Day 364 “They are living things. We should not take those lives away, in this man-made disaster.”

Most Important Video of the Year? Asahi TV: “Unbelievable” — If Unit 4 pool gets a crack and leaks during quake that would be end for Tokyo, says Japan expert — Doesn’t have to be large quake, already shaken many times — “This is a serious problem”

(via ENENEWS at:

Expert Warns: Leakage of Water from the Unit 4 SFP Will Mean “THE END” (Mar. 8, 2012)

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The latest from Arnie Gundersen:
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Cancer Fears and Depression Plague Japanese Refugees

By Cinthia Briseño and Heike Sonnberger

Photo Gallery: Living in Fear

Ever since the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima power plant, many Japanese people have been living with the fear of cancer. Experts find it difficult to estimate how many people will actually fall ill, but they’re more concerned about the psychological consequences of the catastrophe.

The borders of the restricted zone cut through the village of Katsurao. Many of the town’s inhabitants had to leave their houses after the nuclear disaster in Fukushima. Neighbors only one street away were allowed to stay, but didn’t want to. They were just too anxious about the invisible dangers of radiation and cancer.

Now the people of Katsurao live in provisional housing about an hour’s drive away from their former homes. Tomoko Matsumoto knows their fears. The 36-year-old nurse works with a four-person team to care for the villagers. “Younger people are especially of concern,” says Matsumoto. “And every mother! They worry that their kids will get thyroid cancer or leukemia.”
Article continues at:,1518,820314,00.html

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Japan’s PM Noda’s Op-Ed in Washington Post: “A year after the earthquake, building a new Japan”

Whoever translated this piece has my sympathy. It’s hard to translate sentences devoid of meaning. I can almost see through the original Japanese words, cliche after cliche after cliche.

Noda’s op-ed, from Washington Post (3/9/2012); emphasis is mine, and my comment in blue italic in square brackets:

A year after the earthquake, building a new Japan

By Yoshihiko Noda, Friday, March 9, 5:01 PM

March 11 is etched in Japan’s collective consciousness. Today, on the first anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, which triggered the starkest crisis our country has faced in a generation [let’s see, a generation is 30 years. I think he meant at least 2 generations, so it goes back to right after World War II; otherwise it doesn’t make any sense], we pause to commemorate all of those who suffered. Our thoughts go out to all of the victims of the tragedy and to people around the world whose lives have been devastated by natural disasters.

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WSJ: “An eerie quietness” in Fukushima says top biologist — Bird population dropped twice as much as after Chernobyl — “Disturbing development”

Title: In Japan, Relief at Radiation’s Low Toll
Source: Wall Street Journal
Date: March 9, 2012

[…] Those studying the accident warn, however, that the early, reassuring conclusions may understate the extent of exposure for certain people. They add that scientists still know very little about the effect on the human body of extended exposure to low-level radiation. There also have been some disturbing developments—a reduction in the bird population near the plant, high levels of radiation in local fish—that biologists say they will continue to watch.

“The most important thing is to monitor everyone’s health carefully over the longer term,” said Shunichi Yamashita, vice president at Fukushima Medical University and a longtime researcher on the impact of radiation on human health. […]

Ecologists and biologists who toured Fukushima prefecture earlier this year found that the radiation release appeared to have had a dramatic impact on birds in the region. Biologists led by radio-ecologist Timothy Mousseau at the University of South Carolina studied 300 locations around Fukushima last July and found that local bird populations had dropped by about a third. “The response was about twice as much as after Chernobyl,” said Dr. Mousseau. “We don’t know why yet.”

Their absence was noticeable. “It is an eerie quietness,” he said. “The environment is just quieter.”

Read the report here

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Tsutomu Takamura reps questioned at the subcommittee of a budget committee on March 5th.

 Meeting with the Ministry of the Environment (Transcript)

Takamura reps:

Although euthanasia of livestock is under way, some horses for traditional festival, some sire pigs were allowed to move. Also, some cows are let alive for the research.

About half number of 3,500 cows have died, 700 of them are penned up.

I request you to consider how you will treat rest of the 500.

And how will you treat the cows whose owners are still disagree to euthanize?

Takamura reps:

In the US and Europe, there are farms called “Farm Sanctuary”. Now inside No-go-zone, cows have been kept by at least 4 private groups.

(Mentioning the euthanasia of non-tagged livestock, showing a picture of calves) They are living things. We should not take those lives away, in this man-made disaster.

Momoko-Hime's Blog 動物救援隊 外交官 ももこひめ
Read the entire article at:
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**Japan’s Aftershocks**

One year since the earthquake, tsunami

And the current state of Fukushima Daiichi
CBC Canada:
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The Narrow Road to the Disaster Zone

Tomorrow (3-11), 16:30 on BBC Radio 4


Episode image for The Narrow Road to the Disaster ZoneEvery Japanese person knows Matsuo Basho’s ‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North’. This classic is an account by Japan’s best-loved poet of a journey he made in 1689. He visited several places famous for their beauty, and because they had inspired poets in years gone by. He celebrated these in his haiku and visited fellow poets.

Many of the places Basho wrote about were devastated by last year’s tsunami. He walked through Fukushima prefecture, where the stricken nuclear plant is today. In Shiogama, Basho pitied the fishermen and, at Ishinomaki, described hundreds of boats bobbing in a wide bay. Of the 12,000 vessels registered in Sendai, Shiogama and Ishinomaki, only 1,200 remained intact after the tsunami.

Article continues at:

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Anti-nuclear protests take on a ‘hyper-cute’ look

March 10, 2012

By KOTARO KONDO / Staff Writer

Satoko Miyakoshi knew nothing about nuclear power before the March 11 disaster so she decided to attend an anti-nuclear demonstration in the Koenji district of Tokyo on April 10 to learn more about the issue.

She left the event frightened. Not necessarily about cesium, but by what went on at the demonstration, where loud speakers blared out anti-nuclear slogans.

“Some placards were, like, in bloody letters,” the 30-year-old designer said. “I believe there were many people out there, not just myself, who were undecided whether to join. It seemed to me that radicals were leading the event. It was not mass-friendly.”

Miyakoshi is now one of the key figures behind a new type of demonstration that is attracting passers-by who find the protests “cute.”

These “street expressions” are not organized by labor unions. They are also not an offspring of sound-blasting demonstrations, an alternative form of protest that emerged in the 2000s.

The new rallies are created by a third generation of demonstrators, most of them young.

Article continues at:

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Disaster debris presents continuing barrier to recovery of devastated areas

Rubble is piled up near a temporary housing unit in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, on Feb. 29. (Mainichi)

Rubble is piled up near a temporary housing unit in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, on Feb. 29. (Mainichi)

Some 22 million metric tons of debris generated by the March 11, 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami continues to be a barrier to recovery in disaster-hit communities.

Local bodies in disaster-ravaged areas as well as the Environment Ministry are urging other prefectural governments to help dispose of the rubble. Residents outside the disaster areas are reluctant to accept it, however, with many worried that the rubble may be contaminated with radiation leaking from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

Article continues at:
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90 percent of those missing in 3/11 disasters registered as dead

Iwate prefectural riot police search for missing people at Kamaishi Higashi Junior High School in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture, on March 9. (Mainichi)

Iwate prefectural riot police search for missing people at Kamaishi Higashi Junior High School in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture, on March 9. (Mainichi)

Of the 3,151 people still missing in the three prefectures worst hit by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, local authorities have accepted obituary notices for 2,860 — or just over 90 percent of the total — the Mainichi learned on March 9.

Article continues at:

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High radioiodine levels found in thyroids of Fukushima residents post-meltdown

HIROSAKI, Aomori — Radioactive iodine levels exceeding international limits were detected in the thyroid glands of five people who lived near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant during the meltdowns there, researchers here have revealed.

Findings by the research team, led by professor Shinji Tokonami from Hirosaki University, showed that 50 of 65 people checked from April 11 to 17 last year had radioactive iodine-131 in their thyroids, with 26 absorbing radiation doses over 10 millisieverts, and five with doses over 50 millisieverts — the upper limit set by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“After detecting high levels of radiation exposure in people who stayed in Namie, we were able to grasp part of the reality of the disaster,” says Tokonami.

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TEPCO to indicate in March whether all Fukushima reactors to be scrapped

FUKUSHIMA (Kyodo) — Tokyo Electric Power Co. will indicate later in the month whether all the reactors at its two nuclear power plants in Fukushima Prefecture will be scrapped, not just the four badly damaged reactors to be decommissioned at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, company President Toshio Nishizawa said Friday.

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Japan to mark 1st anniversary of quake, tsunami that killed thousands

TOKYO, March 10, Kyodo

Japan will mark on Sunday the first anniversary of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated the country’s northeastern shores, left about 19,000 people dead or missing, and triggered the world’s worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

While much of the debris has been cleared, roads have been repaved and lives are beginning to be rebuilt, the scars left by the terrible devastation and the hardships that ensued continue to haunt the many affected by the disasters one year on.

The government declared late last year that the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, a coastal power station in Fukushima Prefecture that suffered meltdowns and explosions in the aftermath of the quake-triggered tsunami, has been brought under control, but numerous residents are still unable to return to their homes in the vicinity of the plant.

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UN resolution on protection of women in disasters

A UN commission has unanimously adopted a resolution calling for protection of women in the event of major disasters.

The resolution, submitted by Japan, was adopted on Friday, the last day of a 2-week session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women. The commission reviewed challenges facing women’s empowerment.

The resolution expressed gratitude for the international community’s support for Japan after last year’s earthquake and tsunami.

It also calls for women to be protected against violence in the event of major disasters, as well as the utilization of women’s knowledge in drawing up

plans for disaster reconstruction.

Saturday, March 10, 2012 12:04 +0900 (JST)

More at:

UN Passes Resolution from Japan to “Adopt Women’s Points of View” in Disaster Recovery

The occasion was the 56th Session of UN Commission on the Status of Women.

The government of Japan (represented by Hiroko Hashimoto) submitted a resolution (“Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women in Natural Disaster”) urging the world to adopt women’s points of view in emergency disaster response, recovery and reconstruction like Japan is doing, including measures for empowering women in rural areas and compulsory quota for women’s participation in committees that formulate master plans for local agriculture.


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