Japan Times, April 09

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source : Japan Times .

Eerie quiet reigns in evacuation zone
Only dogs and crows left to stir in irradiated ghost towns

MINAMISOMA, Fukushima Pref. (AP)
The Odaka neighborhood seems frozen in time since it was abandoned after disaster struck on March 11: Doors hang open and bicycles sit abandoned. A lone taxi is parked outside the train station. Mud-caked dogs roam empty streets, their barking and the cawing of crows the only sounds.

Many homes and businesses in the area escaped serious damage from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, but their owners have not been allowed back because of the radiation leaking from the nearby crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

Some have returned anyway, saying they need to get on with their lives.

"It's eerie here," said Masahiko Sakamoto, 59, who was loading a truck with two other workers Thursday in their company's parking lot. "Everyone has gone. I think the number of people who have stayed is just about zero. Some people come back during the day. But it's too scary at night."

It was the third time Sakamoto, a supervisor, has violated the order to stay out of the 20-km evacuation zone around the Fukushima No. 1 plant. His home is in the zone, too, so he's living in a shelter where he gets screened for radiation every day.


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With the world looking in, Japan needs to speak out

Japan is known as having some the world's most developed earthquake- and tsunami-detection systems. However, the destruction caused on March 11 amply illustrated what can happen even when it is well prepared for crises.

Imagine what happens in a crisis when you are not well prepared. We believe that this disaster has illustrated Japan's lack of preparedness in a different sense: crisis communication.

While it must be said that DPJ politicians have been a constant fixture on TV since the earthquake and tsunami hit, overall Japan has not done a good job of communicating the situation on the ground (especially that of Tokyo) to the rest of the world.

The lack of preparedness and the lack of a holistic strategy to disseminate accurate information to outside audiences — who watched in horror as the pictures of towns being reduced to rubble and explosions at Fukushima's nuclear power plant were beamed across the world — quickly resulted in a chaotic blur of misinformation and half truths being spread across rolling news channels and the Internet.

... The same poll asked the question of foreign firms, "What is your primary concern arising from the quake/tsunami in terms of business over the next three months?"

... "What was the biggest challenge you confronted during the crisis?"
the same messages came back: "misinformed and sensationalized rumors"; "lack of consistent and accurate information about nuclear risk and rolling blackouts"; and "obtaining accurate, complete and timely information to make prudent business decisions" were typical of the responses.

. . . . .

7.1 Tohoku aftershock kills four
At least four people die and 141 are injured by the strongest aftershock to rattle Miyagi Prefecture and its vicinity since the devastating March 11 temblor, tallies by firefighters and police show.


Latest jolt tests other nuclear plants, but no leaks
Tohoku suffers its largest aftershock since the March 11 killer temblor, but no abnormalities are found in radiation levels around nuclear reactors along the region's Pacific coast, including the crippled Fukushima No. 1 power plant, according to government officials.


Toshiba hopes to decommission reactors in 10 years
Toshiba Corp. has proposed decommissioning four troubled nuclear reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant in about 10 years, much shorter than the 14 years needed to dismantle the Three Mile Island nuclear plant, industry sources say.

Contamination spread around hemisphere

Lacking facts, U.S. played it safe with 80-km evac zone

Better fishing port defenses urged

Maldives sends 600,000 cans of tuna

Tohoku coastal-area job losses look to top 81,500

Life insurer payouts in billions

March 11 to clip exports by up to 1.6%: WTO

Toyota to restart all domestic plants

Thailand to require 'radiation certificates' be supplied for food from Japan

New food contamination rules


Saturday, April 9


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