April 19, Tuesday

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cherry petals falling -
so many lives lost
in the tsunami 

17 petals on the ground

Today is a strong cold wind, almost storm right from Siberia.
The petals whirl through the valley in large numbers.

Around lunchtime, temperatures drop even more
and it begins to rain.
Do I see snowflakes or cherry petals whirling around ?

The weatherforecast for tonight in Tohoku is SNOW!


Gabi reports:

The levels are all down :
. Daily Radiation Levels  

14,001 people are confirmed dead
84% have been identified by now
13,660 people are still missing
136,000 people are living in shelters

. . . . .

. . . . . at 4:14
Earthquake M4.8, Akita, felt as lower 5
(and a lot of minor ones in Akita after that)

. . . . . at 12:11
Earthquake M3.2, Shizuoka (this is south of Tokyo)

. . . . . at 16:28
Earthquake M2.8, Southern Okayama
(I thought I felt a jolt ...)

Discussions about the Hamaoka power plant 浜岡原子力発電所 in Shizuoka, sitting right on the plate gap, are increasing, everyone feels the BIG Tokai earthquake can happen any time now.

Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant
Chubu Electric Power Company
On January 30, 2009, Hamaoka-1 and Hamaoka-2 were permanently shutdown.
2009, August 11 - Units 4 and 5 (the only ones operating) automatically shut down due to an earthquake
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

Fukui prefecture is also worried about its power plants (see NHK below).

. . . . .

Kuwait promised to donate oil to Japan !

Russia has lifted its advise against traveling to Japan.

. . . . .

If taxes were to increase to help financing the disaster, more than 30% would approve of such a measure.

. . . . .

Many parts of Ishinomaki and other towns are sunk, in Ishinomaki up to 78 cm lower than before. During high tide the sea water flows over the road twice a day now and into the gardens and homes. People can not live there any more and want the state to buy the property, providing them with safe land on higher ground nearby. Insurance money is another problem not yet solved.

. . . . .

People have started to use power generators for their private homes.
But already there have been accidents due to carbondioxide poisoning.


Bulletins from NHK Online

source : www3.nhk.or.jp

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 05:43
TEPCO to check if plutonium leaked to seabed

The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says it will examine the seabed off the facility to ensure that no plutonium has leaked into the ocean.
Tokyo Electric Power Company said on Monday it will conduct the inspection as plutonium is heavier than other radioactive materials and could have accumulated on the floor.
Plutonium is a radioactive substance that could cause lung cancer if inhaled.
TEPCO detected earlier small quantities of plutonium in the soil around the plant. But it said the amount is too small to harm human health.
So far, no plutonium has been found in the air and sea water samples from around the plant.
TEPCO senior official Junichi Matsumoto said there is little doubt that plutonium has leaked from the plant during the accident. The soil samples have been found to be contaminated with a small amount of the material.
He said the company will continue with the examination so that residents can feel safe.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 05:43
Video footage of Fukushima base camp released

The Japanese defense ministry has released video footage of a base camp for workers dealing with the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The footage of an athletic training facility, about 20 kilometers from the plant, was made public on Monday.
Self-Defense Force officers and Tokyo Electric Power Company workers are lodging and training at the facility.
Footage taken last Tuesday shows SDF personnel using meters to measure radiation on a helicopter that flew over the nuclear plant.
The film also shows SDF officers training to clean vehicles exposed to radioactive materials.
One part of the footage shows a daily meeting of SDF and TEPCO workers discussing contingency plans.
NHK acquired extra footage showing futons laid out in the hallways and workers dressed in protective clothing.
Hallways and stairs appear crammed with boxes of protective clothing, masks and rubber gloves.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 07:36
TEPCO to move radioactive water from No. 2 reactor

The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is ready to move highly radioactive water from the No. 2 reactor to a waste processing facility.
Contaminated water has accumulated in the basement of the turbine building connected to the No. 2 reactor and in the tunnel outside the reactor, hampering efforts to restore the reactor's cooling systems.
The plan announced by Tokyo Electric Power Company on Sunday calls for the transfer of about 30,000 tons of the highly radioactive water to the processing facility.
TEPCO completed preparations for the transfer on Monday by sealing cracks in walls of the facility and checking draining hoses.
TEPCO hopes to begin the water transfer as early as Tuesday after informing the government nuclear safety agency of procedures and safety measures for the operation.
The electric company has also completed rewiring work on a grid powering 4 reactors to ensure water pumping will continue in the event of a major aftershock.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 07:36
Japan plans to use debris for power

The Japanese agricultural ministry is planning to use wooden debris from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami to generate power. The ministry hopes the effort will compensate for electricity shortages expected this summer.
The ministry says 100,000 tons of wood can produce about 10,000 kilowatts of power. It says 75 percent of about 2.5-million tons of wreckage is wood.
A draft supplementary budget for the reconstruction effort, to be submitted to the Diet this month, will include about 3.6 million dollars to buy heavy machinery to clear the debris. The funds would cover half the cost of operations by local governments and private companies.
Six power generation facilities in the Tohoku and Kanto regions have already shown interest in making wood chips from debris.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 10:10
Japan checking exports to ease radiation fears

Japan's federation of steel makers will ask its members to check their products for radiation to combat rumors overseas that they are contaminated with radioactive materials.
The Japan Iron and Steel Federation decided to urge companies to measure radiation levels of their products during manufacturing to guarantee that they are free from radioactive contamination.
The federation opted to take the measure despite the fact that very little radiation can be detected in industrial goods and therefore no limits exist for such products.
The decision came after steel products from Japan were rejected by some importers and ships carrying the products were not allowed to dock at foreign ports following the Fukushima nuclear accident.
The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association is addressing a similar problem by starting to check the radiation of exported cars.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 11:23
Transfer of highly contaminated water begins

The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has begun transferring highly radioactive water from the No. 2 reactor to a waste processing facility.
Ahead of the transfer of the water, TEPCO, sealed cracks in the walls of the facility to prevent any water from leaking and inspected drainage hoses.
On Tuesday morning, TEPCO began operating a pump to transfer the water after the government nuclear safety agency checked procedures and safety measures of the operation.
The highly contaminated water has accumulated in the basement of the turbine building and the tunnel connected to the reactor.
The presence of the water has hampered efforts to restore the reactor's cooling system.
TEPCO plans to move a total of 10,000 tons of water to the processing facility in the next 26 days.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 12:39
Fukui gov. asks gov't for nuclear safety measures

The governor of Fukui Prefecture has urged the central government to ensure that safety measures are in place at all nuclear power plants in Japan.
Fukui Prefecture hosts 14 nuclear reactors, the most in the country.
Governor Issei Nishikawa 西川 一誠 met with industry minister Banri Kaieda on Tuesday about the problems plaguing the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant following the earthquake and tsunami of March 11th.
Nishikawa said the central government should conduct emergency inspections on machinery such as cooling systems, which are crucial for safety.
He said the government should set specific safety standards for emergency power sources.
Industry minister Kaieda is said to have replied that the government is doing its best to bring the situation at Fukushima under control, and that it plans to create exact safety standards.
After the meeting, Nishikawa told reporters that concern is being voiced all over the country. He said he hopes that the government will work with a strong sense of purpose to take all possible measures so that similar accidents do not take place.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 14:44
Gemba: Fukushima residents feeling discrimination

National Policy Minister Koichiro Gemba 玄葉光一郎 says people from Fukushima Prefecture are being discriminated against because of the radiation escaping from the damaged nuclear power plant.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Gemba said that people from Fukushima were refused reservations at hotels in other prefectures and children have been bullied by other kids who say they have been irradiated.
He said the people of Fukushima are leading orderly and calm lives even though they are very worried. He said that while many people support the disaster victims, it's very disappointing that there has been thoughtless behavior on the part of some others. Gemba said he has requested cabinet ministers to instruct relevant institutions to ensure that such actions do not take place.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said it is an objective fact that radiation is not infectious.
He said some people are overreacting. He noted they should properly understand the situation using science, and thus accept produce of Fukushima that has been confirmed safe.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 14:50
New photos show reactor building interiors

For the first time after the accident at the Fukushima plant, TEPCO has released photos of the inside of the reactor buildings. Remote-controlled robots took the pictures on Sunday and Monday to check the interior of the buildings housing the No.1, No.2 and No.3 reactors.
This photo of the first floor of the No.3 reactor building shows a sheet-like object hanging from the ceiling and what appears to be equipment for moving the control rods. TEPCO says it cannot identify whether there are any pools of water on the floor.
The bright area at the innermost part of the building is an entrance for vehicles to bring in large machinery and materials.
The company says the double-door of the entrance is supposed to be closed and that it cannot determine when and how it opened.
This photo of the first floor of the No.1 reactor building shows the remote-controlled robot and what looks like concrete rubble on the floor.
The utility says a part of what appears to be a switchboard is also shown in the photo. It says the floor of the No.1 reactor building was dry.
And in this picture of the first floor of the No.2 reactor building, the robot's camera lens, pointed toward the reactor, captured a large-diameter vertical pipe.
The company says the robot was not able to move further inside as its lens became clouded in the high humidity of up to 99 percent. But it says it found no pools of water on the floor.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 15:43
Fewer holiday-goers expected

The disaster in eastern Japan is likely to lead to a sharp drop in the number of people who travel domestically or abroad during the upcoming vacation period.
The holiday known as "Golden Week" in Japan starts on April 29th and lasts until May 5th.
A leading travel agency, Japan Travel Bureau, announced the expected number of travelers during the period between April 24th and May 4th. It says it expects 15 million 659,000 people to travel domestically. The figure is 27.8 percent lower than the same period last year.
JTB also says it expects 451,000 people to travel abroad from Japan. This is down 16.6 percent, marking the largest decline since the 2003 epidemic of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.
JTB is forecasting a sharp decline of more than 18 percent in the numbers of Japanese visitors to relatively close destinations such as the rest of Asia and Hawaii.
Hotels and guest houses throughout Japan have had massive cancellations of reservations, from both at home and abroad, following the March 11th earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Fukushima.
According to JTB, some people in Japan cancelled trips citing reduced transportation services. Others say they cannot bring themselves to enjoy a vacation while people in the stricken areas are suffering.
JTB says the decline in the expected number of holiday- goers is lower in western Japan. It also says reservations have recently recovered slightly but the downturn for the tourism industry continues.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 17:09
110 school buildings in disaster zone unusable

Over 100 schools in northeastern Japan whose buildings were destroyed or swept away in the March 11th disaster are being forced to resume classes in alternative facilities.
NHK has learned that 73 elementary schools and 37 junior high schools in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures have had to borrow space in other schools or public institutions, or are using shut-down school buildings.
The situation is creating overcrowding and shortages. In one case, students from 4 elementary schools are being crammed into a single building. In another, a school serving as an emergency shelter has also accepted students from another school, resulting in class sizes of nearly 60 children.
14 elementary and 9 junior high schools near the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant don't know if they can resume classes at all. Their students may have to transfer to schools in areas where they have evacuated.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 17:43
Japanese companies in Thailand cutting production

Japanese manufacturers have begun cutting back their production in Thailand in the wake of last month's earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan.
About 8,000 Japanese companies have manufacturing bases in Thailand. But orders from Japan have dropped since the disaster, and there have been delays in parts procurement due to supply chain disruptions in Japan.
Honda Motor had planned to manufacture and sell about 140,000 cars in Thailand this year. But it cut local production by more than half on Tuesday, citing problems obtaining some electronic parts and engine components.
Toyota has been adjusting output by stopping overtime work since 3 days after the quake.
Sharp Corporation, which had been manufacturing about 9,000 copying machines per month in Thailand, cut production by about 20 percent.
The secretary general of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce in Bangkok, Tsuyoshi Inoue, says he does not know how far the economic effects of the disaster will spread, but that he expects the situation to continue for a long time.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 18:54
SDF personnel sent to nuclear zone flees in panic

A Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force member who'd been assigned to work near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has been dismissed for fleeing in panic.
The Defense Ministry says the 32-year-old sergeant was sent from Tokyo to Koriyama city, in Fukushima Prefecture, 2 days after the March 11th earthquake and tsunami to help decontaminate local emergency shelters.
On the next day, he drove away without permission in one of his unit's trucks. He was later arrested by a Self-Defense Force police unit on suspicion of theft.
The sergeant has reportedly told investigators that fear of the nuclear accident made him panic. He was dismissed on disciplinary grounds on Tuesday.
The commander of the Ground Self-Defense Force's First Division, Yoshiaki Nakagawa, expressed regret at what happened while so many SDF personnel are working hard in the disaster zone. He pledged to tighten discipline and prevent a recurrence.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 18:54
Drowning accounts for 92% of disaster deaths

The vast majority of deaths in the March 11th disaster were caused by the tsunami and most of the victims were seniors.
The National Police Agency says 92 percent of deaths in last month's massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami were due to drowning, and 2 in 3 of the dead were over 60 years old.
The agency released the findings on Tuesday, following a month-long analysis of the cause of death of 13,135 people from the 3 hard-hit prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima in northern Japan.
12,143 of them drowned. 578 people, or 4.4 percent of the total, died due to injuries sustained when crushed under the rubble or while being washed away by tsunami.
In the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake, by contrast, well over 70 percent of the victims died of crush injuries or suffocation after being buried under the rubble.
People over 60 accounted for about 65 percent of the confirmed deaths so far in the March 11th disaster. The number is twice the percentage of that demographic group in the population of the 3 prefectures.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 19:53
China: measures for Japanese imports appropriate

The Chinese government says it will continue a de facto import ban on all Japanese food and agricultural products.
Commerce Ministry spokesman Yao Jian told reporters on Tuesday that China's measures to stop food imports from Japan are proper as many countries are taking necessary action. He said that the measures are for the protection of public health.
Yao said China imported about 72 billion dollars worth of farm produce last year, but that Japanese food accounted for only about 0.8 percent, or about 600 million dollars.
On April 8th, China urged food importers from Japan to increase the number of quarantine documents, after the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Japanese companies are asking the government to ease the requirements.
The spokesman said China imports electronic products and automobiles from Japan, and that many Japanese companies have production bases in China.
He said China is the biggest importer of Japanese goods and expressed concern for the impact of the disaster on the Chinese economy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 20:39
Tokai nuclear plant holds emergency drill

The operator of the Tokai Daini nuclear power plant in eastern Japan has conducted a drill to prepare for a complete loss of power to the plant's reactor.
The Japan Atomic Power Company held the drill at the plant in Ibaraki Prefecture on Tuesday to see if backup systems would keep the reactor cool in a situation similar to that which led to the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
Workers tested a procedure for connecting a power generator truck to a switchboard at the reactor, and practiced using an emergency pump to draw in and store seawater for dousing the reactor.
The firm says the measures would not be enough to keep the reactor cool in an emergency, and that the company must introduce a more high-powered mobile generator.
In the March 11th earthquake, the reactor shut down automatically and a diesel generator kicked in after the start of a power blackout to continue pumping of water into the reactor. But the tsunami disabled one of the plant's backup pumps.
The firm says it will continue to improve its emergency response measures to win the trust of residents around the plant.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 19:47
Steel industry to rely on generators

Japanese steelmakers have come up with plans to combat power shortages expected this summer due to the March 11th earthquake and drawn-out nuclear crisis.
Japan Iron and Steel Federation Chairman Eiji Hayashida 林田英治 told reporters on Tuesday that member companies will maximize output of their in-house electric generators.
Hayashida indicated that the steelmakers will also increase production at night, when electricity demand is low, and transfer their main production outside the supply network of the Tokyo Electric Power Company.
He also spoke about overseas rumors that Japanese steel products are contaminated by radiation.
Hayashida said the federation will urge its members to check radiation levels in their production processes and ensure that their products are radiation-free.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 21:47
French company to decontaminate Daiichi water

French nuclear reactor maker Areva says it has agreed with the Tokyo Electric Power Company to build a facility to decontaminate radioactive water at the compound of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
CEO Anne Lauvergeon told reporters in Tokyo on Tuesday that Areva -- one of the world's largest nuclear energy firms -- will build the facility to remove radioactive substances from the contaminated water.
The facility is to use chemical agents to remove radioactive iodine and cesium from contaminated water. The concentration of the radioactive substances is to be reduced to one-one thousandth to one-ten thousandth of the current level. A similar system is already in place in France.
Lauvergeon said it is most important to decontaminate the water at the plant, and that her company will try to do this in every possible way.
TEPCO told reporters on the same day that it has adopted Areva's proposal. The company says it will first transfer the contaminated water into a waste processing facility at the plant, and then decontaminate 1,200 tons of the water per day. It hopes to use decontaminated water to cool the reactors.
TEPCO hopes to start operating the decontamination facility in June.


Voices from around

. The Daily Reading List .  

. . . . .

Architects, artists converge to brainstorm disaster relief
More than 200 people gathered for "Global PechaKucha Day - Inspire Japan" to listen to architects, artists and musicians present their ideas for raising disaster-relief funds.

source : Japan Times, April 19 2011

. . . . .

Japan tsunami survivors: defiance and dignity amid the wreckage
The stories of seven Japanese people who survived the 11 March tragedy and are trying to rebuild their lives
Kiwako Shimizu, teacher of Wada-ryu traditional dance, from Rikuzentakata
Yoshiyuki Kumagai, fisherman from Ofunato
Kenichiro Yagi, seafood entrepreneur from Ofunato
Michihiro Kono, 37, president of a soy sauce company from Rikuzentakata
Kyohei Takahashi, doctor from Minamisoma
Hiroko Iinuma and Miyoko Sasaki, sisters from Kamaishi
source : www.guardian.co.uk


だるまさんがころんだ Daruma has fallen down

life is over - the curtain is down

source : darumasangakoronda



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  1. quote
    Publication Date : 19-04-2011, The Nation (Thailand)
    We are still not getting the full story from Japan

    Authorities dealing with the nuclear crisis need to ensure that accurate, reliable information is provided to the public both at home and abroad

    It is now over a month since the earthquake and tsunami struck the northeast coast of Japan, leading to the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The Japanese government and concerned authorities at the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) are still struggling to put out accurate, reliable information about the current state of affairs at the critically damaged power plant. The Japanese people in general, and especially in the stricken Sendai area, are now becoming wary of the information being put out to the public. They are of course concerned about their safety and the precautions being taken to protect them. Compounding the problems of the information flow inside the country have been the Western media's comments and analysis of the Japanese crisis. Their perceptions and understanding of Japan are reflected in their collective insensibility regarding the local people and what the government is trying to do.

    First of all, one has to understand the psyche of the Japanese people, who have been brought up with the likelihood of natural disasters, whether earthquakes or tsunamis. The people are ready and prepared for such events. So, when the recent disasters happened, the Japanese people did not panic, they remained calm and collected under very trying circumstances. Foreign correspondents were flabbergasted at such orderliness and calm among the Japanese people.

    However, within hours of the dysfunctional Fukushima power plant making the headlines, public perceptions began to change quickly. Subsequently the foreign media focused on the government's apparent inability to provide timely information. Many also faulted Tepco for its general failure to communicate with the public on such an important issue.


  2. Hi Gabi!
    I can imagine after everything that has happened, that the last thing anyone needs is a gloomy, rainy day.
    Soon, the sun will favor Japan!!!

  3. I admire Japanese spirit, the way this people have learned to survive the life's hardships during centuries. People will survive again, I am confident by the enormous cost of individual sacrifices.
    God bless Japan and Help Japan.