Fukushima Disaster Artwork

102 days after the 2nd year anniversary of 3.11, 817 days later….

Former Fukushima worker, “β dose of the new leaking desalination system is up to 1~2 Sv/h.”β-dose-of-the-new-leaking-desalination-system-is-up-to-12-svh/

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Fukushima I Nuke Plant RO Leak Caused by Over-Tightening the Flow Meter Cap

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“Sr-90 and Cs-137 from my sister’s breast milk, hospital says we worry too much”

A teenage women in the temporary housing of Fukushima said, “Sr-90 and Cs-137 were detected from the breast milk of my sister. They call us fearmonger, even hospital tells us we worry too much. We shouldn’t have trusted the government and media to say “It’s all safe”after 311.”

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Radioactive Japan: “Eat and Support” Fukushima Rice, Without Knowing and Without Choice

From rice to be grown and harvested in 2013, the national government is buying up 250,000 tonnes for the government’s rice reserve; of that, 40,000 tonnes, or 16%, may come from Fukushima Prefecture. The Fukushima prefectural government is encouraging farmers to participate in the government bidding if they fear “baseless rumors” driving down the price for their rice in the open market.

Once it is purchased by the national government, Fukushima rice becomes just “rice”.

The reserve rice will be released to the market a few years later as the need arises (shortage of rice, request from food companies) and as part of the regular inventory control. The consumers won’t be able to tell it is rice from Fukushima, or the products (rice crackers, miso, shochu, etc.) is made with rice from Fukushima.

This year, farmers in some of the areas that weren’t planted because of the nuclear accident (i.e. former evacuation zones) are happily growing rice with full intention of selling to consumers as long as it is judged “safe” (i.e. testing below the national government’s safety standard of 100 Bq/kg of radioactive cesium).

Full report at:

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NYTimes: New concerns Fukushima storage tanks are leaking contamination into Pacific Ocean

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Japanese Diplomat: We are facing global catastrophe over next 40-100 years because of Fukushima nuclear disaster

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Expert: UN’s Fukushima study “absolutely ridiculous” — “Absolutely unacceptable” to claim no observable increase in cancer rates is expected — “Dose estimates don’t reflect the real dose of radiation”

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Japan finds highly toxic strontium in Fukushima groundwater

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Fairewinds: Thyroid data means much more radiation must have come out of Fukushima reactors than anyone reported — Medical professionals are talking about how many cancers have started showing up

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Japan’s Latest Nuclear Crisis: Getting Rid of the Radioactive Debris

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The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol 11, Issue 24, No. 5, June 17, 2013. 281_Anti Nuke: The Japanese street artist taking on Tokyo, TEPCO and the nation’s right-wing extremists

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TEPCO seeks dismissal of damages suit filed in U.S.

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Former Fukushima worker “It’s not nobody died from Fukushima, it’s nobody was arrested for Fukushima”

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500,000,000 Bq/m3 of Tritium and 1,000,000 Bq/m3 of Sr-90 detected from groundwater east side of reactor2

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19,000 Bq/Kg from the drain of balcony in Setagaya Tokyo, May 2013

On 6/6/2013, Fukushima Diary reported “18,756 Bq/kg of Cs-134/137 measured from the mud in street gutter in Setagaya Tokyo [URL]”

From the detailed report of CRMS (Citizen’s Radioactivity Measuring Station), it was not a street gutter, but the drain of a balcony.

It was a second floor veranda of a private house in Setagaya Tokyo. There is no roof over it.

The area had not been throughly cleaned since 311. The sample was 1cm ~ 2cm of the upper layer of the mud.

The radiation level was 0.089 μSv/h at 1m from the floor, but it was 0.332 μSv/h at 1cm from the mud.

It has been over 2 years since 311. Radioactive material is still accumulated even in Tokyo.

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Almost 60% of public opposes Japan’s export of nuclear tech: survey



A very basic explanation of “Radiation Risk”, giving definitions for the current buzzwords: becquerel, sievert, millirem, dose rates, gamma and beta rays, etc., at:

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New book:

Natural Disaster and Nuclear Crisis in Japan

Response and Recovery after Japan’s 3/11

Edited by Jeff Kingston

Published 2nd March 2012 by Routledge – 304 pages

Available at Amazon UK:

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More on the German report (via a contributor to the Safecast listserv)

      Ex-Prime Minister Kan said in an interview with German ZDF TV that pro nuclear forces coerced him into resigning from his post because he challenged them (by proposing that nuclear energy is phased out). From 3:01 in the following video:

      He explained that those who speak of the danger of nuclear power have increasingly been harassed in various ways over past 10 to 20 years, and that any university researcher who talks about the risk of nuclear power won’t have the opportunity to be promoted (to any higher position). If a lawmaker questions the safety of nuclear power, he or she would lose financial support, while those in favour of promoting nuclear power are far more likely to be secured financial support. The network of the pro nuclear forces not only comprise of the political community, but also extends to the fields of culture, professional sports, and mass media. They have created an environment in which no-one publicly is able to criticise nuclear power. He said that whole country is trapped by the network of the pro nuclear forces. (10:49~ in the video)
      The German program starts with two German journalists sneaking into the No-Go Zone together with an ex resident by hiding their appearance in protective clothing. The video is in German language with Japanese subtitles, although some of the interviews are conducted in English.
      One section of the video shows an interview with Kei Sugaoka, recorded in San Francisco, a former GE chief inspector who found several technical problems with the reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi, including a large crack in reactor #1 as well as wrongly positioned equipment in the reactor building. TEPCO demanded that he remain silent regarding his findings, and that video footage showing the problems get edited to delete these parts of the video.
      10 years later, after he had left GE, he reported the problems that he had found to the Japanese authorities. However, it was covered up and the authorities  reported his name to TEPCO.
      The TV crews visited Eisaku Sato, ex Governor of Fukushima, who had been made aware of safety violations of the Fukushima reactors while he was the Governor several years earlier, and eventually turned against its operation. He was politically terminated by a fabricated illegal land sale case involving him and his brother (of which they were legally cleared later). People working for him were pressured to discredit him and they were harassed if they refused. Two or three of them attempted to commit suicide, and one of them is still in a coma.
      The German reporter also visited a seismologist who speaks about possible big future earthquakes estimated at up to 4000 gal, while the current nuclear power plants in Japan are designed for 300 to 600 gal. Then the reporter met with TEPCO personnel and asked them if their nuclear power plants can withstand the next big quake?  He asked: “Do you think the TEPCO is sufficiently prepared to operate nuclear power plants in Japan?” There was a long pause. One of them finally said “It’s hard to answer that question.” (27:40~)
      (This report is based on the Japanese subtitles of the German language video “Die Fukushima-Lüge” by ZDF television.)

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Radioactive cesium detected in submarine organisms in waters off Fukushima

Some submarine organisms in waters off Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, carried radioactive cesium exceeding the government-imposed provisional limit of 500 becquerels per kilogram, a discovery that shed some light on radioactive substances from the crippled Fukushima nuclear complex transferring along the food chain, researchers said.

They detected 854 becquerels of cesium per kilogram in echinocardium cordatum, or the sea potato, which is a kind of sea urchin, and 471 becquerels per kilogram of cesium in sand worms. The researcher conducted a similar research in the same area in October 2011 and detected 582 becquerels of cesium per kilogram in echinocardium cordatum and 328 becquerels of cesium per kilogram in sand worms. The research results were unveiled in Tokyo on March 21. Deep-sea fish such as flounder feed on sand worms.

Read the entire article at:

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Education Ministry okays teaching nuclear risks

Japan’s education ministry is revising what its subsidies on energy education can cover following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The ministry has decided to offer funds to municipalities whose schools teach the danger of nuclear accidents and other disadvantages of nuclear power generation.

Until now, the subsidies only covered programs that help students better understand the use of nuclear energy.

The ministry will also lift its requirement on local authorities to devote more than 30 percent of energy education funds to nuclear power. Lifting the requirement will allow schools to allocate more money to programs on alternative energy.

Local authorities can use the subsidies to pay for learning materials and administrative fees.

Thursday, March 22, 2012 11:56 +0900 (JST)

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“Just lost Peoria”

Fukushima Pref. deleted 5 days of radiation dispersion data just after meltdowns

The Fukushima Prefectural Government revealed on March 21 that it deleted five days of early radiation dispersion data almost entirely unread in the wake of the meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

The data from the System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information (SPEEDI) — intended to predict the spread of radioactive contamination, information vital for issuing evacuation advisories — was emailed to the prefectural government by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

According to the prefecture’s disaster countermeasure office, just after the March 2011 quake and tsunami, its dedicated SPEEDI terminal was unable to receive data due to effects of the disasters. Therefore, prefectural officials asked the Nuclear Safety Technology Center, which operates SPEEDI, to send data via email on March 12, 2011 — one day into the nuclear crisis. The Nuclear Safety Technology Center then sent the data hourly starting at 11:54 p.m. that day. The Fukushima Prefectural Government, however, deleted all the data it received from March 12 to about 9 a.m. March 16.

“We failed to share the information amid all the confusion, and the fact that we had asked for the information to be sent by email hadn’t been shared within the countermeasure office,” said Yoshihiro Koyama, head of the prefecture’s nuclear safety measures section. “We have not been able to confirm when the data was deleted and by who.”

Read the entire article at:
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Tokyo Shinbun: “Fukushima Prefecture Deleted SPEEDI Emails”

It is just unbelievable.

Tokyo Shinbun reports that an unnamed official in the Fukushima prefectural government deleted emails that were received between March 11 and March 15, 2011 which contained SPEEDI simulations.

Why? Because, as this official claims,

  1. He didn’t notice there were such emails;
  2. The emails were taking up too much space in the computer.

The excuses may have been somewhat believable in the early 1990s. I guess it is possible that the Fukushima prefectural government is still using Windows 3.1 on a stand-alone PC, dial-up internet connection, and a hard disk with a few megabyte storage.

Article continues at:

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Fuku 2 by StephanusEmbricanus at:

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Now They Tell Us: Fukushima’s Off-Site Center Didn’t Even Have a Map That Showed Areas Outside 10-Kilomter Radius From the Plant

Tokyo Shinbun has another incredible, unbelievable report on how the Japanese government worked (or rather, didn’t work) during the first 5 days of the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident that started on March 11, 2011.

You’ve read about Fukushima Prefecture deleting the emails that had SPEEDI simulation graphics earlier. Now you’re about to learn about the Off-Site Centers.

The Off-Site Centers are located near the nuclear power plants, usually within 10 kilometers from a nuclear power plant. There are 16 of them in Japan, and in case of a nuclear emergency these Off-Site Centers act as the local headquarters for nuclear disaster response.

Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant had one, 5 kilometers west of the plant in Okuma-machi. The officials and the staff who manned the Off-Site Center in Okuma-machi fled the Center on March 15 as the radiation levels shot up to 1 millisievert/hour, leaving the mayors of towns and cities in the affected areas to fend for themselves without any actionable information from the Off-Site Center.

Not only that. The Tokyo Shinbun article says the Okuma-machi Off-Site Center didn’t even have a map that covered the areas outside the 10-kilometer radius from the plant. The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency doesn’t have a plan to fit the Centers with maps that show outside the 10-kilometer radius, because no formal decision has been made to revise the nuclear emergency zoning.

Bureaucrats remain bureaucrats, no matter what. Particularly the Japanese variety. Not even the worst nuclear accident is likely to change them.

Article continues at:

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Japan Atomic Power ignored data on fault threat at Fukui nuclear plant for years: researcher


Japan Atomic Power Co. overlooked for seven years data from its sonic survey of 2005 finding that a fault running under its Tsuruga nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture could trigger an earthquake more serious than anticipated, a government-affiliated researcher alleged Wednesday.

The data’s importance was confirmed through recent re-examination by a team of researchers at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.

Earlier in March, Yuichi Sugiyama, leader of the team, said the Urazoko fault under the plant is at least 35 km long and could trigger a magnitude 7.4 quake. Earlier predictions had estimated the fault could produce a temblor releasing less than half that amount of energy.

 Article continues at:
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Disaster survivors find solace in singing

Survivors of last year’s March disaster prayed for reconstruction in an unusual way. They gathered in a train carriage that remains grounded one year after being hit by the tsunami and held a Karaoke party, singing songs.

A local non-profit group organized the event on Wednesday on the train disabled at a station in Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture.

About 30 participants sang their favorite songs while eating lunch. They applauded when a song about a sole pine tree that survived the disaster was performed.

A woman in her 60s said thinking of the pine tree moved her to tears. She added singing with people who survived the disaster made her feel better.

Sanriku Railway says train stations and tracks were swept away by the tsunami. Operations for around two thirds of the rail lines remain suspended.

The Karaoke event on the train will be held once a month. The train will also be open for visitors to enjoy Karaoke for free on Sundays.

Thursday, March 22, 2012 10:01 +0900 (JST)

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Report: Plutonium ratio 200 times higher than gov’t claims, professor surprised — Detection made 50km south of Fukushima Daiichi (RESULTS)

Translation by: Google
Title: Detection of trace amounts of plutonium in nuclear power plant in Iwaki truth of the disaster area
Date: March  21, 2012




Japan Fieldwork Workshop invites you to a timely presentation…

Nicolas Sternsdorff
PhD Candidate in Social Anthropology,
Harvard University (affiliated with Sophia University)

Sophia University, Yotsuya Campus
Bldg. 10, room 301
Thursday, March 15th

Lecture in English (Japanese discussion welcome)
Free and open to all; no registration necessary

(We usually go out for a beer around the corner
after presentations–and again, all are welcome.)

Abstract: My research looks at questions of food safety
and quality in Japan. I explore how producers, distributors
and consumers are dealing with the fallout of the nuclear
accident, and how notions of what is safe to eat are
being reconfigured in post-Fukushima Japan.

People on all ends of food supply chains have to deal
with the science of radiation, and this has become a
significant part of my study. I am particularly interested
in how safety is defined, and the ways in which people
mobilize scientific arguments to construct foods as
safe or unsafe. The government has set safety standards,
but many of the groups I have been following consider
those to be too high, and I am trying to trace how they
define and put into practice their own safety standards.

At the same time, food safety was already a concern
to many Japanese consumers before the earthquake,
and one of the themes I am exploring is how these
concerns co-exist and affect the ways in which people
approach the threat of radiation.

year, is an open forum for those who are doing
fieldwork in any discipline. It is designed to give
scholars of any status a chance to present work
in progress and to get feedback on the content,
methods and possible directions of their research.

David H. Slater, Ph.D.
Faculty of Liberal Arts
Sophia University, Tokyo




If you are on Facebook, I highly recommend a site:

The Photography of Mariko Nakabayashi

She has displayed her photos taken right after the quake and tsunami of 3.11. Moving, tragic, a visual piece of history of what Japan experienced. 




Update on Marika Yoshida’s moving piece, “I get furious every day, I pray every day” – now available in 6 languages. 

Reblogged here from

I get furious every day, I pray every day : Sharing the words of Marika Yoshida

Ten months after the triple disaster of March 11, Marika Yoshida wrote a note describing her feelings about her daily life in Fukushima. Initially she had not intended to share this, but after being encouraged to do so by friends, she decided to make it available on her Facebook page in edited form. Her note clearly struck a chord with a very large number of readers. Her friend, Reiko san, translated it into English.

When I read Marika san’s note, I was extremely moved. When I learned that she was a friend of Senrinomichi, I felt humbled.

Marika san clearly has enormous energy and enthusiasm, and a wonderfully infectious smile. Otherwise, I only know her through her note, which is quite simply one of the most eloquent and moving pieces I have read in the past ten months.

I have written a lot about wanting to understand the silence in Japan. Marika san’s text helps me to perhaps understand a little better. When people ask why I speak so much about the situation in Fukushima, I will show them her note. I thank her for this, and salute her for her courage, eloquence and for the common decency and humanity which shine through in her words.

Previously we were able to share the Haruki Murakami speech in many languages. I decided that we must try to do the same with Marika san’s note.

To date we have published new translations in French, German, Greek, Italian and Portuguese, as well as Marika san’s original Japanese and Reiko san’s English translation. Thank you to all involved.

English translation

French translation

German translation

Greek translation

Italian translation

Portuguese translation

Original Japanese text

If you are able to help with translation into other languages, please get in touch at or via our Facebook page.




If you haven’t been following the volcanic activity in Spain (Canary Islands), there is a lot of jacuzzi action out in the water off shore. It just yesterday brought hot lava to the surface. Someone managed to get some webcam footage. More details at:
but will add the YouTube vid here (watch the top-left quadrant of the screen):



From EX-SFK:

Ministry of Education Radiation Council’s Official Position: No Need for Special Standard for Food for Infants

Not surprising at all coming from the Ministry of Education, who declared 20 millisieverts per year external radiation exposure for school children would be safe and acceptable.

The Radiation Council, the organization under the Ministry of Education and Science who officially endorses the new radiation standards for foods, has already expressed its dismay on stricter standards as harming the producers. It has just made it “official”.

In an unusual “opinion”, the Council, staffed with nuclear industry insiders and nuclear and radiation researchers, has said the lower safety standards for infants are unnecessary, even though the Council will go along with it.

Which means, perhaps, the new safety standards will be full of “exceptions”, not just beef and rice, rendering the new standards as good as the old. Not to mention the local governments may not even possess or have access to the detectors with much lower detection limits. Maybe the cheapest way to solve the conundrum is going to be the renewed PR campaign that everything sold in the market is safe.

From Jiji Tsushin (2/16/2012):


Radiation Council: Food safety standard for infants “unnecessary”, 100 Bq/kg radioactive cesium limit “sufficient consideration”


The Radiation Council of the Ministry of Education and Science was held on February 16 to discuss the new safety standards for radioactive cesium which had been submitted by the Ministry of Health and Labor for deliberation in the Council. The opinion was expressed that “there is already sufficient consideration for children even without the special safety standard”, which is to be 50 becquerels/kg for “food for infants” and “milk”.


This [formal] opinion states that there is no need for a special standard for children for whom the radiation exposure is feared from ingesting radioactive materials. It is possible that consumers and parents may criticize the Council [over the opinion].


In the new safety standard from the Ministry of Health and Labor, the annual internal radiation exposure limit will be set at 1 millisievert, which is stricter than the existing limit [5 millisievert]. For “food for general consumption” like grains, meat, and vegetables, the safety limit for radioactive cesium will be 100 becquerels/kg. For “food for infants” and “milk”, the safety limit will be 50 becquerels/kg. The new standards are to be introduced in April. However, in the opinion of the Radiation Council, the 100 becquerels/kg standard is already sufficient to keep the annual radiation exposure for children including infants less than 1 year old to less than 1 millisievert.

The first sentence of the last paragraph is not exactly true. 1 millisievert annual limit from internal radiation exposure from food is only about radioactive cesium.

The current provisional safety limit for radioactive cesium, 500 Bq/kg, would result in maximum 5 millisieverts annual internal radiation exposure from food, which the media started to report only toward the end of last year to the surprise of many in Japan. (My Japanese blog had written about it in April last year, but not many people were reading my blog back then.)




Didn’t someone once say, “Not in my backyard”?

Gov’t to mull bill for disposal of radioactive waste outside Fukushima

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Environment Minister Goshi Hosono vowed on Thursday to consider legislation for establishing a final disposal site outside Fukushima Prefecture for radioactive waste from the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

“Legislation is an idea,” he told the House of Representatives Budget Committee, in response to a question from an opposition lawmaker who called for including creation of the site in a Fukushima reconstruction bill that the government introduced last Friday.

“We will pursue final disposal outside the prefecture,” Hosono said while urging Futaba, located near the nuclear plant, to accept a facility for storing such waste for up to 30 years. “We would like to consider how to bind future administrations with this policy,” Hosono added.

The Futaba municipal government has been hesitant to accept the intermediate storage facility, fearing it could eventually become permanent.

“In 30 years, some technology may be developed to downsize waste,” Hosono said. “We hope to make waste more compact for final disposal.”

(Mainichi Japan) February 17, 2012




Goshi Hosono to Municipalities: “Stand Up Against Opposition to Disaster Debris”

A veritable declaration of war against citizens.

From Jiji Tsushin (2/17/2012):


Municipalities should “stand up” in disaster-debris wide area disposal, says Minister of the Environment


During the press conference after the cabinet meeting on February 17, Minister of the Environment Goshi Hosono referred to the start of experimental incineration of disaster debris from Yamada-machi, Iwate Prefecture by Shimada City in Shizuoka and said, “A small municipality like Shimada City has stood up, and so should the heads of the municipalities with the ability to process (disaster debris)”, calling for cooperation from the municipalities all over Japan to process the disaster debris from the March 11, 2011 earthquake/tsunami.


The Ministry of the Environment has been asking the municipalities to accept the disaster debris from Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures, but hasn’t made much progress. Only Tokyo and Yamagata Prefecture have started accepting the debris. Hosono emphasized, “As the one-year anniversary of the quake/tsunami approaches, I want to move the wide-area processing forward, at all cost.”

The state-of-the-art melting furnace of Shimada City in Shizuoka Prefecture is located right in the middle of tea plantations. The mayor’s family is in the business of waste disposal management. The pricey melting furnace needs to have at least 60% of the furnace stuffed with garbage and waste to operate, so the disaster debris is God-sent.

So Shimada City stood up against thousands of residents who did not want disaster debris that was exposed to radioactive fallout from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant to be burned in their city. It may not even be the city that stood up; it was its mayor. Mayor Sakurai went so far as to say “I’m using Shimada City as a guinea pig.




From the WSJ:

Reading Austen in Tokyo

Tepco and the government were made for each other, if only they would admit it

by Joseph Sternberg

An Internet wit offers a facetious summary of Jane Austen’s collected works: “Female Lead: ‘I secretly love Male Lead. He must never know.’ Male Lead: ‘I secretly love Female Lead. She must never know.’ They find out.” While perhaps not entirely accurate with regard to Austen’s novels, it does describe the comedy of manners now unfolding between the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Company, or Tepco.

Nearly a year after an earthquake and tsunami devastated eastern Japan, Tepco is still shaking. Saddled by astronomical costs for clean-up and compensation related to the tsunami-induced disaster at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the company is fighting the government over the terms of a bailout. The government insists on a majority voting share for taxpayers—an effective nationalization—and some officials have even hinted darkly at the prospect of breaking up the vertically integrated utility. Tepco is resisting any dilution of existing owners while trying to hike commercial power rates.

That both sides are making this look like a genuine feud is enough to raise suspicions in a land where subtlety and indirect speech are the norm. Sure enough, there are good reasons to think that despite the conflict, this Jane and Mr. Bingley will end up living happily ever after together by the time the last chapter is written.

Tepco’s calculation is simple: It needs the cash. The government is offering 1 trillion yen ($13 billion) in ready money with which the utility can meet demands for nuclear-related compensation, fully shut down the stricken Fukushima plant, and pay for the more expensive fossil fuels it’s burning now that its former generation mainstay, nuclear, has fallen into ill repute. Tepco recently announced it lost 623 billion yen from April to December 2011.

The utility also can make a cogent argument that government money need not come with managerial strings attached. The taxpayer cash injection would amount to an insurance pay-out. There has been a lot of talk over the past 11 months about pre-tsunami management failures and safety lapses at Tepco. Lost in the shuffle is the fact that whatever its inability to plan for or respond to a once-in-a-hundred-lifetimes natural disaster, the company under normal circumstances would have functioned quite happily indefinitely had Mother Nature not intervened.

That makes Tepco different from the case of Resona Bank, a financial institution Tokyo bailed out in 2003 in exchange for management control. Yukio Edano, the trade minister and government point man on Tepco, now says Tokyo views Resona as a model for how to do intervention. In that case, a long string of management failures on matters such as lending standards prompted government to step in. But there is a less obvious argument that Tepco needs better, government-imposed management to . . . do what, exactly? Stop the next earthquake?

Note that the government’s interests align neatly with Tepco’s, despite Mr. Edano’s strong statements to the contrary. Since honest socialism—paying compensation directly from the government purse—seems to be off the table, Tokyo’s chief goal is to preserve Tepco as a going concern capable of “paying back” over time taxpayer money used for accident payouts today. Yet while it may be impossible to save the utility without taxpayer cash, it likely would be equally impossible to rescue it with the kind of government control Mr. Edano purports to want.

Consider rates. The rate of increase in electricity consumption has been fairly low over the past decade (and sometimes negative), and is likely to remain so for as long as the overall Japanese economy stagnates. That leaves tariff increases as the only way Tepco could realistically expect to raise the additional revenue needed to pay back government bail-out money.

Such increases are proving hard enough now, while Tepco still is nominally a private-sector company. Last month the utility proposed raising rates for commercial customers by some 17% (it also wants to raise household rates, which are capped by regulation). Political uproar ensued, but the company appears to be standing its ground—to the benefit of politicians who will have to cope with less of a Tepco loss thanks to the increase. It would be hard for politicians to inveigh against rate increases approved by their own proxies on the board.

Similarly, the government doesn’t stand to gain much if Tepco were broken up and sold for parts. In theory this would generate sufficient cash to fund compensation claims. But if it didn’t? Good luck finding a buyer for whatever piece of a broken-up Tepco got stuck with the nuclear liabilities, and good luck funding those liabilities without revenue from all the other parts of what as a whole is a viable, cash-generating utility. The government would have to step in to pay compensation directly, in a form of socialism a bit too honest for Tokyo’s liking.

Thus are our protagonists not-quite-so-secretly pining for each other, and eventually will admit their love. They’re likely to do so in a deal where Tepco gets all the cash it needs in exchange for token government board representation, if any. If it all lacks a certain romance, well, it’s business we’re talking about. And anyway, marriage also had a certain mercenary quality in Jane Austen’s day.

Mr. Sternberg edits the Business Asia column.




Factbox: Japan’s hidden nightmare scenario for Fukushima

By Yoko Kubota

TOKYO | Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:13am EST

(Reuters) – Nearly a year after a huge quake and tsunami sparked Japan’s Fukushima nuclear crisis, then-premier Naoto Kan is haunted by the specter of an even bigger disaster forcing tens of millions of people to flee Tokyo and threatening the nation’s existence.

Two weeks after the crisis in March, the head of Japan’s Atomic Energy Commission drew up a worst-case scenario. It was presented to Kan, but never officially released to the public.

Below are key points from the scenario document, obtained by Reuters, that was compiled by commission chairman Shunsuke Kondo and entitled “Sketches of Scenarios of Contingencies at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power plant.”


Multiple vapor and hydrogen explosions and a loss of cooling functions at the six reactors at Tokyo Electric Power Co’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant lead to radiation leaks and reactor failures.

Thousands of spent fuel rods, crammed into cooling pools at the plant, melt and mix with concrete, then fall to the lower level of the buildings.


In a possible domino effect, a hydrogen explosion at one reactor forces workers to evacuate due to high levels of radiation, halting cooling operations at all reactors and spent fuel pools. Reactors and cooling pools suffer serious damage and radiation leaks.


Massive radioactive contamination forces residents in a 170-km radius or further to evacuate while those in a 250-km radius or further may voluntarily evacuate.

Tokyo, Japan’s capital, is located about 240 km (150 miles) southwest of the plant and the greater metropolitan area is home to some 35 million people.

Radiation levels take several decades to fall.


The 9.0 magnitude earthquake and a tsunami exceeding 15 meters knocked out cooling systems at the six-reactor plant and meltdowns are believed to have occurred at Nos. 1, 2 and 3.

Hydrogen explosions occurred at the No. 1 and No. 3 reactor buildings a few days after the quake. Radiation leaks forced some 80,000 residents to evacuate from near the plant and more fled voluntarily, while radioactive materials have been found in food including fish and vegetable and water .

Reactor No. 4 was under maintenance and 550 fuel rods had been transferred to its spent fuel pool, which already had about 1,000 fuel rods. The pool caught fire and caused an explosion.

Reactors No. 5 and 6 reached cold shutdown — meaning water used to cool fuel rods is below boiling point — nearly 10 days after the tsunami but it took more than nine months to achieve that state at Nos. 1-3.

Decommissioning the reactors will take 30 to 40 years and some nearby areas will be uninhabitable for decades.

(Reporting by Yoko Kubota; Editing by Linda Sieg and Jonathan Thatcher)




Monju fast breeder reactor’s sodium detector hits trouble

TOKYO (Kyodo) — A sodium detector at Japan’s prototype fast-breeder reactor Monju went out of order, the government’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said Thursday.

But neither sodium leakage nor damage to the environment has been reported, said the agency under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

The state-run Japan Atomic Energy Agency, the operator of the Monju reactor in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, is currently working to repair the detector, it said.

An alarm sounded at the central control room shortly after 3 p.m. Thursday notifying of trouble at the detector. A fan that sends air around the sodium coolant piping to the detector apparently came to a halt, it said.

(Mainichi Japan) February 17, 2012


File this under, “Just plain wrong.”

Nuclear reactor operation period could be up to 60 years

TOKYO (Kyodo) — The Japanese government said Tuesday nuclear power plant operators could extend the operational life of a reactor by up to 20 years beyond the 40-year limit to be newly introduced under the planned revision of nuclear regulations.




Anger spreads as radioactive gravel traced to schools, public road

NIHONMATSU, Fukushima — Anger and anxiety are spreading here after highly radioactive gravel from inside the Fukushima nuclear disaster evacuation zone was traced on Jan. 17 to several construction projects in the city, including at local schools. Article continues at:




Ministry of Economy to Investigate Other Bldg Materials for Radiation

It has finally occurred to the elite bureaucrats at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry that maybe, just maybe, all the building materials that were stored outdoors since the March 11 Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident may have been contaminated with radioactive fallout from the broken reactors, and not just the crushed stone from the stone pit in Namie-machi, Fukushima Prefecture.
If beef, rice hay, leaf compost are any indication, the contaminated building materials may have spread far and wide already, outside Fukushima Prefecture. Andwhat about the building materials stored outside in places like Tochigi, Ibaraki, and Gunma Prefectures? Or southern Miyagi where the high level of radioactive cesium was detected from the rice hay, and where radioactive cesium in raw milk has seen a spike recently?

For now, those are none of the concerns for the Ministry for now.

Article continues at:




This, from the Wall Street Journal Japan, explains how the pile of rocks got where it is:

Fukushima Radiation: In With the Bricks

By Yoree Koh
Fukushima prefecture has become all too familiar with radioactive hot spots since the March 11 disasters overwhelmed the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. But the discovery of one particular concentration of radiation in Nihonmatsu, a town in the prefecture where many people displaced after March 11 have sought refuge, has provided an unexpected cause for alarm: In a six-month-old apartment development, unusually high radiation levels were detected not in surrounding air or soil, but inside the building itself. The reason for the aberration? Rocks used to make the cement for the building’s construction originated from a quarry in the town of Namie, a coastal village that at its closest point is situated as little as five kilometers from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Article continues at:





The latest from Arnie Gundersen:

Cancer Risk To Young Children Near Fukushima Daiichi Underestimated





Bury the radioactive debris in the elementary school playground to get it out of contact with the air. Never mind that it will probably seep through the plastic bags it’s in and get into the ground, the ground water, and eventually back into the chain of life. Open a bottle of milk in your bathtub and then try getting it back in the bottle.

Rare Look Inside Japan’s Nuclear ‘No Go Zone’




FRONTLINE: Nuclear Aftershocks

Watch at:



Reading nothing but good coming out of Yokohama today. The conference was a stunning success. There will be a lot of blogging about it this week, so keep your eyes peeled when you peruse the sites that comment on Japan’s nuclear situation. How I wish I could have gone and reported on it first-hand.

I was most impressed by the Yokohama Declaration. It can be found in pdf format at:

Yokohama Declaration for a Nuclear Power Free World

The 11 March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and related melt down at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has led to great suffering for the people of Japan and has increased radioactive contamination across the globe. It has also sounded a warning bell throughout the world about the long-term health, environmental and economic risks of nuclear power.

As with Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, the accident at Fukushima has reminded us once again that nuclear technology is unforgiving and accidents cannot be contained. The situation is not under control as declared by the Japanese Government. The nuclear power plant is still unstable and workers continue to work under life-threatening conditions.

Radioactive contamination is spreading. This is a regional and global emergency. People are either forced to flee with their children or live with unacceptable health dangers and prolonged radiation exposure. In Fukushima prefecture, evidence of radioactive material has been found in the breast milk of mothers and the urine of children. Lives are threatened, including those of future generations. The regional economy has been destroyed.

Every step in the nuclear fuel chain has created Hibakusha, a term initially used to describe survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs, but now used for all victims of radiation exposure. Uranium mining, nuclear weapons testing, accidents at nuclear power plants, and the storage and transport of nuclear waste have all created Hibakusha.

The experience of these Hibakusha around the world is one of secrecy, shame and silence. The right to information, health records, treatment and compensation has been inadequate or denied with excuses of “national security” or due to cost. This lack of accountability is not limited to Japan, but is a problem fundamentally present in the nuclear industry everywhere due to the corrupt relationship between governments and the nuclear industry.

We now stand at a crossroads. We have the choice to break out of the nuclear fuel chain and move towards efficient, renewable and sustainable energy that does not threaten health or environment. For the sake of future generations, it is our responsibility to do so. Turning away from nuclear energy goes hand in hand with nuclear weapons abolition, and will contribute to lasting world peace.

The global solidarity shown towards the people of Fukushima and the spirit of those gathered at the Yokohama Global Conference for a Nuclear Power Free World demonstrates that connections between people are truly what will create the foundations for our future.

We call for:

1. The protection of the rights of those affected by the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident; including the right to evacuation, health care, decontamination, compensation and the right to enjoy the same standard of living as before 11 March 2011;

2. Full transparency, accountability and responsibility of the Japanese Government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and the establishment of an independent body to disseminate information to the public to reverse the history of concealing information from the public and releasing contradictory information.3. Ongoing comprehensive data collection and radiation measurement of humans, food, water, soil and air to inform the urgent and necessary measures to minimise the populations exposure to radiation. Data collection will be necessary for generations and inter-agency governmental undertakings and the support of the international community are required. Corporations that have profited from the nuclear industry should carry their share of the costs.

4. A global road map for the phase out of the nuclear fuel cycle – from uranium mining to waste – and the decommissioning of all nuclear power plants. The ‘safety myth’ has been destroyed. Nuclear technology has never been safe and has never survived without massive public subsidies. Renewable energy is proven and ready to be deployed on a decentralised and local scale if only policies to promote it were advanced to support local economies, such as Feed-in-Tariffs.

5. Currently closed Japanese nuclear power plants to not be reopened. Japan’s energy needs can be met by implementation of the Feed-in-Tariff law that has been adopted and the structural separation of ownership of transmission and production of energy.

6. The prohibition of export of nuclear power plants and components, especially to industrialising nations in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

7. Support for local and municipal authorities that play an important role in creating a society not dependent on nuclear power. We encourage solidarity between local municipal leaders, regional parliamentarians and civil society to promote strong communities, decentralization, bottom up approaches and an end to economic, racial and gender discrimination.

8. Actions, demonstrations, seminars and media events to be held throughout the world on 11 March 2012 to protest the treatment of the citizens of Fukushima and call for a nuclear power free world.

Based on the above principles, the participants of the Global Conference have launched the “Forest of Action for a Nuclear Power Free World”, containing concrete plans for action. These many recommendations will be submitted as appropriate to the Japanese Government, governments of other nations, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) and so on.

Over 10,000 people came to the Global Conference for a Nuclear Power Free World in Yokohama, and 100,000 watched online. We, the participants are determined to maintain an international network to support Fukushima, cooperation among those affected by radiation through the Global Hibakusha Network, the establishment of the East Asia Non Nuclear Power Declaration Movement, and a network of local municipal leaders and mayors.

15 January 2012 Declared at the Global Conference for a Nuclear Power Free World Yokohama, Japan

This Declaration was drafted by the Organizing Committee of the Global Conference for a Nuclear Power Free World, and is supported by participants from around the world.




Links to articles on the conference:

  • Antinuke confab urges backing for victims’ rights

YOKOHAMA — Citizens, politicians and scientists wrapped up a large antinuclear conference Sunday at Pacifico Yokohama convention center by summarizing their findings and demanding that sufficient support be given to those affected by the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant….


– – – – – – – – – –

  • Fukushima Fallout: Thousands Protest Against Nuclear Power in Japan
Thousands of demonstrators hit the streets of Yokohama, Japan on Saturday afternoon calling for an end to nuclear energy in Japan after the Fukushima March 11, 2011 disaster that sparked the planet’s worst atomic crisis since Chernobyl. The protest began a 2-day conference committed to fostering global momentum against atomic power….





The number of towns and cities opposed to the restart of Hamaoka (in the Chubu area) is growing: Makinohara, Kikugawa, Kakegawa, Shimada, Yaizu, Fujieda, Fukuroi and Yoshida. Keep the pressure on, folks!

Opponents of Hamaoka nuclear plant restart gain momentum

The Hamaoka nuclear power plant operated by Chubu Electric Power Co. is pictured in Omaezaki, Shizuoka Prefecture, from a Mainichi helicopter in this February 2011 photo. (Mainichi)
The Hamaoka nuclear power plant operated by Chubu Electric Power Co. is pictured in Omaezaki, Shizuoka Prefecture, from a Mainichi helicopter in this February 2011 photo. (Mainichi)

SHIZUOKA — A growing number of municipalities near the suspended Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant in Shizuoka Prefecture are up in arms about plans by operator Chubu Electric Power Co. to restart the plant.

More at:




More news items…

Temperature Remains High at Reactor 2 Pressure Vessel at Fukushima I Nuke Plant

 It went as high as 142 degrees Celsius on January 14 before it came down to 138 degrees Celsius on January 15 at “CRD Housing Upper Part” of the Reactor Pressure Vessel of Reactor 2 at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.

Details and sharts at:




Radioactive Apartment Update: Was Radiation from Crushed Stone Used in Foundation?

(Update: The stone pit operator, Futaba Saiseki Kogyo, sold the crushed stones to the concrete company in Nihonmatsu City in Fukushima which has since closed down. There is no record kept at the concrete company of where the concrete was sold and how much. The stone pit operator sold about 1000 tonnes to the concrete company, and the remaining 4000 tonnes or so to 20 construction companies inside Fukushima Prefecture.

The stone pit operator executive says he didn’t know much about radiation, and that he would have stopped selling if the government had told him to. Information in Japanese, here and here.)


For now, the media has decided to focus on the aggregate in the concrete used in the foundation of the apartment in Nihonmatsu City, Fukushima. The crushed stones from a stone pit in Namie-machi in the planned evacuation zone just outside the no-entry zone were freely shipped and sold until April 22, and several hundred job sites in Fukushima Prefecture may have used the stones.

Details and a translation of the Asahi news report at:




This, from ENENEWS at:

NHK: 3.75 sieverts per hour was detected far above Reactor 3 by helicopters dumping water on Mar. 16


Sent: Thu Mar 17 09:07:38 2011
Subject: FWS “Official Use Only” : 0700 EDT (March 17, 2011) USNRC Earthquake/Tsunami SitRep

Please see attached information and note thatthis is OUO and should not be shared outside the Federal Family. The below information is addressed further in the attachment.

Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan (FEPC) reported at 1015 EST, March 16, 2011:

Dose rate at main gate (monitoring station 6) ranged from 150 mr/hr to 1000 mr/hr.
10 Rem/hr west of Unit 3 and 4 (assuming on roadway next to reactor buildings)
30 Rem/hr between Units 2 and 3
40 Rem/hr between Units 3 and 4

NHK media report on March 17, 0100 EDT stated that helicopter crews dumping water on Unit 3 reactor building reported dose rates at 375 R/hr at 300 ft. above the building

(1 Rem = 10 millisieverts)

See the email here




And this, under bitter humor…

More vegetables are deformed from stress

 photos and commentary at:




Japan Gov’t Data: 65% of marine life test positive for cesium in Nov. — Average catch exceeds new radiation limits @ 111 Bq/kg


Overall, one in five of the 1,100 catches tested in November exceeded the new ceiling of 100 becquerels per kilogram. […]

The Japanese fisheries data seems to support this conclusion. Far from declining, contamination levels in some species were flat or even rose last fall, including species that Japan exports to Canada like skipjack tuna, cod, sole and eel.

In November, the average Japanese catch had 111 becquerels of cesium per kilogram – above the new radiation ceiling of 100 becquerels per kilo that Japan has announced it will implement for food this spring

[…] an increase from the October average of 78 becquerels per kilo [42% increase from Oct. – Nov.].

Above from ENENEWS – details and links at:





I happened to StumbleUpon a website called Deviant Art at

There are quite a few artists who are uploading artwork related to the Fukushima disaster. I would like to include some of these from time to time.






Here is a note that has been making the rounds on Facebook. It is very touching. The person writes from a very deep, personal place, about what it is like for her, living in Fukushima. She realizes that many people may criticize her for being so worried since she currently lives in an area with lower level radiation. I think she is just a normal human being in extraordinary circumstances, someone who needs support and our reaching out in solidarity to her and so many others.

To live in Fukushima My living in Fukushima To live in Fukushima, to me

It means, no more opening the window and taking a deep breath every morning

It means, no more drying our laundry outside

It means, to discard the vegetables grown in our garden

It means, to feel a pang at the sight of my daughter leaving the house with a mask and a dosemeter on, without even being told

It means, not to be able to touch this whitest snow

It means, to get slightly irritated sometimes when I hear the “Fight on, Fukushima” slogan

It means, to notice that I became to breathe shallowly

It means, to tell someone that I live in Fukushima and not be able to help adding “but our area’s radiation is still low…”

It means, to feel that now exist 福島 (Fukushima in Chinese characters) and FUKUSHIMA

It means, to get angry when someone tells us to “stay” feeling “What do you think of our lives?,” and to get angry when someone tells us to “flee” feeling “Don’t say it so easily! It’s not that simple!”

It means, to worry if my 6-year-old girl can get married in the future

It means, to feel like abandoning my responsibilities for having chosen to live in Fukushima

It means, to renew a deep understanding in my gut every morning that our daily lives stand on the thin-ice-like “safety,” which is kept on the sacrifices and efforts of others.

It means, to think every night that I might have to leave this house tomorrow and go far away

It means, to still pray every night that we could live in this house tomorrow

First and foremost, I pray for the health and happiness of my daughter I cannot forget that black smoke I want someone to understand that we still live happily more or less, nonetheless I get furious, everyday I pray, everyday

I have no intention to represent Fukushima. This is what to live in Fukushima means to me, only to me. Today is the 10-month anniversary for Fukushima.




A reader has requested that I repost this video. Gladly.