Japan Times, April 17

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source : Japan Times .

Tepco compensation irks evacuees
Offer in no way covers living costs, damage

The crisis at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant forced Kazuko Suzuki to flee her home without packing, end her job at a welfare office and cost her 18-year-old son an offer for work of his own.
"I'm not satisfied," said the 49-year-old single mother from Futaba, who has lived for the past month with her two teenage sons at a shelter in a high school north of Tokyo. "I feel like this is just a way to take care of this quickly."
Some have traveled hundreds of kilometers to Tepco's headquarters in the capital to press their demands for compensation. Under pressure by the government as well, Tepco announced it would begin distributing money April 28.
Tepco expects to pay ¥50 billion in the initial round of compensation. As costs mount for the utility, Shimizu said the company would consider cutting executive salaries as well as a number of its employees.
Akemi Osumi said: "¥1 million doesn't go very far. I'm not (satisfied by) just ¥1 million per family. If it was dependent on the size of the family, I'd understand. But it's not."


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Convenience stores in Tohoku

One of the few signs of things returning to normal in Tohoku is the reopening of convenience stores. In the six prefectures making up Tohoku, and in Ibaraki Prefecture, a third of the 3,700 stores closed after the quake-tsunami due to power, water and infrastructure failures.

Nearly all, however, have reopened, with "bento" meals being delivered once again to most stores twice or three times a day.
The past business model relied on bright lights, perpetual refrigeration and abundant energy for everything from cash registers to ATMs to microwave ovens. That setup has never been energy-efficient, but like so much else in Japan, it will have to be very, very soon.

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The confidence to look out again

The Japanese public's apparent lack of confidence in the statements made by Tokyo Electric Power Co. spokesmen and the skepticism which has greeted attempts by government officials to allay concerns over nuclear safety have been widely reported.

The decision to cancel the proposed visit by the Crown Prince to attend the wedding of Prince William, the queen's grandson, later this month has been noted with regret. It is understandable that while so many Japanese have suffered tragic losses of life, festivities are inappropriate. But life must go on despite the tragedy. The sooner life in Japan reverts to normal the better for the country.

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Japan's food crisis goes beyond recent panic buying

The neon lights of Ginza flickered out, leaving Tokyo's favorite playground in ominous darkness. Drivers fumed while waiting in long lines to purchase gasoline. Goods disappeared from supermarket shelves, sending housewives on forays into neighboring prefectures in search of everyday items such as toilet paper.

This describes Japan in the winter of 1973-74, after Middle East oil exporters, headed by the late Shah of Iran, jointly reduced output and raised prices in the wake of the Yom Kippur War, spurring the Energy Crisis.
It can't be overlooked that the four prefectures hit hardest by the quake, tsunami and nuclear reactor disaster, Aomori, Iwate, Fukushima and Ibaraki, also make substantial contributions to Japan's food self-sufficiency.


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Sendai port reopens for business

The unnatural state of Japan's self-restraint

Spike in iodine levels may signal new leak
The government says that levels of radioactivity in seawater near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant have risen significantly in recent days, possibly signaling a new leak.

G-20 chiefs express solidarity with Japan
The Group of 20 financial chiefs offer their full support to help the Japanese people overcome the March 11 catastrophe.

Fukuyama apologizes to Iitate over evac order
Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Tetsuro Fukuyama apologizes to residents of Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture, after the government announced it is seeking to evacute the village, which is located more than 30 km from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

Accumulated radiation latest worry for towns

DPJ considering temporary tax increase to fund reconstruction

Miyagi industrial goods to be checked

In this time of trials, a new nationalism would aid Japan's recovery


Sunday, April 17


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