Day 323 Western Japan next?

Giant fault to magnify tsunami found in west Japan

Scientists have found a 200-kilometer-long cliff on the seabed off Kii Peninsula, western Japan. They warn it could magnify the scale of tsunami in the event of a major earthquake.

A team of researchers from University of Tokyo and Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology found the giant fault using a deep-sea research vessel.

They say the underwater cliff crosses neighboring focal zones for major earthquakes that periodically hit western Japan.

The 200-kilometer-long drop-off is up to 1,000 meters tall.

The scientists also determined that the fault drives upward from the boundary of the Philippine Sea Plate and another plate that lies underneath western Japan.

Movement of the fault lines along the plate boundary is believed to magnify major tsunami.

Associate Professor of the university’s Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute Park Jin-Oh said the newly found fault line is evidence that quakes in the area hit simultaneously in the past.

He stressed that the fault should be taken into account when planning the limitation of damage from earthquake and tsunami.

Sunday, January 29, 2012 14:51 +0900 (JST)

FYI, here’s a map of the western part of Japan with it’s nuclear power plants:




Gov to purchase new cesium detection equipment

Japan’s health ministry will subsidize half the cost of installing highly sensitive radioactive cesium detectors in an effort to strengthen food safety standards nationwide.

Subsidies will be distributed to local governments around the country and tougher safety standards will take effect in April.

Under the new safety standards, general food products will be allowed to contain 100 becquerels of cesium per kilogram, an 80% reduction from the current permissible level.

Baby food and milk will be allowed to contain 50 becquerels and drinking water just 10 becquerels.

The guidelines state if a conventional test detects half the radiation safety level in any food item, then that item should be subject to a stricter screening method.

The health ministry decided that more sensitive equipment is needed, which can detect levels as low as 25 becquerels of cesium.

Some of the devices currently installed in local government offices are unable to measure low levels of cesium or are too slow at taking measurements.

Sunday, January 29, 2012 09:01 +0900 (JST)




State won’t fund free medical care in Fukushima


FUKUSHIMA — The government will not pay for free medical care to be provided for people aged 18 and younger in Fukushima Prefecture, reconstruction minister Tatsuo Hirano said Saturday.

Free medical care in the nuclear crisis-hit prefecture would raise issues about the role of the national medical care system, and providing fresh funding would thus be “difficult,” Hirano said in a meeting with Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato.

The meeting came after Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told Sato in November he would consider making medical care free for the prefecture’s youth, one of the requests the governor made in the aftermath of the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

Sato said the decision is “extremely regrettable” and that he will consider using the prefecture’s money, including compensation from Tokyo Electric Power Co., to fund free medical care.

There has been some opposition within the Noda administration to providing exceptional funding for medical needs unrelated to the nuclear crisis.




Fukushima Governor May Do “Free Healthcare For Fukushima Children” Using the Fund Set Aside for Decon and Health Surveys

After rejection by the national government of the scheme that Fukushima Prefecture has been pushing – free medical care for children under 18 who live in Fukushima Prefecture, the governor of Fukushima says he may do that on his own, using the fund given to Fukushima for decontamination and health survey of the residents.

Article continues at:




Radiation study of wildlife planned in Fukushima

Japan will launch a comprehensive study to monitor the impact of radiation exposure on wild animals and plants around the damaged nuclear plant in Fukushima.

Fukushima Prefecture requested the study, which will be conducted by the Environment Ministry with the cooperation of the National Institute of Radiological Sciences.

Levels of radioactive cesium in wildlife will be tested at 25 locations, both at land and sea. The proposed testing sites include places with high levels of radiation and areas with less radiation for comparison purposes.

The species to be studied include Japanese red pine and bristlegrass, as well as rats, frogs, and mussels.

They were picked from species designated by the International Commission on Radiological Protection, an organization which deals with effects linked to exposure to radiation.

Collection of some species has already begun. Researchers will check plant and animal appearance, chromosomes, and reproductive function for the influence of any radioactivity from the damaged plant.
The rate of germination of seeds will also be studied.

The ministry suggests that the study would have to take into account the effects of weather and other factors on the growth of wildlife. But it says it hopes to provide new insights by accumulating a sizable amount of data.

The ministry plans to compile an interim report by March 2013.

Sunday, January 29, 2012 11:53 +0900 (JST)




Tokyo Metropolitan Government Stores Radioactive Fly Ashes in Plastic Bags Under Blue Tarp and Sand Bags in a Landfill in Tokyo Bay

Fly ashes from the municipal garbage incineration plant in Edogawa-ku, eastern-most Special Ward of Tokyo, contained radioactive cesium exceeding the standard set by the national government for “safe” and normal burial in a regular landfill (8,000 becquerels/kg). So the Tokyo Metropolitan government said it would put them in a secure, temporary storage until the national government firmly decides what to do with such ashes.

The photographs below show how the Tokyo Metropolitan government securely stores those ashes on the metropolitan landfill in Tokyo Bay.

Photo 1 shows the flexible container bags full of radioactive fly ashes on a platform of bentonite clay. I don’t see any rubber liner below or above the clay.

Then, the dirt is piled on top of the bags, which is then covered with plastic tarps. They put sand bags on top to hold down the tarps, as you see in Photo 2.

Clearly the governor of Tokyo is not thinking about typhoons with heavy rain and wind, or tsunami, or liquefaction from an earthquake. This is a landfill in Tokyo Bay. Sand bags may empty, and blue tarps degrade, but there’s no worrying the 82-year-old governor.

Article continues at:




Leftovers: Local gov’ts testing school lunches AFTER children have already eaten -Yomiuri

Title: Radiation testing on school lunches differs
Source: The Yomiuri Shimbun
Date: Jan 28, 2012

[…] According to data compiled by the Fukushima prefectural board of education, 33 of the 59 municipalities in the prefecture test school lunches for radiation.

Using two radiation measuring instruments, the Koriyama municipal government checks school lunches only once a week, although ingredients left over from lunches on the other four school days also are tested. This means that some tests are carried out after the schoolchildren have eaten their lunch. […]

Parents are puzzled why some local governments conduct tests after the children have already eaten lunch, while others do so before lunch.

“It’s strange why municipalities use different testing methods,” a 37-year-old woman living in Koriyama said. “They should test the ingredients before children have lunch.”

The woman, who has a 7-year-old daughter, said that in the wake of the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant she stopped her daughter from drinking milk with her school lunch. […]

Read the report here




No minutes at 10 meetings


Deputy Prime Minister Katsuya Okada has acknowledged that the government failed to take minutes at 10 meetings last year on the response to the March 11 disasters and nuclear crisis, and called for officials to compile reports on the meetings retroactively.

The missing minutes have turned into a heated political issue, with opposition lawmakers saying they are necessary to provide a transparent record of the government’s decision-making process.

Okada confirmed Friday that the minutes were not fully recorded at the time and called for them to be written up retroactively by the end of February.

Three of the meetings held during the chaotic period had no record at all, not even an agenda, even though one was a government meeting on the nuclear crisis headed by the prime minister.


The public records law requires that minutes or summaries of key government meetings be compiled.

Read the entire article at:




Japan ‘is recovering’ from March disaster, Noda tells Davos forum

DAVOS, Switzerland (Kyodo) — Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos on Saturday that Japan “is recovering” from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

In a televised address, Noda also expressed gratitude for the support that Japan received from more than 160 countries and 40 international organizations.

Noda, who also sent a video message to the forum earlier this week, refrained from attending the global gathering in Switzerland because the Japanese parliament is in session.

Article continues at:





Fukushima Conference in Oregon, USA

Posted by nika on January 28th, 2012

(Thanks to a sharp-eyed reader of our blog I have learned about this conference which may be of interest to you all. It is a one day event in Oregon, USA, and will be streamed live on the web)

The Lessons of Fukushima: A Symposium for Education, Collaboration, Inspiration

February 24-25, 2012

Willamette University
College of Law
John C. Paulus Lecture Hall
245 Winter Street SE
Salem, Oregon 97302

Abstracts/Papers/Written Submissions
Attendees Information
Live Streaming/Digital Recordings

General Information
The disastrous earthquake and tsunami that hit northern Japan on March 11, 2011, drew the immediate attention and sympathy of the international community. Successive meltdowns and malfunctions at the Fukushima nuclear power plants heightened global concern and the disaster continues to unfold one year later with no end in sight. The Fukushima disasters present challenges not only to the Japanese people and nation-state, but to the world at large.

The symposium
This symposium, “The Lessons of Fukushima,” will reflect on this continuing tragedy and the world’s response. What can we learn from Fukushima? What is our collective responsibility as educators, activists, and citizens in the face of this natural and human tragedy? In presenting this symposium, we seek to identify and learn from the global lessons of Fukushima.

Scholars, community advocates, students, citizens, and government representatives are coming together on February 24-25 from Japan, Canada, and the U.S. to share knowledge and perspectives on the broad theme of “The Lessons of Fukushima.” We intend the symposium to function as a vehicle for education and collaboration.

Speakers’ Bios
Linda Isako Angst

Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Lewis & Clark College of Arts & Sciences.

Warren Binford

Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Clinical Law Program at the Willamette University College of Law where she teaches International Children’s Rights and the Child and Family Advocacy Clinic. She frequently publishes in both academic and mainstream publications on issues impacting children. Professor Binford previously lived in Tokyo.

Pablo Figueroa

Studied Social Anthropology at University of Buenos Aires (BA), and East Asian Studies at University of Salamanca (MA). Past and present research interests include ethnic minorities in contemporary Japan, the commodification of mountains in South America and Southeast Asia, and risk perceptions related to global nuclear energy policies. He currently serves as a coordinator for the Contemporary Japanese Studies Program at Waseda University, Tokyo.

Majia Holmer Nadesan

Professor of Communication studies at Arizona State University. She has published 3 books exploring the politics of life in the contexts of autism, childhood, and neoliberal government.

Yoko Ikeda

Has a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the Graduate Center of CUNY.

Anna Tilman

Vice-President of the International Institute of Concern for Public Health (IICPH), a non-for-profit organization based in Toronto, Ontario. She has a B.A. in Mathematics and Physics and M.A. in Medical Biophysics, from the University of Toronto. A former professor of mathematics at Seneca College in Toronto, Ontario and Senior Fellow at York University, Faculty of Environmental Studies, she is an environmental activist and researcher working on air pollutants, toxics chemicals in particular, mercury, and nuclear issues. She has been working on raising public awareness about the health and environmental effects of all aspects of the nuclear chain and has recently written a series of articles “On the Yellowcake Trail” for the magazine Watershed Sentinel. Amongst other nuclear-related activities, she is participating in efforts to oppose Ontario Power Generation’s proposal to build four new nuclear reactors at Darlington, refurbish other reactors and the development of a Deep Geological Repository for nuclear waste.

Brett L. Walker

Regents Professor at Montana State University, Bozeman, and Research Specialist and Visiting Professor at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. He specializes in Japanese environmental history, the history of human health, and the history of East Asian science. His books include The Conquest of Ainu Lands: Culture and Ecology in Japanese Expansion, 1590-1800 (2001), The Lost Wolves of Japan (2005), and Toxic Archipelago: A History of Industrial Disease in Japan (2010). He has also co-edited books on Japanese environmental history, including Japan at Nature’s Edge: The Environment of a Global Power, forthcoming from the University of Hawai’i Press.

Prof. Katsuya Endo

Tokyo International University,Professor of Education
Vice President(2001~2009),Special Advisor to the President(2010~)
Keio University(M.Ed),Seattle University(M.Ed)
International Christian University(ICU:completed doctoral course)
Prof. Endo was born in Fukushima city and enjoyed Fukushima until 18 years(high school).

Center for Asian Studies, Willamette University
Center for Sustainable Communities, Willamette University



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