Day 358 One year later, the disaster is still taking a toll

Anti-nuclear activist sees commonalities between Minamata and Fukushima

Aileen Mioko Smith explains that she thought of

Aileen Mioko Smith explains that she thought of “The 10 Strategies Taken by the State, Prefectural Governments, Academic Flunkies and Companies in the Cases of Minamata and Fukushima” during a sit-in in front of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. (Mainichi)

According to Aileen Mioko Smith, who together with her late husband, the photographer Eugene Smith, drew the world’s attention to one of Japan’s most far-reaching pollution-caused diseases, the ongoing Fukushima nuclear crisis and Minamata disease have many things in common.

“Inequality,” said Smith, when asked what it is that both disasters have. It was not the government’s inaction that she brought up first, but rather the unfairness of it all.


“The 10 Strategies Taken by the State, Prefectural Governments, Academic Flunkies and Companies in the Cases of Minamata and Fukushima”

1. Do not take responsibility. Use sectionalism to pin blame on others.

2. Confuse victims and public opinion, creating the impression that there are pros and cons on each side.

3. Position victims in conflict with each other.

4. Do not record data or leave evidence.

5. Stall for time.

6. Conduct tests or surveys that will produce underestimated results on damage.

7. Wear victims down until they give up.

8. Create an official certification system that narrows down victim numbers.

9. Do not release information abroad.

10. Call on academic flunkies to hold international conferences.

A good article. Read the rest at:

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In other words, 86% still have a conscience…

86% of municipalities reluctant to accept debris from March disasters

TOKYO (Kyodo) — A total of 86 percent of municipalities in Japan responding to a survey said they are reluctant to accept debris from Iwate and Miyagi prefectures, which were severely hit by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, partly due to fears it may contain radioactive substances resulting from the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, the poll showed Saturday.

The survey, conducted by Kyodo News in February, covered 1,789 municipalities and prefectural governments. On the issue of disposal of debris, 1,422 of Japan’s 1,742 municipalities, or 82 percent, responded.

In the survey, 33 percent of responding municipalities said it would be difficult for them to accept debris from the prefectures now, while 53 percent said they have no plans to accept such waste.

Article continues at:

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20% of those living in tsunami-damaged homes suffer from insomnia

ISHINOMAKI, Japan (Kyodo) — Twenty percent of households in Ishinomaki and the neighboring town of Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture, that continue to live in homes damaged in the March 2011 tsunami have members complaining of insomnia and other psychiatric problems, a survey showed Saturday.

Roughly 4,000 households, or about 15,000 people, remain in their homes in the two municipalities hit hard by the earthquake-triggered tsunami on March 11. A local support group surveyed 2,850 of the households, and found 20 percent have members complaining of insomnia, anxiety and other psychiatric disturbances.

Most problems were not severe, such as people expressing unhappiness with life. But 5 percent of the households surveyed had members showing suicidal tendencies and other grave psychiatric symptoms.

The survey also found 22 percent of the households had members who do not have friends to whom they can confide their problems, while 29 percent said members have no close friends in their neighborhoods, indicating the isolation felt by people living in their damaged homes.

(Mainichi Japan) March 4, 2012

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Illness, suicides drive up disaster-linked toll

Problems seen in lack of criteria for condolence money for kin


SENDAI — The number of deaths officially recognized as related to the twin disasters but coming after March 11 has reached 1,331 in five prefectures, exceeding the 921 recorded after the Great Hanshin Earthquake in January 1995.

According to a survey by Kyodo News, 621 of the deaths were in Fukushima, 554 in Miyagi, 133 in Iwate, 22 in Ibaraki and one in Saitama.

The data were collected from the five prefectural governments and municipal governments in the prefectures over the last few weeks.

The total includes a large number of elderly people who died of aspiration pneumonia, as well as suicides and deaths resulting from the stress of living in evacuation shelters. The death of a man in Saitama was attributed to a power outage following the earthquake.

Local governments provide condolence money to relatives when disaster-related deaths are officially recognized, but problems with the screening process have been noted.

There is no uniform criteria set by the central government, which merely informed prefectural and local governments of the standards adopted by the city of Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, following the powerful Niigata earthquake in October 2004.

As as a result, the survey found a divergence in the recognition of disaster-related deaths.

For example, 90 percent of applications were accepted by the Iwate Prefectural Government but a substantially lower rate of 60 percent were accepted in Miyagi Prefecture.

Tsunami warning signs


SENDAI — In an attempt to reduce deaths in future disasters, signs showing the height of last year’s killer tsunami will be set up in three northeastern prefectures, according to their prefectural governments and the infrastructure ministry.

The Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectural governments and the infrastructure ministry’s Tohoku regional bureau will work on setting up signs with a uniform design near roads, sea embankments and ports to indicate the height of the March 11 tsunami at those points, officials said.

They also plan to put up signs on hills where residents fled from the tsunami and managed to survive, they said.

The blue warning signs will bear a symbol showing a wave in white and a line indicating the maximum height of the tsunami in that area, with the date of the disaster and a message in Japanese indicating the waves reached that level. They will be installed after obtaining residents’ consent.

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This from EX-SKF (who has a new photo for the site’s logo – I like it, SKF – keep it!)

You can read the whole article over at:

Japan PM: No individual to blame for Fukushima

AFP’s Huw Griffith quotes Japan’s extremely unpopular Prime Minister Noda saying:

“Rather than blaming any individual person I believe everyone has to share the pain of responsibility and learn this lesson.”

Hahahahahahaha. Share the pain. Hahahahahaha. Learn this lesson. Hahahahahaha.

From AFP (3/3/2012; emphasis is mine):

by Huw Griffith

TOKYO — No individual can be held responsible for the nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima, Japan’s prime minister said Saturday, insisting everyone had to “share the pain”.

Yoshihiko Noda told foreign journalists in Tokyo that the Japanese establishment had been taken in by the “myth of safety” around nuclear power and was unprepared for a disaster on the scale of last March’s accident.

A week ahead of the anniversary of the disaster, the premier swatted away a question over criminal responsibility for meltdowns that forced tens of thousands of people from their homes and polluted the land and sea.

“Of course, the primary responsibility under Japanese law rests with the operator” of the stricken plant, Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO), Noda said.

“But the government as well as operators and academia were steeped too deeply in the safety myth and I think that is what we can conclude.

“Rather than blaming any individual person I believe everyone has to share the pain of responsibility and learn this lesson.”

Noda’s comments come just days after an independent investigation panel revealed the president of TEPCO had wanted to abandon the plant in the days after the tsunami swamped its reactor cooling systems.

A report compiled by private thinktank Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation said it was only threats by then prime minister Naoto Kan that had prevented TEPCO from leaving the plant to its fate as the accident spiralled out of control.


The establishment taken in by the “myth of safety”? So the prime minister is admitting the power that be in Japan believed in its own lies. That’s hard to believe, but “the third generation rule” may well apply here. Those who propegated the “myth” in the early years of nuclear power in Japan, from early 1950s to early 1970s, knew it was a “myth” not reality. Those who came after them dutifully followed the 1st generation knowing full well that it was a “myth” not reality. Then comes the third generation, who grew up under the 1st and 2nd generation who actually started to believe the “myth”, as that was the only “reality” for them – that nuclear power plants are safe.

As for his other lame remarks, I don’t even want to comment, except for the lesson Noda apparently learned from the Fukushima disaster: Never install the power sources outside. If that’s the lesson he learned, where has he been since March 11, 2011?

By the way, the head of Twitter Japan is one of the three directors of Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundationthat issued a timely “independent” report on the Fukushima disaster in time for the 1 year anniversary. He has close ties with the Japanese government, a former consultant at McKinsey and a Harvard MBA, GE’s director, and one of the “young global leaders” at Davos. A total “insider” elite picked by Twitter to head its Japanese operation.

(H/T Yasushi Onuma for AFP article)

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Tepco Handout: Working to prevent “break of structural materials” at No. 3 Spent Fuel Pool — Spent past 6 weeks removing radioactive material — Salt corroding structure?

Title: Completion of Removal of Radioactive Materials from Unit 3 Spent Fuel Pool at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station
Source: Tepco Handout
Date: March 2, 2012

In order to prevent the corrosion and break of structural materials of Unit 3 Spent Fuel Pool (SFP) at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in mid term, we plan to implement the desalinating. Prior to the desalinating, we conducted the removal of radioactive materials from Unit 3 SFP from January 14, 2012 and completed on March 1, 2012.

As a result of the removal work of radioactive materials, it was confirmed that the radioactivity concentration was reduced about one hundredth compared to the one before the removal work.

Hereafter, we plan to conduct the desalinating by the Desalination Facilities (reverse osmosis membrane (RO) and electrodialysis (ED)).

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NHK archives of news broadcasts from April 2011
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Results of Fukushima’s Preliminary Exposure Survey Announced

(english/german subs) –> click on the “Interactive Transcript” button under the video window on the YouTube web site

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US Media Promotes Another Flawed “Study”, Downplays Fukushima

March 3rd, 2012

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Message from H-Japan Listserv:

Symposium on Foreigners in the Disaster Area

Text of a symposium,


「外国人」県民の視点から 震災後の宮城と日本の多文化共生を問う  that was held at Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University on 17th December last year, at the following URL:
The text is in Japanese only.



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