Day 322 “Hitomebore” brand Fukushima rice: “Fall in love”?

Yamanashi had a bit of shaking today….

07:39 — 5.0

07:43 — 5.5

07:46 — 4.1

07:48 — 2.7

08:04 — 4.1

08:07 — 3.3

10:58 — 2.6

12:45 — 2.7

13.19 — 2.7

Many folks are concerned because the epicenter is not all that far away from Mt. Fuji (an active volcano that has not erupted since 1707).

The quakes were in the area of Mt. Omuro, which is about in the middle of the map below, with Mt. Fuji in the bottom let corner and Tokyo in the top right corner:

This picture of Mt. Fuji today (below) was posted on :

It looks like steam is splashing from 2 locations.

Meteorological bureau held an emergency press conference to deny the connection between the series of earthquake to eruption of Mt.Fuji. This statement is making people more anxious because Japanese government has been deceiving its own people about Fukushima accident.






200 km-long active fault found on seabed off Kii Peninsula

TOKYO (Kyodo) — An active fault around 200 kilometers in length, which is believed to have caused massive earthquakes in the past, has been found on the seabed off the Kii Peninsula on the country’s main island of Honshu, researchers at the University of Tokyo said Friday.

Once the fault, which lies on the Nankai Trough, moves, it could cause a magnitude-8-level earthquake, they said, adding they have found a cliff several hundred meters high on the seabed that was created as a result of the fault’s movement in the past.

 Article continues at:




Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Full of Untrained, Migrant Workers, TEPCO Says Subcontractors Are Supposed to Train Them

Tokyo Shinbun is a regional newspaper covering Kanto region of Japan. It has been reporting on the Fukushima accident and resultant radiation contamination in a more honest and comprehensive manner than any national newspaper. (Their only shortcoming is that their links don’t seem to last for more than a week.)

Their best coverage on the subject, though, is not available digitally but only in the printed version of the newspaper. But no worry, as there is always someone who transcribes the article and post it on the net for anyone to see.

In the 2nd half of the January 27 article, Tokyo Shinbun details what kind of workers are currently working at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant: migrant workers young (in their 20’s) and not so young (in their 60’s), untrained, $100 a day. Some of them cannot even read and write.

Article continues at:




“Hitomebore” in Japanese means “Love at first sight”

Two Ways to Sell Contaminated Fukushima Rice: Sell Direct, and Discount for Wholesalers

No matter what the governments (national, prefectural) or the agricultural co-op (JA) in Fukushima say about the “safe” rice from Fukushima through vigorous testing, there are just too many ways that Fukushima rice that are contaminated with radioactive cesium can slip through and reach the consumers, without the consumers knowing that they are contaminated to a degree that they may not be comfortable eating it.

One way to sell directly to consumers, like in this case in Fukushima: “Mochi” rice (sticky rice used to make “mochi”) containing 1110 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium had been sold at a farm stand in Date City, Fukushima.

From Jiji Tsushin (1/27/2012):


The Fukushima prefectural government announced on January 27 that radioactive cesium exceeding the provisional safety limit (500 becquerels/kg) was detected from “mochi” rice produced by a farmer in Date City in Fukushima Prefecture. The density was 1110 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium. According to the prefectural government, 57.5 kilograms of this rice had already been sold by the first half of November 2011 at a direct sales depot in the city. The direct sales depot is calling for the return of the rice.

Return? Most likely the rice has been already eaten as “mochi”.

I totally fail to sympathize with the farmer who sold the rice at the direct sales depot. By 2011 fall, it should have been obvious, even to people in Date City, that their houses, farmlands were heavily contaminated. The city was measuring the radiation levels in the city and finding “hot spots” everywhere.

Another way is being practiced by the Fukushima JA: Reduce the wholesale price so that the distributors can get a fat margin, thus incentive for the wholesalers to push Fukushima rice. I’m sure they will be glad to oblige, because they mix and match with other rice from other parts of Japan anyway.

Also from Jiji Tsushin (1/27/2012):


The Fukushima Branch of the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Association (JA) has been coordinating with the wholesalers to lower the wholesale price of some brands of rice produced in Fukushima in 2011. A multiple wholesalers disclosed the news [to reporters] on January 27. The new price will be effective as soon as January 30. As the sales has slumped due to the baseless rumors after the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident, the Fukushima JA may be aiming at stimulating the sales by lowering the wholesale price.


The wholesale price of “Koshihikari” from Nakadori (central Fukushima) and from Hamadori (coastal Fukushima) will be lowered by 1500 yen to be 13,800 yen and 13,700 yen per 60-kilogram bag respectively. “Hitomebore” brand produced in Fukushima will be lowered by 500 yen to 13,500 yen per 60-kilogram bag. The price for “Koshihikari” produced in Aizu region (western Fukushima) will not change.

I do not think it is likely that the wholesalers will pass on the savings to the retailers, if the past is any indication.

There are just too many channels through which the rice will leave Fukushima, as the Fukushima JA handles only 23% of rice produced in Fukushima anyway.

By the way, the Fukushima JA has decided on the rice growing policy in Fukushima for 2012 crop. The only areas that they say they will disallow the planting of rice are the areas that produced rice that exceeded 500 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium.Everywhere else, even in those areas that were unlucky to be found with rice that had radioactive cesium between 100 and 500 becquerels/kg, the JA will allow the rice growing after “thorough decontamination” of the soil.


We know what “decontamination” they are talking about, don’t we? The rice farmers in Fukushima who grew rice last year (almost all of them) tilled their contaminated land before planting last year, mixing up the radioactive cesium, strontium and whatever other nuclides that landed with the then-clean soil underneath. Most likely they did the autumn tilling before the snowfall last year already. Most locations weren’t even tested for radioactive materials in soil.

How do you decontaminate such land? It certainly won’t be accomplished by thinly scraping the soil surface. Remove the top 30 centimeters? No that won’t be enough, because rain may have driven radioactive materials further down. Top 1 meter then? The productive part of the soil will be gone.


Antinuclear activists refuse to move tents from gov’t land

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Antinuclear activists rejected a call by the industry ministry to remove their tents from its precincts by 5 p.m. Friday, and continued a four-month-old occupation of ministry grounds to press their demand for the closure of all nuclear power plants in Japan.

The activists said they will not move the tents until the government promises not to allow idled nuclear reactors to resume operating. The ministry said it will not try to evict the activists by force but continue to ask them to remove the tents voluntarily.

Article continues at:






Japan’s plutonium stockpile builds as nuke fuel cycle policy hits dead end

Japan’s stockpile of plutonium had reached 45 metric tons by the end of 2010, inviting suspicion from the international community about what Japan intended to do with the fissile material. As a result, much hope has been pinned on a MOX fuel reactor being built in northern Japan to eventually consume that excess plutonium.

MOX fuel is a mix of plutonium and different uranium oxides produced as waste by conventional reactors, and the Japanese government had hopes that plants that can burn it — like one now under construction by the firm J-Power in Oma, Aomori Prefecture — would become the foundations of a new nuclear fuel cycle. That cycle, which would see the spent fuel from conventional nuclear plants used again in MOX-burning plants, has yet to come close to fruition. Meanwhile, reprocessing of spent fuel into plutonium has continued apace, making the entire program a symbol of policy inconsistency.

Article continues at:


Famed Aomori fishing port lives in shadow of new MOX fuel nuclear plant


J-Power’s “full MOX” nuclear plant is seen under construction in Oma, Aomori Prefecture, on Dec. 27, 2011. (Mainichi)

OMA, Aomori — This town at the top of Aomori Prefecture is known nationwide for its tuna, and indeed the first tuna fish auctioned at Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market in 2012 was hauled in by Oma fishermen. There is, however, something else afoot here that has thus far escaped much attention: the building of a MOX fuel-based nuclear plant.

Construction of the reactor was started in 2008 by the Tokyo-based energy firm J-Power, and is designed to burn only MOX fuel — a mix of plutonium and different oxides of uranium produced as waste from conventional reactors. Called a “full MOX” reactor, it will be the world’s first light-water reactor of its kind to go into commercial service. It is also projected to have the greatest electricity output of any reactor in Japan, at more than 1.38 million kilowatts, and is a major link in Japan’s nuclear fuel cycle policy.

Article continues at:




Edano not banking on nuclear energy this summer


Economy minister Yukio Edano said he does not expect any nuclear power plant to be operating this summer, but thermal power and conservation efforts should be enough for the nation to get by.

See article at:





Professor cites Aomori coast as possible tsunami source

January 26, 2012

By SHIGEKO SEGAWA / Staff Writer

At least three seismic source areas may have been generating magnitude-9 class temblors about once a millennium off eastern Japan between Hokkaido and Ibaraki Prefecture, new research suggests.

One site is off the Shimokita Peninsula in Aomori Prefecture, a location that has drawn little attention so far.

Kazuomi Hirakawa, a research professor of geography at Hokkaido University, published his finding in the February issue of Kagaku (Science) magazine, put out Jan. 26 by Iwanami Shoten Publishers.

Until now, the government’s Central Disaster Management Council had only considered a potential M9-class earthquake striking off southern Japan between Shizuoka Prefecture and Kyushu.

The Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion, another government-affiliated body, also anticipates a shock of a similar scale striking beneath the seabed off eastern Japan near the source of the March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake.

After that disaster, Hirakawa reviewed deposits of sand and other substances carried ashore by tsunami in the distant past.

One lesson of the March 11 disaster was that tsunami can swamp areas farther inland than conventionally thought.

Hirakawa compiled data from areas ranging from Hokkaido to Miyagi Prefecture and evaluated the locations of seismic source areas that can generate giant tsunami.

The source area off eastern Japan between the Rikuchu region and the Shimokita Peninsula, one of the three sites he hypothesized about, was estimated from traces of tsunami that traveled as far as the innermost part of Uchiura Bay in southwest Hokkaido about 3,000 years ago and another in the 12th or 13th century.

The time that has elapsed since the last event in the area could mean another disaster is imminent, Hirakawa said.

Another source area off eastern Japan between the Joban and Rikuchu regions corresponds to the source of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the 869 Jogan earthquake.

The other source area off Hokkaido between Cape Erimo and Nemuro contains the source of an M8-class earthquake expected to hit off southern Hokkaido. It may have been the origin of the Keicho Sanriku tsunami that devastated the Tohoku region in 1611, Hirakawa said.

“Aside from ‘giant’ tsunami that recur once a millennium, there are also ‘great’ tsunami that hit once every several centuries, so more studies are needed,” Hirakawa said.

By SHIGEKO SEGAWA / Staff Writer
The Asahi Shimbun



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