|Sharing their pain: Participants in the “Occupy Tokyo” rally demonstrate solidarity with their counterparts in New York City during a gathering at Mikawadai Park in the Roppongi entertainment district Saturday. SATOKO KAWASAKI PHOTO|
As in New York, protesters use chance to attack wide list of issues from nuclear energy to trade
Hundreds turn out to ‘Occupy Tokyo’
The Occupy Wall Street protests spreading across the United States landed in Tokyo on Saturday, as hundreds of people gathered to protest against corporate greed and social inequality.
In addition to decrying the widening wealth gap between the nation’s haves and have-nots, demonstrators spoke out on a variety of unrelated topics ranging from nuclear power to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, a free-trade pact promoted by the U.S.
Marching behind a large “Occupy Tokyo” banner, about 300 protesters proceeded to the headquarters of Tokyo Electric Power Co., owner of the radiation-leaking Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. “Dissolve Tepco,” “Stop nuclear power plants,” they chanted.
The various signs, written in both Japanese and English, highlighted some of the issues apparently agitating the public.
“Let’s firmly oppose the TPP that only makes 1 percent (of the population) happy,” “No to Radioactivity,” “The 1 percent who are stained with their greed for profits should disappear for the sake of the world’s happiness,” the Japanese signs read.
One of the organizers, Mie Yasuda, said many people in Tokyo are indignant about the way Tepco and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry are handling the nuclear disaster.
Nevertheless, she left the demands to the demonstrators.
“It is fine (to protest about) any absurdity in the world that angers you,” she said Friday.
Kazuko Hirano, an 80-year-old pensioner from Setagaya Ward, said she decided to participate because she strongly believes Japan should eliminate nuclear plants.
“(I joined to get) as many people as possible angry about nuclear power plants and to make demands to the state” to halt them, she said.
Masashi Hayasaki, an employee from Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, decided to show up because he is concerned about the TPP talks.
Joining the free-trade negotiations will see the country “swallowed by global capitalism” and “destroy Japanese tradition and culture,” he said.
“I just want to tell pedestrians not to be indifferent” to the TPP and nuclear power plants, he said.
Passers-by had mixed feelings about the protests.
“Although it would be good if (nuclear power plants) did not exist, it is impossible to make them disappear immediately,” said a 23-year-old employee from Kawasaki who was shopping in the area.
The man, who would only give his last name, Azuma, said one of the key issues that needs to be resolved is the cost of fully making the conversion from nuclear power to wind, thermal and other renewable forms of energy.
Another man from Saitama, who came to see what the protest was like, said, “We should consider” whether to hold onto nuclear power plants.
“Japan is peaceful since people can speak with various opinions,” said the man, 52, who declined to be named.
A separate Occupy Tokyo event was also held in the Roppongi district.
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Folk singer rekindles memories about city that was devastated by tsunami
A Japanese folk singer is helping revive memories about the tsunami-devastated city of Rikuzentakata with a song that he wrote several years before it was hit by the March 11 quake and tsunami.
The 50-year-old singer, who goes by the name Yanagi, wrote the song, “Kono machi wa amari iku toko ga nai” (There aren’t many places to visit in this town) in 2004, based on his talks with Yuko Kanno, who was fighting to help revive the area around Rikuzentakata Station, which was losing customers. Tragically Kanno died this year in the tsunami that destroyed the city.
Yanagi, who felt limited in his musical activities in Tokyo, moved to the city of Ofunato in Iwate Prefecture, 16 years ago, and started working for a company there. On his way home one time he stopped by at a jazz cafe in Rikuzentakata and met Kanno, who was a regular there.
Kanno had graduated from a university in Tokyo before taking over his family’s photographic studio in front of Rikuzentakata Station. Yanagi was impressed with his sense of music, and in time he wrote a song about Rikuzentakata that he took to Kanno to hear.
“If Yuko (Kanno) liked it, then I could sing it with confidence,” Yanagi recalls.
Part of the lyrics to his song go:
“After five minutes walking down that shopping street that starts at the station, it comes to an end / The people I pass are all acquaintances / There aren’t many places to visit in this town.”
Yanagi put out a CD and toured the country singing the song. The photos on the CD jacket were taken by Kanno.
The first part of the song about Rikuzentakata talks about Kanno’s memories when he was about 17, sparked by the closure in 2004 of the city’s old movie theater, the Takata Koyukan:
(Mainichi Japan) October 16, 2011
Blueprint for mass relocations dashes parent’s hopes to keep hometown for children
SENDAI — A reconstruction blueprint, unveiled by the city government of Sendai in September, in principal bans the building of new houses and the renovation of existing houses in the Arahama district of the city’s Wakabayashi Ward, where more than 170 people were killed by the March 11 tsunami.
The blueprint is making residents in temporary housing concerned about their future because if implemented, it will force residents to abandon their hometown and shoulder heavy financial burdens.
Kazuhiro Sato, 43, with his three children, has lived in a temporary house in a park in Wakabayashi Ward after losing his 42-year-old wife Kumi to the huge tsunami.
One recent evening, his 12-year-old daughter Kairi and 11-year-old son Kosuke returned home after buying groceries and Sato prepared food for his family. He prepared a dinner of sausages and fried eggs but soon found out that he had forgotten to cook rice.
Sato and his three children, including his 14-year-old son Hiroki, were at work or at school when the tsunami, triggered by the magnitude 9.0 megaquake, struck the ward. They were rescued by helicopter and other means.
But his wife, who was working part-time in the capital city of Miyagi Prefecture at the time, was later found dead near their house. Later, Sato and his three children moved back and forth between relatives’ homes and evacuation centers before moving into the temporary housing unit in June.
Many of about 980 households in the Arahama district were swept away by the tsunami, and Sato’s house, just 100 meters from the sea, was destroyed.
“Arahama is my hometown but it is also the place where my house and wife were swept away,” Sato says as he mentions his determination not to endanger the lives of his children again.
Under the city’s mass evacuation program, victims of the March disaster are required to sell their land and buy new plots of land to build new houses. They have to pay any shortfall themselves.
Sato, a plumber, lost his tools in the tsunami but is slowing resuming work. “I hope that I’ll be able to at least leave some land for my children,” he says with a sigh.
(Mainichi Japan) October 16, 2011
Seismologists discuss 3/11
Japanese earthquake experts, at their first symposium since the March 11th disaster, have discussed improving ways to provide society with information on major earthquakes.
The Seismological Society of Japan hosted the 4-day meeting at Shizuoka University in central Japan. The gathering ended on Saturday.
At the beginning of the final session, 500 participants offered a silent prayer for the victims of the March disaster.
Many of the scholars expressed regret that they were unable to predict the March 11th earthquake.
Tohoku University Professor Toru Matsuzawa said the experts thought that an earthquake off the Tohoku region would have had a magnitude of no more than 8, based on data accumulated during the last 100 years. He said an unconventional approach would have been necessary to predict an earthquake of such magnitude.
Professor emeritus Katsuhiko Ishibashi of Kobe University has been warning about the potential risks earthquakes pose to nuclear power plants.
He said seismologists are responsible for informing the public about the risks of natural disasters that are likely to hit their local areas. He said people have no way of knowing the truth if the scholars remain silent, adding that they must disclose everything they know.
The group will complete a report on their earthquake studies by next spring.
Saturday, October 15, 2011 22:21 +0900 (JST)
Mochizuki has a couple of interesting entries today over at Fukushima Diary. One starts out like this:
News “The actual contamination of Fukushima”
I managed to get a raw data to show contamination situation in Fukushima.
The measurement was done by a public institution run by government.
This is a “massive leakage” before their censorship,so unfortunately, I’m not allowed to disclose the source for the security of the whistle blower.
Data sheet overview(Only Cs134,137) ,
Soil from Hayasaka,Namie machi 7/2/2011> 564,215Bq/Kg
Mushroom from Teshichiro Namie machi 9/23/2011> 404,814Bq/kg (5,000Bq per mushroom)
Soil in a rice field from Tsushima Namie machi 8/22/2011> 254,110Bq/kg
Read the rest at:
He took down his blog overnight which had a ton of useful visual information regarding radiation contamination, and restricted access to tweets after he and his family were anonymously “threatened” after the disclosure of strontium discovery in Yokohama City.
He says, “The whole purpose of my studying the radiation and radiation contamination and sharing information has been to protect my family, especially our young daughter. There is no point in doing so if my family’s safety is threatened because of it. Please understand.”
Yes, it’s so “yesterday’s news”, isn’t it, when a citizen is threatened for breaking the news that part of his city has been heavily contaminated by the radioactive fallout from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant? Time to move on. If you don’t see, don’t say, don’t hear anything, it doesn’t exist.
Study: Fukushima storage pool was vulnerable to aftershocks
BY TATSUYUKI KOBORI STAFF WRITER
Steam rises from the fuel rod storage pool inside the No. 4 reactor building at Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in late June. (Tokyo Electric Power Co.)
Aftershocks of the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake could have significantly worsened the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in the weeks after the disaster, according to a government simulation.
The storage pool in the No. 4 reactor, which had its building’s roof blown off after a hydrogen explosion on March 15, was vulnerable to an aftershock and might have started leaking radioactivity within three hours of a hypothetical aftershock, the study found.
Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the plant, initially said the pool was sturdy enough to withstand aftershocks, but Japan Nuclear Energy Safety Organization analysis completed at the end of June but only released on Oct. 14 says radioactive substances could have been discharged 2.3 hours after a temblor knocked out the pool’s cooling system.
The simulation, part of a 300-page report commissioned by Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, was based on the assumption that the pool would lose cooling water if it was cracked by an aftershock. After the uncooled fuel rods reached 900 degrees and damaged their casings, radioactive leaks would have begun, according to the study.
It said the fuel rods would have begun melting as the temperature hit 2,800 degrees, 7.7 hours after the hypothetical loss of cooling functions.
The storage pool is in the upper part of the No. 4 reactor building and contained 1,331 spent fuel assemblies and 204 new fuel assemblies. TEPCO completed work to reinforce it in July.
The simulation is one of 39 analyses in the report, which is now available at the Japan Nuclear Energy Safety Organization website.
What to do with 480,000 used radiation protection suits sitting in a soccer practice field at J-Village, the place where the workers at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant are housed.