June 23, Thursday

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. Source:  mercury blog

Collection of Mingei Folk Craft from Tohoku
A lot is now sold at charity events.

toys and amulets
bring new hope and money -
Tohoku survives

. Omamori - Japanese Amulets .


Gabi reports:

. . . . . at 6:51
Earthquake M 6.7, off the coast of Iwate
It was even felt all over Hokkaido and down to Shizuoka in the South.

. . . . . at 19:35
Earthquake M 5.3,
off the coast of Miyagi

Today again a very hot and humid day. There are now constant warnings about heat stroke. Because of the humidity, the sweat does not evaporate to cool the body and people feel extra hot and unpleasant.
To see the poor people in the evacuation shelters, with no electric fans, no airconditioning, sometimes few windows to open ... it must be like sitting in a sauna for 24 hours.

It has been raining very much in Tohoku. The road to Kamikochi Highlands was blocked by a mudslide and about 700 visitors are now trapped in the valley.
More rain is expected in Tohoku until tomorrow morning.


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

Thursday, June 23, 2011 06:11
Water filters at Fukushima still not working
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is still struggling with a malfunctioning water-decontaminator---the key to dealing with highly-radioactive water accumulating at the site.
The new water decontaminating system was shut down only 5 hours after it went into operation on Friday.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says an irregular flow of the water in the system could have hampered the system from working properly, causing it to malfunction.
The utility says it discovered on Wednesday that a US-made device in the system only succeeded in lowering the concentration of radioactive cesium in the water to one percent of the previous amount, instead of 0.1 percent as initially expected.
The device has 6 absorbent chambers lined up in a row.
The utility says radioactive readings in the lower chambers surged to 15 millisieverts per hour on Wednesday from 3 millisieverts per hour on Tuesday.
This occurred even though dosages in the lower chambers should have remained low, compared with those higher up where most of the filtering was supposed to have occurred. It says this suggests that the problem could have been caused by the uneven flow of water through the chambers.
It says it will continue to try and identify the cause of the problem so that it can begin operating the system as soon as possible before the water begins to overflow from the storage facilities, which are almost full.

Thursday, June 23, 2011 08:15
6.7 Quake hits Iwate Prefecture
An earthquake hit Iwate Prefecture on Thursday morning.
Japan's Meteorological Agency estimates the earthquake's magnitude at 6.7. It struck at 6:51 AM local time.
Tremors with an intensity of 5 minus on the Japanese Scale of 0 to 7 were registered in Aomori and Iwate prefectures. The epicenter was off the coast of Iwate prefecture,at a depth of about 20 kilometers.
The agency issued tsunami advisories to coastal areas of Iwate prefecture but lifted them at 7:45AM. No major damage has been reported.

Thursday, June 23, 2011 08:23
IAEA criticizes Japan's nuclear data sharing
Participants at a closed door session of the International Atomic Energy Agency have agreed to set up an international mechanism to share information in the event of nuclear emergencies.
The IAEA held the ministerial meeting on Wednesday to assess Japan's response to the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March.
A Japanese official quoted an expert from the World Meteorological Organization as saying the group was unable to obtain necessary information from Japan. He said this led to difficulties in projecting how radioactive materials would spread around the world.
The official said other member countries also criticized Japan's initial emergency response. They said they could not fully explain to their nationals what was happening as Japan failed to release detailed information immediately after the accident.
The participants agreed that if an emergency occurs, the IAEA should promptly obtain information on what radioactive substances escaped into the environment and how much. They also agreed that crucial information will be shared among member countries through a new mechanism.
After the session, a Japanese Cabinet Office adviser told reporters that he recognized the importance of continuing to release information.

Thursday, June 23, 2011 12:35
Improper water flow blamed for filter failure
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has resumed testing a water decontamination system after making repairs to improve the flow of the water.
The utility discovered on Wednesday that a US-made device in the system only succeeded in lowering the concentration of radioactive cesium in the water to 1 percent of the previous amount, instead of to 0.1 percent as initially expected.
Contaminated water was supposed to pass through 3 absorbent chambers. But it was found that some water passed through only one chamber, because "open" and "shut" indications on a valve had been incorrect.
The utility inspected all the valves and resumed test runs early on Thursday.
TEPCO began full-scale operation of the decontamination system last Friday, but it was stopped after only 5 hours.

Thursday, June 23, 2011 16:24
Lady Gaga: Japan is safe to visit
Pop singer Lady Gaga has assured the world that Japan is safe to visit following the March 11th earthquake and nuclear accident.
Dressed in black, Lady Gaga told reporters in Tokyo on Thursday that she was shocked by the news of the quake and became determined to act for the country.
The singer said that in addition to raising funds for survivors, she wants to encourage tourists from around the world to visit Japan. She said she loves the passion of the Japanese people and that she is eager to return for a concert tour.
Lady Gaga has donated about 3 million dollars to people in the disaster-hit areas, including revenues from wristbands that she designed bearing the message "We Pray for Japan."
At the news conference, the head of Japan Tourism Agency, Hiroshi Mizohata, handed the singer a letter of appreciation from the government for her efforts in highlighting the safety of Japan.
Lady Gaga is scheduled to stay in the country until July 1st. On Saturday, she will appear at a musical event in Chiba City, near Tokyo.
After making her debut in the United States in 2008, Lady Gaga has sold more than 26 million records. She is famous for her outrageous outfits and social activism.

Thursday, June 23, 2011 16:56
Kan will do his utmost in reconstruction efforts
Prime Minister Naoto Kan says he will do his utmost during the extended session of the Diet to help rebuild the areas affected by the March 11th disaster and to bring the Fukushima Daiichi power plant under control.
Kan reiterated his resolve to reporters on Thursday in Okinawa. He said he is prepared to risk everything in tackling this primary task.
Regarding the relocation of the US Futenma Air Station, he said he understands how much people in Okinawa want the base to be moved out of their prefecture, or out of Japan altogether.
He said he has tried hard to fulfill their wishes, but the situation looks difficult.
He said the government must do all it can to eliminate the danger posed by the Futenma base, and to make sure the base will not remain in its present location indefinitely.

Thursday, June 23, 2011 17:04
Microsoft Japan calls on PC users to save power
Microsoft Japan is urging individuals and businesses to do more to save power when using computers, ahead of this summer's expected power shortage.

Thursday, June 23, 2011 18:14
Trial opens over legality of Fukushima plant
A Japanese court has begun a trial over the legality of the government's authorization of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, where an accident took place on March 11th.
The trial opened at the Tokyo District Court on Thursday, more than 3 months after the outbreak of the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
The plaintiff is Takanori Eto, a 30-year-old law student who lives in Tokyo. He filed suit against the government, demanding the nullification of its authorization for building the plant. He maintains that the government was sloppy in its safety assessment for authorizing the plant as it failed to assume a huge earthquake and tsunami.
In Thursday's hearing, the defendant - the government - argued that only those who live within 100 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi plant are eligible to file a damages suit and that the plaintiff, who lives more than 200 kilometers away is not.
The plaintiff complained of health concerns over milk and other food for his 4-month-old baby daughter. However, the government counter-argued that even food with radioactive material exceeding the national safety limit will not pose immediate health risks. It said the radioactive levels of food now available in Tokyo are below the limit.
The plaintiff said the government's argument that he is in no position to sue is wrong, because he is actually suffering from the present accident. He said many people are concerned about damage to their health, and the government should be held fully accountable.

Thursday, June 23, 2011 19:40
Valve likely set incorrectly from the beginning
The operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant says it was unaware of an incorrectly opened valve that caused another disruption in its ongoing test run to filter radioactive water.
Tokyo Electric Power Company found on Wednesday that a US-made device attached to the water treatment system had lowered concentration of radioactive cesium by just 10 percent the planned amount.
The open valve meant that some contaminated water passed through only one of the system's 3 absorbent chambers. The valve is believed to have been incorrectly set since the device was installed.
The amount of contaminated water on site is growing by about 400 tons a day, as fresh water is injected into reactors to cool them. The rainy season threatens to raise the water levels further.
The test-run was interrupted on Tuesday after a pump to send water into French-made decontamination equipment stopped, also due to the wrong setting of a valve.


Voices from around

. Daily Radiation Levels .  

. . . . .

Japan Times :

DPJ tacks on 70 days to avert Diet recess
The Diet session is extended by 70 days, giving Prime Minister Naoto Kan and his Democratic Party of Japan some breathing room as they try to enact several key bills by the end of August.

Suicides upping casualties from Tohoku catastrophe

Tokyo ushers in summer with scorching heat


IAEA session highlights need for reactor stress tests

Lady Gaga visits for tsunami event

Ibaraki seafood firms demand ¥1.8 billion

Nuke power to remain key energy source: METI
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry plans to retain nuclear power generation as one of three pillars of energy supply during discussions by a ministry panel to be created this month, sources said.
The move comes as Prime Minister Naoto Kan is seeking a new energy policy, aimed at accelerating the use of renewable energy sources, amid the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

82 millisieverts outside zone seen
Of 160 monitoring sites in the designated areas outside the no-entry zone, 23 registered radiation levels exceeding 20 millisieverts over the three-month period, the ministry said.

Fukushima crisis opens door for foreign companies

Chopper group keeps up disaster-zone airlifts
To help the survivors, a group of private helicopter pilots and owners participated in relief efforts for about a month from March 23, delivering food, water, medicines and other necessities to stricken coastal towns in Miyagi and Iwate prefectures.
... Although they flew more than 300 times, delivering about 40 tons of supplies in total to the stricken areas, both Hashimoto and Glenn said they could have done more if they had been allowed to work with the local government.

"When we were in Sendai, we saw huge stacks of supplies in a gymnasium waiting to be shipped. So we offered our help to deliver them, but the local government wouldn't give us permission," Hashimoto said. "Once supply gets under the control of the authorities, it can only be handled by appointed volunteers or people.


Okiagari Koboshi 起き上がりこぼし

wobbely Daruma dolls, to help Tohoku get on its feet soon!

森町小国神社、Shizuoka Moricho, Oguni Shrine

. Earthquake Daruma .



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