August 13 - 15 - O-Bon

[ . BACK to TOP of this BLOG. ]

. O-Bon お盆 Ancester Ceremonies
Lantern Festival, Festival of the Dead, Ancestor's Festival


Saturday August 13, 2011

Festival for the souls, tama matsuri 魂祭

. welcoming fire at the gates, mukaebi 迎え火
fire at the house corner, gate-fire, kadobi 門火

welcoming fires
at the coast of Tohoku -
so many still missing

15,689 people are confirmed dead
4,744 remain missing as of Wednesday.

Saturday, August 13, 2011 02:29 - NHK
Kyoto cancels using tsunami-hit wood for bonfire
Organizers of the Daimonji bonfire festival in Kyoto City have canceled a plan to use firewood made from trees felled by the March 11th tsunami, after radioactive substances were found in the wood. It is the second time the plan has been canceled, after organizers retracted an earlier decision not to use the wood.
The city said on Friday that radioactive cesium had been detected in some of the firewood from Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture.
The organizers initially canceled the plan last weekend after heeding concerns that the firewood may contain radiation from the nuclear accident in Fukushima Prefecture.
But tests of the wood found it clear of radioactive materials, and the decision to cancel the plan drew public criticism for disregarding the feelings of disaster survivors.
The first batch of firewood was instead burned in an event in the tsunami-hit area. The Kyoto organizers then retracted the decision, and Rikuzentakata sent 500 pieces of firewood for the bonfire scheduled for Tuesday.


Saturday, August 13, 2011 02:29 - NHK
Govt to put nuke watchdog under Environment Min.
Japan's government has decided to establish a new nuclear watchdog under the Environment Ministry.
The decision was made at a meeting of Cabinet ministers on Friday as part of efforts to review the country's current nuclear administration following the Fukushima nuclear accident.
The ministers decided that the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency should be separated from the industry ministry, which promotes nuclear energy.
The ministers agreed to merge the agency with the Nuclear Safety Commission, currently under the Cabinet Office, and monitoring functions of the Education and Science Ministry.
The Environment Ministry has been handling disposal of radiation-contaminated debris around the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The new agency is expected to use the ministry's local offices to oversee nuclear reactors across the country and collaborate with local governments.
The government plans to submit related bills to the Diet early next year and launch the new agency in April.

Saturday, August 13, 2011 02:29
Natto makers to seek damages from TEPCO
A group of manufacturers of natto, or fermented soybeans, in Mito city, Ibaraki Prefecture, says it will seek damages from the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, arguing that the nuclear accident has hurt their sales.
Mito City, located about 130 kilometers south of the nuclear plant, is known for its natto. Some local manufacturers package their products in rice straw.
The group of natto makers says tourist numbers and sales of the fermented soybeans have fallen since the nuclear accident. They say that since radioactive substances were detected in rice straw at levels higher than the government standard, some of the group members saw their sales drop to around half the average for the season.
The group plans to seek more than 1.3 million dollars in damages from Tokyo Electric Power Company next month.
The amount is the equivalent to the lost sales for the group's 5 members between April and August.

Saturday, August 13, 2011 02:29
Voluntary evacuees demand TEPCO pay damages
Fukushima Prefecture residents who voluntarily evacuated after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have demanded the plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company pay 15 million dollars in compensation.
People from 411 households, who live outside the mandatory evacuation zone but have chosen to evacuate, visited TEPCO on Friday to present a document detailing the damages.
A government panel last Friday released interim guidelines saying that those who voluntarily evacuated from areas outside the government-designated zones are not eligible for compensation.
A Tokyo Electric official said the company will deal with the matter in line with the government panel's discussions.
A civic group says many residents are being exposed to one microsievert of radiation per hour even in their homes, but they cannot afford to evacuate. It says they are demanding TEPCO pay for their evacuation.
40-year-old Noritsugu Fujimoto of Fukushima sent his wife to western Japan out of concern that exposure to radiation could affect a future pregnancy. He said he wants TEPCO to understand their situation.

Saturday, August 13, 2011 10:17
Tokyo lawyers launch team to mediate with TEPCO
Lawyers in Tokyo are uniting to legally support people and companies affected by the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Lawyers belonging to Tokyo's three bar associations set up a legal team on Friday. They say they will begin with about 50 lawyers and increase the number to several hundred.
The move comes ahead of the start of the government's organization next month to mediate compensation disputes with Tokyo Electric Power Company. Offices for the organization will be set up in Tokyo and Fukushima Prefecture to handle settlements.
The leader of the legal team, Teruhisa Maruyama, says the compensation system is complicated and difficult for ordinary people to understand and that the lawyers hope to help those affected receive appropriate damages.

Saturday, August 13, 2011 13:03
Hosono vows no disruption in nuclear response
Japan's minister in charge of nuclear crisis has pledged he will do his best to keep the ongoing effort to contain the nuclear crisis on track despite the likely resignation of Prime Minister Naoto Kan.
Goshi Hosono visited the nuclear disaster task force at the Fukushima prefectural government on Saturday. Addressing 120 officials, Hosono said the prime minister had remarked that a new government will be formed soon as he is to step down.
Hosono said he is determined not to create a policy vacuum during the transition period.
He told reporters later that a change of government should never lead to delays in containing the nuclear crisis, and restoration and reconstruction.
He said deferring such efforts is out of the question.
Hosono said he will try to bring forward as much as possible the implementation of measures on nuclear waste disposal, radioactive decontamination, and support for communities' rebuilding plans. He said his intention is to smooth the succession process for the new minister.

. . . . . Japan Times . . . . .

Environment Ministry gets nuke role
Prime Minister Naoto Kan and his Cabinet members agree to set up a new agency in charge of nuclear safety under the Environment Ministry amid the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Nagata-cho abuzz as Kan exit nears

Sasebo nuclear waste disposal urged


Sunday, August 14, 2011

. Bon dancing, bon odori 盆踊 .


Sunday, August 14, 2011 06:01 - NHK
Bon Holiday in disaster-hit area
The four-day Bon period began in Japan on Saturday, during which Buddhists honor the spirits of their ancestors and deceased family members.
In cemeteries across Japan, families are offering flowers, sake, and silent prayers for their ancestors.
In the Tohoku region, the scars of the March 11th disaster are still overwhelming.

At a cemetery in Fukushima Prefecture, most of the tombstones were hit by the tsunami, and still haven't been moved back into place.
In Iwate Prefecture, priests at a temple which was washed away by the tsunami resumed holding funeral services in a temporary building.
A priest at the temple rented a lot on higher ground early this month and built the temporary hall.
And now they can hold funeral services for victims of the disaster.

Sunday, August 14, 2011 02:16
Sweltering Bon holidays in Japan
Measures are being taken across Japan during the ongoing Bon holidays to beat the sweltering summer heat.
In the hot spring city of Beppu, Oita Prefecture, western Japan, children climbed onto the floating leaves of a huge water lily on Saturday. The Giant Amazon Water Lily is native to South America, but has also taken root in the hot spring resort, where its leaves grow as wide as 1.5 meters, enough to hold 20 kilograms.
Children were both excited and scared as they took turns trying to stand on the swaying leaves.
The 3-day event ends on Monday.
In the northern Hokkaido prefecture, the Hokkaido Railway Company turned on a water sprinkler for the first time this summer on Saturday.
A diesel locomotive pulled a 4-car train carrying water tanks to spray water onto the rails. The company takes the measure because 12 years ago the rails buckled in the summer heat.
Over the space of 4 hours, water was slowly sprinkled onto the tracks of the Hakodate line between Sapporo and Iwamizawa and elsewhere.

Sunday, August 14, 2011 02:16
Gujo dance festival comes to a climax
A traditional summer dance festival has reached its climax in the city of Gujo in central Japan. Thousands danced all through the hot summer night.
The Gujo Odori festival dates back about 400 years. Gujo Hachiman 郡上八幡
It is held every year from July to September in an old town in the mountains of Gifu Prefecture. The festival is designated as an "Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property" by the national government.
The highlight is 4 consecutive nights of all-night dancing, which began on Saturday.
68,000 locals and tourists, including foreigners, gathered for the festival. People wearing yukata, a cotton kimono, danced to the music of Japanese flutes and drums.
Organizers expect about 200-thousand people will come to the festival.

. . . . .

Japan Politics after Kan
. The Political Situation .  INFO .

Sunday, August 14, 2011 02:16 - NHK
Reactor halts push up thermal plant fuel costs
Japanese power companies are suffering from rising fuel costs for their thermal plants, following shutdowns of nuclear reactors due to the March 11th disaster or regular inspections. Over 70 percent of the country's 54 nuclear reactors are currently out of service.
Costs of oil, natural gas, and other fossil fuels for 10 power companies from April to June rose more than 30 percent from the amount a year earlier to over one trillion yen, or about 13 billion dollars.
Tokyo Electric Power Company has increased operations of its thermal plants to cope with power shortages following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March.
The company's fuel costs for the April to June period were over 5.2 billion dollars, marking a 28 percent year-on-year increase.
Tohoku Electric Power Company, covering northeastern Japan, including disaster-hit areas, saw a fuel cost increase of nearly 60 percent. The company has halted all 3 reactors at its Onagawa nuclear plant in Miyagi Prefecture since the disaster.
Fuel costs also rose over 50 percent for Kyushu Electric, covering southwestern Japan. The utility has decided to postpone the restart of 2 reactors after regular inspections at its Genkai nuclear power plant.
Utility companies will have to face further fuel cost increases, as there are no prospects for restarting their halted reactors and fuel prices are still going up.

Sunday, August 14, 2011 02:16
Radiation effect on children's thyroid glands
A survey shows that a small amount of radioactive iodine has been detected in the thyroid glands of hundreds of children in Fukushima Prefecture.
The result was reported to a meeting of the Japan Pediatric Society in Tokyo on Saturday.
A group of researchers led by Hiroshima University professor Satoshi Tashiro tested 1,149 children in the prefecture for radiation in their thyroid glands in March following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Radioactive iodine was detected in about half of the children.
Tashiro says radiation in thyroid glands exceeding 100 millisieverts poses a threat to humans, but that the highest level in the survey was 35 millisieverts.
Tashiro says based on the result, it is unlikely that thyroid cancer will increase in the future, but that health checks must continue to prepare for any eventuality.

Sunday, August 14, 2011 09:02
Japan considers comprehensive economic package
Faced with the yen's record high levels against other currencies, the Japanese government and governing coalition are considering a comprehensive economic package to be included in a 3rd supplementary budget.
This is in addition to measures to support the rebuilding effort in areas hit by the March 11th disaster. The package is to prevent Japan from losing manufacturing industry.
The plans under consideration include enhancing credit guarantees for small and mid-sized companies.
Expanding subsidies for new factories and research facilities within Japan, and increasing subsidies for development of energy-saving technology, such as batteries and solar panels, are also up for consideration.
Some members of the governing Democratic Party want to revive the tax-incentives and subsidies system for the purchase of eco-friendly home appliances.
Some also call for the Bank of Japan to ease monetary policy further in a reaction to the historic highs of the yen.
The comprehensive economic measures are likely to be compiled under a new administration following Prime Minister Naoto Kan's expected resignation.

Sunday, August 14, 2011 11:20
Radioactive impact on wheat may be small
Researchers in Japan have found that wheat absorbs a relatively small amount of radioactive cesium from its roots, and the impact of the substance on wheat grain may be small.
The scientists at the University of Tokyo have been conducting research since immediately after the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, jointly with Fukushima Prefecture, to study the impact of radioactive substances on farm products.
They found 280,000 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilograms in wheat leaves which had grown before the disaster and were exposed to the radiation from Fukushima. Meanwhile wheat grain which grew afterwards showed about 300 bequerels of cesium, or about one 1,000th of the cesium found in leaves.
The scientists believe wheat absorbs only a small amount of radioactive cesium through its roots. They believe the substance does not migrate from leaves to the grain, the edible part, which makes the impact small.
They also measured the distribution of radioactive cesium in rice paddies in Fukushima prefecture by collecting soil at 5 centimeter increments from the surface.
96 percent of the cesium was found at the 5 centimeter level from the surface.
The scientists will continue the research as they believe the impact of the radioactive cesium can be reduced significantly by removing the top soil.
Professor Sho Shiozawa of the University of Tokyo says he hopes to help revive the agriculture of Fukushima Prefecture by showing the actual impact level of radioactive materials on rice paddies and farming activities.

Sunday, August 14, 2011 14:54
Lawyers provide free consultation to evacuees
A group of lawyers in Tokyo is providing free telephone consultations to people who were forced to evacuate from their home towns after the March 11th disaster.
The group started receiving calls at their office in Shinjuku, Tokyo, on Sunday morning.
A woman who evacuated from Fukushima prefecture to Tokyo together with her 5 family members asked if they are eligible to receive financial support if they move to a bigger place than they are in now.
The legal professional in charge told her about the municipalities that provide private rented accommodation as temporary houses.
Lawyer Kiyoshi Morikawa who heads the group says evacuees are becoming increasingly concerned about their homes and living expenses, as evacuation centers are closing 5 months after the disaster.
He says he would like the evacuees to feel free to consult with the professionals.

Sunday, August 14, 2011 16:59
Lost items displayed in tsunami-hit Ishinomaki
People returning home for the Buddhist Bon holidays are looking for their families' belongings in tsunami-hit Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture.
The city has been displaying items washed away by the March 11th tsunami with the help of volunteers since May.
The photo albums, photos, bags and mortuary tablets have been divided up according to the areas where they were found. People who evacuated to a remote location as well as those who returned home for the Bon holidays visited the venue on Sunday.
They looked closely at the photos that were partially covered by mold or looked for names on the bags, as they tried to find items belonging to their relatives or friends.
A couple in their 60's who returned to the city from Sendai to hold a memorial service said they were very sorry that their family homes and the place where they spent their childhoods have been destroyed.
They said their ancestors' mortuary tablets have also been washed away, but they hope to find something.

. . . . . Japan Times . . . . .

Disasters limit Bon travelers
The annual rush of travelers heading overseas for the Bon holidays peaked at major airports Saturday, but the number of vacationers was down from last year in light of the March 11 disasters.

Locals' radiation exposure said low
Tests on about 900 Minamisoma residents show that internal radiation exposure remains low despite the city’s proximity to the leaking Fukushima nuclear plant.

Draft bill urges cost cuts at utilities to prevent gouging

Electric utilities will be urged to make cost-cutting efforts under a new law promoting renewable energy to lessen the chances of the firms drastically hiking rates for power they buy from outside generators.

Disaster law to boost state's role


Monday, August 15, 2011

. sending-off fire, okuribi 送り火
sending off the souls, tama okuri 霊送り

Sanriku Umi no Bon 三陸海の盆
In Iwate 岩手県大槌町
with senko hanabi 線香花火イベント small fireworks
source : tonomagokoro.ne


Monday, August 15, 2011 05:47 - NHK
Japan marks 66th anniversary of WW2 on Monday
Events are due to be held across Japan on Monday, the 66th anniversary of the end of World War Two, in memory of the roughly 3.1 million people who perished in the war.
In Tokyo, a government-sponsored memorial ceremony will be held for the war dead with about 7,200 people, including bereaved families, expected to attend.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan will deliver a speech at the annual ceremony. Following a minute of silence at noon, Emperor Akihito will make an address.
Afterward, participants will lay flowers at an altar to console the spirits of the war dead.
Bereaved family members are an aging group, with those 70 or older expected to exceed 60 percent of all the attendees.
The number of widows of the war dead due to attend the ceremony is 43 -- down by 2 from a year earlier -- the fewest ever.
Meanwhile, the number of expected participants born after the war will increase by 31 to 451 -- the most on record.
This year's youngest attendee will be a 5-year-old boy from Okinawa Prefecture, southwestern Japan, who lost his great-grandfather in the war. He will take part in the ceremony with his grandfather and father.
A total of 140 people will attend the service from Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefectures, which were hit hardest by the March disaster.
But the number of expected participants from the 3 prefectures is down by 15 compared to last year. Prefectural officials say some people in devastated coastal areas cannot attend the ceremony.

Monday, August 15, 2011 05:47
Cesium levels down in seawater near reactors 2, 3
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says the density of radioactive cesium in seawater near the water intakes of the No.2 and 3 reactors was down on Saturday to about one tenth of the levels detected on the previous day.
Tokyo Electric Power Company monitors the concentration of radioactive substances in seawater near the water intakes of the plant and offshore.
Seawater collected near the water intake of the No.2 reactor on Saturday was found to contain 0.058 becquerels of cesium-134, or 0.97 times the government-set safety limit. It also contained 0.056 becquerels of cesium-137, or 0.62 times the limit. Both figures were around one tenth of the level found on the previous day.
In April, the level of cesium-137 in seawater near the water intake of the No.2 reactor was found to be 1.1 million times the safety limit. Since then, the density of the radioactive element has been declining, and recently it has fallen below the limit sometimes.
Seawater sampled near the water intake of the No.3 reactor on Saturday was found to contain 0.087 becquerels of cesium-134, or 1.5 times the safety limit. It also contained 0.09 becquerels of cesium-137, or about the same as the limit. Both figures were less than one tenth of the level found on the previous day.
Seawater taken from 6 spots offshore was found to contain no radioactive materials.

Monday, August 15, 2011 10:16
Debris disposal bill to be submitted to Diet
Japan's main ruling and opposition parties have compiled a bill stating that the government will be responsible for cleaning up the fallout from the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The Democratic and opposition Liberal Democratic and New Komeito parties will submit the bill to the Diet this week, and aim to have it passed by the end of the current session on August 31st.
The bill calls on the government to collect and dispose of debris contaminated with high levels of radiation in the no-entry zone and areas near the troubled nuclear plant.
It also says the government will deal with debris whose radioactivity levels exceed pre-determined standards, regardless of where it is found.
The parties also propose that the government should oversee the decontamination of soil in areas where contamination is serious.
The draft includes provisions that would allow the national and local governments to demand payment for the clean-up from Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of the disabled nuclear plant.

. . . . . Japan Times . . . . .

Irradiated soil should be stored temporarily in Fukushima: Gemba
National policy minister Koichiro Gemba proposes interim measure for dealing with contaminated soil and sludge from vicinity of the Fukushima nuclear power plant.



. . Bulletins from NHK WORLD

. . Japan Times



[ . BACK to TOP of this BLOG. ]

No comments:

Post a Comment