Day 274 An anniversary comes. An anniversary goes.

Did anyone around you happen to mention to you that it was the 9 month anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake? No, neither did anyone around me.

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Vanity Fair

The Forgotten Heroes of Fukushima

http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2012/01/james-nachtwey-japan-slideshow#slide=1

New footage of March 11 tsunami striking Ofunato bay
In this video released by the Iwate Prefectural Police force on Dec. 7, the March 11 tsunami is seen striking the coasts of Rikuzentakata and Ofunato in Iwate Prefecture. The footage was taken by a police helicopter around 30 minutes after the Great East Japan Earthquake struck. The tsunami is seen overcoming breakwaters at the entrance to Ofunato bay and forming a whirlpool within. The downtown part of Rikuzentakata is submerged, its coastal pine trees vanished under the water. Afterwards, the tsunami fiercely pulls back to the ocean. (Mainichi)

http://video.mainichi.co.jp/sub/userdir/48227968/48227968peevee438140.flv

27:22 minutes

Memorial flame cheers March 11 survivors

People in Rikuzentakata City, Iwate Prefecture, northeast Japan, are coming to a memorial flame on Sunday to pray for quick rebuilding of the area hit hard by the earthquake and tsunami 9 months ago.

Rikuzentakata’s residents and a volunteer group from Kobe City, western Japan, held a lighting ceremony at a monument on high ground overlooking the Pacific Ocean on Saturday. They lit the gas light at exactly 2:46PM, the time the quake hit the coastal area.

The flame is a gift from Kobe City, western Japan, which was heavily damaged by the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake. Kobe residents erected a similar type of gas lamp 11 years ago in remembrance of those who perished in the severe tremor.

The fire, dubbed “the Light of Hope”, also symbolizes Kobe residents’ determination to rebuild their city.

Now it is encouraging the people of Rikuzentakata.

Residents are coming to the memorial to pray for swift recovery and take photos of the flame.

A woman said she felt she had lost her home in Rikuzentakata forever but now wants to rebuild it after having seen the flame.

A local farmer said his rice paddies were inundated by the tsunami and that he is unsure whether he can continue his family business. But he added that he is encouraged by the thoughtful gift from Kobe.

Sunday, December 11, 2011 16:57 +0900 (JST)

This one hits the nail on the head. Why do they NOT evacuate the people in highly contaminated areas? Here’s your answer (my emphasis):

Fukushima Prefecture’s Latest “Decon” Technology: Leaf Collector 

Sorry to bother you with another “high-tech” decon strategy coming out of Japan that makes you doubt the collective intelligence of the people in that island nation.

Fukushima Prefecture officials are ready to call “engine bloomer” – a leaf collector – as a powerful tool to decontaminate.

[snip]
Now, you may ask why Fukushima Prefecture is doing all these bizarre “decon” experiments. Answer: to retain the residents. Why? Because if the residents move out of Fukushima permanently (i.e. removing the resident registers to other prefectures) the prefecture will lose grants from the national government, which are based on the number of residents in the prefecture. Less residents, less money for the Fukushima government. Less money for the government, less power for the politicians.
Read the entire article at:

Nobel laureate, citizens urge abolition of nuclear reactors

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Nobel literature laureate Kenzaburo Oe and antinuclear activists held a rally in Tokyo on Saturday calling for the abolition of nuclear reactors in the aftermath of radiation leaks at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

Addressing the protesters in Hibiya Park, who numbered around 5,500, according to the organizers, Oe condemned the Diet’s approval Friday of nuclear cooperation agreements with Jordan, Russia, South Korea and Vietnam to allow exports of Japanese-made reactors and technologies to the countries.

“The levels of politicians’ caution regarding nuclear reactors have returned to those before March 11” when the massive earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima plant, Oe said.

Only citizens’ movements based on a resolve to eliminate nuclear reactors are dependable when seeking to achieve that goal, now that politicians are increasingly losing a sense of danger in relying on nuclear power, the novelist said.

Read the entire article at:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20111211p2g00m0dm010000c.html

Disaster survivors face harsh employment situation

Sunday marks 9 months since the earthquake and tsunami hit northeastern Japan on March 11th. Disaster survivors are facing a harsh employment situation.

In affected areas, 66,366 people were receiving unemployment benefits as of October. Benefits for most of them will start to expire in January of next year.

In the hardest-hit prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima, just 4,527 people found a full-time job in October.

Short-term employment is increasing. But few companies have restored operations to pre-disaster levels, failing to produce enough stable jobs to help rebuild the livelihood of affected people.
The National Police Agency says the number of dead and missing from the disaster in the Tohoku region stood at 19,270 as of Friday.

By prefecture, Miyagi has 11,385 victims, followed by Iwate with 6,053, and Fukushima with 1,826.

Sunday, December 11, 2011 10:12 +0900 (JST)

Wild monkeys to carry forest fallout monitors

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20111211a3.html

FUKUSHIMA, Kyodo — Fukushima University researchers plan to measure forest radiation levels in Fukushima Prefecture by placing special monitoring collars on wild monkeys, in light of the nuclear crisis.

Each of the collars contains a small radiation meter and a Global Positioning System transmitter, and can be unclipped by remote control. This will allow a team led by robotics professor Takayuki Takahashi to recover the collars and collect the data within one to two months after the monkeys are released back into the wild, they said.

Radiation in forests is currently monitored mainly from the air, for example by helicopter, but the researchers believe they can get more detailed data through wild monkeys and aim to implement the project in an area of the city of Minamisoma by spring.

The project also is designed to check the radiation exposure of wild animals, they said.

In Minamisoma, 14 groups of monkeys are known to live in a mountainous area in the western part of the city, where radiation is relatively high. This will allow the team to break down the data by territory, they said.

Since male monkeys sometimes leave their troops, the survey will target females, they added.

They are also working on gauging radiation near the ground when a monkey is in a tree, by measuring its elevation via GPS.

TEPCO to Sell Stake in CATV Operator

http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=ind&k=2011121100047  

Tokyo, Dec. 11 (Jiji Press)–Tokyo Electric Power Co. <9501> is in talks to sell its 17 pct stake in cable television operator Japan Cablenet Ltd. to KDDI Corp. <9433>, people familiar with the matter said Sunday.
The move is part of asset sales by the Japanese power supplier, known as TEPCO, to help finance compensation payments to victims of its nuclear disaster.

(2011/12/11-11:34)

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