June 15, Wednesday

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miracles happen
in modern times -
Jizo in Tohoku

. Six Jizo Statues Moved by Quake .  


Gabi reports:

. . . . . last night at 21:49
Earthquake M 5.0 - off Kushiro, Hokkaido

The port of Tomakomai in Hokkaido might become the debris site for Tohoku. It is close to the Tohoku coast cities. There is a huge industrial park, almost unused, that could hold a lot of the rubble. The estimate is now for 23.9 million tons of debris. In Miyagi, 19 percent has been transported, In Iwate about 33 percent.
. according to Japan Times of Today

Taiheiyo Cement Corp 太平洋セメント said Monday it will start incinerating debris left by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in two cities in Iwate Prefecture at its plant in Ofunato next week as part of efforts to reconstruct the cities devastated by the disasters.
The company halted production of cement at the plant after its furnaces were damaged by the massive tsunami following the earthquake. But it decided to make use of the No.5 furnace to burn the debris at the requests of the local governments, the company said.
source : Mainichi Shinbun

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Three months after the quake, most victims will find in harder to cope. Shock and stupor are now over, bonding with people at the shelters gave a temporary relief, but now the worries about their own life and future are welling up. People become disquiet and irritated at the shelters, also for lack of sound sleep and privacy.
. according to Japan Times of Today

. . .

New radiation measurements give new readings,
see below.


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

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 00:26
Kan wants early passage of natural energy bill
Prime Minister Naoto Kan says he wants the current Diet session to enact a bill that would allow power firms to buy electricity generated from natural energy sources.
On Tuesday evening, Kan met a non-partisan group of 9 Diet members who are campaigning for a shift in Japan's energy policy.
They handed over the signatures of more than 200 lawmakers who are seeking the passage of the bill that was submitted to the Lower House in April.
Kan said business circles are cautious about the legislation as they think it could lead to higher electricity charges.
But he added that such an argument is baseless as the cost of generating electricity will decline with the increased use of solar energy and other natural resources.
The prime minister also said that it is crucial to increase the share of natural energy in power generation.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 00:47
Canada lifts Japanese food import restrictions
Canada has lifted all restrictions on food imports from Japan. The controls were imposed after the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.
The Canadian government said on Monday that it had confirmed the safety of Japanese food as all the products it tested were below Canada's radiation limits.
Canada is the first country to remove the restrictions, but 40 nations and territories continue to restrict food imports from Japan following the nuclear accident.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 04:20
Govt plans anti-tsunami building restrictions
Japan aims to create a community development law that will include building restrictions to minimize the damage from tsunami.
The March 11th tsunami flooded residential and commercial areas, proving that levees alone are insufficient to prevent tsunami damage. There is also a shortage of high places where entire communities can relocate.
Municipalities hit by the tsunami are urging the central government to tighten construction standards so that evacuees can return to their home districts.
In response, the land and infrastructure ministry has decided to shift away from its focus on hardware defenses and create a new law aimed at protecting communities from tsunami.
The legislation would impose new building restrictions in areas designated by the local authorities as having a high flood risk. It would restrict housing construction until the completion of evacuation routes and buildings where people can evacuate in the event of tsunami. The law would also ban the construction of low-rise facilities for the bed-ridden elderly.
Japan currently has no legislation for anti-tsunami measures. If the government introduces the new restrictions, they will be applied to disaster-stricken areas as well as other parts of the country.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 04:20
Nuke operators plan to prevent severe accidents
Japanese operators of nuclear power plants have compiled a set of measures to prevent severe accidents, including hydrogen explosions at reactors.
On Tuesday, 10 power firms submitted reports to the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency on measures that should be taken immediately to address possible severe accidents like those at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
The reports say that to avoid hydrogen blasts, some utilities are installing equipment that can rip holes in reactor buildings to remove hydrogen.
They will also set up hydrogen density gauges inside reactor buildings.
The reports say that even if all electricity sources are lost, the utility firms will use power-generating vehicles to activate ventilators to prevent radioactive substances from entering control rooms. The emergency power source will also be used to maintain communication with the control rooms.
The firms will also secure special protective gear that will allow workers to operate in highly radioactive environments. They will also deploy large construction machinery to swiftly dispose of debris scattered by hydrogen explosions.
The nuclear agency plans to assess the preventive measures after inspecting nuclear plants across the country on Wednesday and Thursday.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 05:25
Lawyers to form anti-nuclear national group
Dozens of lawyers are set to form a national group next month in response to the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. They hope to file suits this autumn to demand the suspension of nuclear power plants across the country.
In the past, lawsuits were filed seeking the repeal of state approvals to build nuclear plants. Plaintiffs won in some trials at lower courts. One such case is the Shika plant in Ishikawa Prefecture in 2006.
But the higher courts rejected demands by plaintiffs in all cases, saying that nuclear power plants in Japan are safe.
Despite this precedence, the Fukushima accident has prompted more than 40 lawyers to organize the first national group of its kind on July 16th to demand the halt of nuclear plants around the country.
The group plans to charge that current state safety guidelines for nuclear plants are seriously flawed. They say the directives for operators do not take into account the possibility of a total power loss for many hours.
The March 11th earthquake and tsunami knocked out all electricity sources at the Fukushima plant that prompted what experts believe are core meltdowns.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 07:26
TEPCO to cover reactor with polyester sheets
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant will begin to cover the No.1 reactor building with polyester sheets this month to prevent the dispersal of radioactive substances.

The buildings of the No.1, 3, and 4 reactors were severely damaged by explosions and radioactive elements are still being released into the atmosphere. There are fears that heavy rain may hamper the workers' activities and that the rainwater may become contaminated with radioactive materials.
To prevent these situations, Tokyo Electric Power Company plans to enclose the reactor buildings with polyester sheets. The covering of the No.1 reactor building will begin later this month.
The roughly one-millimeter-thick sheets will be attached to the steel frames of the 54-meter-high building.
To minimize workers' exposure to radiation, TEPCO will use a special method with very few personnel. A large crane designed to ward off radiation will set up 62 pre-assembled parts at the reactor building. TEPCO aims to complete the covering operation in late September.
The utility plans to carry out similar work at the No.3 and 4 reactor buildings.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 10:09
Contaminated tea found at 5 more plants
Radioactive cesium exceeding Japan's legal limit has again been detected in processed tea from Shizuoka City, more than 300 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Shizuoka Prefecture said on Tuesday that it detected about 580 to 650 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram in the processed tea from 5 out of 20 factories in Shizuoka City. The legal limit is 500 becquerels.
Prefectural officials have asked the 5 plants to refrain from shipping their products and to conduct voluntary recalls. Shizuoka Prefecture is one of Japan's leading tea-producing areas.
The tests were conducted after cesium beyond the legal limit was found last week in tea from Shizuoka City for the first time since the accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 12:20
Tokyo to measure radiation at 100 locations
The Tokyo metropolitan government has begun measuring radiation levels at 100 locations, to provide accurate information in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident.
The action comes after some individuals and municipalities found higher local radiation levels than those released by the metropolitan government.
The metropolitan government currently measures radiation levels at a 19-meter high monitoring post on the roof of a building in Shinjuku ward, central Tokyo, and releases the data to the public.
But it decided to make a more detailed assessment of radioactivity across Tokyo, by taking measurements near the ground.
On the first day of the survey on Wednesday, officials measured radiation levels at a park in Toshima ward.
The measurements were made at 5 centimeters and one meter above the ground, and the readings were 0.07 and 0.06 microsieverts per hour respectively. The figures were about the same level as the readings at the monitoring post in Shinjuku.
The Tokyo metropolitan government plans to finish measurements at 100 locations in about a week, and post the data on its website.
From next Monday it will also lend radioactivity counters to wards and cities across Tokyo.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 13:40
.March disaster displaces over 124,000
Japan's Cabinet Office says more than 124,000 people were displaced by the March 11th disaster and the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
The office says the displaced were living in more than 1,000 municipalities across the country as of June 2nd.
More than 41,000 were in emergency shelters, and about 32,500 were living with relatives and friends.
Around 50,000 were living outside the 3 hardest-hit prefectures --- Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima. Nearly 80 percent of them were from Fukushima.
The figure released by the Cabinet Office well surpasses the data compiled by police.
The police say about 84,000 displaced people were living in 21 prefectures as of Monday.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 15:10
Test begins on French decontamination device
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has begun a test-run of another part of a newly installed system to treat the highly radioactive water that is building up within the complex.
Tokyo Electric Power Company is testing the French-made device for about 8 hours on Wednesday, using relatively low-level radioactive water.
The device uses a special chemical agent to remove radioactive substances from the water.
This follows Tuesday's test of a US-made device that absorbs radioactive cesium. TEPCO says that after a 10-hour trial run, the cesium in the water dropped to about one-3,000th of the level marked before the test.
The 2 devices are part of the water treatment system, which is believed to hold the key to dealing with the highly radioactive water that is threatening to overflow.
More than 105,000 tons of such water has accumulated at the plant, and TEPCO says it could soon run out of storage capacity.
The company aims to begin full operation of the new system on Friday.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 16:36
Nuclear plants to improve power board safety
Japan's nuclear agency has instructed power companies to ensure the safety of electrical devices like the one that burned at a nuclear power plant after the March 11th earthquake.
A high-voltage power supply board at the No.1 reactor of the Onagawa nuclear plant in Miyagi Prefecture short-circuited and erupted into flames shortly after the quake.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency believes that the fire began when parts suspended inside the device shook violently and collided with each other.
The agency has found that 71 such devices are in use at 4 nuclear plants. It believes that they would pose a danger in the event of a huge earthquake.
There are 12 devices at Tokyo Electric Power Company's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and 33 at its Fukushima Daini nuclear facility.
Chubu Electric has 17 at its Hamaoka plant, and Chugoku Electric has 9 at its Shimane plant.
The nuclear safety agency has given the utilities one month to affix the devices to walls or ceilings.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 19:35
TEPCO begins covering work for reactors
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has begun constructing giant frames to hold plastic sheets for covering the plant's damaged reactor buildings in an effort to prevent the spread of radiation.
The buildings of the No. 1, 3, and 4 reactors were severely damaged by explosions after an earthquake and tsunami hit the plant on March 11th. Radiation is still being released into the atmosphere.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, on Monday started assembling the first frame at a port some 50 kilometers away from the power plant. The frame will support a huge polyester cover for the No.1 reactor building.
TEPCO is prefabricating the frame to hold a sheet measuring more than 40 meters long, 40 meters wide, and 50 meters high. The goal is to minimize workers' exposure to radiation.
At Onahama port, workers were busy assembling the steel frame from gigantic pillars and beams with a 140-meter-tall crane.
TEPCO hopes to ship the frame to the plant by late July. It plans to assemble the same covering for the damaged No. 3 and 4 reactor buildings.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 20:49
Footage of Fukushima No.3 reactor released
Tokyo Electric Power Company has released video footage taken last week of Number 3 reactor at its crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The video shows workers wearing protective suits enter the building through a cargo entrance. The roof of the facility was missing with the sky in view because of a hydrogen explosion on March 14th.
The footage also shows the workers advancing while wiping the floor with paper sheets to check the concentration of radioactive substances scattered there.
They were then seen climbing down a stairwell while carefully using dosimeters attached to the tips of poles they were carrying.
The footage also revealed yellow-colored water that had accumulated in the basement. The water is believed to be leaked water that had been injected into the reactor in an effort to lower its temperature.
The dosimeter readings at locations where the footage was taken were around 50 millisieverts per hour.
The highest reading during this inspection stood at about 100 millisieverts per hour, meaning the workers would receive the maximum allowable level of exposure -- 250 millisieverts -- within 2 and a half hours.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 21:24
Govt. releases radiation readings at 1-meter-high
Japan's science ministry has started releasing readings of radiation levels across the country measured at the same height -- one meter from the ground.
Since a series of accidents at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March, the ministry has been making daily announcements of radiation levels.
But the height of monitoring posts has varied according to prefecture, ranging from 1.5 to 80 meters above ground. People have been calling for radiation levels to be measured at the same height -- one meter from the ground -- so data can be checked at a height close to human activity.
The science ministry has decided to measure radiation levels at a height of one meter nationwide with a portable radiation detector.
On Tuesday, the ministry started releasing such data in 35 out of the country's 47 prefectures.
It said radiation levels measured at a height of one meter on Monday in some prefectures, including Yamagata and Tochigi, were more than twice as high as those recorded at the monitoring posts.


Voices from around

. Daily Radiation Levels .  

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Japan Times :

Cabinet OKs Tepco redress bill

The Cabinet approves a bill to help Tepco meet its massive compensation payments through the creation of a government entity that would provide financial assistance to the utility.

34,000 children in Fukushima to get dosimeters

Amid growing concerns over exposure to radiation, the Fukushima Municipal Government says it will give dosimeters to all children attending preschools as well as elementary and junior high schools in the city.

Tepco begins water cleanup test treatment system in Fukushima crisis

Balloons useful photographing disaster-hit areas

Despite crisis, nuclear to remain core energy source: Kaieda
The pledge, revealed in the undisclosed minutes of the meeting, apparently reflect a backlash by Kaieda's ministry against Prime Minister Naoto Kan's plan to develop energy-conservation measures and renewable energy as a pillar of national energy policy.

Iitate holdouts find nuclear refugee option hard choice
Shigeko Nikaido says she's got an 88-year-old mother to take care of, and a little business that means everything to her. Until someone comes and physically kicks her out, she said, she's staying put.
Nikaido is among about 1,500 people who still haven't left Iitate, a scenic village of 6,200 where the reality of the nearby nuclear disaster took a painfully long time to become clear.
... Plans were to have everyone out by the end of May. Now, officials say it's largely up to residents to decide what to do.
... Outside the village hall, moving companies have set up stalls to solicit business. Trucks sit beside centuries-old farmhouses as whole neighborhoods pack up to leave.

Tepco to liquidate public relations unit

Radioactive sludge crisis

Tokyo Electric Power Co., struggling to contain the world's worst nuclear disaster in 25 years, has another crisis on its hands: finding storage for enough radioactive sludge to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
... By the end of the year it expects to have 2,000 cu. meters of highly radioactive sludge separated from the water, said Teruaki Kobayashi ...

Accelerate reconstruction efforts
As a rainy season sets in, there will arise dangers of food poisoning and infectious diseases. The progress of reconstruction is different from municipality to municipality.
... All-out efforts should be made to meet the government's goal of removing all debris by August.
... Some refugees have refused to live in temporary houses because they are far from their workplaces or schools.

Yakuza eye cleanup profits
The government and law enforcement authorities appear to be fighting an uphill battle to prevent gangsters and other "antisocial" groups from cashing in on disposing of huge amounts of debris generated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, which played havoc with large areas along the Pacific coast of northeastern Japan.

These groups, including not only Japan's indigenous organized crime syndicates known as "yakuza" but a mafia based in China, are seeking to win a chunk of more than ¥15 trillion estimated to be poured into reconstruction of the areas.
... "Mr. X" a leading figure in the "China mafia."
According to the Tokyo police officer, Mr. X recently visited the mayor of Minami-Soma with a DPJ Diet member apparently in a bid to win business contracts. The mayor is said to have been unaware of Mr. X's background. The same police officer says Mr. X has sites in inland China where he can dump waste. This means that should he be awarded a contract, debris, including materials contaminated with radioactive substances would be shipped to China.


Principal's poetic plea captures students' hearts

The message by Kenji Watanabe, head of the private Rikkyo Niiza Junior and Senior High School in Niiza, Saitama Prefecture, received considerable publicity after it was posted on the school's website and spread via social-networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

"I wanted to tell my students to have a full appreciation for life as they walk out of the school into a bright and promising future, but wanted them to remember well that they are graduating at the time of a disaster," when many people are still suffering, he said. "That is why I repeatedly told them to do some soul-searching during their college life and look reality in the face."

He urges the students not to "forget this time of graduation, which came at the time of disasters," and to struggle against obstacles or sadness they may encounter, no matter how daunting these may be.

source : Japan Times



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1 comment:

  1. "I guess it's one of these arrangements: "In Japan, groupings of six Jizo statues (one for each of the Six Realms) are quite common and often placed at busy intersections or oft-used roads to protect travelers and those in "transitional" states.
    Jizo also often carries a staff with six rings, which he shakes to awaken us from our delusions -- the rings likewise symbolize the six states of existence. The six Jizo come in various versions.""