As the world shops it’s way into Christmas, and the snow falls in Fukushima, the abandoned pets in Fukushima are still waiting for humans to come back and save them.
The video is called Christmas Story – Journey of the Angels, with hauntingly beautiful music by Enya.
As you watch this beautiful video, please think of the abandoned pets still alive in Fukushima.
Have a tissue near by, you will need it.
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AEC chairman warned people within 170 km of Fukushima plant might need to relocate
The head of the government’s nuclear energy panel warned in March that all residents in areas within a 170-kilometer radius of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant might need to be relocated in a worst-case scenario, sources close to the government have disclosed.
Japan Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Chairman Shunsuke Kondo made the warning in a report numbering about 20 pages, which he compiled on March 25 — two weeks after the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant was hit by a massive tsunami generated by the Great East Japan Earthquake — and submitted it to then Prime Minister Naoto Kan.
At the time, the plant had lost its reactor core cooling functions due to the loss of all external power, hydrogen explosions had ripped through the plant’s No. 1, 3 and 4 reactor buildings, and radioactive substances were leaking from the No. 2 reactor due to a meltdown. Workers at the plant had no choice but to manually inject water into the reactors to cool down their cores.
Kondo assumed that in a worst-case scenario, another hydrogen explosion could occur in the No. 1, 2 or 3 reactor buildings, raising radiation levels. Continuing aftershocks would prevent workers from cooling down the reactors for an extended period and that all fuel in a pool for spent nuclear fuel in the No. 4 reactor building pool would melt. At the time, the pool held 1,535 fuel rods that could fill two nuclear reactors.
If that happened, Kondo estimated the level of radioactive cesium per square meter of soil in areas within a 170-kilometer radius of the plant would surpass 1.48 million becquerels — as high as that around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant shortly after the crisis there broke out. Moreover, he estimated areas within 250 kilometers from the plant, including Tokyo and Yokohama, would be contaminated with radioactive substances to a degree that residents would have to be evacuated at least temporarily.
Kondo admitted having compiled the report.
“I assumed the worst-possible case. I’ve heard that it prompted utilities to strengthen cooling functions at their nuclear plants,” he said.
In an interview with the Mainichi in September, Kan said, “All residents would have to be evacuated in areas 100, 200 or even 300 kilometers from the plant if the leak of radioactive substances can’t be stopped.” He apparently made the remark with Kondo’s worst-case scenario in mind.
Compensation for Fukushima Residents: Gift Certificates?
As Prime Minister Noda plans to ask China if he can borrow pandas for the disaster recovery in Miyagi, Minister of Economy Yukio Edano wants to give gift certificates to all people in Fukushima as compensation for the nuclear accident.
Gift certificates are to be used only within Fukushima Prefecture, in order to promote economic recovery of Fukushima.
Fukushima Minpo reported the news only in its print version (12/23/2011). Here’s partial translation from the image of the article (the article image is posted on my Japanese blog):
Idea to distribute gift certificates to all Fukushima residents, as compensation for the residents who are not covered by the national government compensation scheme. 42 billion yen from the fund to be used?
Under the new guideline set by the council for the nuclear damage disputes under the Ministry of Education and Science, there are municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture being excluded from the government compensation scheme. Yukio Edano, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, disclosed the plan on December 22 to introduce a new support scheme in early January using the fund for emergency countermeasures for nuclear damages. Edano held a talk with Yuhei Sato, Governor of Fukushima, and his comment was in response to Sato’s request. According to the government source, the national government is coordinating the ministries and agencies involved in order to put money in the emergency countermeasures fund that the Fukushima prefectural government hopes to set up, and [using the money in the fund] to distribute gift certificates to all Fukushima residents. However, there are still issues of how to reconcile this scheme with the compensation guideline, and the situation remains still fluid. The Fukushima prefectural government says “The scheme is one of the things being considered”, and plans to press for compensation money [for all Fukushima residents].
According to the government source, the national government expects to pour 86 billion yen [US$1.1 billion] to the emergency countermeasures fund, and plans to use 42 billion yen [US$537 million] from the fund to issue gift certificates. The gift certificates can be used inside Fukushima Prefecture only, so that the local economy is revitalized by “local products, local consumption”. The idea came up after the Ministry of Finance expressed reluctance to pay cash compensation to the residents who wouldn’t be covered under the new guideline for compensation for voluntary evacuation. Instead of cash compensation, all Fukushima residents would get the gift certificates.
Let’s see, Fukushima’s population is (or was) slightly over 2 million. Under the scheme, each resident would get about 21,000 yen, or about US$270.
Meanwhile, the Japan’s staunch ally United States’sTSA confiscates a cupcake from a passenger because the frost on the cupcake was too “gel-like”, posing a security risk.
Radiation in Japan: Koriyama Resident Measures Radiation Levels in His City – 42.85 Microsieverts/Hr on the Drain Lid
Armed with his geiger counter, the Ministry of Education’s radiation map and the Professor Hayakawa’s radiation contour map, he went measuring radiation levels in Koriyama City on December 23, and they were high.
Air radiation level at chest height: maximum 1.51 microsievert/hour
On the sand on the side drain cover: 42.85 microsieverts/hour
If the surface radiation is that high, it would be several hundreds of thousands of becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium in that sand. No one does a thing, and life goes on, because all the national and municipal governments care about is air radiation at 1 meter off the ground.
But even if you stay outside in 1.51 microsievert/hr radiation all day all night for one year, it would only be 13 millisieverts of external radiation. Nothing to worry about, according to the new Japanese government guideline crafted by the panel of expert scientists picked by the government (in order to obtain precisely the guideline).
Never mind that until March 11, Koriyama City’s air radiation was probably below 0.06 microsievert/hour like anywhere else in northern Japan, and that’s how it has been for the residents for generations.
From ENENEWS at:
By ENENEWS ADMIN
Top Japan Official Hosono admits situation is NOT under control offsite of Fukushima plant
Gov’t starring in own show to bring Fukushima nuclear crisis ‘under control’, Mainichi Daily News, Dec. 23, 2011 [Emphasis Added]:
[…] The government view disclosed by nuclear disaster minister Goshi Hosono that “the situation is under control onsite, but not offsite,” is based only on circumstantial evidence; no one has actually seen inside the reactors.
We can only deduce that the “conclusion” of the crisis, rather than being based on scientific evidence, comes from placing priority on a political decision to create the impression that the crisis has been brought under control quickly. As the stance of a government that is supposed to protect the lives and property of people, such an approach is questionable. […]
Via ENENEWS at:
By ENENEWS ADMIN
Mayor: Tsunami debris could be an issue that is much bigger than district could handle alone — I found more in 10 minutes than in 4 years… it’s all Japanese origin
Japan tsunami debris hitting B.C. shores in ecological red flag for West Coast beaches, National Post, Dec. 21, 2011:
Japanese lumber and household goods have begun appearing on the British Columbia coast in what many locals think is the vanguard of a wave of debris from last March’s Japanese tsunami that will eventually clog West Coast beaches with cars, boats and even waterlogged houses. […]
It is widely suspected that the buoyant remains of numerous tsunami victims are among the flotsam headed for North American shores. […]
Perry Schmunk, Mayor of Tofino, Vancouver Island
- “I found more debris in 10 minutes than I have in four years … and it’s all Japanese in origin”
- Ultimately, tsunami debris could be an issue “that is much bigger than the district of Tofino alone could handle”
Geoff Johnson, manager of Tofino’s Long Beach Radio
- In a Dec. 13 blog post, Mr. Johnson warned that these small discoveries are only the tip of a debris field that includes capsized fishing boats, rusted cars and other industrial debris — items that could spell ecological disaster for West Coast beaches.
- “If a rusted-out tanker truck lands on the beach in front of one of the [First Nations] reservations, that’s going to be an issue,” he said in an interview on Wednesday.
Japanese mothers rise up against nuclear power
A movement of women are driving protests at the lack of government transparency over the Fukushima disaster
Japan‘s nuclear power industry, which once ignored opposition, now finds its existence threatened by women angered by official opaqueness on radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant after it was struck by an earthquake-driven tsunami in March.
“Mothers are at the forefront of various grassroots movements that are working together to stop the operation of all nuclear plants in Japan from 2012,” Aileen Miyoko Smith, head of Green Action, a non- governmental organisation (NGO) that promotes renewable energy told IPS.
More than 100 anti-nuclear demonstrators, most of them women, met with officials of the Nuclear Safety Commission this week and handed over a statement calling for a transparent investigation into the accident and a permanent shutdown of all nuclear power plants.
Currently six of Japan’s 56 nuclear plants are closed, some for stress tests after the Fukushima accident exposed serious breaches of safety precautions in the nuclear power industry.
More than 150,000 people remain unable to return home because of high levels of radiation in the Fukushima vicinity. There is now evidence that contamination has spread to rice and vegetables grown in nearby farming areas, and found its way into baby food products on supermarket shelves.
Article continues at:
Safe Food Scarcity
Posted: December 20, 2011
Safe food is getting scarcer in Japan, even out of the no man’s land, in what I call the monitored land. Surviving in Japan supposes boycotting any food from areas northeastern of Nagoya included and of course any sea product from the North Pacific Ocean. This strict rule makes shopping complicated but nowhere as eating out. The end of the year brings a new threat in traditional food gifts that Japanese offer, i.e. “oseibo” (in Japanese 「お歳暮」. It is hard to be always on one’s guard and make rational choices as to what to eat and it is socially a burden when one constantly has to ask for the source of ingredients of any food in shops and restaurants. Furthermore, when the temptation is from one’s relatives and friends, it is almost impossible for anyone to resist and discard the gift, like Snow White could not decline the shiny red apple for the gentle old, poor woman who actually was intent on killing her.
In any defense system, failure always arise from exceptions: one virus infected-email, one Greek soldiers-concealing wooden horse let in the city of Troy, one gate opened in the fort rampart, one unprotected sex intercourse, one radioactive Nagano apple. No man’s land parents who deemed to be reasonably careful about the food and drink their children consumed found that they had cesium in their urine (as a reminder, the no man’s land on SurvivalJapan includes Kanto, i.e. Tokyo area). Japanese and expats alike are getting aware of the food contamination and take steps to favor safer products yet they do it on a casual basis. When the Meiji radioactive baby milk scandaloccurred earlier this month, many were surprised and still believe it is an isolated case. Most still purchase Meiji products, which include chocolate, ice cream, etc. as they still trust Meiji scandal-ridden competitors such as Snow Brand.
When some parents discovered that their efforts were not enough to save their children from ingesting cesium as proved by their urine tests, the usual and wrong reaction has been to declare that it was no use monitoring food after all. In fact, the issue is to be consistent, exhaustive and to allow zero exception. Children are especially at risk from adults who force them to ingest contaminated food, for instance radioactive milk in most schools and even to gargle with radioactive green tea in a specific school in Saitama prefecture (residential suburb north of Tokyo). Effects of radioactivity are stronger on children. Besides, how can they resist accepting contaminated food offered to them in Christmas parties, at birthdays, etc. when adults cannot refuse oseibo? Staying in Japan with children does not seem sustainable in the medium term, even inside the monitored land, as fatal exceptions in our food defense system are bound to occur.
Even for adults living in the monitored land, safe food is scarce and eating out is an issue whereas it used to be a large part of the fun and joy of living in Japan (Japanese are obsessed with food as can be seen on the omnipresence of television food programs). In Osaka city, I searched for a restaurant and inquired about the origin of ingredients in two different places before giving up and settling for some foreign cheese bought in a shop.
The first restaurant I picked made an eel and rice dish called “unadon” in Japanese (「鰻丼」), thinking that it may be relatively safe as eels are fresh water fish. They were imported from China so it was a lesser evil and it seems that I had been eating this Chinese-import for the last twenty years without really asking questions anyway. One of the positive outcomes of the March eleven Fukushima disaster is that I became aware about the food chain in general to the highest level and this will not pass when I leave Japan – but still Chinese eel seemed acceptable that day. I was therefore willing to compromise but the rice origin could not be certified except “Japan” as it “changed everyday”. This is the kind of code sentence for Japanese to let you know what you want to know short of saying it – and for the sake of everyone’s pride and business, the point should not be labored. I politely thanked the cook and told him that I would pass this day. The rationale for using Chinese eels is of course cost-cutting, which probably extends to rice supply – I will check in supermarkets where the cheapest Japanese rice comes from.
Next restaurant offered a prawn “tempura” and rice dish, in Japanese “ebi tendon” (「海老天丼」) as prawns are usually imported from Thailand farms. The cook confirmed that the origin was “from abroad”, not the most satisfying traceability statement but still one that I could live with knowing that it was probably from Thailand, but the issue again was rice, which was from Niigata.
Niigata prefecture is a mountainous area just 100 km / 60 miles west of Fukushima. It used to be beautiful and a fine skiing region during the winter, with hot springs, etc. but its inner beauty has been ravaged by the nuclear disaster. Niigata is now in the epicenter of the no man’s land and rice from the region must not be eaten.
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