June 30, Thursday

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Beronaga ya -
Tohoku dreams
of a new future

. Beronaga べろ長 "the long tongue" .
from Fukushima


Gabi reports:

Save the Children Japan
Japan Earthquake and Tsunami - Emergency Response
see below
"Children's smile for recovery from earthquake"
source : Save the Children

. . . . .

. . . . . at 8:16
Earthquake M 5.5 in Nagano, Matsumoto town
. . . . . at 8.21
Earthquake M 5.1 in Nagano, same spot
. . . . . at 14:11
Earthquake M 3.9 (4) in Nagano, same spot

quote from NHK WORLD NEWS
Strong earthquake hits Nagano Prefecture
A strong earthquake hit Matsumoto City in Nagano Prefecture, central Japan, Thursday morning. The quake struck at around 8:16 AM. It registered 5-plus on the Japanese seismic scale of zero to 7 in Matsumoto, while other areas in the prefecture registered 3 to 4.
Japan's Meteorological Agency says the quake had a magnitude of 5.4, and that the epicenter was 4 kilometers below ground.
Aftershocks with a magnitude of 2 to 3 have been recorded in the region.
The agency is urging residents to be on the alert for powerful aftershocks during the next week.
The earthquake injured 9 people, 2 of them seriously.
Local train services have been partially suspended and some express trains to and from Tokyo and Nagoya were canceled.
The temblor caused cracks to the walls of a small castle tower near the main tower of centuries-old Matsumoto Castle. Both structures are designated national treasures.
The former Kaichi School, which is one of Japan's oldest elementary school buildings and a nationally-designated important property, also sustained cracks to its walls.

. . . . . at 19:22
Earthquake M 5.3 (4) off the coast of Fukushima

. . . . .

Yesterday it was again very hot in Kanto, well above 38 degrees centigrade.
Today is cloudy and we hope for some cooling rain.
But around lunchtime it is more than 30 degrees around our home - high up in the mountains.

. . . . .

10 minutes between life and death
In some villages along the coast, just after the tsunami warning, people evacuated as they were used to during drills.
They went up to the higher spots and saw a tsunami coming, in many places not going over the breakwater dams, and then receeding. So many thought that was it and started to walk back home.
After 10 minutes, the second tsunami hit - this time the BIG one - and swept over the dams, homes and people.
The new advise now is:
Do not think the first tsunami is the highest.
Wait on a safe spot.

. . . . .

- Hope and reconstruction

. Reconstruction efforts - INFO .

. . . . .

. . . . . at 16:30
I have to log off now, a heavy thunderstorm is approaching fast.
Rumbling in the sky ...
We were out of the storm quickly, but further north a huge landslide stopped the local train and more than 8000 homes were without electricity for hours.


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

Thursday, June 30, 2011 05:41
Progress in cooling Fukushima Daiichi spent fuel
The operator of Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant appears to be making progress in its work to stabilize the facility's spent fuel rods. Tokyo Electric Power Company says a new cooling system for the No.3 reactor's spent fuel storage pool should be functional in a week.
The March 11th accident crippled the cooling mechanisms that control reactors No.1 through No.4 and their storage pools. TEPCO has been working to install systems that will cool and circulate water inside the pools.
The utility maintains it restored full and stable cooling functions at the No.2 reactor's pool in late May.
Work to install a cooling system was completed at the No.3 reactor on Wednesday. A test-run is scheduled for Thursday.
But TEPCO hasn't been as successful with the No.4 reactor's spent fuel pool. A hydrogen explosion in March damaged water pipes that are connected to it. The company is reviewing its installation plan.
Workers entered the 5th floor of the No.4 reactor building on Wednesday for the first time since the explosion to see if other pipes can be used instead.
TEPCO hopes the work to install all of the spent fuel cooling systems will wrap up by the end of July. But it expects the problems with the No.4 reactor could make meeting that deadline a challenge..
TEPCO's water decontamination plan
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has released an estimate of the amount of highly-radioactive water it expects to decontaminate in the next 3 months.
Tokyo Electric Power Company said Wednesday it plans to reduce the amount of contaminated water at the facility by some 34,000 tons. At this point, 120,000 tons have accumulated at the plant.
TEPCO started an operation on Monday to use the decontaminated wastewater as coolant and re-circulate it back into the damaged reactors.
But the procedure has been stopped twice since then because of pipe leaks. TEPCO workers temporarily halted the system on Wednesday after they detected a leak at a storage tank for decontaminated water.
The utility maintains the system holds the key to stabilizing the reactors and reducing the amount of contaminated water at the plant.
TEPCO's estimate of how much water will be filtered over the next 3 months is based on the assumption that the new setup will function at 90 percent capacity. Right now, the system is only operating at 55 percent capacity.

Thursday, June 30, 2011 05:41
Young tsunami survivors to get places to hang out
The Japanese branch of an international non-governmental organization is planning on giving children who survived the March 11th earthquake and tsunami a place to spend their free time.
Tokyo-based Save the Children Japan says it will set up a total of 300 facilities in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures.
Children living in shelters and temporary housing are said to alone most of the time because their parents are busy looking for jobs or clearing away mud and debris from their homes.
Kids in northeastern Japan will be given free access to Save the Children's facilities. An adult will always be there to supervise them.
The cost of building and managing the facilities for the next 5 years is estimated at about 12.5 million dollars. It will be covered by donations. The first facility will be built on an empty lot near temporary housing units in Rikuzentakata City in Iwate prefecture.
Save the Children Japan aims to provide a place where children can feel protected to support their parents as they try to rebuild their lives.

Thursday, June 30, 2011 12:59
Improperly set valve halts water treatment system
Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, says an improperly adjusted valve has led to a halt in the operation of a key water decontamination system at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
TEPCO has repeatedly suspended the water decontamination operation. The operation is vital to reducing the amount of highly radioactive water building up in the plant. The treated water is also circulated to cool down the reactors.
At around 7 PM on Wednesday, TEPCO had to shut down the system again after contaminated water was found overflowing in a French-made radiation removal unit. An investigation found that an incorrectly set valve is most likely to blame.
The decontamination operation resumed two hours later.
At the Number 6 reactor's turbine building, low-level contaminated water is increasing. TEPCO plans to start on Thursday afternoon transferring low-level radioactive water stored in make-shift tanks into a giant steel barge called "megafloat" attached to a quay on the plant's premises.
The tanks are nearing their full capacity of 12,000 tons. TEPCO aims to pump around 8,000 tons of contaminated water into the giant barge in three or four months.

Thursday, June 30, 2011 12:59
Fukushima evacuees given health questionnaires
Local residents who were forced to evacuate their homes because of the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have been given questionnaires as part of a prefecture-wide health checkup.
The entire population of Fukushima Prefecture -- about 2 million people -- is to be checked for the effects of radiation.
On Thursday, prefectural officials visited an evacuation shelter and handed out questionnaires to 13 residents of Namie town, who are being checked first.
The questionnaires ask them to record the times of day they have spent indoors and outdoors since the nuclear accident.
The responses will be compared with daily radiation levels to estimate the residents' exposure.
A 28-year-old woman said it's been more than 3 months since the disaster, so it's hard for her to recall her whereabouts during all that time. She says she wishes the survey had been conducted sooner.
The prefecture will begin mailing the questionnaires to about 28,000 residents who have been given priority for the check-ups.

Thursday, June 30, 2011 12:59
TEPCO apologizes to Fukushima mayors
The new president of the Tokyo Electric Power Company has visited municipalities near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and apologized to their leaders.
Toshio Nishizawa had two separate meetings with Iwaki City Mayor Takao Watanabe and Hirono Town Mayor Motohoshi Yamada on Thursday.
Nishizawa apologized to them saying that the company has caused a lot of trouble and worry for people. He also said that he will do all he can to bring the situation under control as soon as possible.
At the meetings, the municipalities demanded that the company take care of people's concerns over the radioactive contamination as its top priority. They called for active disclosure of information.
They also said the company must compensate not only those who were forced to leave their homes but also those who are facing huge economic losses because of the contamination.
Nishizawa said the company will carry out the compensation process in a fair and quick way with government support.

Thursday, June 30, 2011 13:56
Carmakers begin summer power-saving
Some Japanese carmakers have started a summer-time power-saving schedule, to help deal with a possible shortage of electricity due to the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Honda Motor is closing its factory in Suzuka City, Mie Prefecture on Thursday and Friday. And Nissan Motor is doing the same with two of its factories in southern Japan.
Streets near the Honda factory were quiet on Thursday, with its gates remaining shut. Some workers volunteered to clean up the streets to use their time off.
One of the volunteers says he's worried about the new schedule, but that it would be a good chance to visit resorts.
Some children in Suzuka City were being taken to a daycare center by their fathers, instead of their mothers. One of the fathers says he will take his child to the center on the days he's not working. He says that he wants to make the most of his free time.
Other carmakers and their affiliated companies will close their production lines from Friday and then every Thursday and Friday after that during the summer. They will open them on weekends when power consumption is lower.

Thursday, June 30, 2011 15:14
Evacuees leave the Tokyo hotel due to closure
Evacuees from the March 11th disaster are leaving their temporary quarters in a Tokyo luxury hotel that was slated for demolition.
The Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka which had closed for business at the end of March accommodated more than 300 families from Fukushima Prefecture and other surrounding areas affected by the earthquake and tsunami disaster.
On Thursday, evacuees carried out their baggage and completed procedures to leave the hotel.
According to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, 80 percent or more will move to other hotels, and inns, as well as municipal housing and private dwellings rented by municipal governments. Some will return to Fukushima and other areas outside Tokyo.
Akemi Ohno who was evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture said she finds it hard to pay her expenses because she is not working at the moment. She wants to know whether she can eventually return to Fukushima.
Tokyo government official Yoshito Yashima said he wants to continue to keep evacuees informed by coordinating with the local municipalities where the people will be staying.

Thursday, June 30, 2011 17:40
Vending machines for disaster aid developed
New drink vending machines have been developed to allow consumers to donate money for areas devastated by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
The machines were jointly developed by the Japanese Red Cross Society and Coca-Cola Japan.
People using the machines can press buttons to donate either 10 yen, or about ten cents, or 100 yen, or about one dollar. The Red Cross is to collect the donations and send them to disaster-hit areas by the end of September.
One hundred of the machines are to be installed in 3 prefectures around Tokyo this year.
Coca-Cola Japan says it will continue to support the Red Cross by installing more of the machines across the country.

Thursday, June 30, 2011 17:51
TEPCO moves low level contaminated water
Workers at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have started moving low level contaminated water to a giant steel barge for storage.
The transfer from the plant's make-shift tanks started on Thursday afternoon to the barge called the "mega float." The barge is attached to a quay on the plant's premises.
The make-shift tanks have been almost full since Wednesday with low-level radioactive water pumped from the basement of the reactor Number 6 turbine building. The water is threatening to damage equipment and gauges and thus hamper cooling efforts.
TEPCO says the water is treated to lower the level of contamination before it is transferred to the barge. The utility also says it will do everything to ensure the stored water doesn't leak into the sea. The utility aims to pump around 8,000 tons of the water into the giant barge over three or four months.
The barge, 136 meters long and 46 meters wide, can hold a maximum of 10,000 tons of water.
But the company says it has no final plan to dispose of the water stored in the barge.

Thursday, June 30, 2011 18:30
15 % electricity saving starts on Friday
Japan's government says it will require major electricity users in eastern and northeastern Japan to cut their consumption by 15 percent from Friday, due to a significant drop in power supply this summer.
The cuts are mandatory for those using 500 kilowatts or more, affecting about 14,800 wholesale users in the area served by Tokyo Electric Power Company and 3,700 in that of the Tohoku Electric Power Company. Willful violators may face fines of up to 12,500 dollars.
In a campaign lasting through early autumn, all businesses and households in the areas are being asked to aim for the saving target between 9 AM and 8 PM on weekdays.
The areas have been experiencing a significant drop in electricity supply after the March 11th earthquake and tsunami damaged many power plants, including the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The government hopes the campaign will eliminate the need for rolling blackouts.
(Even at Okayama station they have reduced the number of neon lights and will keep the temperature at 28 centigrade during the summer.)
We also saw some new vending maschines with solar panels and special green moss plates on the top to keep them cool.

Thursday, June 30, 2011 19:53
10 % consumption tax planned for the mid 2010s
Japan's government and the ruling parties have agreed to a plan to raise the consumption tax to 10 percent in stages by the mid 2010s to help pay for social security.
The plan for doubling the tax rate from the current 5 percent was endorsed at a meeting of representatives of the government and the 2 ruling parties on Thursday.
The plan calls for expanding social security programs mainly for low-income and non-regular workers, and young people.
The government initially called for raising the tax by 2015, but agreed to comply with the Democrats' request to make the schedule less specific. It also agreed to make the tax raise conditional on an economic upturn.

Thursday, June 30, 2011 20:06
Mazda releases fuel-efficient gas-powered car
Japanese automaker Mazda Motor has released a compact gasoline-powered car with the same fuel efficiency as hybrid cars.
The new Demio compact car, mounted with a 1,300 cc engine, has nearly 25 percent better mileage than its previous model. Pistons in the engine have been reshaped so as to burn gasoline more efficiently.
Mazda says Demio runs for 25 kilometers on a liter of gasoline based on new national standards. マツダ エコカー デミオ

Thursday, June 30, 2011 20:12
Radiation detected in Fukushima children's urine
A group of Japanese citizens says radioactive materials have been detected in urine of 10 children in Fukushima Prefecture, where the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is located.
The Fukushima Network for Saving Children from Radiation collected urine samples from 10 elementary to high school students in the prefecture's capital Fukushima City. The samples were analyzed by a French research organization.
The group said at a news conference in Tokyo on Thursday that radioactive cesium was found in all of the samples, and that one from an 8-year-old girl contained 1.13 becquerels of cesium-134 per liter.
The group added that the children are thought to have taken in radioactive materials released from the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
The group said the test shows clearly that children living as far as 60 kilometers from the plant are suffering internal exposure. It urged the state and prefectural governments to immediately check children in Fukushima for such exposure.
The Japanese non-profit Radiation Effects Research Foundation says no health problems due to such radiation levels have been reported, and that people should not be overly concerned.

Thursday, June 30, 2011 20:04
Workers enter No. 4 reactor building
Tokyo Electric Power Company says debris scattered inside the No. 4 reactor building at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is posing an obstacle to work to bring the crippled reactor under control. Workers entered the fifth floor of the building on Wednesday for the first time since an explosion on March 15th.
Photos taken by the workers show that most of the ceiling, except for a small part of the framework, has collapsed. Debris, steel frames, and other various things blown by the force of the explosion are scattered all over the floor.
The radiation level inside the building was less than one millisievert per hour, which TEPCO says is permissible for workers to carry out operations there.
The utility plans to install a circulatory system that will cool and circulate water inside the reactor's spent fuel storage pool. But it says one of the valves necessary to operate the system is covered by debris.
TEPCO says it will consider whether to remove the debris or attempt to work around the debris.


Voices from around

. Daily Radiation Levels .  

. . . . .

Japan Times :

Saga closer to Genkai reactor resumption
The mayor of Genkai, Saga Prefecture, gives his approval to visiting industry minister Banri Kaieda for what would be the first restart of reactors since the radiation crisis erupted March 11 at the Fukushima No. 1 atomic plant.

Atomic power to stay, Kepco tells investors
Kansai Electric Power Co. tells shareholders it will stick with and boost nuclear power, its main source of juice, and alternatives such as solar, wind and thermal energy would be a smaller part of the overall future mix.

Hot day stokes power overload fear
Demand for electricity in Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s service area totals 45.7 million kw, about 93 percent of the utility's maximum supply capacity.

Fukushima Hose leak again halts water unit

Lady Gaga denies quake charity scam

Clothiers alter job-hunt look via Super Cool Biz

Shareholders' meetings hit peak with focus on postquake earnings

Factory output rises, extending rebound


Since June 2011, NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN has been soliciting Japan's traditional fixed form of poem "Haiku", under the theme "Haiku for KIBO ~To Japan, Power of Words~".

On March 11th this year, Japan was hit by an earthquake and tsunami of an unprecedented scale, triggering a nuclear accident. RADIO JAPAN solicits "Haiku" as messages for Japan. Please send us the power of words to encourage and support Japan.
"Haiku for KIBO" is a relay of "Haiku". Following the content of the "Haiku" entered before, the next person writes another "Haiku" to continue the relay.

source : www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld



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  1. . . . TEPCO has become a symbol of everything that is wrong with the nation of Japan: cronyism, collusion, gentrification, corruption, weak regulation, and entropy. Despite being in the spotlight for the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, TEPCO continues to engage in questionable labor practices, and has escaped bankruptcy in closed-door meetings with politicians, and through denying culpability has shifted part of the reparations burden onto taxpayers – deeds which testify to the extent to which TEPCO still has plenty of political power, if not as much nuclear power.



  2. . . .
    For months, TEPCO has been insisting that the cause of the nuclear disaster was the “unprecedented” tidal wave which flooded the emergency generators, delaying cooling. Katsunobu Onda, the investigative journalist who wrote the recently reissued expose TEPCO: The Dark Empire (東京電力・帝国の暗黒 ) in 2007, felt a strange sense of déjà vu when listening to the claim that this accident was “unforseeable” (soteigai) at the initial press conferences. “It was the exact same phrase trotted out in July of 2007, when a 6.8 magnitude earthquake in Niigata resulted in leakage of radiation from the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, and a fire which TEPCO was unable to quickly extinguish,” he notes.

    The possibility of a tidal wave causing a nuclear meltdown was not unforeseeable either; members of the Fukushima Diet (the local legislature) had warned the company as early as 2007.