July 4, Monday

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great earthquake -
even the treasure rabbit
is shaken

. Treasure Rabbit 玉兎 tama-usagi .
from Mount Gassan, Yamagata, Tohoku


Gabi reports:

Japan is expecting heavy rain again during the day, especially in Tohoku.

We had a power-out in the evening due to heavy rain and thunderstorms, and this will go in till tomorrow morning.

Good night for now.
It has been a long day, but now things are mending for us.


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

Monday, July 04, 2011 06:15
Hoses at Fukushima to be checked
Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, is set to replace leaky plastic hoses that brought cooling to a halt at the Number 5 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
TEPCO is now searching for potential leaks and will replace these hoses. A large number of the polyvinyl chloride hoses are being used in the reactor's heat removal system.
TEPCO found water leaking from a large crack in a hose around the outlet of a temporary pump sending seawater into the Number 5 reactor's cooling system on Sunday. The cooling system was stopped for 3-and-a-half hours to replace the hose.
The operator says the hose cracked because it was bent at an acute angle and was under pressure.
The company fears other hoses may crack and will search for possible trouble and replace them.
TEPCO adds that no replacement is required for hoses that transfer highly radioactive water because they are not bent at extreme angles.

Monday, July 04, 2011 12:50
Mayor approves restart of Genkai nuclear plant
A mayor in the Japanese southwestern prefecture of Saga has approved the restart of a nuclear power station in his town.
Mayor Hideo Kishimoto of Genkai Town gave the green light on Monday to Toshio Manabe, the president of Kyushu Electric Power Company, the operator of the Genkai nuclear plant. Two reactors at the plant remain idle after routine check-ups were completed in April.
Kishimoto said he is convinced that the utility has emergency safety measures in place. He said industry minister Banri Kaieda has assured him that the central government will be responsible for the plant's safety.
Thirty-five reactors, or two-thirds of the national total, remain offline, due to the effects of the March disaster or regular inspections.
The Genkai plant is the first to be given the official go-ahead by municipalities hosting nuclear power stations.
Attention has shifted to whether the Saga prefectural governor will also approve a resumption of the plant's operations, despite local residents' concerns about its safety.

Monday, July 04, 2011 13:24
Shirakawa: Parts shortage has begun to ease
Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa 白川方明 says corporate production activities are improving, as parts shortages have begun to ease among manufacturers.
Shirakawa was speaking at a quarterly meeting of the central bank's branch managers on Monday. It was the 2nd such meeting since the March 11th disaster in northeastern Japan. The heads of branches in hard-hit areas were among the attendees.
Shirakawa says Japan's economy continues to face downward pressure on corporate production and exports which sharply dropped after the disaster. But he said household and business sentiment is improving, as constrains on the supply side, including the parts shortages, have begun to ease.
Shirakawa also says some smaller companies remain cash-strapped, and that it is necessary to carefully watch the disaster's impact on financial institutions.
He says the central bank will take appropriate measures, including maintaining the current easy monetary policy, to get the economy back on a full recovery track.

Monday, July 04, 2011 13:42
Work underway for nitrogen injection
Work is underway at the damaged nuclear power plant in Fukushima to reduce radiation levels in the Number 3 reactor container. The move is necessary before nitrogen gas can be pumped in to prevent a hydrogen explosion.
According to Tokyo Electric Power Company's schedule to stabilize the plant, the utility needs to inject nitrogen into the containers of the first 3 reactors by July 17th. Nitrogen has already been injected into the Number 1 and 2 reactor containers.
On Friday, a US-made robot began clearing contaminated dust and debris from the Number 3 reactor. However, radiation levels inside the container are still high with readings of between 50 and 186 millisieverts per hour.
The radiation levels need to be reduced to one-third before workers are able to begin the nitrogen injection. On Sunday, more than 50 sheets made of steel were laid on the floor. Work continues on Monday to fill the gaps between the steel sheets.
TEPCO plans to start connecting the pipes to inject the nitrogen on Friday and hopes to complete the nitrogen injection by July 17th. Cooling the reactors and preventing more hydrogen blasts are the top priorities in TEPCO's plan to stabilize the plant.
The minister in charge of the nuclear disaster, Goshi Hosono, says once the government is able to verify that the blast prevention measures are in place, it will consider lifting an evacuation advisory for certain areas 20 to 30 kilometers from the plant.

Monday, July 04, 2011 15:54
Ibaraki residents start monitoring radiation
Residents of a city northeast of Tokyo have started monitoring radiation levels in an effort to protect children from radiation exposure.
The group in Moriya, Ibaraki Prefecture, began the monitoring in a park on Monday. Measurements were taken one meter above the ground.
Moriya is about 200 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, but the city has recorded the highest level of radiation among the municipalities in Ibaraki Prefecture.
The group says it will take measurements at 60 locations and put up warning signs where high levels of radioactive substances are detected.
Group member Mitsunobu Oishi says the authorities cannot conduct detailed checks in many places, so the group is taking action to ensure the safety of children.

Monday, July 04, 2011 16:13
.Date City to decontaminate entire area
The city of Date in Fukushima Prefecture says it will take steps to reduce radiation contamination in its entire area.
The city is located about 50 kilometers northwest of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, outside the government-set evacuation zone. But high levels of radiation have been found in 4 districts. Last Friday, the government recommended 113 households to evacuate.
The city said on Monday that it will decontaminate residential areas, schools, roads and mountains in an attempt to reduce residents' exposure to radioactive substances as much as possible. The city plans to set up a project team to sort out details on the decontamination process.
Officials say the city will shoulder the cost for the time being, but will ask the plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company and the central government to cover follow-up expenses.

Monday, July 04, 2011 17:12
Matsumoto gaffe criticized by DPJ, LDP
Newly appointed reconstruction minister Ryu Matsumoto has been criticized by the opposition and his own party for the remarks he made in disaster-hit areas.
Matsumoto visited Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures on Sunday.
He told Iwate Governor Takuya Tasso that the central government will help those who came up with their own proposals for a reconstruction plan but won't assist those who do not have any ideas.
In talks with Miyagi Governor Yoshihiro Murai, Matsumoto referred to conflicting views within the prefecture over a plan to establish a special economic zone to help rebuild the fishing industry.
Matsumoto demanded that the prefecture build a consensus on the issue or the central government will not take action.
The Secretary General of the largest opposition Liberal Democratic Party, Nobuteru Ishihara, strongly criticized Matsumoto for the remarks. Ishihara said they offended the disaster survivors, adding that the central government is to blame for the reconstruction delays.
New Komeito Secretary General Yoshihisa Inoue said the remarks lack sensitivity.
Ruling Democratic Party Secretary General Katsuya Okada told Ishihara and Inoue that he will convey their views to Matsumoto and Prime Minister Naoto Kan.
In a phone conversation, Okada told Matsumoto to be more humble.
Matsumoto told reporters that his remarks were directed at prefecture governors, and that his comments may have been too harsh. Matsumoto added that he would like to apologize if the statements offended the disaster victims.
Referring to calls from opposition parties for his resignation as minister, Matsumoto suggested he has no intention of stepping down. He said he is determined to continue his duties.
(this was quite a news today in TV)

Monday, July 04, 2011 17:29
Water flow falls at No.1 reactor, but restored
The volume of cooling water flowing into the No.1 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant fell on Monday, forcing workers to inject additional water.
A cooling system is in place at the number 1, 2 and 3 reactors. The system injects 3.7 tons of water every hour into the No.1 reactor.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says the reactor's water flow began to decrease gradually around 9 PM on Sunday night. By 8:13 AM on Monday, only about 3 tons of water was flowing into the No. 1 reactor, setting off an alarm.
Workers immediately began injecting double the usual amount of water. They managed to restore normal water flow in the reactor before 9 AM.
TEPCO says there was no change in temperature or pressure in the No.1 reactor.
The utility says some kind of debris may have clogged the hoses, reducing the water flow, and that it is checking to see how the failure occurred.

Monday, July 04, 2011 20:11
Conditions must be met to lift evacuation advisory
Members of Japan's Nuclear Safety Commission say the government must do more before it lifts an evacuation advisory for areas near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
During a news conference on Monday, the members referred to comments by the minister in charge of the nuclear disaster that the government could lift an evacuation advisory for areas 20 to 30 kilometers from the plant by around July 17th.
The members say a safety assessment must first be carried out to fully understand the situation inside the damaged reactors. They say the government must also confirm that another hydrogen explosion will not occur.
Residents in the evacuation advisory zone are required to remain indoors and must be prepared to evacuate in the event of an emergency. Some residents have already left for safer areas.
For those who have left, the members say the evacuation advisory zone must be thoroughly monitored for radiation contamination before residents are allowed to return to their homes.
Tokyo Electric Power Company has set July 17th as the date for finally getting the nuclear crisis under control. By that day, the utility hopes to have achieved stable cooling of the reactors and implemented measures to prevent a hydrogen explosion.


Voices from around

Japan Times :

Hose rip interrupts cooling of reactor 5

The Fukushima No. 1 power plant briefly stops cooling reactor 5 to replace a damaged hose that was delivering seawater to its heat-removal system.

Tsuruga reactor lacks emergency vent
The No. 1 reactor at the Tsuruga power plant in Fukui Prefecture does not have a vent to release excess pressure during an emergency, it is learned.
Of the 30 boiling-water reactors in Japan, the one at Tsuruga is the only one without a venting system.
The anomaly arose after the plant's manager, Japan Atomic Power Co., deemed the containment vessel in reactor No. 1 less likely to be damaged by a pressure buildup, making installation of a venting system a low priority. ...

Toyota plants start weekend operations
The nation's largest automaker launches weekend operations to save energy after a nuclear power plant in the Chubu region was shut down in May.

Rebuilding chief visits disaster zone
Ryu Matsumoto, newly appointed minister in charge of reconstruction, encouraged Miyagi Gov. Yoshihiro Murai on Sunday to lay out "the unique visions of the prefecture" in compiling measures to rebuild areas ravaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
At the prefectural offices in Sendai, Matsumoto said the government will present its own vision by the end of this month, and said he wanted to secure housing for those displaced.

'Software' to deal with disasters

The risks of 'disaster nationalism'
A common sight seen throughout Japan these days are signs that read Ganbaro Nippon (translated "Don't give up Japan").
It has become the battle cry among Japanese for dealing with the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake-triggered disasters. In a country united by shared grief and suffering, it is a plea by Japanese for Japanese to struggle together through the difficulties.
Yet, this focus on shared pain carries with it a potentially negative consequence for Japan's foreign engagement. The Japanese people's singular focus on domestic recovery — which can best be termed "Disaster Nationalism" — has the potential of constraining the political elite's ability to promote new foreign policy initiatives. ...



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