June 9, Thursday

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Gabi reports:

. . . . . at 7:11
Earthquake M 5.1, off the coast of Iwate

. . . . . at 19:38
Earthquake M 5.7, off the coast of Ibaraki

and the rainy season ended today in Okinawa, much earlier than usual.

. . . . .

On June 7 I reported about the lack of electric fans in the Tohoku shelters and homes. A friend even volunteered to send some from America!
. my facebook friends commenting .
This morning we heard on the local news that the governor of Okayama prefecture, Ishii san 岡山県知事 石井正弘, will send about 200 fans to Tohoku (and maybe even go deliver them himself).
I am sure other people in other parts of Japan will send fans too.

. . . . .

Besieged prime minister Kan marks milestone:
one year in office
. . . . . and
Groundless call for coalition
Kan expresses desire to stay on through August
. The Political Situation .

. . . . .

Robots for Fukushima
Watching the news, one wonders about the research and development of robots in Japan and why it needed to get PackBot from the USA?
"The PackBot is mass-produced for assignment to war-ravaged areas. There are only a few dozen trial Japanese robot models. Their functions are fundamentally different."
"While the state emphasizes the safety of nuclear plants to nearby residents, it does not encourage research into potential major accidents," he said.
A high-ranking ministry official, who declined to be named, said Tepco's influence in government circles has made it taboo to question its decisions.
... Other experts noted there is no market for robots that could aid in disaster prevention at nuclear plants because utilities have had no intention of buying them from the get-go.
source : Japan Times

. . . . .

The distribution of support money is still a problem.
There are families that did not loose the home to the tsunami, just a few meters on high ground, but they lost all the equipment for fishing or farming of oysters, clams or awabi. So now the father is out of work since march 11 and has no hope (and money) for the future to bring the business back to life. Yet these families do not get any support money from the municipality, since, after all, they still have their own roof over their head. In the devastated village there is no new job to get. What shall they do?

. . . . .

There are not enough doctors in the region, and some are there but still lack equipment. Many of the bedridden elderly are having a hard time getting proper care.
Some of the electric equipment did not work right after the tsunami and their dysfunctioning caused bed sores and other injuries to the bedridden.
. . . . . another problem
Two large hospitals in the 20 to 30 km evacuation zone around Fukushima are having problems. Many people from Soma town are coming back and hospitals were not allowed to treat them. Some do not have the personel any more anyway, but in others the doctors are still there. Now on a special permit from the Fukushima goverment, they can admit 5 patients per day and have each one stay a maximum of 72 hours (three days). Then patients have to be re-located to hospitals outside of the zone or go home.
But long-term patients complain, for example, the cancer treatment of the elderly can not be continued in these circumstances and they feel they are left out there in the evacuation shelters to die . . .
Others in the evacuation zone are determined to stay, the elderly are willing to take the risk of cancer, since they are going to die anyway and want to die "at home".

Patch Adams, the Hospital Clown, is in Japan to cheer up the people.
パッチ・アダムス すまいるバトン IN ニッポン

He started his tour in Hibiya Koen park in Tokyo, and will travel to Nagoya.
He is accompanied by many young Japanese "hospital clowns".
He will be in Japan for 4 days to hold workshops and parades.
source : yuimed.com/patchadams

We have also seen the Japanese hospital clowns in the hospitals of Tohoku, trying to cheer up the children and their caregivers.

a smiling clown
can change the world -
children in Tohoku

. . . . .

International media are musing about a meltthrough af Fukushima, but the news has been around here since May 19 in Japan.

Thursday, June 09, 2011 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Worse than meltdown, government report says devastating 'melt-through' has occurred at Fukushima;
Official suggests Japan could become 'uninhabitable'
Recent reports confirming that Reactors 1, 2, and 3 of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility completely melted just hours after the devastating earthquake and tsunami hit the area on March 11 (.) have been trumped by even worse news that those same reactors have all likely "melted through," a situation that according to Japan's Daily Yomiuri DY is "the worst possibility in a nuclear accident."
And senior political official Ichiro Ozawa suggested in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that the Fukushima situation could make the entire country of Japan "unlivable."
... The report suggesting that melt-throughs have already occurred, which is set to be submitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is the "first official recognition" of this dire situation, according to DY. It also confirms early suspicions that such a scenario had been underway all along, as later reports confirmed that the epic disaster at the reactors had produced holes in come of the plant's core containment vessels, and that radioactive water, and possibly even fuel, were leaking into the lower vessels.
source : www.naturalnews.com

Japanese news tell us, whatever the name of the game, the situation has not changed much since March 12 ... and radioactivity levels are falling in all parts of Japan, see my daily report on the levels.
Ozawa is a political problem, using anything for his political career.


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

Thursday, June 09, 2011 01:50
Fukushima doctor shortage
Fukushima Medical University is launching an intern system for young doctors to work in quake-hit areas while training in radio-therapeutics.
The move is part of efforts to deal with acute shortages of doctors in the prefecture as a result of the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.
The Medical Association of Fukushima Prefecture says many doctors have left to work elsewhere since losing their workplaces in the wake of the March 11th earthquake and ensuing nuclear crisis.
The new intern system, set up with help from the Association, targets young doctors who have been practicing for 3 to 5 years and allows them to work at 7 Fukushima hospitals for up to 2 months, while attending radio-therapeutics classes at the university.
The doctors will provide medical services for residents from the exclusion zone when they visit their homes.
They will also provide consultations to people concerned about the impact of radiation from the power plant.
Associate Professor Koji Otani of the university says medical officials in the affected areas are obliged to contribute to the development of medicine in emergencies by sharing their experiences of the disaster with younger doctors. He adds such efforts will also help improve hospitals in the prefecture now concentrating on treating quake survivors.
The university plans to begin accepting applications by the end of this month, with the aim of selecting about 100 doctors per year.

Thursday, June 09, 2011 06:02
IAEA to ask Japan for transparent nuclear report
NHK has learned that the International Atomic Energy Agency will ask Japan to provide a more transparent report on the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.
NHK obtained the draft of a statement what will be announced at a meeting of ministers from IAEA member nations, scheduled to open on June 20th.
The 4-page draft calls on Japan to accurately report the nuclear crisis and share its assessment with the world so that it can learn from the accident.
It also calls on the UN nuclear watchdog to draw up concrete plans based on the ministerial debate to create international arrangements to promote the safety of nuclear power.
The draft also takes the different energy policies among the member nations into consideration. It notes that some countries have scrapped their reactors following the accident in Japan, while others are continuing to use nuclear power to meet energy demands.
The member nations will work out a statement based on the draft at the upcoming ministerial meeting after holding working-level discussions.

Thursday, June 09, 2011 06:06
Japan to brief US, Britain, France on crisis
Japan plans to send an official to the United Sates, Britain and France to brief them about its report on the nuclear crisis in Fukushima, ahead of an upcoming ministerial meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The prime minister's advisor Goshi Hosono will leave for a one-week tour of the 3 countries on Thursday.
Hosono was in charge of compiling the government report, which will be presented to a meeting of nuclear energy ministers from IAEA member nations that opens in Vienna on June 20th.
The report admits that there was ambiguity in responsibility-taking over the crisis because of a number of separate government entities existing to oversee the safety of nuclear power generation.
The report says the government needs to make a drastic review of its nuclear safety arrangements and make the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, now operating under the industry ministry, into an independent regulator.
During the tour, Hosono hopes to seek the understanding of the three governments on Japan's efforts to address the crisis. He will also thank the three nations on behalf of the government for their cooperation in seeking to get the crisis under control including sending experts to Japan.

Thursday, June 09, 2011 06:02
Survey: strontium widespread in Fukushima
Soil samples from around Fukushima Prefecture have revealed concentrations of radioactive strontium.
Japan's science ministry conducted a survey for radioactive substances at 11 locations in 10 municipalities from late March to mid-May.
It says strontium-90 was detected in all 11 locations.
In Namie Town, the reading stood at 250 becquerels per kilogram of soil, while in Iitate Village the reading was 120 becquerels per kilogram. The readings in the other locations were between 2 and 18 becquerels.
Strontium-90 is generated during the fission of uranium in fuel rods in reactors.
With a comparatively long half-life of 29 years, the radioactive substance poses a risk of accumulating in the bones if inhaled, because its properties are similar to those of calcium. If this happens, it could cause cancer.
The ministry says the survey revealed that strontium was detected even in the city of Fukushima about 60 kilometers from the plant, suggesting wide-spread contamination.
It says higher doses of strontium were spread northwestward from the plant, along with other radioactive substances, because of the prevailing winds.

The Nuclear Safety Commission says the detected doses of strontium were minimal, compared with those of cesium found in the region. It says the substance does not pose any immediate health threat.
Doctor Osamu Saito is a radiation expert at a hospital in Fukushima City. He says even though only small quantities of strontium-90 were detected in the survey, it still poses a high health risk because it can accumulate in the bones.
He is urging the government to increase the number of observation points throughout the prefecture, so as to help ease public anxiety.
The ministry says it is considering taking samples from additional locations in the next survey.

Thursday, June 09, 2011 06:02
Efforts to delay radioactive water leaks
Tokyo Electric Power Company continues to struggle to prevent possible leaks of highly-radioactive water that is accumulating at its troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
TEPCO plans to move an additional 2,700 tons of highly-contaminated water from the reactor buildings to an adjacent waste processing facility.
The move is an attempt to postpone by 5 days water overflowing from a tunnel outside Reactor 2. This could occur on June 20th if a new water-decontaminating system is not installed and in operation by next Wednesday.
The utility says it has already obtained the consent of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency for the plan.
The Agency says the measure is appropriate since there is no risk of the water leaking outside the waste facility.
More than 105,000 tons of highly radioactive water is believed to have accumulated in the reactor and turbine buildings.
The company says the amount is increasing by more than 500 tons daily as fresh water continues to be injected into the reactors in an attempt to lower their temperatures.
The utility says 14,200 tons of contaminated water will be stored 1.4 meters deep in the basement of the facility. After being decontaminated, the operator plans to use the water in the reactors as a coolant.
The company says it is determined to begin operating the water-decontaminating system by June 25th at the latest.
. . . . and
Leaked oil found in seawater near Fukushima Daini
Tokyo Electric Power Company says oil has leaked into the sea from another suspended nuclear power plant in Fukushima. The utility sees the oil leaked from a transformer at the plant after the March 11th earthquake.
TEPCO employees found the leaked oil in seawater near the water outlets of Reactors 3 and 4 at the Fukushima Daini power plant. The plant is about 10 kilometers south of Tepco's crippled Daiichi nuclear complex.
The utility says the oil is likely to have leaked from a transformer used to supply power to the plant from the outside grid. The oil is believed to have accumulated in an emergency water tank in the basement.
It says the water could have overflowed into the sea through rainwater pipes connected to the tank while workers drained the tank on Wednesday to inspect it.
The utility says it will retrieve the oil and investigate the cause of the leakage. It adds that the leaked oil contains no radioactive substances.

Thursday, June 09, 2011 10:54
Nuclear energy officials call for safety tests
Nuclear safety officials from more than 30 countries have agreed on the need for safety tests on all nuclear power plants currently in operation around the world.
The officials attended a meeting in Paris on Wednesday hosted by the Nuclear Energy Agency, a specialized body within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
They agreed that each country's safety regulators should conduct safety inspections on nuclear plants to prevent accidents such as the one in Fukushima.
They said the tests should include a review of preparedness against earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters, as well as measures to deal with a possible loss of emergency power. The participants also agreed to review the International Nuclear Event Scale used to assess nuclear accidents.
This comes after the decision by Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency to raise the Fukushima accident to the top level of 7 -- equivalent to Chernobyl -- triggered confusion among residents and foreign governments.

Thursday, June 09, 2011 11:58
Japan's Jan-March GDP revised upward
Japan has revised slightly upward its economic growth rate for January to March 2011. Annualized real GDP comes in at minus 3.5 percent, up 0.2 percentage points from the preliminary figure last month.
The Cabinet Office announced on Thursday that GDP dropped 0.9 percent in the period through March from the previous quarter. That's the second consecutive quarter of negative growth...
..... The Cabinet Office says that despite the minor upward revision, the data confirmed major declines in personal spending and corporate capital investment after the March 11th disaster.

Thursday, June 09, 2011 12:51
TEPCO tests filters to decontaminate water
Tokyo Electric Power Company began testing water filtering devices at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to decontaminate highly radioactive wastewater on Thursday.
The utility put up fences around water intakes outside reactors 2 and 3 to prevent leaked wastewater from spreading out to sea. But radioactive cesium is being found outside the fences, in amounts above government-set safety levels.
The utility has installed two filtering devices near the reactors' water intakes.
The filters are made of zeolite, which absorbs radioactive cesium.
After a test-run, Tokyo Electric plans to filter a maximum 30 tons of contaminated water per hour from inside the fence and to discharge the decontaminated water into the sea.
and ... Thursday, June 09, 2011 19:26
TEPCO to use filters at plant
The operator of the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant has briefed Japan's nuclear regulator on equipment for removing highly radioactive substances in water at the facility.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, reported on the functions of the US and French devices to the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency on Thursday, a week before the firm plans to start using the equipment.
TEPCO says it will separate oil from contaminated water before transferring it to US-made equipment that absorbs radioactive cesium using minerals including zeolite. The water is then to be transferred to French-made equipment that absorbs radioactive substances using chemicals.
The company says the devices will reduce the concentration of radioactive substances in the water to one-thousandth to one-ten-thousandth of the current level.
TEPCO plans to remove salt from the decontaminated water before storing it in tanks to use it to cool the plant's reactors.
More than 105,000 tons of water contaminated with highly radioactive substances has accumulated in the basements of the plant's reactor and turbine buildings, hampering efforts to bring the plant under control.
About 500 tons of such water is accumulating daily amid continued injections of fresh water into the reactors to cool them. TEPCO plans to decontaminate 1,200 tons of such water daily.
The firm plans to obtain the consent of the agency and test the devices for about a week before starting their operation around next Wednesday.
TEPCO says it will use facilities at the plant to store highly radioactive waste to be produced in the filtering process. But the firm has not decided how to decontaminate the waste.

Thursday, June 09, 2011 12:52
Nuclear evacuation being considered for more areas
The Japanese government says it will quickly decide on whether to evacuate more people from areas around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant which have radiation levels exceeding the state limit.
This comes after it was found that accumulative radiation exposure levels in parts of Date and Mimanisoma cities exceed the 20 millisieverts per year limit set by the government. The areas are outside the current evacuation zone.
Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Tetsuro Fukuyama 福山哲郎 met with Minamisoma Mayor Katsunobu Sakurai at the prime minister's office on Thursday to discuss the situation.
After the meeting, Sakurai told reporters that residents are voicing concern and some want to evacuate. He said he asked the government to carefully consider the residents' wishes when deciding about evacuation.
Fukuyama told reporters that the government wants to quickly reach a decision after discussions with the 2 cities. He added the government wants to be on the cautious side in protecting the health of the residents.

Thursday, June 09, 2011 14:57
Kids present SDF members handmade medals
Children in disaster-hit Miyagi Prefecture have shown their gratitude to Self-Defense Force personnel on a relief mission by awarding them handmade medals.
About 50 children at a daycare center in the city of Tagajo visited a bathing facility run by an SDF unit on Thursday, and presented a medal with a thank-you message to each of the personnel.
The children sang songs and had their photos taken with the SDF members. One member said he felt rewarded for his efforts.
Around 69,000 SDF members are searching for the missing and assisting survivors in the quake-and-tsunami hit prefectures of Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima.
. . . CLICK here for Photos of rescue work !

Thursday, June 09, 2011 18:53
Saga Gov. noncommittal about reactor resumption
The governor of Saga Prefecture has ducked questions on whether he supports or rejects the restarting of nuclear reactors in his constituency.
All eyes are on Yasushi Furukawa as the central government tries to resume operations of 2 reactors at the Genkai plant. The reactors were off-line for regular safety checks at the time of the March disaster, and have been suspended since.
On Thursday, Governor Furukawa met with visiting Industry Ministry officials who assured him that unlike the damaged Fukushima Daiichi plant, the Genkai plant has been strengthened to withstand tsunami.
Governor Furukawa said that in making a decision, nuclear safety takes precedence over the national need to generate electricity.
The governor also said he will analyze technical data in consultation with specialists.
However, the mayor of Genkai town has indicated he wants the restarting of the reactors in his town.
On Thursday, Mayor Hideo Kishimoto visited the power plant and inspected an emergency mobile generator.
Kishimoto said he felt all safety measures for an emergency have been taken.
Japan has 54 nuclear reactors, but 35 are currently off line. Genkai is the first community host to agree to a resumption of operations.

Thursday, June 09, 2011 19:15
TEPCO plans for possible rolling blackouts
Tokyo Electric Power Company has released a plan to conduct rolling blackouts this summer if energy saving measures alone are not enough to prevent a sudden, total blackout.
The contingency plan announced on Thursday divides the 9 prefectures being served by the utility into five groups. Each group would experience one 2-hour blackout a day.
When TEPCO conducted similar planned outages in the aftermath of the March 11th disaster, consumers complained since some groups were subjected to blackouts twice a day, each lasting about 3 hours.
The company says the summer plan would involve more than 16 million households in total - about 3 million more than in March. The blackouts will help secure electricity for railways and emergency hospitals.
The Japanese government has been asking businesses and households in the areas serviced by Tokyo Electric and Tohoku Electric to curb electricity use by 15 percent this summer compared to last year. The government's idea is to keep demand low enough to make rolling blackouts unnecessary.

Thursday, June 09, 2011 21:18
IAEA to tighten nuclear safety measures worldwide
NHK has learned that the International Atomic Energy Agency will declare its resolve to strengthen global nuclear safety in the wake of the accident in Japan.
NHK obtained the draft of a statement that will be announced at a meeting of ministers from IAEA member nations, scheduled to open on June 20th in Vienna, Austria.
The 4-page draft calls on the member countries to build an international framework to quickly respond to an emergency and to power up their nuclear regulators.
It also requests the international nuclear watchdog to play a central role in promoting the safety of nuclear power, including a review of its safety standards.
The draft, meanwhile, takes into consideration different energy policies among the member nations.
It notes that some countries have decided to scrap their reactors following the crisis in Japan, while others continue to rely on nuclear power to meet energy demands.
The member nations will finalize a statement based on the draft at the forthcoming ministerial meeting after holding working-level discussions.

Thursday, June 09, 2011 22:55
Panel: Aftershocks of over magnitude 7 may occur
A government panel of seismologists says major aftershocks from the March 11th earthquake could still occur in the sea off the coast of northeastern Japan.
At a meeting on Thursday, the government's Earthquake Research Committee examined the impact of the March quake on seismic activities in the country.
The panel said that magnitude-7 aftershocks or stronger could hit sea areas off the Pacific coast of northeastern Japan.
It said that in some sea areas close to the Japan Trench, major quakes accompanied by tsunami could occur.
The panel said the risk of earthquakes from some active faults in inland areas is higher than before. One fault straddles Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures. Three others run between the western part of Tokyo and neighboring Saitama Prefecture.
The panel chief, Katsuyuki Abe 阿部勝征, called for continued caution, saying that although the number of tremors is declining nearly 3 months since the March disaster, aftershocks may occur anywhere.


Voices from around

. Daily Radiation Levels .  

. . . . .

Japan Times :

Fishermen to Tepco: Don't release water
A plan by Tepco to release water containing traces of radioactive materials from the Fukushima No. 2 nuclear power plant into the Pacific has been halted by stiff opposition from the Fisheries Agency.

Ishinomaki with all the debris and now

World Bank , IMF dismal on Japan growth potential
The World Bank says that it projects Japan's economy to expand 0.1 percent this year in terms of real gross domestic product, a plunge from an estimated 4.0 percent in 2010, following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Saga town may be first to see reactor restart
Genkai in Saga Prefecture

Ministry inspects worker exposure

Quake reinsurance rates rise 20-60%, Swiss firm says


The book "PRAYER for JAPAN" -- Update.

To the date, about 240 poets from 43 countries submitted their haikai poetry and art for the book "Prayer for Japan".

Every poem will be translated by native speakers into three languages (English - Russian - Japanese), and the oversized gift book (about 500 pages of large format) will be illustrated throughout in sumi-e style. The book will be distributed all over Japan, as well as available for sale.

Origa (Olga Hooper)
You may read many of the submitted works here:
. . origa.livejournal.com



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  1. Special Report:
    After Japan, where's the next nuclear weak link?

    DETROIT (Reuters) –
    Imagine a country where corruption is rampant, infrastructure is very poor, or the quality of security is in question. Now what if that country built a nuclear power plant?

    It may sound alarming but that is what could happen in many developing countries which are either building nuclear power plants or considering doing so - a prospect that raises serious questions after Japan's experience handling a nuclear crisis.

    For many, rule No.1 for a safe nuclear program is a regulator with at least some semblance of independence from government or corporate influence.

    Storage of radioactive materials, whether from hospital medical waste, industrial processes, or from spent fuel rods at nuclear plants remains a problem around the world.


  2. Patch Adams,
    Oh how wonderful!

  3. Anonymous6/10/2011

    I can imagine how it's for all of you in Japan, to live in such an anxiety and uncertainty day after day...
    I am with you with all my heart, Gabi san.