June 14, Tuesday

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I love Japan : Kesennuma Homes 気仙沼仮設住宅


Gabi reports:

Distribution of the donations to big organizations are being questioned.

Donations slow in finding way to the victims
. Distributing the Donations - INFO .

. . . . .

Who is going to replace PM Naoto Kan?
. The Political Situation .

. . . . .

Bonding in temporary housing areas
. Temporary Housing - INFO .  

. . . . .

Plutonium has been detected in Fukushima plant soil
see NHK below


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

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 06:20
Nearly half of Japanese want less nuclear power
An NHK poll shows that nearly half of Japanese people want fewer nuclear power plants in the country.
The weekend poll of 1,685 randomly selected voters asked about attitudes to nuclear power generation, which provides 30 percent of the country's energy supply.
47 percent said they want fewer nuclear plants. The figure is 4 percentage points higher than in last month's poll.
18 percent said Japan should abandon nuclear power, while 27 percent want to maintain the current level of nuclear energy supply.
Only one percent said they want to have more nuclear power stations.
Asked about the government's response to the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, 17 percent said they somewhat approve of it and 2 percent highly approve.
But 31 percent said they strongly disapprove of the government's work and 44 percent said they somewhat disapprove. The disapproval figures were up by 10 percent from the previous survey.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 06:20
Italy goes nuclear free
Italians have voted overwhelmingly to give up nuclear energy. The Italian interior ministry says more than 94 percent of votes cast were against domestic nuclear power generation.
With voter turnout exceeding the mandatory 50 percent required for a quorum, the referendum will be valid. ...
... Ishihara, a ranking lawmaker of Japan's largest opposition Liberal Democratic Party says the nation cannot easily change its energy policy. ... He said the safety myth of nuclear energy has crumbled. But he warned that the pros and cons of nuclear power cannot be simply changed like TV channels. ...
... Banri Kaieda emphasized that in Japan, it is important to consider how to balance discarding nuclear power with securing enough energy. He said the Japanese economy and people's daily lives are already being affected by the present tight power supply. ...
... Edano emphasized that in Japan, it is important to consider how to balance discarding nuclear power with securing enough energy. He said the Japanese economy and people's daily lives are already being affected by the present tight power supply. ...
... China will stick to nuclear energy
China has stressed that it will continue to promote nuclear power to meet its energy needs. China currently has 14 reactors in operation and 27 under construction. ...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 06:20
TEPCO to liquidate subsidiary
Tokyo Electric Power Company says it will put a subsidiary into liquidation as part of its efforts to streamline the company.
TEPCO reported a loss of 1,200 billion yen, or 1.5 billion dollars, in the fiscal 2010, which ended at the end of March. The massive loss was due to the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The utility says it plans to raise 7.5 billion dollars from selling assets and closing down business operations.
The firm has decided to liquidate one of its subsidiaries, TEPCO PR, at the end of July. The PR firm was established in April 1984 to promote electricity in the Kanto region, for which the area TEPCO provides power. The subsidiary owns 28 facilities to promote TEPCO's business projects, but all were closed at the end of May.
TEPCO will sell the subsidiaries' buildings and properties as part of the liquidation plan.
TEPCO also plans to sell off stock and property.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 09:13
More TEPCO workers exceed radiation limit
Tokyo Electric Power Company has reported that 6 more workers at its damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant may have received radiation doses above the allowable emergency limit of 250 millisieverts.
TEPCO said on Monday that provisional readings suggest 6 male employees, in their 20s to 50s, received exposure of up to 497 millisieverts.
One of the men was working in the control center, another was in the radiation management division, and the other 4 were performing maintenance work.
They are among 3,726 workers who have worked at the crippled Fukushima plant since the March 11th disaster.
Of that number, 2,367 have undergone medical checkups. The remaining 1,359 have yet to be examined for exposure to radiation.
TEPCO announced last month that 2 employees had received 600 millisieverts, more than twice the emergency limit.
TEPCO instructed its employees to wear protective masks on March 12th when the radiation level in the control center was rising.
But when a blackout caused a radiation meter to stop functioning, some workers are believed to have taken off their masks to eat.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 09:23
GPS mulled for speedy quake magnitude projections
Japanese researchers have proposed using GPS data for quicker projections of earthquake magnitudes, and more accurate predictions of ensuing tsunamis.
Tohoku University researchers explained the method at Monday's meeting of the government's Coordinating Committee for Earthquake Prediction.
The technique involves using the Global Positioning System to track the size and direction of horizontal and vertical ground movements when an earthquake strikes.
These data would then be used to project the length and depth of the seismic fault, and the estimated magnitude of the quake.
Applying the method to the March 11th disaster, the researchers were able to estimate the magnitude as 8.0 just 85 seconds after the tremors began.
They then upgraded the figure to 8.7 -- close to the confirmed magnitude of 9.0 -- 3 minutes and 45 seconds after the earthquake struck.
On March 11th, Japan's Meteorological Agency needed about one hour to estimate the magnitude with such precision, as the jolts were too massive for seismometers to measure.
The research team says the GPS method could also help predict tsunami heights more accurately within a matter of minutes.
Tohoku University Professor Toru Matsuzawa 松澤暢 says although the precision of GPS projections needs to be improved, the method is likely to prove especially effective in an extremely powerful quake.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 12:19
TEPCO begins testing cesium absorption device
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has begun testing a device to process highly radioactive water, after a 4-day delay.
Early on Tuesday, Tokyo Electric Power Company began using the US-made equipment, which can absorb cesium, on low-level radioactive water.
Leaking pumps and a mistakenly closed valve delayed the start of the operation since last Friday.
Workers checked for signs of leakage during the 4-hour test-run on Tuesday morning.
The equipment is part of a planned water treatment facility that will also include an oil separator, a decontaminator and a desalination device.
More than 105,000 tons of highly radioactive water is building up within the nuclear plant, and TEPCO says it may run out of space to store it in about 2 weeks.
The utility is hoping to shorten the test-runs by one day and begin operating the treatment facility from Friday.
Additional 23 workers exposed to high radiations
The health ministry says that another 23 workers at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant may have been exposed internally to over 100 millisieverts of radiation.
The ministry on Tuesday told plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company to immediately release the workers from duty.
The ministry said keeping the employees at the plant may push their exposure over the temporary-set limit of 250 millisieverts. The government relaxed the limit for plant workers from 100 millisieverts after the nuclear accident in March as an emergency measure.
The ministry also instructed TEPCO to have the 23 workers undergo medical exams.
TEPCO previously announced that 2 employees were exposed to over 600 millisieverts. On Monday, the firm said that 6 more workers were thought to have been exposed to up to about 500 millisieverts.
TEPCO is screening about 3,700 workers at the plant for exposure. The tests for about 600 have not been completed.
The ministry is urging the firm to finish the tests by June 20th and submit the results.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 12:19
Japan keeps foreign tourism target unchanged
Japan has kept its long-term target of attracting 30 million foreign tourists annually, despite a huge drop in the number of visitors following the March 11th disaster. But it also admits the need to provide accurate information on radioactive contamination.
... In the wake of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, the number of foreign visitors posted a record decline of 62 percent in April from the year before.
In response, the white paper hints at a review of interim targets for 15-million tourists by 2013, and 20-million by 2016.
Over 8.6 million foreign visitors came to the country last year.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 12:52
Power fees to rise 20% if all nuclear plants close
A Japanese research institute says the monthly electricity bill per household would balloon by nearly 20 percent if Japan's 54 nuclear reactors were shut down.
The industry ministry-affiliated Institute of Energy Economics released a report on Monday.
It says that without nuclear power, the monthly electricity costs for an average household will increase by about 1,000 yen, or 12.5 dollars. That's a jump of 18 percent.
The data is based on a scenario of all nuclear power plants being closed by the end of fiscal 2011 and thermal energy generation being used in their place.
The report also estimates that the fuel sourcing costs of natural gas and petroleum will increase by about 43 billion dollars annually.
The Institute says that raising the power fees for households and industries will have a negative impact on the whole economy. It says discussion on whether to resume operations in the currently suspended nuclear power reactors is urgently needed.
35 reactors in Japan have been stopped for safety considerations since the Fukushima Daiichi plant accident. Japan has a total of 54 nuclear reactors.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 14:42
White paper calls for review of quake response
The government's new white paper on disaster cites the need to review measures taken in emergencies, but offers only a chronological account of the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
One-third, or the first 100 pages of the annual report released on Tuesday contains information about the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
It identifies the calamity as an unprecedented disaster, and notes that past assumptions on actions to be taken should be reviewed.
The white paper calls for better preparations to deal with a series of earthquakes predicted to take place off central and southwestern Japan.
The report also refers to the mixed response of municipalities hard hit by the March 11 catastrophe. It notes the need to be well prepared for large-scale disasters by separating the responsibilities of the central government and local municipalities.
The report allots only 16 pages to the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, chronologically outlining the accident and the government's response. It does not include an assessment of the government's actions, or future measures in case of another nuclear accident.
The industry ministry, which compiled the account of events at the power plant, says new facts are coming to light every day. It says a government panel will be conducting a detailed examination so it refrained from including details at this point.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 15:44
BOJ to fund small businesses to help recovery
The Bank of Japan has decided to introduce a lending system for smaller businesses without collateral, to help them recover from the March 11th disaster.
The central bank unanimously decided in a policy board meeting on Tuesday to maintain its easy monetary policy.
It said 3 months since the disaster, Japan's economy is showing signs of picking up, but it continues to face downward pressure, mainly on the production side. ...
Disaster slams Q2 business confidence
Business confidence among 15,000 major Japanese companies has declined for a third consecutive quarter, due mainly to the negative impact of the March 11th disaster.
A government survey shows the index stood at minus 22 for the April-June period, down 20.9 points from the previous survey.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 17:12
Abalone survives tsunami at Kesennuma port
Fishermen in the northeastern Japanese city of Kesennuma have found an abalone that survived the March 11th tsunami.
3 tons of abalones being raised at a farm in Kosaba Port were all believed to have died after the tsunami inundated their tank with mud and debris.
But workers cleaning out the tank found a lone survivor on Sunday, 3 months after the disaster.
They say the abalone had wasted away somewhat but that it recovered after being fed.
They released it into the sea on Tuesday, hoping that it will breed and propagate its powers of survival.
A fisherman who found the abalone said its endurance is surprising but encouraging for residents who are struggling to rebuild their city and resume fishing.
あわび みつけた。

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 19:13
Radioactive material in sludge at 16 prefectures
NHK has learned that 16 prefectures in Japan have detected radioactive material in sludge since the crisis began at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March.
NHK has found through interviews that at least 22 of Japan's 47 prefectures have been testing sludge for radioactive material. 16 of them, ranging from Hokkaido to Osaka, have actually detected radioactive substances.
The level of radioactive cesium was highest in Fukushima city, at 447,000 becquerels per kilogram. This was followed by Tokyo at 55,000 becquerels and Maebashi, north of Tokyo, at 42,800 becquerels.
Rain-soaked soil containing radioactive substances has turned into contaminated sludge and is being stored at waste treatment plants.
Maebashi has designated area around its waste treatment plant a radiation danger zone, after radiation levels at 2 storage sites for incinerated sludge exceeded the government set-safety level.
Japan has had no safety guidelines for contaminated sludge, which is a new problem.
Last month, the government decided on an emergency measure to incinerate and store sludge that's been found to contain 100,000 becquerels or more of radioactive materials.
But the measure applies only within Fukushima Prefecture, prompting other prefectures and municipalities to demand that the government quickly set guidelines on how to handle contaminated sludge.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 19:58
TEPCO begins testing cesium removing device
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says a cesium absorption device that it has started testing is working well.
Tokyo Electric Power Company began using the US-made equipment early on Tuesday morning to process low-level radioactive water at its planned water treatment facility.
Suspending the work about 10 hours later to analyze the treated water, TEPCO found that levels of cesium-134 had been reduced to about one-2,900th, and cesium-137 to about one-3,300th.
More than 105,000 tons of highly radioactive water is building up within the plant, and the utility says it may run out of space to store it in about 2 weeks.
TEPCO also plans to begin using a French-made chemical agent for decontamination at the facility on Wednesday.
As the start of testing was delayed for 4 days due to a series of malfunctions, TEPCO says it will shorten the test-runs by one day, and begin treating highly radioactive water from Friday.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 22:35
Plutonium detected in Fukushima plant soil
The operator of the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant says tiny amounts of plutonium have been detected in samples of soil in the plant's compound.
Tokyo Electric Power Company announced on Tuesday that an independent research institution has analyzed soil samples taken on May 30th at 3 locations.
The utility said plutonium was detected in samples collected near a recreational ground 500 meters from the Number One reactor. Plutonium was also detected in samples from near a waste disposal facility, also 500 meters from the reactor.
The utility said all the amounts of the detected plutonium are too small to pose risk to human health.
This is the third time that plutonium has been detected in soil samples at the plant since the nuclear accident began on March 11th. TEPCO said the levels of plutonium detected within the compound following the accident were about the same as those detected in Japan after atmospheric nuclear tests carried out by foreign countries during the Cold War era.
The utility said the level of plutonium-238 detected near the recreational ground was 0.19 becquerels per kilogram and the figure is down from the 0.26 becquerels detected in April.
Once plutonium is taken into human lungs and other organs, it can stay in the body for a long period of time and carries the risk of causing cancer.


Voices from around

. Daily Radiation Levels .  

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Japan Times :

Six more Tepco staff exposed beyond limit

Six more workers involved in efforts to contain the nuclear crisis at the crippled Fukushima power plant are feared to have radiation exposure exceeding the emergency limit.

Utilities see summer power shortages: poll
Ten regional power utilities surveyed said they expect power shortages this summer because of the disaster damage to Tohoku's reactors and fresh opposition to restarting even undamaged reactors.
Ten regional power utilities surveyed said they are expecting power shortages this summer because of the damage suffered by nuclear reactors in northeastern Japan after March 11.
... The 10 utilities' power capacity this summer is expected to total 172.94 million kilowatts. Projected demand is expected to peak at 162.8 million kw.

Radiation sleuths toil with borrowed counters
Makoto Tonamitaking radiation readings around MinamiSoma.

Osaka mayor to Tokyo: It's time to spread risk

Indonesia feels disaster-tied kindred spirit

Tokai Big One still tops in speculation

What is the likelihood of a major Tokai temblor?
According to the Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion, a governmental body under the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry, the chance of an 8-magnitude Tokai quake in the next 30 years as of Jan. 1 was 87 percent, the figure Kan used for ordering the Hamaoka power plant to halt its reactors.

Slow rebuilding hits machinery orders


Tokyo Electric compensation plan gets cabinet OK, shares up
Japan's cabinet approved a draft law to help Tokyo Electric Power Co compensate those affected by the radiation crisis at its stricken nuclear plant, sending the utility's shares up as much as 13 percent.
The decision is a step forward in a slow process that has frustrated the victims and investors but it remains uncertain when, or even if, the scheme will be enacted into law. Prime Minister Naoto Kan faces mounting pressure to step down and his cabinet has been unable to get several disaster-related bills passed in a divided parliament.
While the scheme was designed to restore market confidence by keeping the utility solvent, Tepco shares had been sliding and its credit default spread spiked, reflecting investors' skepticism about the fate of the scheme and Tepco itself.
source : beta.news.yahoo.com

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Japan mayor wants tsunami-hit rice paddies to go solar
A Japanese mayor is seeking to rebuild his city into a renewable energy hub by placing solar panels on top of rice paddies that were devastated by the March earthquake and tsunami.

Mayor Katsunobu Sakurai put Minami Soma, 25 km (16 miles) from the tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant, on the global map after his plea for assistance via YouTube reverberated around the world.

Sakurai told reporters on Thursday that more than 40 square kilometres of the city, including rice paddies, were ruined by the massive tsunami waves on March 11.
"The land is ruined land but we can see this as a chance to fill them with solar panels in a single swoop," said Sakurai, who wants to invite experts from around the world to help rebuild Minami Soma as a centre of renewable energy.
source : www.trust.org/alertnet/news


Lisette writes:

It sometimes feels like the Earth is malevolent, but I do not think that is so.
I believe the Earth is a living soul, so much larger than ourselves, her time and life different from ours. I do not mean to diminish or minimize our human tragedies, just to share a different point of view.
My heart goes out to everyone everywhere who is suffering.

a shattered human life
just a sigh or a breath from
sleeping Mother Earth



Nai (Nothing)

Looking out,
there is nothing.
What should be there;
Are all gone.
We who are striving
to bring back the things
that used to be;
They will be different,
but good things
will come to us again.

11-year-old's poem of loss and hope gives courage to disaster survivors


This single, lonely word makes up the title of a poem by 11-year-old Natsuki Iwami to sum up what she found after the March 11 tsunami when she went to her grandparents' town -- or where it used to be. The houses, the smiling people; everything was gone.

However, the poem -- written in black ink on cardboard and on display at the town hall in Yamamoto, Miyagi Prefecture, where Natsuki's grandparents live -- ends on a hopeful if melancholy note: "They will be different, but good things will come to us again."

"The poem is an amazing expression of the will to make something even better than what was here before," says an announcer for Ringo Radio, a disaster information radio station that broadcasts from the lobby of the Yamamoto Town Hall. "I'm thinking it should be inscribed on a panel or turned into a song to preserve it."

Natsuki, who lives in Sendai's Aoba Ward, loved Yamamoto as if it were her own home town. In the spring she would go strawberry picking there, spent summers catching stag beetles, and in general soaked up the great outdoors and the warmth of the locals.
However, after the Great East Japan Earthquake and the waves that assaulted the Miyagi coast, no-one could contact her grandparents.

"My parents and I must have tried calling them more than a hundred times," Natsuki says. Three days later they got an e-mail saying her grandparents and their house had survived.

However, it wasn't until nearly a month later that the family could get enough gasoline to make the trip to Yamamoto. What they found was utter destruction; family homes along the coast wiped away, trains lying on their sides next to the tracks. The devastation, however, was not merely material. The town's vitality had, like the smile of Natsuki's grandmother's now-shattered friend living at a refugee center, had been erased by the tsunami. The Yamamoto Natsuki had loved was gone.

Natsuki had always loved reading and writing poetry, and so she set to thinking about how she could express her thoughts in words. She found a cardboard box for relief supplies at her grandparents' house, took it apart and set to work with a calligraphy pen.

She called the poem simply "Nai" (Nothing), a sad word that belies the work's true aim -- to remind people not to give up despite the loss of familiar scenery and all the feelings that went with it as good things are bound to happen in the future. "Good will come to us again."

When Natsuki's grandparents and uncle -- also staying at the house -- saw the poem, they decided that as many people as possible should see it, and took it to the town hall.

The poem made an instant impression on disaster survivors, and requests to post it on blog sites or allow professional calligraphers to rewrite it in flowing script are still pouring into the town hall.

source : mdn.mainichi.jp






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1 comment:

  1. Relief funds:
    This is why it was so important to us to form the Matsushima Relief Fund - went directly to the people!


    The Matsushima Relief Fund was set up in order to facilitate rebuilding efforts in Matsushima, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. It is located in the middle of the disaster area. The people of Matsushima are doing their best to rebuild so they can encourage the people who continue to struggle in the towns around them. Some of these towns were completely destroyed and have no hope of rebuilding. Matsushima is a great source of pride to the Japanese and is ranked one of Japan’s Three Great Views. Rebuilding offers a glimmer of hope in the Miyagi Prefecture, a dream of possibility. Without it there is only despair