardening agent around the damaged plant to prevent the migration of radioactive dust and soil.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says it will begin spraying the polymer emulsion on top of debris near the plant's reactor buildings starting on Tuesday next week. It has been test-spraying the emulsion since April 1st.
The operation is part of a blueprint announced by TEPCO on Sunday to stop the leaking radiation and bring the plant under control within the next 3 months.
Hydrogen explosions in the first few days of the emergency at Fukushima blew off the roofs and walls of the buildings housing the No. 1 and No. 3 reactors and showered radioactive rubble and dust over the site.
To prevent the debris around a common spent fuel storage pool from scattering, about 2 weeks ago the utility began test coating it with an emulsion widely used in construction sites to settle dust.
TEPCO says the polymer has hardened the debris and that radiation levels in the plant's compound have remained relatively low.
TEPCO says it hopes to finish spraying the agent around the reactor buildings by the end of May, and in the rest of the compound by the end of June.
After that stage, the company plans to cover the reactor buildings with huge filter curtains to prevent any further spread of radioactive materials into the environment.

Monday, April 18, 2011 18:58
Robots detect high levels of radiation

Remote-controlled robots have detected high levels of radiation inside the reactor buildings at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, on Monday released radiation data and photos taken by the US-made robots. The company conducted the survey using the robots on Sunday and Monday.
This is the first time the situation inside the buildings has been made public since the March 11th disaster triggered a series of nuclear accidents. Workers have been unable to approach the buildings due to high radiation levels.
TEPCO said the robots surveyed the first floor of the No.1 reactor for about 50 minutes and detected maximum radiation readings of 49 millisieverts per hour.
A person staying in such an environment for 5 hours would be exposed to 250 millisierverts of radiation -- the legal limit for nuclear workers in emergency situations.
The survey inside the No. 3 reactor lasted for about 2 hours, but the plant operator says the robots had difficulty moving around because of the debris. The maximum radiation reading was 57 millisieverts per hour.
The power company says it hopes to find locations where workers can go to carry out decontamination tasks so it can implement its schedule for bringing the troubled plant under control.

Monday, April 18, 2011 18:42
Kan approval rate rises to 27% from February

Prime Minister Naoto Kan's Cabinet has seen a bounce in its approval rating according to a recent NHK opinion poll.
27 percent of respondents said they approve of Kan and his Cabinet, up 6 percentage points from the previous poll conducted 2 months ago. The disapproval rate stood at 59 percent, down 5 percentage points.

Monday, April 18, 2011 18:42
More automakers resume production

Japanese automakers are resuming production at plants in Japan about a month after the deadly earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan's northeastern coast on March 11th.
Toyota Motor resumed production on Monday at all of its 14 assembly plants, including 2 affiliated companies in the disaster-hit prefectures of Miyagi and Iwate. Toyota resumed production of some hybrid models at the end of last month.
Nissan Motor also resumed production on Monday at engine and assembly plants in Fukushima and Tochigi prefectures. The move followed last week's restarting of its assembly plants in Kanagawa and Fukuoka prefectures.
Also on Monday, Daihatsu Motor resumed production at its remaining plants in Osaka and Kyoto prefectures, following last week's resumption at 2 of its 4 plants in Shiga and Oita Prefectures in western Japan.
The move toward resuming production is attributed to good prospects of recovering from the damage at their own and affiliated plants.
Honda Motor still remains in limited production mode at most of its plants, including those in Saitama and Mie prefectures, where operating hours have been cut to half.
The automakers say it is still difficult to procure a stable supply of some key parts, due to delayed repair work at their plants in the stricken areas. It is expected to take more time for full production to resume.

Monday, April 18, 2011 20:20
Kan apologizes but refuses to step down now

Prime Minister Naoto Kan says the government underestimated the potential impact of a large tsunami on Japanese nuclear power plants, but that he won't resign to take responsibility.
Kan was responding to questions at an Upper House Budget Committee meeting on Monday about the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The prime minister said the government had believed the cooling systems of nuclear reactors would continue to work in a major earthquake as emergency generators would be activated to restore power.
He said that was not the case with Fukushima Daiichi, however, where cooling systems went down because the tsunami was far more powerful than anticipated.
Kan apologized for the government's failure to check the systems' strength in advance. He said there was no excuse for failing to prepare for a worst-case scenario.
He also suggested that the nation's nuclear policy needs to be reviewed, and that the government will not continue with the existing guidelines until their safety is confirmed.
Kan said he is aware that the government's response to the nuclear crisis is drawing severe criticism. But he said he would wait for the judgment of history.
The prime minister also rejected calls for him to resign once the nation gets on the road to recovery. He said he would be happy as a politician if he could simply pave the way to the establishment of disaster recovery and fiscal reconstruction plans.
TEPCO president apologizes at the Diet
The president of the Tokyo Electric Power Company has apologized for underestimating the possible impact of a tsunami triggered by a massive earthquake.
TEPCO president Masataka Shimizu appeared at the Upper House Budget Committee session as an unsworn witness on Monday.
Referring to the troubles at the disaster-hit Fukushima Daiichi power plant, Shimizu said he regrets that the company fell short of predicting that a tsunami 14 or 15 meters tall could hit Japanese shores.
He reiterated his apology for raising anxiety and concern over the crippled power plant.

Monday, April 18, 2011 20:20
Filipino, Indonesian nurses cancel Japan visits

Nearly one-sixth of the Filipino and Indonesian nurse and caregiver candidates scheduled to come to Japan have canceled their visits due to concerns about the hazardous effects of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
A total of 293 nurses and caregivers from the Philippines and Indonesia were scheduled to come to Japan this fiscal year to apply for a licensing program to work in Japan.
The Japan International Corporation of Welfare Services, the organization that coordinates the program, says 43 applicants had cancelled their visits as of last Saturday.
The figure is the largest since Japan began to accept applicants under an economic partnership agreement with the Philippines and Indonesia.
Those not coming comprise 28 Filipino nurses and 7 caregivers, and 4 Indonesian nurses and 4 caregivers.
The main reasons for the cancellations include concerns about radioactive emissions from the crippled nuclear power plant and the continuing aftershocks since the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
The number of cancellations is likely to increase. The organization says it will explain that most of the facilities in which the applicants would work are undamaged and located far from the devastated areas.


Voices from around

. The Daily Reading List .  

. Japan Times, April 18   

. . . . .

Robot in Japanese reactors detects high radiation

Readings Monday from a robot that entered two crippled buildings at Japan's tsunami-flooded nuclear plant for the first time in more than a month displayed a harsh environment still too radioactive for workers to enter.

Nuclear officials said the radiation readings for Unit 1 and Unit 3 at the tsunami-flooded Fukushima Dai-ichi plant do not alter plans for stabilizing the complex by year's end under a "road map" released by the plant operator Sunday.
It is still possible, he said, to achieve plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s goal of achieving a cold shutdown of the plant within six to nine months as laid out in a timetable the company announced Sunday.

"I do believe we must be creative to come up with ways to achieve our goals," Nishiyama said. "I still think the plan ... is as appropriate as we can get at the moment."
TEPCO's plan for ending the crisis, drawn up at the government's order, is meant to be a first step toward letting some of the tens of thousands of residents evacuated from the area around the company's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant return to their homes.

It drew a lackluster response Monday, though, as polls showed diminishing public support for the government's handling of the country's recent disasters.
source : news.yahoo.com



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  1. Fears over mental impact of Japan disaster

    Onagawa, Japan, April 18, 2011 (AFP) -

    The forbearance shown by survivors of Japan’s quake-tsunami has been lauded in the West, but psychologists worry not talking about the hurt could be doing long-term damage.

    Commentators have heaped praise on the emotional resilience of people who have lost everything, but, say some, the surface calm masks deep undercurrents of emotion.

    "To be honest I really feel like breaking down and crying — because I’m sad," said evacuee Kenichi Endo, 45, briefly screwing his eyes shut.

    "I’ve lost my father, my pet, my car, my savings. I’ve lost everything. But, everyone here is the same. If I cry, everyone else will, so I can’t," he told AFP in a shelter in Onagawa town, clenching his fists into tight balls.


  2. Letter from wife of heroic cop who gave his life on March 11

    Among the countless thousands who lost their lives on March 11 in the Great East Japan Earthquake was a dedicated police officer in his late-30s who was working for the Iwate prefectural police department.

    This officer was expecting a promotion to section chief in the department's criminal affairs division on March 15. The Asahi Shimbun received a letter from his wife. With her permission, her heartfelt and touching message appears below:

    "As time passes on, our life is gradually regaining some semblance of normalcy, although things are still unstable. Yet, sharing my story about my husband is still a bit of a challenge because part of me still does not want to accept his death.

    My husband was a well-respected police officer. He was a huge fan of the popular Japanese police drama 'Bayside Shakedown,' and often associated himself with the drama's main character, 'Aoshima,' who never hesitates to take any risk to ensure the safety of people's lives. And I totally agreed with him.

    The shocking scenes of the gigantic tsunami on TV make me despair when I consider his unflagging devotion to his job.
    He tried to evacuate as many people as possible while making sure that all he could do was done.


  3. Anonymous4/18/2011

    In the end these things matter most:

    How well did you love?
    How fully did you love?
    How deeply did you learn to let go?

    the Buddha

    . . . . .

    thinking of all the people in Tohoku who had to let go ...


  4. Anonymous4/19/2011

    apologies by TEPCO and Kan ...

    For some things, an apology can never be enough.

  5. Uncanny Terrain

    The first sprouts are beginning to emerge on Colors of the Seasons Farm, 45 miles from the malfunctioning Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant and 20 miles outside the evacuation zone.

    28-year-old Masanori Yoshida left his job as a cook at a French restaurant in Tokyo three years ago to work his family’s land with his wife, siblings, parents, and grandmother. They grow natural crops including ‘firefly rice,’ so named because the insects, driven near extinction by chemical pesticides and fertilizer, have proliferated as farmers return to the traditional methods practiced by their ancestors.

    The Yoshidas’ farm is one of hundreds of organic farms in Tohoku, the earthquake and tsunami-ravaged region of northern Japan that supplies much of the rice and vegetables to Tokyo and across the country. Government warnings have limited the sale of food grown there since high levels of radiation were detected in some spinach, milk and fish from the region.

    “We don’t know if our crops will be safe,” Masanori says. “We can’t ignore this issue. But we won’t stop cultivating our land. We farmers need to nurture the environment, nature and culture, and pass them to them to the next generation.”


  6. I agree that feelings need to be expressed. The Japanese are a strong people but that doesn't mean that they can't grieve what's lost. The loss is immense.