May 22, Sunday

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haiku in earth language

Haiku by Minami Takeshita (Nara Japan)


A baby was born
being innocent in the earthquake.
What thin fingers it has!

source : www.earthlanguage.org


Gabi reports:

24,027 are dead or missing:
. 15,170 confirmed dead
. 12,993 have been identified

109,588 evacuees in temporary shelters

. . . . .

Hamaoka condenser pipes cracked
. Hamaoka Power Plant .

. . . . .

. . . . . at 7:6
Earthquake M 5.5, off the coast of Chiba

. . . . .

The story of this town and its mayor, Sato Jin:
. Minamisanriku Town


Bulletins from NHK Online
source : www3.nhk.or.jp

Sunday, May 22, 2011 01:15
Recovering drifting boats
A crane ship has been returned its home port of Kamaishi in Iwate Prefecture, northeastern Japan, after drifting at sea for 2 months since the quake and tsunami on March 11th.
The Number 8 Koryu, which belongs to a construction company in Kamaishi city, was towed back to the port on Saturday afternoon.
A Japan Coast Guard aircraft spotted the ship about 670 kilometers off the coast of Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture, on Wednesday.
The Coast Guard towed the ship back to port, as it considered it still usable, with only slight damage.
It says a total of 470 vessels have been found adrift since the tsunami.
These include fishing boats, pleasure craft, passenger boats and work boats.
Some were found as far as 1,000 kilometers away.
The agency says a total of 74 vessels have been towed back to port, and 51 of them have been returned to their owners.
It is warning vessels in the Pacific to be alert for such vessels, since as many as 400 could still be adrift.

Sunday, May 22, 2011 01:15
Radioactive sea water simulation
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant released a computer simulation on Saturday showing dispersal routes and densities of radioactive water along the Pacific coast of Japan.
Last month, Tokyo Electric Power Company found highly contaminated water flowing from the intakes of the Number 2 and 3 reactors.
The company was forced to release slightly irradiated water to make space to store highly radioactive water in the facility.
The firm estimates the total accumulated radiation dispersed in the sea at more than 4,700 trillion becquerels.
The simulation shows contaminated water spreading southward along the coast on April 11th while maintaining its radiation level.
The water had reached a point about 150 kilometers south of the plant by May 1st with the radiation density decreasing. On May 11th, the water began to spread east on the Kuroshio current.
TEPCO believes the radioactive density will dissipate further, but says it will continue monitoring the spreading water.

Sunday, May 22, 2011 01:15
Nuclear science symposium
The Atomic Energy Society of Japan 電気事業連合会 has convened its first symposium since the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant was hit by an earthquake and tsunami on March 11th.
About 500 people participated in the meeting at a Tokyo hotel on Saturday.
Society chairman Yonezou Tsujikura 辻倉米蔵 said in his opening speech that he considers the nuclear disaster Japan's most serious and that he will make efforts to improve safety at the nuclear power plants.
During the discussions, a scientist asked why the society did not put forth a thorough argument on the real possibilities of damage to nuclear facilities by tsunamis.
A senior officer of the society replied that their risk analyses were not strict enough.
It was also reported at the meeting that low-level radioactivity continues to be measured around the facility and that a new Diet bill is necessary on the disposal of contaminated debris.

. . . . .

Sunday, May 22, 2011 01:15
Asian leaders visit Fukushima
Prime Minister Naoto Kan, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and South Korean President Lee Myung Bak have visited Fukushima Prefecture to meet some of those forced to evacuate following the nuclear power plant accident.
The leaders of China and South Korea are in Japan to attend a 3-way summit in Tokyo on Saturday and Sunday.
The summit is the first major international conference in Japan since the earthquake and tsunami on March 11th.
The 2 leaders flew in to Sendai Airport in Miyagi Prefecture, which has been reopened after a prolonged closure.
They visited some of the affected areas in the prefecture.
They then moved to a gymnasium in Fukushima City that now serves as a shelter for residents forced to evacuate due to the accident at the nuclear power plant.
Wen and Lee were greeted there by the Japanese prime minister.
At the shelter, they ate cherries and cucumbers grown in Fukushima to demonstrate the safety of the local produce.
The 3 leaders spoke with some of the evacuees there. Children jumped for joy when Wen presented them with toy Pandas.
Lee presented the evacuees with paper fans bearing a message of encouragement, and listened to their concerns.
The Chinese and South Korean leaders will attend a dinner party hosted by Kan in Tokyo featuring dishes prepared with ingredients from the affected areas.
Some say delays in disclosing information and the failure to release detailed data after the nuclear accident prompted the foreign media to question the safety of Japanese food products.
Kan wants to take the 3 leaders' visit to Fukushima as an opportunity to emphasize that the prefecture is safe.
Asian leaders dine safely
Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan hosted a reception for the leaders of China and South Korea on Saturday evening at Tokyo's Akasaka Guest House.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and South Korean President Lee Myung Bak are making their first visits to Japan since the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
The 3 leaders spent the afternoon with people evacuated from areas around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
They dined on dishes made with ingredients from the disaster-hit areas, such as Maezawa beef from Iwate Prefecture and abalone from Miyagi Prefecture, and washed it down with sake from Fukushima Prefecture.
The foreign media has accused the Japanese government of being too slow in providing information on the nuclear accident following the earthquake and tsunami.
Kan to urge China, S.Korea to lift food import bans

Prime Minister Naoto Kan will urge China and South Korea to lift their import restrictions on Japanese food products during a trilateral summit in Tokyo on Sunday.
At the summit, Kan plans to explain to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and South Korean President Lee Myung Bak Japan's response to the massive earthquake and tsunami in March and the subsequent trouble at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The Prime Minister intends to confirm with the 2 leaders tighter cooperation to ensure nuclear power safety and bolster preparations against possible disasters.
Kan also aims to urge the 2 countries to act calmly based on scientific evidence, in a bid to persuade them to ease their restrictions on Japanese food imports.
Kan is supposed to mention the issue during bilateral meetings scheduled on the sidelines of the summit.
China imposed a ban on food and farm produce from 12 Japanese prefectures located near the troubled nuclear power plant. South Korea currently bans the import of vegetables from 5 nearby prefectures.
On Saturday, Wen and Lee each made trips to areas devastated by the March disaster and encouraged local people.
Kan, Wen, Lee agree on Japan's recovery
The leaders of Japan, China, and South Korea have agreed on the need to take a scientific approach over Japanese products in the wake of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, and South Korean President Lee Myung Bak met in Tokyo on Sunday.
The summit began with a moment of silence for the victims of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami. After the discussions, the 3 leaders issued a joint statement.
The statement says the countries reconfirm the utmost importance of boosting safety at nuclear plants, and will continue to operate nuclear facilities safely with transparency.
It says the 3 leaders decided to enhance information sharing on nuclear safety.
The leaders agreed to work together to build a framework for early notification of emergencies, and to discuss how to promote exchanges among experts.
The joint statement stresses the importance of taking necessary measures based on scientific evidence in assessing the safety of products following nuclear accidents.
It also says the 3 countries will work closely to promote renewable energy and energy conservation measures.
On North Korea, the 3 leaders agreed that the North needs to hold dialogue with South Korea before the resumption of the 6-party nuclear talks. The statement expresses concern over North Korea's uranium enrichment program.
After the summit, the 3 leaders held a joint news conference.
Japanese Prime Minister Kan expressed gratitude for the visit by the Chinese and South Korean leaders to the quake-hit areas on Saturday. He said it was the greatest support to Japan because it highlighted the safety of Japanese food.
Premier Wen said China will scale back its import restrictions on Japanese food and promote tours to Japan.
South Korean President Lee said the 3 leaders agreed that exchanging information is necessary in the wake of nuclear accidents. He called for more discussions on the safety of nuclear power plants at the nuclear security summit to be held in Seoul in March of next year.
Wen to ease import restrictions
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao says China will scale back its ban on imports of Japanese food and its requirement for radiation testing.
Wen conveyed the plan to Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan when they met on Sunday on the sidelines of the summit of Japan, China, and South Korea.
Kan called on China to ease restrictions on Japanese food imposed following the Fukushima nuclear accident.
China has banned food and farm produce from 12 Japanese prefectures located near or relatively close to the troubled nuclear plant.
Wen said China intends to lift import restrictions on products from Yamanashi and Yamagata prefectures as long as the safety of Chinese consumers is secure.
Wen added that China will no longer require Japanese exporters to submit certificates to confirm that products have been tested for radiation, except for dairy products, vegetables, and seafood.
The 2 leaders also discussed North Korea. Kan called for China's stronger commitment to resolving the issue of the North's nuclear program. He said North Korea should be positive on dialogue with the South, and should take concrete actions toward denuclearization.
Wen also invited Kan to visit China at an early date.
The Japanese prime minister said he wants to do so by the end of this year.
The foreign ministers of Japan and China have agreed to resume talks on the development of gas fields in the East China Sea as soon as possible.
The talks were suspended after last year's collisions between a Chinese trawler and Japanese patrol boats near the Senkaku Islands, which are near the gas project sites.

. . . . .

Sunday, May 22, 2011 04:57
Kan to announce new energy program at G8
Prime Minister Naoto Kan will announce Japan's new project to develop renewable energy at the forthcoming G8 summit in Deauville, France.
In the wake of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami, nuclear safety is expected to be featured at the meeting on May 26th and 27th.
On his first trip abroad since the disaster, Kan plans to explain Japan's response to the nuclear crisis and its new energy policy, dubbed as the Sunrise Program. It is aimed at adding renewable energy to the country's core energy sources.
Under the program, the cost of solar power generation will be slashed to one-third of the current level by 2020 and one-sixth by 2030. Japan hopes to install solar panels on virtually all rooftops.
The plan also envisions the construction of large-scale offshore wind farms and the full-scale introduction of next-generation biomass fuels in the 2020s.
Amid sagging confidence in nuclear power generation, Kan apparently intends to demonstrate Japan's resolve to lead the world in the field of renewable energy.

Sunday, May 22, 2011 04:57
Companies suffer heavy losses from March disaster
Japanese companies have suffered heavy financial losses as a result of the March 11th earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis.
SMBC Nikko Securities surveyed 1,267 listed firms that released earnings results for the fiscal year that ended on March 31st.
The findings show that extraordinary losses posted by the firms in the business year totaled about 72 billion dollars, up 25 billion dollars from a year earlier.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of the crippled nuclear power plant, incurred the greatest losses at around 13 billion dollars. They stemmed mainly from the utility's efforts to stabilize the stricken nuclear reactors at the plant.
East Japan Railways reported around 1.9 billion dollars in extraordinary losses after its railway network sustained massive damage from the disaster.
Tohoku Electric Power Company, the utility firm that serves the areas most severely affected by the disaster, posted 1.5 billion dollars to repair damaged facilities.
A number of manufacturers of semi-conductors and auto-related products also posted heavy losses, highlighting the serious impact of the disaster on corporate activities.

Sunday, May 22, 2011 09:24
Radioactive debris hampers efforts to cool reactor
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is facing the new challenge of removal of highly radioactive debris in order to proceed with efforts to stabilize the Number 3 reactor.
Tokyo Electric Power Company on Friday found debris releasing 1,000 millisieverts per hour in an area south of the Number 3 reactor building. It is the highest level of radiation found in debris left outside.
Materials emitting 900 millisieverts of radiation per hour have also been found in the plant's compound. These materials are believed to be part of the large amount of debris contaminated with radioactive substances that had been blown off in hydrogen explosions.
In the area around the Number 1 reactor where removal of debris is making progress, radioactivity fell to nearly half the reading of early April.
But radiation levels are still high in some areas around the Number 3 reactor, where the explosion was powerful.
The situation is hampering work to install devices to stably cool the reactor.
The company says it will expedite the removal of debris by using a remote-controlled vehicle so that it can bring the reactor under control by mid-July as planned.

Sunday, May 22, 2011 12:55
Glitch halts nitrogen gas injection to reactor
The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says injection of nitrogen gas into the Number 1 reactor came to a halt for more than 3 hours on Saturday due to mechanical trouble.
Tokyo Electric Power Company continues to inject nitrogen gas into the reactor's containment vessel to prevent the recurrence of a hydrogen explosion that took place in March.
On Saturday afternoon, a TEPCO worker found that the device to inject nitrogen, installed outside the reactor building, was not working. Injection later resumed using backup equipment.
The utility says data indicate that nitrogen gas had not been fed into the reactor for over 3 hours.
But TEPCO says pressure inside the containment vessel has changed little, and there is no increase in the risk of an explosion. The company is looking into the cause of the stoppage.


Voices from around

. Daily Radiation Levels .  

. . . . .

Japan Times :

East Asia's top leaders meet near nuke plant
The leaders of China and South Korea visit areas near the troubled Fukushima nuclear plant and areas hit by the March 11 disasters in a show of support for Japan.

Sources: Kan halted cooling day after quake
Tepco's seawater injections at the Fukushima plant's No. 1 reactor were paused for nearly an hour on March 12 after the Nuclear Safety Commission warned Prime Minister Kan of danger.

20 terabecquerels of radioactive materials flowed out to Pacific

U.N. initiates blanket study of nuke crisis

Wen lauds man who saved trainees

Miyako seaweed harvest resumes
Some 20 boats left the port of Omoe at 4:30 a.m. to pick naturally growing seaweed.
charity concert .. at New York's Carnegie Hall, with a chorus group from quake-hit Sendai

Tepco suffers record \1.24 trillion group loss as president takes the fall

Nuclear policy was once sold by Japan's media

A less nuclear future

Extreme nationalism may emerge from the rubble of the quake

Pre-March 11, Japan was deplored or pitied for its economic woes and admired for its anime and manga. Now it's pitied for the tragedy it is living through and admired for the quiet strength with which its people cope ...
... The notion of a unique morality, "written into Japanese genes" and setting this "land of the gods" apart from all other nations, is an ancient one.


the Economics of Happiness

My heart goes out to all of my friends and colleagues in Japan at this difficult time. First of all, I want to say how touched the outside world has been by your remarkable composure and dignity in the face of such a serious crisis. Across the world, people have been amazed by the peaceful and respectful behaviour in Japan. At a time when, in many countries, there would be looting, friction and breakdown, you have managed to maintain the social fabric in an admirable manner. You are a great and inspiring model for all of us.

In this time of crises we need to reach out to one another and the living earth, rebuilding the community fabric and our connections to the plants, the animals and the rest of creation.

Helena Norberg-Hodge
source : www.shiawaseno.net


Yesterday a movie of this group about Ladhak and "global localization" was shown in many places of Japan. One was at the home of a friend nearby. Afterwards, everyone had to define his/her idea of happiness and how to achieve it.

‘Going local’ is a powerful strategy to repair our fractured world—our ecosystems, our societies and our selves.

The Economics of Happiness describes a world moving simultaneously in two opposing directions. On the one hand, government and big business continue to promote globalization and the consolidation of corporate power. At the same time, all around the world people are resisting those policies, demanding a re-regulation of trade and finance—and, far from the old institutions of power, they’re starting to forge a very different future. Communities are coming together to re-build more human scale, ecological economies based on a new paradigm – an economics of localization.
We hear from a chorus of voices from six continents including Samdhong Rinpoche, the Prime Minister of Tibet's government in exile, Vandana Shiva, Bill McKibben, David Korten and Zac Goldsmith.

The International Society for Ecology and Culture (ISEC) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote systemic solutions to today’s social and environmental crises. Our in-depth educational work seeks to reveal the root causes of those crises—from unemployment to climate change, from ethnic conflict to loss of biodiversity— while promoting grassroots and policy-level strategies for ecological and community renewal.

source : www.theeconomicsofhappiness.org

. Haiku and Happiness .
Gabi Greve


Larry Bole writes:

Sunday, May 22, was the fifth annual "Japan Day," held at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park, Manhattan.

There were only six booths, an overly-large stage, and a relatively small smattering of people, yet to get in, one had to pass through a narrow checkpoint with an overabundance of obnoxious security.

In a separate event on the same day, there was a block-long "Japan Fest" on Park Ave. near Grand Central Station in Manhattan. There were about twenty booths and a lively stage area, with relatively long lines at the six or so food booths. The street between the two facing rows of booths was packed with people, many more than at the much larger space where "Japan Day" was being held.

At one booth I bought a 'tengui' (kind of a Japanese handtowel) with a picture of a 'maneki-neko' (beckoning cat) on it. It is meant to be hung up for decoration. My wife likes maneki-neko: we have a foot-high ceramic maneki-neko bank that we put any found money in. I like to tease my wife a little though, so I hung the 'tengui' up in a special place:

hung on the wall
next to the bird-cage:

But getting back to "Japan Day" in Central Park: its purpose is to mostly promote tourism.

As if there was nothing out of the ordinary, I was handed a colorful, glossy brochure full of beautiful pictures:

tourist brochure:
"Beautiful Fukushima"
handed out with a smile

Does this still hold true for "Coastal Hama-dori?"

"This eastern part of the prefecture lies along the Pacific Coast. Most of its travel attractions dot the coastline. To the north, for example, the numerous islets that make up Matsukawaura draw visitors year-round. At other points along the coast, especially at Iwaki-kaigan, the beaches are a popular family destination in the summer season.

"A large number of fishing ports
ensure a steady supply of fresh fish and seafood treats,
including sushi, that delight the palate."



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