Day 362 Pointy guy is back

Health uncertainties torment Japanese in nuke zone

By YURI KAGEYAMA

The Associated Press

FUKUSHIMA, Japan — Yoshiko Ota keeps her windows shut. She never hangs her laundry outdoors. Fearful of birth defects, she warns her daughters: Never have children.

In this Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012 photo, Yoshiko Ota displays bottled water she bought at a local shop for daily use at her house in Fukushima, Japan, Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012. Ota keeps her windows shut. She never hangs her laundry outdoors. Fearful of birth defects, she warns her daughters: Never have children. This is life with radiation, nearly one year after a tsunami-hit nuclear power plant began spewing it into Ota’s neighborhood, 40 miles (60 kilometers) away. She’s so worried that she has broken out in hives. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)

 

In this Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012 photo, Hiromi Abe sits on a whole body counter to have his radiation level measured at Citizens’ Radioactivity Measurement Station in Fukushima, Japan. Experts say the risks are relatively low, and people can take steps to protect themselves, such as watching what they eat and taking breaks by periodically living outside Fukushima. But risks are much higher for children, and no one can say for sure what level of exposure is safe. What’s clear is Fukushima will serve as a test case that the world is watching for long-term exposure to low-dose radiation. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)

 

In this Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012 photo, a car passes by a solar-powered Geiger counter on a street in Fukushima, Japan. Radiation is still leaking from the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, though at a slower pace, nearly a year after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. It’s not immediately fatal but could show up as cancer or other illnesses years later. What’s clear is Fukushima will serve as a test case that the world is watching for long-term exposure to low-dose radiation. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)

 This is life with radiation, nearly one year after a tsunami-hit nuclear power plant began spewing it into Ota’s neighborhood, 40 miles (60 kilometers) away. She’s so worried that she has broken out in hives.

“The government spokesman keeps saying there are no IMMEDIATE health effects,” the 48-year-old nursery school worker says. “He’s not talking about 10 years or 20 years later. He must think the people of Fukushima are fools.

“It’s not really OK to live here,” she says. “But we live here.”

Ota takes metabolism-enhancing pills in hopes of flushing radiation out of her body. To limit her exposure, she goes out of her way to buy vegetables that are not grown locally. She spends 10,000 yen ($125) a month on bottled water to avoid the tap water. She even mail-ordered a special machine to dehusk her family’s rice.

Not everyone resorts to such measures, but a sense of unease pervades the residents of Fukushima. Some have moved away. Everyone else knows they are living with an invisible enemy.

Radiation is still leaking from the now-closed Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, though at a slower pace than it did in the weeks after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. It’s not immediately fatal but could show up as cancer or other illnesses years later.

Article continues at:

http://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/health-uncertainties-torment-japanese-1375588.html

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Who are you?: A video titled “2011, August 28th. A worker points a finger at a monitoring live camera in Fukushima No.1 nuclear plant” was released on YouTube last August and quickly went viral. The perpetrator remains unidentified.

Are we pointing at the right guy?

Staff writer

Last August, much consternation was caused when an apparent rogue worker at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant appeared on a live-to-air webcam and pointed an accusatory finger directly at the camera. After about 20 minutes, the man, who was clad in a full-body radiation suit that masked his identity, promptly disappeared.

News photo
Making artistic gestures: Kota Takeuchi neither claims to be nor denies being the person who has become known as the “worker who pointed at the Fukushima live camera”; however, he is showing the famous video at his solo exhibition at XYZ collective in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward. SATAKO KAWASAKI

[snip]

Who was he? What was he trying to say, and to whom? When the story was picked up in the media, even Cabinet Office Parliamentary Secretary Yasuhiro Sonoda was drawn into the debate. “I would like him to tell us what his intentions were,” he said at a press conference on Sept. 8.

And so it becomes clear that if this whole project was masterminded by Takeuchi, then it is very far from over. How will the interviewer describe him? How will the audience interpret his show? Will we jump to the conclusion — even in the absence of proof — that it was he who, on the morning of Aug. 28, stood up in front of the camera and pointed an accusatory finger at TEPCO, the government and all of us?

Read the entire article at:

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/fa20120308a1.html

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And an excellent article over at Senri no michi:

Nameless people : in support of Finger Pointing Man and the workers at Fukushima Daiichi

http://www.senrinomichi.com/?p=3820

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Fukushima plant still needing great care a year after tsunami

Several workers are seen tending to the remains of the No. 4 reactor that was heavily damaged by a hydrogen explosion shortly after the outbreak of the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant in this photo taken on Feb. 20. (Mainichi)

Several workers are seen tending to the remains of the No. 4 reactor that was heavily damaged by a hydrogen explosion shortly after the outbreak of the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant in this photo taken on Feb. 20. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — A year after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was ravaged by a huge earthquake and tsunami, Japan continues to face the challenge of keeping the complex under control without much knowledge of what is actually happening inside the three crippled reactors.

Article continues at:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120308p2g00m0dm057000c.html

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One year on, Fukushima governor vows to replace atomic power with green energy

Nearly one year after the outbreak of Japan’s worst nuclear disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato has said he will strive to rebuild the disaster-stricken prefecture swiftly to help local residents return home, nurture new industries to revitalize the badly-damaged local economy, and promote renewable energy to replace nuclear power generation.

The Mainichi interviewed Gov. Sato ahead of the first anniversary of the March 11, 2011, triple disasters.

The following are key questions and answers in the interview:

Question: Looking back on the past year, what do you think now?

Answer: Many residents of Fukushima Prefecture had to evacuate in and out of the prefecture and they have been going through a lot of hardships. We must take steps to help them return home as soon as possible. Setting this year as the “year of restoration,” we crafted a plan for Fukushima Prefecture last December. Although I want to bring back the beauty of Fukushima, whenever I go to Tokyo, I have a feeling that public awareness of the nuclear disaster is diminishing. I want the people of Japan and the people of the world to share the nuclear accident with us and not forget it.

 Article continues at:
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Ex-fire department head regrets issuing order to spray water on Fukushima nuclear plant

A former head of the Tokyo Fire Department expressed regret for ordering firefighters to spray water into the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant in March last year while their safety was not guaranteed.

“I still believe I shouldn’t be forgiven for issuing the order as the safety of my subordinates was not confirmed,” Yuji Arai, who headed the fire department when the operation was conducted, said in an exclusive interview with the Mainichi Shimbun. He left his post in July last year.

Firefighters deployed to the plant were successful in spraying water into the building housing the plant’s No. 3 reactors in the predawn hours of March 19, 2011.

[snip]

Arai said he deemed that he must dispatch personnel after confirming on the morning of March 17 that Self-Defense Force helicopters’ spraying of water onto the crippled plant did not produce positive results. He then launched a large-scale drill by spraying water on the bank of the Arakawa River in Tokyo.

“By evening, we had been notified that water could be supplied for fire engines at the site within 15 minutes,” he said, adding that Yoshihiro Yamaguchi, professor at Kyorin University’s medical school and disaster relief adviser, reassured the department by advising it on how to avoid exposure to radiation.

However, he was worried about a possible explosion due to a lack of information. “What we were worried about most was that absolutely no information was available on the plant’s No. 4 reactor, and that the possibility that it would blow up couldn’t be ruled out.”

Nevertheless, the fire department chief was forced to dispatch personnel to the nuclear plant.

“We had no choice under such a critical situation. However, since my most important responsibility is to guarantee the safety of my subordinates in their operations, my issuance of the order constitutes negligence of my responsibilities,” he said. “I still feel it was contradictory.”

Arai also said the department had not been notified that there was a radiation-proof building on the premises of the nuclear plant.

“Even the Fire and Disaster Management Agency of the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry didn’t know the existence of the facility and we were never informed of it. If we had known about the facility, we could have used it as a base for our operations,” he said.

Read the entire article at:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120308p2a00m0na016000c.html

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