April 9, Saturday

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Kizuna - unseen ties
not alone - ganbare Japan !
bond of friendship

The Chinese character  絆 represents "threads" which bind some different halves together.
The way experience of hardship is experienced by many in Tohoku and other regions of Japan, in the shhools, at home and among the volunteers.
In times of great difficulties these ties are especially important and people feel to share them and help each other.

reference : kizuna

. . . . .

In Japanese, kizuna means strong emotional bonds.
This series shares stories about Nikkei individual and/or community reaction and perspectives on the Great Tohoku Kanto earthquake on March 11, 2011 and the resulting tsunami and other impacts—either about supporting relief efforts or how what has happened has affected them and their feeling of connection to Japan.
source : www.discovernikkei.or


Gabi reports:

They are down again :
. Daily Radiation Levels  

The earthquake last night has been downgraded to M 7.1.
But the damage from the aftershock yesterday is bad enough, electricity is off again, and so is the tap water supply in many areas.

12,787 people are now confirmed dead.
14,991 are missing, so the total of lost lives is 27,778.

Toyota will stop the car production in the USA for four days, there are not enough supplies from Japan coming in.

. . . . .

On April 5, I wrote about
. jishuku 自粛 self-restraint .

Since then people are pushed to give this up and start consuming again, in order to help the faltering economy.
self-restraint is holding back something you really want to do. But I think the mood here is different. Not many are holding back on enjoyment, they are really not in the mood for enjoyment right now, not in the mood to drink sake and make merry with friends. It is more like a depression, that keeps people quiet and back at home, watching TV as things develop from bad to worse to more aftershocks ...

. . . . .

Search is going on in the 20 km zone around the Fukushima plant.
Some homes have been broken in, more patrols are needed. A car was hanging from the roof of a three-story building.
We saw some cows lying leisurely in front of a grove, munching. They must have been let loose by their owner.

. Eerie quiet reigns in evacuation zone  

. . . . .

Shiogama town has been ravaged by the tsunami.
Yet the people living in the town keep going:

"The only thing we can do now
is move forward
and not look back."

. . . . .

Some lucky ones were able to evacuate to a hotel in Tokyo, until end of July they can stay there, getting three meals free.
One fell into the bed with white linnen, almost crying ... since he had slept on the floor with just one blanket for four weeks now.
And the running water in shower and toilet was such an event!


Bulletins from NHK Online

source : www3.nhk.or.jp

Saturday, April 09, 2011 01:44
Hong Kong: Japanese vegetables safe

Hong Kong officials are trying to convince worried consumers that vegetables from Japan are safe.
Shoppers have shied away from Japanese produce because of a series of accidents at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Hong Kong has allowed media to cover its inspections of imports. Officials held radioactivity-measuring devices against salad greens and cucumbers from Japan.
Many Japanese restaurants in Hong Kong have been in dire straits since the nuclear accident. The situation is negatively affecting the Hong Kong economy.
Local legislators who viewed the inspections say they want consumers to feel it's safe to eat Japanese food, as officials are inspecting imports properly.
Matsumoto to stress Japanese food safety at ASEAN
Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto 松本剛明 will stress that Japanese food is safe at a ministerial meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Indonesia on Saturday.
Indonesia proposed the emergency meeting in Jakarta. In 2004, the country was devastated by the Sumatra tsunami.
The meeting will discuss aid to Japan from Southeast Asia and ASEAN-Japan cooperation on the management of disasters in the region.
Matsumoto will thank his ASEAN counterparts for aid and will stress the Japanese government's determination to restore the country.
On the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, Matsumoto is expected to mention Japan's all-out efforts to stop the spread of radioactive materials.
He is to say Japan will continue to be transparent in providing information to the international community.
The foreign minister will also reassure ASEAN member nations that Japan is inspecting food to ensure it's safe before exporting it.

Saturday, April 09, 2011 09:06
Power firms under pressure to review backup plans

Thursday's major earthquake has forced nuclear power plants and related facilities in northern Japan to rely on emergency power after their electricity was cut off.
No major safety problems occurred, but people are calling on power companies to review their backup plans so that they can better deal with such contingencies.
Thursday's quake knocked out all external power lines at Higashidori nuclear power plant in Aomori Prefecture, forcing it to use emergency diesel generators.
The tremor also disabled all external power lines at a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Aomori Prefecture.
It also shut down 3 of the 4 external power lines at the Onagawa nuclear plant in Miyagi Prefecture.
Since the March 11th quake and tsunami, operations have been suspended at all nuclear power plants from Aomori to Ibaraki prefectures. But electricity is still crucial, because the plants need to keep their cooling systems working.
Utility firms are deploying power-generating vehicles as part of an additional backup effort, in case both the existing emergency systems and diesel-powered generators fail.
But pressure is rising on power companies to review their backup plans to deal with such scenarios.

Saturday, April 09, 2011 09:46
More machines to be installed to test food safety

The Japanese government says it will greatly increase the number of machines that test Japanese food products for radioactive contamination.
Other economies may ban imports of food from Japan because of fears of contamination caused by the quake-stricken nuclear power plant in Fukushima.
South Korea and Taiwan have tightened inspections of imported food products from Japan. The EU announced that it would ban all food imports from 11 prefectures in northern and central Japan unless they were accompanied by a safety guarantee.
The central and local governments have been emphasizing tests for radioactive contamination of farm land and farm products.
Tests of food products to be exported to other countries are a lesser priority because the central and local governments lack enough machines that test for radioactive contamination.
One testing machine is quite expensive, with an estimated price of about 600,000 dollars.
The government is compiling a revised supplementary budget that contains measures to assist in the recovery of northern areas hit by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
The government says the budget will finance the purchase of machinery to test for radioactive contamination and assist local governments in facilitating the use of the testing machinery.

Saturday, April 09, 2011 12:36
TEPCO steps up effort to remove contaminated water

The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has stepped up its effort to remove highly radioactive water that is hampering restoration of reactor cooling systems.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says contaminated water in a concrete tunnel of the Number 2 reactor has risen 10 centimeters since leakage of the water into the ocean stopped on Wednesday.
The company says the gap between the surface of the waste water and the top of the tunnel was 94 centimeters as of 7 AM on Saturday. It denies any possibility that the water could overflow from the tunnel.
The source of the contaminated water has not been identified.
TEPCO plans to transfer the waste water either to a processing facility for nuclear waste or turbine condensers depending on the progress in current operations.
The company also continues discharging less-radioactive water into the ocean from the processing facility to make room for more-radioactive water.
Some 7,700 tons of less-radioactive water have been released into the sea and the release of the remaining 800 tons is expected to come to an end on Saturday.
In a separate operation to inject nitrogen gas into the containment vessel of the Number 1 reactor to prevent a possible hydrogen explosion, TEPCO plans to increase the purity of nitrogen gas from 98 percent to 99.98 percent.
The plant operator says a strong aftershock on Thursday night did not damage any facilities of the compound, but the surface temperature of the Number 1 reactor rose sharply immediately after the tremor that hit northeastern Japan minutes before midnight.
The reading stood at 223 degrees Celsius at 7 PM, but it rose nearly 40 degrees just after the quake. The temperature had fallen back to 240 degrees at 6 AM on Saturday.
TEPCO says it will continue close monitoring as what caused the sudden rise in temperature is not known.
The company also plans to fly an unmanned small helicopter equipped with an infrared camera over the plant to take pictures of facilities that it has been unable to check. It hopes the photos will help to determine how to proceed with restoration work.

Saturday, April 09, 2011 13:23
People begin to enter newly built temporary houses

Earthquake and tsunami survivors began to move into temporary housing in the city of Rikuzen-takata in Iwate Prefecture, northern Japan, on Saturday. They are the first people to use temporary housing in the areas hit by the March 11th disaster.
The first 36 temporary houses were completed in the city by the end of last month. The city needs about 4,000 temporary houses for those who have stayed in evacuation centers.
On Saturday morning, people chosen by lot entered the newly built houses with futons and daily necessities.
Takuya Kumagai, 36 years old, his wife Eiko, and their 2 children are among the first people to enter the houses.
After carrying clothes and other goods into the house, Kumagai studied its facilities, such as a rice cooker and a refrigerator, and checked a bath room.
Eiko says she was OK for the time being, and that she feels sorry for people who still have to stay in evacuation centers. But she says they will only be able to live in the temporary house for up to 2 years, so that she is very much concerned about their family after the limit expires.
Yuki Kumagai, 74 years old, also moved into a house with his wife and a child. He says he is very grateful at being able to enter a good temporary house, and that he strongly hopes that more houses should be built immediately because many evacuees are waiting for housing. He added that he has had no chance to think about his future yet, but that he will do his best at living day-by-day.

Saturday, April 09, 2011 15:10
Memorial service held for unidentified people

A memorial service for 39 unidentified earthquake and tsunami victims was held in Minami Sanriku Town, Miyagi Prefecture, on Saturday.
Four-hundred-twenty-five bodies have been found in the town, but 80 of them remain unidentified almost one month after a massive earthquake hit the region.
Police handed over to the town 39 bodies found during the first 10 days after the quake, and a memorial service was held in front of one of the community's evacuation centers.
Town employees and rescuers from the Self-Defense Forces attended the ceremony. Some people who are still looking for their family members also took part.
Mayor Jin Sato said it is truly regrettable that the town was unable to hand over the bodies to their families.
Buddhist monks from the town chanted sutras, while attendees burned incense and prayed for the souls of the dead.
The bodies will be cremated and kept at the evacuation center with their belongings, and will be handed over to their relatives when identified.
A 63-year-old woman who participated in the ceremony said she is still looking for her 79-year-old brother.
She says, on one hand, she wants him to be found as soon as possible, but, on the other hand, feels that her search is over.

Saturday, April 09, 2011 22:09
15-meter waves hit Fukushima

The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says the facility was hit by a tsunami as high as 15 meters on March 11th.
Tokyo Electric Power Company was reporting on Saturday on its survey of high-water marks left on the plant's buildings.
It says it found that the tsunami reached up to 15 meters on the ocean side of the reactor and turbine buildings. The figure is far beyond the company's originally estimated height of 5.7 meters.
TEPCO confirmed that the 6 reactors at Fukushima Daiichi power plant had been under as much as 5 meters of water.
TEPCO also revealed video footage taken by a plant worker during the tsunami. The man captured the images with his mobile phone while fleeing for higher ground.
The footage shows the waves pounding against cliffs to a height of more than 20 meters.

Saturday, April 09, 2011 22:10
500 sq km inundated

A survey has found that more than 500 square kilometers of land was ravaged by the tsunami triggered by the earthquake on March 11th.
The semi-public Geospatial Information Authority on Saturday announced its survey results based on aerial and satellite images.
It says the tsunami flooded a total of 507 square kilometers of land in the 4 prefectures of Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima. This is equivalent to almost a quarter of the entire Tokyo Metropolitan Area.
More than 60 percent of Wakabayashi Ward in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, was inundated, while nearly half of some coastal towns and cities were flooded.
The institute will analyze changes in the coastal areas of Ibaragi and Chiba prefectures.

Saturday, April 09, 2011 22:10
Nuclear safety review

Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says the safety measures for nuclear plants compiled before the problem at the Fukushima Daiichi facility are not sufficient.
Senior agency official Hidehiko Nishiyama spoke to reporters on Saturday.
He said he thought nuclear power plants across Japan were completely safe because they included multiple layers of protection systems.
But he said it is necessary to re-examine safety protocols beyond the regulations formulated in the past and to review the measures based on what happened to the nuclear power plants in the quake-hit areas.
The reactors at the Fukushima plant lost their emergency generators as well as their external power supply after the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company has not yet restored the reactors' cooling systems.
Thursday's major aftershock disabled all outside power lines at Higashidori nuclear power plant in Aomori Prefecture.
The operator was able to use emergency power generators and eventually restored outside power.
But later it found that the emergency power generators were not functioning properly.

Saturday, April 09, 2011 22:22
TEPCO to start removing highly radioactive water

Tokyo Electric Power Company plans to start removing highly radioactive water from the Number 2 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
A large amount of contaminated water was found in the reactor's turbine buildings and tunnels. The water is emitting high levels of radiation, which is obstructing restoration work.
The utility had been working to empty the turbine condenser of the reactor and its processing facility for nuclear waste, and on Saturday successfully transferred all the water in the condenser to a separate tank.
Hoses are being installed to connect the turbine buildings with the waste disposal facility. The contaminated water in the tunnel of the reactor will be transferred to the condenser, and then to the processing facility through the hoses.
Also on Saturday, a steel plate was placed over the intake of the Number 2 reactor to stop highly radioactive water from reaching the sea.

Saturday, April 09, 2011 22:10
Kano on farm compensation

Agriculture minister Michihiko Kano 鹿野道彦 says the government will fully compensate farmers who have not been able to plant crops due to radioactive contamination of their rice paddies.
Kano visited Fukushima Prefecture on Saturday to witness first-hand the situation faced by local farmers in the wake of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
A rice farmer in Fukushima City said he has worked hard for decades to grow good rice, but that his farmland became contaminated very quickly.
He said he can no longer sell his rice with confidence, and demanded that the government buy up the crop.
Kano responded that he will consider the farmers' feelings when studying what measures to take, and that he will make sure that they are fully compensated for the damage.
He then visited Iitate Village, where the rice fields have been found to be highly contaminated.
Iitate Mayor Norio Kanno said it will be difficult to sell rice grown in contaminated soil, and asked Kano to take measures to revive the village's agriculture industry.
The minister responded that he will make every effort to allow farmers to pass down their skills to the next generation.
He said he will consult with the prefectural government and the village to make sure that the farmers are fully compensated for the damage they suffered.
Fukushima Prefecture is conducting a reexamination of its soil after high levels of radioactive cesium were detected in 7 locations, including Iitate Village.
The government will consult with the prefecture to decide whether to limit the planting of crops based on the findings.


Voices from around

. The Daily Reading List .  

. Japan Times, April 9  

. . . . .

Japan expects to stop pumping radioactive water into the sea from a crippled nuclear plant on Saturday, a day after China expressed concern at the action, reflecting growing international unease at the month-long nuclear crisis.
"The emptying out of the relatively low radiation water is expected to finish tomorrow (Saturday)," a Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) official said late on Friday.
... G20 finance leaders will ask Tokyo for a plan to resuscitate its economy as they see the economic damage from the earthquake as a risk to global growth, Takatoshi Kato, a former IMF deputy managing director, told Reuters in an interview on Friday.
... The world's third largest economy is now in a "severe condition," the Japanese government said on Friday.
... Many economists expect Japan to slip into recession this year, and the central bank warned on Friday that power shortages and supply disruptions will leave the economy weak for some time.
source : news.yahoo.com


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disaster in Japan -
plum petals scattered
on a stone 

Gabi Greve



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  1. Anonymous4/09/2011

    Lacking facts, U.S. played it safe with 80-km evac zone
    A recommendation for the evacuation of all U.S. citizens who live within 80 km of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant was based on incomplete information and assumptions about the reactors' condition, U.S. nuclear officials told an independent advisory panel Thursday.

    Members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards pressed officials Thursday to explain how they concluded that 80 km was a safe distance from the crippled reactors. Tokyo had set a 20-km evacuation zone.

    On March 16, the Obama administration recommended that Americans evacuate from within an 80-km radius of the stricken nuclear plant, raising questions about U.S. officials' confidence in Tokyo's risk assessments.

    ... Sullivan told the committee the calculation was based on "a big release," which U.S. officials could not confirm was happening. The scenario model assumed 100 percent fuel damage at reactor No. 2, leading to a radioactive release that would last 16 hours, Sullivan said.


  2. Anonymous4/09/2011

    Japan slowly restores power following aftershock

    ICHINOSEKI, Japan –
    Electrical power was slowly being restored in tsunami-ravaged northern Japan on Saturday following a strong aftershock, though more than a quarter-million homes remained in the dark.

    A new wave of anxiety took hold as shoppers emptied store shelves and waited in long lines for gasoline after the magnitude-7.1 aftershock late Thursday.

    Rice grown in soil not considered too contaminated will also be checked for radiation before it can be shipped.

    "We had to come up with a policy quickly because we are in planting season," Agriculture Minister Michihiko Kano said. "Following this, I want to hear the opinions of experts and local officials on how to remediate the soil."

    The government in recent weeks has set the nation's first-ever radiation limits for fish after radioactive water pouring into the ocean from the nuclear plant raised concerns about contamination. The fish limits are the same as those used for vegetables.


  3. Anonymous4/10/2011

    plum petals .
    selam: gassho

  4. Anonymous4/10/2011

    Rescue workers and citizens have turned in to police tens of millions of yen in cash found in the rubble in mud-covered coastal areas in Japan's northeastern region, hit hard by the killer quake and massive tsunami last month, police said Saturday.
    While police and local governments are pessimistic about finding the original owners, unless the money was found with the original owners' identifications, survivors are calling on authorities to use it to help in the reconstruction of the ravaged areas.

    Shigeko Sasaki, 64, who is in a shelter in Miyagi's Minamisanriku, said,
    "I want anybody picking up money to donate it to disaster-hit areas instead of keeping it for themselves."