Day 366 And thus begins year 2

Japan marks 1st anniversary of March 11 disaster

Sunday marks the first anniversary of the massive earthquake and tsunami that struck northeastern Japan.
However, local communities are still working hard to recover from the disaster. Many displaced people are having a hard time finding work and getting back on their feet.

The violent tremors and giant tsunami destroyed or damaged more than 370,000 houses and buildings.

As of Saturday, 15,854 people were officially killed in the disaster and 3,155 others remain missing.

More than 340,000 others are living as evacuees in temporary housing, mainly in the 3 hardest-hit prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima.

An NHK survey reveals that about one third of the families living in temporary housing units say their incomes have dropped to half of what they earned before the disaster. One in every 5 breadwinners is out of work.

The survey also shows that a quarter of the respondents say they seldom go out and many feel isolated.

The nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant has made recovery even tougher.
In Fukushima Prefecture the fear of radiation exposure has displaced about 160,000 residents from their homes.

Decontaminating areas with radioactivity is proving to be very difficult, and the disposal of tsunami debris is also falling behind schedule.

Sunday, March 11, 2012 05:49 +0900 (JST)

Day 366, or the beginning of year 2, PFD1 (Post-Fukushima Dai Ichi)

So much happened yesterday. If you were anywhere near a television around the planet, it seems that the ceremony to remember those lost on 3.11 was broadcast world-wide. And rightly so.

What might not have been so widely televised were the anti-nuclear protests happening in major cities across the globe.

During the many interviews with people in the Tohoku area on how they are faring one year later, one commentator said it was like being in the midst of despair, searching for hope.

That’s pretty much how I’ve felt in the year since 3.11. Yesterday, I found that glimmer of hope. In the protests….

Tokyo  (Several places, but only at Hibiya-koen): 10,000

Osaka: 7,000

Koriyama: 16,000

Nagoya: 5,000

Shizuoka: 1,100

Tsuruga: 1,200

Hiroshima: 2,000


And in other cities:

Korea: 1,000

Taipei: 3,000

Germany: 24,000 (in an 80-km long human chains)

France: 60,000

Switzerland: 5,000

New York: 200


Australia: hundreds

*(cities were listed in artless but no number of protestors was given)


Thousands form anti-nuclear human chains in Germany, France

Antinuclear protests held across Japan on anniversary of disaster

原発はいらない 世界つながる 人間の鎖国会囲む

 Protestors say “No” to nuclear power plants

Protesters link arms around the world to decry nuclear power, Google News, France 24, 11 March 12,   AFP –

Antinuke protests erupt nationwide


Two important articles from EX-SKF:

Japan’s Emperor Spoke At the One-Year Anniversary Ceremony, TV News Ignored His Reference to Radiation Contamination

So say many angry tweets in Japan. They say the TV stations edited out his reference to radiation contamination.

I’m not convinced that the allegation is valid, but the TV stations did have a choice which part of the Emperor’s speech they would highlight in the news segments and they didn’t choose the reference.

The Emperor of Japan attended the ceremony held in the National Theater on March 11, 2012, even if he had undergone a heart surgery and was still recovering. He delivered the speech addressing all the three components of the disaster that struck Japan – earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear.

But except for those who attended the ceremony or watched it live, or those who read the speech in the paper, people in Japan wouldn’t know by watching the TV news that the Emperor spoke about the radiation contamination as the result of the nuclear accident and that he recognized it as a difficult problem.

The Emperor spoke for about 6 minutes, so there is no way that the TV stations would report all of the speech in the short news segment (2 to 3 minutes at most). But they chose not to highlight the radiation contamination part.

Here’s what the Emperor said in the ceremony (nuclear part), according to Asahi Shinbun(3/11/2012):


Further, this disaster [earthquake and tsunami] triggered a nuclear power plant accident. People had to evacuate from areas made dangerous by the nuclear accident, where they had lived and worked for many years. In order for them to go back and live safely there, we have a difficult problem of radiation contamination to overcome.

Several people were indignant that the TV stations edited the Emperor’s words at all to fit into the short news segments. I tend to agree with them. It was a 6 minutes speech, in his own words (unlike PM Noda’s cliches written by his speech writer), and you can see he was talking to the people who perished in the disaster (unlike Noda who simply read the prepared statement without looking up from the piece of paper, from what little I’ve seen that was reported). They should have aired it in its entirety, for those who couldn’t see it live.

ANN (TV Asahi) has the entire speech on Youtube, with the viewer count at 4,371 as of now. Other videos of the event has only several hundred views.


Japanese Government’s Global Media Blitz to Pitch “Recovery” and Dispel Baseless Rumors

The Youtube video of the Emperor’s speech at the memorial ceremony on March 11 now has over 7,000 views.

While the Emperor was the only one at the ceremony who mentioned radiation contamination and the plight of residents who had to flee the land contaminated with radioactive materials (he even mentioned the workers dealing with the nuclear accident), the Noda administration has been very busy peddling recovery by launching the media blitz around the world with infomercials to tell the world how the disaster areas in Tohoku, particularly Fukushima, have recovered and everything will be just fine from now on.

Nuclear accident? What nuclear accident? Radiation contamination? Oh it’s just a baseless rumor.

I hate to think how much they spent to create the commercials, and how much they spent to buy the ad time.

The announcement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (3/8/2012) is as follows:

TV Commercials Transmitting the Attractions of Japan and Tohoku to the World

1. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan has produced four TV commercials transmitting the attractions of Japan and the Tohoku region to the world for the purpose of mitigating reputational damages generated by the Great East Japan Earthquake and recovering and improving the image of Japan, as follows:

(1) “JAPAN Power of harmony” introduces Japan’s superior technological capabilities in areas such as lacquerware, the research and development of iPS cells, space exploration, and the Shinkansen, through the use of the technique of origami. (60 seconds)

(2) “Colorful emotions TOHOKU” communicates the attractions of sightseeing in the Tohoku region such as the Nebuta Festival, the making of Akabeko (dolls of a red cow), playing in the snow, hot springs, strawberry picking, and the warlords of the Samurai , by showing the excitement and expectation of a family who travels Tohoku from abroad. (60 seconds)

(3) “We believe in FUKUSHIMA” shows the invincible resolve of the people in Fukushima toward the restoration of their daily lives before the Great East Japan Earthquake. It features the people of Fukushima working on strawberry farms, in Fukushima Railway Station, at the E-rosoku (pictured candle) Festival, and at Tsurugajo Castle. (60 seconds)

(4) “Message from Japan “ARIGATOU” (Thank you)” is a commercial to convey appreciation to the world. “Arigatou” is a word to express thanks for heartfelt words, sympathy, and supports sent from the world in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

2. In particular, commercials (2) and (3) were produced thanks to cooperation received from local governments and institutions concerned such as Fukushima Prefecture, Sendai City, and the Tohoku Tourism Promotion Organization.

3. These commercials are currently on the air all across the world through CNN etc. From April onward, the commercials are to be broadcast on NHK World TV (JIB-TV broadcast) through close coordination with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

4. Moreover, these commercials are to be screened in receptions and events held abroad by the local governments and institutions concerned such as diplomatic missions abroad, the Japan Tourism Agency, Fukushima Prefecture, Sendai City, and Tohoku Tourism Promotion Organization, as well as at international conferences held in Japan.

The commercials are posted on the video channel of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA channel)

Foreign Minister Genba, when he was the minister in charge of national strategy back in March last year, told the Japanese that they should all be cheering for TEPCO.

Here’s one, titled “Colorful emotions, Tohoku” (I absolutely have no idea what that phrase even means), featuring a foreign family (Russian?) visiting Tohoku in winter. The Ministry disallows embed for this particular commercial.

The commercial titled “Japan Power of Harmony” is clearly targeted at the global business communities. The Ministry disallows this embed also. It goes:

Japan, a country of perseverance and spirit of harmony.
Spirit form, from the severe nature of our nation.
And that reality has formed Japan, through endless innovation and cooperation.
“These innovation from my country of Japan will ultimately contribute to the entire health of our society, to the entire advancement of the human race.”
Now, more than ever, the world is facing challenge.
And Japan offers our unique experience for everyone.
We know, we learned, power is created from the cooperation of people.
It’s the power of harmony.
Together for a better future.

Can anyone tell me what this means? I can see through the original Japanese or original muddled thinking in English, but does this make any sense in English?

Whoever created the original copy in Japanese and whoever translated it into English uncritically should be shot.

These commercials must be the work of either Dentsu or Hakuhodo, two largest PR firms in Japan who have been closely cooperating with the national government since March 11, 2011 on campaigns to sell Tohoku, whether it is a tourist destination or food from Fukushima.

The message I get from these commercials is this: “We’re trying our utmost best to ignore the nuclear accident and radiation contamination, and so should you.”

This, from ENENEWS at:

Nuclear Expert: Fukushima 10 times worse than Chernobyl

Title: Japan’s disaster as bad as or worse than Chernobyl
Source: Xinhua
Date: 2012-03-12 14:30

The severity of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster may be as bad as or worse than Chernobyl, an American nuclear expert warned Sunday.

Arnold Gundersen, a former nuclear power industry executive, said it was clear to him within two days of the Japan earthquake and tsunami that “Fukushima was as bad as or worse than Chernobyl.” […]

Gundersen, now chief engineer of the energy consulting company Fairewinds Associates, said he believed that Fukushima was 10 times worse than the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown […]

Gundersen on Fukushima vs Chernobyl

  • Chernobyl was a single reactor running at about 7 percent capacity when ruptured
  • [Fukushima] had three reactors running at 100 percent capacity and seven other reactors with spent fuel pools that were crippled
  • Chernobyl stopped releasing radioactive material after about two weeks […] this is not the case at Fukushima one year on

Gundersen on Cancers and Other Health Problems

  • Although there have been no deaths related to the Fukushima meltdown to date, over the next 20 years there would be about 1 million additional cancers and other health problems from the accident
  • “But even in Tokyo most people think it is over and they survived it. But with the latency periods of these cancers it’s going to pop up 20 years out and people will wonder where it came from”

Read the report here


Core details of nuclear accident not known yet

One year after the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, core details relating to the accident are still not known, including from where a large amount of radioactive material was released.

Following the March 11th earthquake and tsunami, nuclear fuel melted at the No.1, 2, and 3 reactors of the plant. Many people were forced to evacuate because a large amount of radioactive material was released across a wide area. The nuclear accident seriously affected Japan’s entire society and economy.

Various measures to cool the reactors and contain the release of radioactive material were taken, and such measures made the situation more stable.

Accident study teams of Tokyo Electric Power Company, the Japanese government, and private groups looked into the reason the severe disaster happened. They have revealed insufficient measures against tsunami and inadequate responses at the time of the accident.

But details remain unclear, including from which part of the plant the large amount of radioactive material was released, and how much material was spread in the air or at sea.

And there’s another core item still unconfirmed. The utility firm says the earthquake itself did not affect major safety facilities and equipment. However, the high radioactivity at the site does not permit confirmation of the claim.

Sunday, March 11, 2012 10:17 +0900 (JST)


Al Jazeera Reports on Health Problems of Ms. Numauchi of Minami Soma City, Fukushima

If you recall, the health problems that Ms. Emiko Numauchi has suffered since last August (teeth falling off, hair and nails falling off, skin rashes, for a start) have been dismissed by Dr. Shinzo Kimura of the NHK radiation documentary fame as autoimmune disease caused by stress and feminine sensitivity.

Al Jazeera’s Steven Chao reports from Minami Soma City in the news segment aired on March 9, 2012. Ms. Numauchi shows her strange skin rash on her thigh. My goodness.

Al Jazeera has the “one-year anniversary” of Japan’s disaster page, here. It has a very good coverage of topics including rebuilding efforts in the tsunami-affected areas and anti-nuclear movement.

In contrast, the websites of the Japanese newspapers pretend there’s nothing more to report on the disaster, other than how the government wants to spread disaster debris all over Japan by all means.


 NOTE: Ms. Numauchi’s blog appears to have disappeared as of 10 Mar. 

Numayu’s blog shut down

Posted by Mochizuki on March 10th, 2012

Minamisoma blogger called Numayu was recording her health state since after 311.

Just before one year anniversary. her blog was shut down.

There is no even cache.

The reason why it was shut down is not announced.

When she appeared on Aljazeera, she had purplish patch.

She was planning to attend at National Network of Parents to protect Children from Radiation.

She was invited to talk with Noro Mika, the chairman of Bridges to Chernobyl, but because she  has been very feverish recently, she is going to attend by Skype.

Amid Invisible Terror: The Righteous Anger of A Fukushima Farmer Poet
Satoko Oka Norimatsu
A farmer’s poem, “Amid Invisible Terror, We Were Witnesses”, first appeared in theJuly 18 edition of Shimbun Nomin (Newspaper “Farmer”), a publication of the Japan Family Farmers Movement “Nominren,” and was immediately recited at anti-nuclear rallies across the nation. Maeda Arata, a seventy-five year old farmer, poet and writer, lives in Aizumisato-machi in eastern Fukushima. The poem was written four months after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster of March 11, 2011. Now, a year later, the fury and despair that the poem conveys continues to speak for hundreds of thousands of residents who lost their homes, land, family members and livelihood. Nothing is more devastating for farmers than the radioactive contamination and destruction of the food they grow with love and care. On March 29, 2011, a sixty-four year old cabbage farmer in Sukagawa hanged himself, all hope shuttered following the newly announced government restriction on the consumption of cabbage from Fukushima. To Maeda, national policy that deprives farmers of livelihood, and life itself, is reminiscent of the wartime events that sacrificed people’s lives for a purported national interest that prioritized colonial subjugation and exploitation of neighboring countries.
Read the entire article, including the poem, at:


American Worker on PBS: “Demonic” sounds came from Fukushima plant — I don’t know if it was the earth or building moving (VIDEO)

Title: Fukushima Survivor: ‘I’ve Hardly Smiled This Whole Year’
Source: BURN: An Energy Journal via PBS NewsHour
Author: American Public Media
Date: Mar 9, 2012

Carl Pillitteri was one of 38 Americans at the Fukushima plant when the earthquake hit. Describing the “demonic” sounds he heard and the pit of fear he felt inside the turbine building that day, Pillteri [sic] recently spoke with Alex Chadwick, the host of the new American Public Media series “BURN: An Energy Journal.”

Transcript Excerpts

[…] CARL PILLITTERI, Nuclear Technician: The entire building was moving. And then I remember praying aloud for everyone, for all of us, just praying aloud. And I’m thinking that we’re going to perish inside this turbine building. And I can still hear the turbine making its most unwelcome sounds in front of us there.

ALEX CHADWICK, American Public Media: Can you describe what the sounds were like coming out of the earth?

CARL PILLITTERI: They were almost demonic in the way they sounded. You know, it’s just — and I don’t know what was generating these sounds, if it was the earth itself, or the building being flexed, or moved, or the upheaval of the building.

ALEX CHADWICK: And it s still going on, the shaking, the jolting is still going on.

CARL PILLITTERI: On the unit one turbine deck was the only time I thought I might perish. I had gotten to a point where I had surrendered. And that surrender was — you know, I remember asking to make it quick.


CARL PILLITTERI: The morning of the 13th, when we all woke up from our first night’s sleep in the hotel there in Tokyo, I came down to the lobby and I saw one table with co-workers at it. And I said, I think I have been traumatized. And I’m sure the way I sounded, you know, made my point. And Butch to the right of me burst into tears, a full-grown man. Danny, to the left of me, chokes up. And that morning breakfast breakdown was when I realized, yeah, this was more than I bargained for on March 11. […]

11MARCH 2012, Fukushima: Never Again, Not in India, Not Anywhere

 Watch the video at:

Japan marks 1 year from quake-tsunami disaster, nuclear crisis

A family observes a moment of silence in front of what is left of a disaster control center in an area devastated by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami, in Minamisanriku, Miyagi prefecture, Japan, Sunday, March 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

A family observes a moment of silence in front of what is left of a disaster control center in an area devastated by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami, in Minamisanriku, Miyagi prefecture, Japan, Sunday, March 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

SENDAI (Kyodo) — Japan marked the one-year anniversary Sunday of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated the country’s northeastern region, left around 19,000 people dead or missing, and triggered the world’s worst nuclear crisis since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

Article continues at:


A Novelist’s Reflections on the Japanese Earthquake

Mar 11, 2012
by Kazumi Saeki, Translated by Jeffrey Hunter

The following short story by writer Kazumi Saeki, titled “Hiyoriyama,” is a fictional tale dealing with the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which occurred one year ago today.

Beppu was just coming out of the gymnasium.

Standing in the school yard, I raised my hand in greeting. He saw me immediately and came over.

Izawa had told me that Beppu and his family had lost their home in the tsunami, but were safe and staying at this elementary school turned into an evacuation center. When Izawa found Beppu here, he said, they hugged each other and wept; but Beppu and I were both composed now, maybe because of the presence of the reporter who had given me a ride to the center in his emergency vehicle. It was toward evening, and the smell of pork broth being cooked by Self-Defense Forces personnel floated in the air.

Article continues at:


Human errors responsible for deepening Fukushima crisis: IAEA chief

VIENNA (Kyodo) — The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said Saturday that human errors were among the factors that exacerbated the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

Article continues at:

Aung San Suu Kyi gives message of hope to Japan’s disaster orphans

Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi

Myanmar’s pro-democracy movement leader Aung San Suu Kyi has given a message of hope to children orphaned by the March 11, 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, as Japan prepares to mark the first anniversary of the disaster.

“I would like you to know that we care for you in Burma here,” Suu Kyi said. “Please do not forget that there are people who care for you.”

Article continues at:


‘Fukushima Fifty’ workers speak out: If you blamed Tepco for symptoms, told not to come back — 5,000 CPM internal radiation — “None of them trust anything TEPCO or gov’t says” -Asahi

[…] the world’s eyes turned briefly on the “Fukushima 50,” […] Little has been heard from those men—who actually numbered more than fifty—or those that took their places in the following months. Most have been reluctant to speak to the media for fear of losing their jobs.

Three workers, however, did agree to speak to The Asahi Shimbun AJW after being introduced by Masayoshi Hisada, the author of a recently published book about their experiences, “Young Nuclear Outlaws.”

All grew up close to the Fukushima plant and started working there in their late teens or early 20s. […]

X-rays, Rocks, Air Travel, Cartoons… Sound Familiar?

All three say that they have become desensitized to the risks of radiation exposure after years of work in the nuclear industry. The training they received from TEPCO played down the risks with cartoons of doses received from flights, x-rays and rocks and made no mention of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in the former Soviet Union.

“After working in this job for 10 years you become anesthetized to words like ‘exposure,’ or ‘contamination’,” said Kenichi

5,000 CPM Internally

[Kenichi’s] internal radiation exposure has been measured at 5,000 counts per minute, or around five times the upper range for an average person. “I sometimes think maybe I shouldn’t get married and I won’t be able to have kids.”

Daily Dose of 18+ millisieverts through Fall

Kenichi says he was receiving around 18 to 20 millisieverts a day in the fall, according to his dosimeter. That has now fallen to around 0.08 millisievert.


Many fainted from heatstroke, but Kenichi notes that if they had to go home they would not be paid. Those who blamed the plant’s operators for their symptoms were told not to come back the next day.

Meltdown Progression

Having worked in the industry for over 10 years, Kenichi and Tatsuo were much more aware of what was happening at the plant than the general public, who were reliant on information released by TEPCO and the government.

Kenichi predicted that the reactors would melt down in strict number order, from the No. 1 reactor upward, as the cooling system runs from the first to the sixth reactor. Hisada, the former editor of Jitsuwa Knuckles, a monthly magazine focusing on Japan’s seamy underbelly, heard the same prediction from a worker he knew on March 12.

“Information travels fast in these circles,” Hisada says. “The workers knew because they’ve been working in the same place for so long.”

None of them trust anything TEPCO or the government says.

Nuclear, the Attractive Alternative

The workers see themselves more as “outlaws,” as Hisada calls them, than heroes; estranged from society since a young age, when they started causing trouble and were involved in crime, they say work in the nuclear industry was an attractive alternative.

Read the report here


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