June 10, Friday

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I love Japan.


Gabi reports:

Friday March 11 ... now three months back in memory.

Finally the children of Fukushima city will get dosimeters!
. . see NHK below

And due to the stop of power plants, even in Kansai the electricity will have to be saved.
. . see below

. . . . .

A farmer had planted some vegetables in the fields that have been inundated by the tsunami. Officially, this land had been desalienated and ready for this year's crops.
After a week, he looked at his poor vegetables and remarked "See, they are not there, there should be weeds all around the vegetable plants, but not a single weed coming out of this dead earth!" He crumbled a fistful of the dead earth in his hands, almost like sand crumbling ...
"My future as a vegetable farmer is lost to the tsunami!"
see also below NHK bulletins

quote from March 26, 2011
Japan Tsunami Devastated Farmland,
Could Take Year To Recover

The rice paddies on the outskirts of this tsunami-hit city are ankle-deep in a black, salty sludge. Crumpled cars and uprooted trees lie scattered across them.
... A key factor for restauration will be how long it takes for the salt to wash out from the fields, some still flooded with seawater.
source : www.huffingtonpost.com

even the weeds
refuse to grow -
fields lost to tsunami

. . . . .

In some regions, the prefabricated homes are ready, but almost 30% are empty. People can not move in, because they do not have the money to pay for the cost of lifeline and food themselves. They have no job. There is no supermarket near by and they have to use a rental car to carry things, another big cost factor. So they prefere to stay in shelters, where they get three hot meals for free.
The government has no plans yet as to how to support these families.

sick at heart -
the farmer's nightmare wanders
over his ruined field

. Larry Bole, Happy Haiku Forum


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

Friday, June 10, 2011 06:45
JA asks government to buy affected land
Japan's Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives requested that the government buy all disaster-affected farmland and have the farmers buy back the cultivatable land after the government restores it.
The union, known as JA, submitted the request concerning agricultural recovery in the devastated area to the government on Thursday.
The statement says the government should temporarily take all affected farmland. It also says the government should restore the land so that the farmers can buy back the cultivatable areas in future.
It asks the government to set up a new institution which will adjust ownership of the land and consolidate it so that farmers can efficiently cultivate it.
The executive director of JA, Shigeo Fuji, said in a news conference that the government should outline its policy as soon as possible since farmers are anxious about their future.

Friday, June 10, 2011 06:45
Cesium detected in Shizuoka tea
Radioactive cesium exceeding the legal limit was detected in tea made in a factory in Shizuoka City, more than 300 kilometers away from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Shizuoka Prefecture is one of the most famous tea producing areas in Japan.
A tea distributor in Tokyo reported to the prefecture that it detected high levels of radioactivity in the tea shipped from the city. The prefectural government confirmed the contamination on Thursday, detecting 679 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium. The legal limit is 500 becquerels.
The prefecture ordered the factory to refrain from shipping out the product.
After the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, radioactive contamination of tea leaves and processed tea has been found over a wide area around Tokyo.
Starting last month in Shizuoka Prefecture radioactive cesium has been detected in tea leaves and processed tea from many production areas, including Shizuoka city, up to the level of about 460 becquerels per kilogram. This is the first time that cesium beyond the legal limit was found in tea leaves picked in the prefecture.

Friday, June 10, 2011 07:12
US trade deficit drops as Japanese imports tumble
The US trade deficit in April narrowed as imports from Japan tumbled due to the March 11th disaster.
The Commerce Department announced on Thursday the trade deficit in April was about 44 billion dollars, down 6.7 percent from the previous month. ...

Friday, June 10, 2011 09:07
Children in Fukushima to be given dosimeters
A city 60 kilometers away from the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has decided to distribute dosimeters to all kindergarteners and school children to monitor their radiation exposure.
Voices of parents expressing concern about their children's health due to the radioactive contamination are growing louder.
Shoji Nishida 西田昌司, the mayor of Date City, Fukushima Prefecture, announced the plan on Thursday.
Date City is now outside the evacuation zone but earlier this month the estimated radiation levels at 3 locations topped the evacuation level of 20 millisieverts per year.
This level is 20 times higher than the long-term annual reference level for ordinary people recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection.
The city has allocated about 300,000 dollars to give dosimeters to about 8,000 children at local kindergartens, day-care centers, elementary and junior high schools.
Mayor Nishida said that the city decided to take the broad scale measurements as parents are deeply concerned about their children's radioactive exposure.

Friday, June 10, 2011 12:09
TEPCO testing water treatment system
Tokyo Electric Power Company is conducting a test-run of a new system to treat the highly radioactive water that is flooding facilities at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
On Friday, the first day of the test-run, relatively low-level radioactive water will be sent into a device designed to remove cesium using zeolite, in an attempt to determine if it works without problems.
The system also includes equipment that settles radioactive substances using special chemicals.
TEPCO expects the concentration of radioactive material in the water to be reduced to one-thousandth to one-ten-thousandth of the current level. Oil and salt will be also removed through the process.
Each component of the system will be tested over a period of around one week.
More than 105,000 tons of highly radioactive water has accumulated on the plant's premises. The amount is growing by 500 tons a day as fresh water is injected into troubled reactors to try to cool them down.
The system is believed to hold the key to TEPCO's efforts to stabilize the plant, amid growing fears that the contaminated water could start overflowing in late June.
The company wants to treat 1,200 tons of highly contaminated water daily and process a total of 250,000 tons over a year. It is aiming to recycle the treated water and use it to cool the reactors.
There are concerns, however, that some of the devices used in the new system may not meet government standards for earthquake resistance.
But the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says that, given the urgency of the situation, there is no choice but to use equipment designed for general industrial use.

Friday, June 10, 2011 13:12
Kansai Power seeks summer conservation
Kansai Electric Power Company, headquartered in the western city of Osaka, is asking its users to cut their electricity use this summer by 15 percent compared with the peak hours of last summer.
The company's president, Makoto Yagi 八木誠, unveiled the plan to reporters on Friday.
On weekdays from July 1st to September 22nd, household and corporate users will be asked to reduce their power consumption between 9 AM and 8 PM.
The utility will not impose power usage restrictions. Instead, it will ask companies to shift operations at their factories to weekends and nights. It will also call on households to set their air-conditioners at a higher temperature.
Power shortages are expected this summer because the utility's nuclear power plants remain stalled in the wake of the March accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Yagi says the purpose of the company's request is to avoid possible blackouts. He adds that it will do all it can to restart its nuclear plants.
Tokyo and Tohoku electric power companies have already asked their users to conserve power, with a usage reduction target of 15 percent.

Friday, June 10, 2011 13:12
UN chief to visit disaster-hit areas in August
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon says he hopes to visit northeastern Japan in August to see the regions devastated by the March 11th quake and tsunami.
Ban was speaking on Thursday at a meeting in New York sponsored by the Japanese government. Japan arranged the gathering to show its gratitude to countries and organizations for their help in the disaster.
The UN chief said he wanted to see the situation in the affected areas and discuss possible assistance.

Friday, June 10, 2011 14:12
High-temperature warnings to prevent heatstroke
Japanese weather officials will begin issuing high-temperature advisories from mid-July to prevent heatstroke.
The Meteorological Agency decided to take the step as the power shortages that followed the Fukushima nuclear plant accident have increased the risk of people developing heatstroke this summer.
The high-temperature advisories will be issued for all areas of Japan, except for Hokkaido and Okinawa, where power shortages are not expected. They will be issued for each prefecture and region when the temperatures for the next 2 days are forecast to be 35 degrees Celsius or higher.
In Miyagi and Aomori prefectures, advisories will be issued if temperatures are forecast to rise beyond 33 degrees, because temperatures in these 2 prefectures are usually lower than in other parts of Japan.
The Environment Ministry says the number of heatstroke cases increases when the temperature is above 30 degrees. It says the health risk becomes more severe when the temperature rises above 35 degrees. Last summer, more than 1,600 people died of heatstroke in Japan between July and September.
When issuing advisories, the Meteorological Agency will also caution people to take enough water and salt and to use air-conditioning properly. The head of the Agency's Office of Weather Disaster Prevention, Hiroyuki Uchida, says temperatures usually rise rapidly after the rainy season. He says that when an advisory is issued, room temperatures need to be lowered with air-conditioners and special care should be taken for the elderly.

Friday, June 10, 2011 14:19
Murakami: Japan should have opposed nuclear power
Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami  村上春樹 said in his acceptance speech for a Catalonian prize that Japan should have continued opposing nuclear power.
... The local media report that Murakami touched on the subject of the ongoing situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that followed the March 11th earthquake and tsunami. He described the accident as Japan's second nuclear tragedy, in an apparent reference to the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
He said that this time the Japanese people destroyed their lives on their own.
Murakami said Japan will move toward restoration. He also hinted at donating the prize money, amounting to about 116,000 dollars, to support disaster survivors.

Friday, June 10, 2011 16:07
Reconstruction bill clears lower house
Japan's lower house has passed a bill for rebuilding areas of eastern Japan stricken by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
The passage came on Friday with support from the main governing party, the Democrats, and the largest opposition party, the Liberal Democrats. The bill was sent to the upper house for debate.
The legislation outlines basic policies for reconstruction. It proposes setting up a government body for the reconstruction and issuing special bonds to fund the effort. It would designate the disaster-hit regions as special zones eligible for preferential rules to assist their recovery.
Two opposition parties, the Communists and Your Party, opposed the bill, saying it might lead to tax increases aimed at funding the reconstruction.
The Democrat-led government and the Liberal Democratic Party had each submitted their own bills to a lower house committee debating ways to rebuild the devastated regions. However, a compromise bill was submitted by the committee chairman after they agreed to put aside their differences to focus on the reconstruction effort and retracted their bills.
The lower house passed the reconstruction bill 3 months after the disaster. The bill is likely to be enacted in about a week. In the 1995 earthquake that hit Kobe and the surrounding areas, similar legislation was enacted about a month later.
The passage of the bill comes at a time when Prime Minister Naoto Kan has been under increased pressure to resign amid growing criticism from the opposition and his own Democratic Party over his handling of the disaster and the Fukushima nuclear accident.

Friday, June 10, 2011 19:45
Fukushima workers' exposure tops 650mSV
Detailed tests have found that 2 workers who were exposed to radiation at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant received doses of more than twice the government-mandated emergency limit.
The men in their 30s and 40s were each found in early June to have been exposed to over 250 millisieverts -- the new higher limit for exposure that the government introduced after problems began at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
The National Institute of Radiological Sciences conducted 2 more rounds of detailed tests to measure the amount of radioactive iodine and cesium the 2 men could have inhaled.
After analyzing the men's work shifts since the March 11th disaster, the Institute concluded that the man in his 30s was exposed to 678 millisieverts, and the man in his 40s, 643 millisieverts. Internal exposure accounted for more than 80 percent of the figures.
The 2 men were on duty in the central control rooms of reactors No.3 and No.4. They have told the health and labor ministry that they don't remember whether they wore protective masks or not when a hydrogen explosion occurred at the No.1 reactor on March 12th.
The Institute said separately that it is conducting detailed tests on another Fukushima worker in his 50s, who could have received a radiation dose above the emergency limit.
Friday, June 10, 2011 20:23
Radiation in No. 3 reactor too high for work
The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says radiation levels in one of the reactor buildings remain too high for workers to do their jobs.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, sent 9 workers into the No.3 reactor building for about 20 minutes on Thursday, in a bid to start stabilizing the reactor.
The utility plans to inject nitrogen gas into the containment vessel to prevent accumulated hydrogen from causing an explosion. It also intends to install a system to cool the reactor with circulating water.
The workers withdrew after measuring radiation of 100 millisieverts per hour near the reactor's containment vessel.
TEPCO says it intended to limit the workers' exposure to below 5 millisieverts per hour. But as all 9 received higher doses, it has suspended work while considering a course of action.
Friday, June 10, 2011 19:45
TEPCO to install cooling system at No. 4 reactor
The operator of the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant is preparing to install a circulatory cooling system for a spent nuclear fuel pool in the plant's Number 4 reactor building.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, has been using a vehicle to try to cool the pool, which contains 1,535 fuel rods, the most among the plant's 6 reactors. The rods continue to generate high heat, raising temperatures in the pool above 80 degrees Celsius.
TEPCO plans to start operating the cooling system as early as July to pump water out of the pool to a heat exchanger and return the water to the pool as coolant.
On Friday, workers entered the 4th floor of the building for the first time since a hydrogen blast on March 15th severely destroyed the building and damaged water pipes connected to the pool.
The workers checked the pipes and monitored radiation levels. Data on these matters is to be used to study routes for injecting water into the pool.
TEPCO began operating a similar circulatory cooling system at the plant's Number 2 reactor on May 31st.


Voices from around

. Daily Radiation Levels .  

. . . . .

Japan Times :

Radioactive strontium detected 62 km from Fukushima No. 1 plant
Minute amounts of radioactive strontium from a crippled nuclear power plant have been detected in soil at 11 places in Fukushima Prefecture, including the capital, 62 km away.

Quake-tsunami orphans bond with New York terrorism victims

Widen evacuation zone for children, pregnant women:
Greenpeace chief
The government should consider evacuating children and pregnant women from a wider area around the Fukushima No. 1 power plant because radiation levels remain high even outside the 20-km no-go zone, Kumi Naidoo, executive director of Greenpeace International, said Thursday in Tokyo.
... During the news conference, Jan Beranek, an expert on radiology from Greenpeace International who joined Naidoo's trip to Fukushima, recommended that the government widen the evacuation zone to at least 60 or 70 km from the power plant.
... Even some nursery schools that have already undergone a decontamination process had a relatively high reading of 0.5 microsievert per hour, he said. That would translate into an annual exposure of 5 millisieverts, which was the evacuation threshold for Chernobyl, Beranek said.

Fishermen take matters into own hands

Debate rages over whether to privatize local fisheries
The fine drizzle falling on the picturesque fishing village of Kyubun, Miyagi Prefecture, is dampening Toshikazu Takahashi's normally sunny disposition.
... "We have waited and waited but neither the central nor the prefectural government will do anything, so we've decided to get on with it ourselves," said Takahashi, 54, who lives in a tent erected on the bare foundations of his home together with his wife, Teruyo, mother, Mitsuko, and their poodle, Denmaru.
"The fishermen here want to get working as soon as possible. We have no boats, no nets, no home, but we love the sea. If you don't love the sea, you can't be a fisherman."
... "We are all pulling together to get things back on track," said another Kyubun fisherman, 27-year-old Yu Ando, adding that the income loss inflicted on his 250-strong community by the twin disasters is between ¥300 million and ¥400 million. "Now we are rescuing anything that can be reused. We have to start somewhere."
... He has since hauled back to sea four fishing boats that survived the tsunami, and fishermen in his team are now casting nets for cod, plaice and octopus. With no fish market or refrigeration equipment, data on their catch are sent out in real time to customers via on-board computers and orders collected as the day's haul is unloaded at the dock.
... At Tokyo's Tsukiji market, wholesalers report that demand for produce from Tohoku and most parts of the nation from overseas has slumped dramatically since the nuclear accident.
(We saw some fishing ground, taken with an underwater camera. All is still full of debris and there is no way to get the rafters for oysters or clams into this dirty, muddy water.)

Crisis-linked supply delays hurt car sales

Power shortages seen expanding to Kansai
The Fukushima nuclear crisis will extend a power shortage beyond Tokyo as local authorities resist starting idle reactors around Japan until safety guidelines are set in the wake of the worst atomic disaster since Chernobyl.
Kansai, the nation's second-largest industrial region and home to Panasonic Corp. and Nintendo Co., sources about 55 percent of its energy from atomic plants in Fukui, north of Osaka. Delays mean clients of Kansai Electric Power Co. may be asked to cut power use by 10 percent this summer, Fukui Gov. Issei Nishikawa said in an interview. ...

Energy draft misses the point
... However, a draft of a new energy policy written by the government's national strategy bureau still lists nuclear power as a key part of Japan's energy strategy. It fails to mention how the nation should decrease its reliance on nuclear power or even whether the need to reduce this dependency is an issue.
The authors of the draft seem to ignore the fact that the Fukushima crisis has shown the vulnerability of nuclear power plants built in earthquake-prone Japan and that the technology to safely dispose of high-radiation spent nuclear fuel has not yet been developed.

Scrutinizing Fukushima crisis

The government on Tuesday released a report on the accidents at Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant. Submitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the report describes 28 lessons and countermeasures.
The government and the power industry should act quickly on recommendations derived from the report. The report, though, should not be used as an excuse to continue Japan's relatively high dependency on nuclear power.

. . . . . . . . . .

nikoniko doga life videos
Sometimes with life press conferences of TEPCO

source : ニコニコニュース

. . . . .

source : www.kantei.go.jp


from the NHK haiku program
. source:  maruta.be

春月や 灯ることなき震災地
shungetsu ya tomoru koto naki shinsaichi

spring moon -
there is no lamplight
in the devastated village

Ozawa Koyo (Kooyoo) 小澤光洋
Looking at a village devastated from the tsunami, the author is feeling the helplessness of human beings in this situation.

. . . . .


nai sugite ichiwan no teri cho umaru

after the earthquake
the bay is glistening quietly -
a butterfly is born

Kagiwada Yuuko 鍵和田秞子
Two weeks after the earthquake.

. . . . .

蝶に問う 無事に越えたか黒い波
choo ni tou buji ni koeta ka kuroi nami

I ask the butterfly:
did you cross it safely,
this black wave?

Ishida Ira 石田衣良 (1960 - )

. . . . .

ooyure no chi ni kizuisen zokuzoku to

on the badly shaken ground
yellow narcissus
one after the other

Matsumoto Keiko 松本佳子 from Miyagi



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  1. Anonymous6/10/2011

    Japan’s minister of industry warned Friday that the country’s economy would be “largely affected” unless some suspended nuclear power plants resumed operations, according to local media.

    Banri Kaieda, head of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, reportedly raised his concerns at a ministerial meeting after a regular Cabinet meeting.

    “I told other ministers that a decline in the western regional economy due to power-supply shortages there would have a large impact on quake restoration and Japan’s economy as a whole,” Kaieda told a press conference, according to Kyodo News.

    Operations at more than half of Japan’s 54 commercial nuclear reactors are now suspended, for either scheduled maintenance or special safety checks after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The disasters crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co . . .

    Two of Kansai Electric’s reactors — one each at the Takahama and Oi power plants in Fukui Prefecture — will shut next month for regular inspections, the report said. Six of the utility’s 11 reactors will then be offline, which could lead to a roughly 5% shortage in its supply capacity during peak hours this summer.
    . . .


  2. I don't even know what to say. it must be very difficult for people to have any hope.
    Gabi, that's heartbreaking.

  3. Anonymous6/12/2011

    How very sad, I am so sorry for your Country's loss.
    Happy Haiku Forum

  4. Anonymous6/15/2011

    Schools serve rations to students

    In today's world, it is beyond comprehension that this situation could exist when at the same time just miles away people are going to movies and dinner as if there is nothing unusual.
    At sometime, the donations and government support will reach the victims and those suffering from the ensuing economic downturn, but can we in good conscious sit by and allow the affected to suffer?
    – Kozmoz

    As concerns over radiation contamination in water and food continue to hover in disaster-struck northeastern Japan, public schools in eight towns in Iwate and Miyagi are still unable to provide regular lunches to their students, according to Japanese press reports…

    With facilities knocked out by the March earthquake and tsunami, some lunch distribution centers can’t offer regular menus even though students went back to school in April. For instance, public elementary and middle schools in Ishinomaki city have only been able to provide students with an extremely lean menu—typically a bread roll and a serving of milk, with the occasional gelatin pudding.