Novellas express anger after Fukushima disaster

sacred cesium and isa's deluge.jpg“Sacred Cesium Ground and Isa’s Deluge: Two Novellas of Japan’s 3/11 Disaster,” by Yusuke Kimura, translated by Doug Slaymaker (Columbia University Press, 2019, 176 pages, $60 hardcover, $20 paperback)

May 2, 2019
TOKYO >> An anger directed toward Tokyo underlies Yusuke Kimura’s two novellas, “Sacred Cesium Ground” and “Isa’s Deluge.” Born from a keen sense of abandonment felt by the Tohoku region in the aftermath of the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, and the subsequent nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, this anger plays out across stories exploring the post-disaster relationships between humans and animals.
The protagonist in “Sacred Cesium Ground” is a woman who travels to Fukushima Prefecture to volunteer at the Fortress of Hope, a farm where cattle irradiated by the Fukushima No. 1 power plant meltdown are tended to despite a government order to kill them.
Based on the story of a real post-Fukushima ranch, the novella carries with it a weight of research born from the author’s own volunteering, though it proves ultimately unsatisfying, never quite reaching the moment of reinvention that the lead character hints at throughout.
“Isa’s Deluge” is the more readable of the two, with a flow and pacing that draws in the reader. Shortlisted for the Mishima Yukio Prize after it was first published in 2012, it follows a family of fishermen who relate the story of their uncle Isa and his “deluge” of pain and depression, an allegory of the 3/11 tsunami.
Both novellas highlight peripheral voices in the post-3/11 period and ultimately return time and again to that tension between a “sacrificial” Tohoku and an all-powerful capital. These perspectives are those not frequently heard and challenge the widespread narrative of an ever-dominant Tokyo.
https://www.staradvertiser.com/2019/05/02/news/novellas-express-anger-after-fukushima-disaster/?fbclid=IwAR362Oqn0duTDDCRh0Ta6AIklIq8ippMFC1PbBVUp2bN2v4NupNVg1YS_9I

Fukushima soccer facility, repurposed after 3/11 disaster, fully reopens

The madmen’s denial continues, pretending that it is all clean and safe. Like if nothing ever happened. Children’s future sacrificed in the name of politicians’ holy economics.
n-jvillage-a-20190421-870x585.jpg
Children exercise at the J-Village national soccer training center in the town of Naraha, Fukushima Prefecture, on Saturday after it resumed full operations.
April 20, 2019
FUKUSHIMA – The J-Village national soccer training center in Fukushima Prefecture resumed full operation Saturday, eight years after it was converted into an operational base to cope with the nuclear disaster that hit the prefecture in 2011.
The facility, established in 1997, has already been selected as the starting point for the Japan leg of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic torch relay, a move aimed at highlighting the country’s efforts to recover from the devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, that triggered the meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
The torch relay will start at the facility in March 2020.
Until March 2017, the training center was used as a logistics hub and a lodging facility for workers involved in the cleanup and other disaster response operations at the crippled facility located some 20 kilometers to the north. The operational base function has been moved to the power plant.
The training complex has been renovated, and an indoor practice field and hotel with conference rooms have been added.
A large part of the complex had already resumed operations by July 2018, with the exception of two playing fields.
Also on Saturday, East Japan Railway Co. opened a new station near the J-Village.
“I hope (the full reopening) will contribute to Fukushima’s revival,” said a 42-year-old woman arriving at the station on Saturday morning.
The woman, who lives in the prefecture, was planning to visit the J-Village site.

South Korea ban on Fukushima seafood divides Seoul, Tokyo

seafood ban south korea 12 april 2019.jpg
Japanese seafood from Fukushima is banned in South Korea.
April 12, 2019
April 12 (UPI) — South Korea welcomed — while Japan condemned — a World Trade Organization decision to uphold a South Korea ban on Japanese seafood originating from the Fukushima nuclear disaster zone.
Japan is criticizing the decision despite evidence the product is not widely consumed or avoided entirely by Japanese consumers.
“Even though the ruling did not acknowledge that South Korea’s measures comply with the WTO rules, it is extremely regrettable that Japan’s argument was not approved,” Tokyo’s foreign ministry said Friday, after the WTO’s highest court overturned a judgment from 2018. The verdict is final, according to Kyodo and other Japanese news services.
In Seoul, the ruling Democratic Party welcomed the WTO decision. Party spokesman Lee Hae-sik said in statement the verdict reflects the current administration of South Korean President Moon Jae-in to “actively defend the nation’s health and food safety” and described the outcome as a “diplomatic victory,” South Korean news service News 1 reported Friday.
Lee also said the ban on imports of seafood originating from the eight prefectures of Japan’s Tohoku region, which are “at risk” due to the nuclear accidents at Fukushima plants, will be sustained.
Following the WTO verdict, Japan is turning its attention to the specialized United Nations agency.
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga suggested Tokyo will “cooperate closely with the United States” on WTO reform in order to “maintain and strengthen the multilateral trading system.”
But the United States also has partial bans in place against Fukushima products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration continues to monitor the public health risks due to radionuclide contamination and has placed an “import alert” on select Japanese products.
In Japanese fish markets in Tokyo, products labeled “Fukushima region” do not sell well and frequently at below market prices, South Korea television network MBC reported from Japan.
The seafood is not in demand despite safety screenings, according to the report.

Japan pitches safety of food from Fukushima and Tohoku in wake of WTO ruling for South Korea

s3.reutersmedia.net.jpg
April 12, 2019
Japan will seek to reassure other countries about the safety of food produced in areas affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis, officials said Friday, after the World Trade Organization supported South Korea’s import ban on some Japanese seafood.
Fishermen in Tohoku, the region hit hardest by the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami that triggered the triple core meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, expressed disappointment with the WTO’s decision, saying their catches clear strict safety checks before shipment.
The WTO “maintained factual findings that Japanese food products are scientifically safe and satisfy safety standards in South Korea,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press briefing.
“We will continue to ask South Korea and other countries to lift or ease import restrictions based on scientific evidence,” the top government spokesman said.
Japan has taken a series of steps over the years, such as screening food products for radioactive substances before shipment, to alleviate safety concerns.
“It’s been eight years since the nuclear accident. Does it mean that it’s still early (for the ban to be lifted) by global standards?” asked a frustrated Norio Takahashi, a 59-year-old fisherman from Fukushima.
In Iwate Prefecture, Mikio Morishita, 69, who runs a fish processing company, pointed to the difficulty of regaining consumer trust.
“Although food products (from the disaster-hit areas) are safe, we have yet to dispel bad perceptions (among consumers). The ruling is unfortunate because it suggests the world does not have a positive image” of items from Fukushima and its vicinity, Morishita said.
Japan has been promoting its agricultural and seafood exports, which have been growing in recent years and reached ¥906.8 billion ($8.1 billion) in 2018, putting the government’s target of ¥1 trillion for this year in sight.
By holding baseball and soccer games in the disaster-hit region, Japan hopes to present the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in 2020 as a symbol of reconstruction.
“I will promote the high quality of food products (in the disaster-hit areas),” Olympics minister Shunichi Suzuki said at a news conference held just a day after he was reappointed to his role.
The WTO’s appellate body for dispute settlement on Thursday ruled in favor of South Korea’s import ban on fishery products from Fukushima and seven other prefectures, reversing an earlier decision.
Thursday’s ruling is final as the appellate body is the highest authority in the WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism.
Due to fears of radioactive contamination, South Korea expanded its initial ban to include all fishery products from Fukushima and the seven other prefectures in 2013.
A total of 54 countries and regions introduced import restrictions following the meltdowns. The number has since declined, but South Korea is among 23 that are keeping the restrictions in place, according to the Japanese government.

Seoul welcomes WTO’s ruling on Fukushima seafood ban

optimize
Japanese newspapers report about the World Trade Organization’s decision in favor of Korea’s import restrictions on Japanese seafood. Yonhap
April 12, 2019
South Korea on Friday welcomed the World Trade Organization’s decision to rule in favor of Seoul’s import restrictions on Japanese seafood in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and said it would keep the ban in place going forward.
 
The WTO appellate body overturned several points of the 2018 verdict earlier in the day, saying the Seoul government’s measures are not unfair trade restrictions and do not fall into the category of arbitrary discrimination.
 
The appellate body, however, sided with Japan on one point, saying that Seoul has not provided enough information to Tokyo in terms of the import ban measures.
 
“The government has been making all-out efforts to follow the principle of making the health and safety of the people a priority, and the government highly appraises the WTO’s decision,” the Ministry of Trade, Investment and Energy said in a statement.
 
The South Korean government said it hopes that there would be no further trade dispute with Japan.
 
In 2015, Japan officially lodged a complaint at the WTO to challenge South Korea’s import bans and additional testing requirements on fish caught after 2013. Tokyo argued that radioactive levels of its fishery product were lower than those from a number of other nations.
 
The WTO’s dispute settlement body ruled in favor of Japan in February 2018.
 
South Korea has been placing import restrictions on 28 kinds of fish caught from eight prefectures near Fukushima since the nuclear power plant accident.
 
The South Korean government said it will keep the existing import ban on all seafood from the eight prefectures. All Japanese seafood companies will be required to hand in safety certificates when any traces of radiation are found, it added.
 
About 50 countries have maintained bans on imports since the nuclear disaster, but Japan has complained to the WTO about only one country — South Korea.
 
“Currently, 19 more countries have implemented an import ban (on Japanese seafood) at different levels,” said Yoon Chang-yul, the head of the social policy coordination office under the Office for Government Policy Coordination.
 
South Korea, meanwhile, has been replacing its imports of Japanese pollack and mackerel with supplies from Russia and Norway respectively, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said.
 
“In the past, (South Korea) imported around 20,000 to 40,000 tons of pollack and mackerel from Japan. Now the volume is below 3,000 tons,” an official from the ocean ministry said.
 
“It is a sovereign country’s right to implement an appropriate level of protection,” an official from the ministry said. “All countries have different standards, and they cannot be judged under the same standard. The Fukushima crisis broke out in a neighboring country, and we needed to review our protection level in a more strict and thorough manner.” (Yonhap)

Reality of Fukushima – 2019

A message from Yayoi Hitomi, March 2019

I remember in 2011 or 2012, a deal between a US company and the Japanese government, buying geiger counters, which failed because the Japanese government wanted that US company to under-calibrate its Geiger-counters, which the US company refused to do. So it is quite possible that all those public monitors have been under-calibrated….

Evacuation Order to be lifted in Okuma, the Fukushima Daiichi Plant Town

In total denial of the existing radiation risks the Japanese government will lift on April 10 the evacuation order in Okuma, one of two towns where the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is located. The Japanese government thus continues its so-called ‘reconstruction’ campaign, which in reality in nothing else but a disinformation campaign of denial orchestrated without any real care for the lives of the people, nor for their basic human right to live a normal life protected from radiation, all which is being done in the name of  the Japanese government’s holy economics and the coming  recovery showcase 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
f0a0119c69e971b312c30e584602910aadd6837f.jpg
A geiger counter attached to a fence near the Daiichi power plant measures radiation in Okuma town, Fukushima prefecture A geiger counter attached to a fence near the Daiichi power plant measures radiation in Okuma town, Fukushima prefecture
March 26, 2019
The government plans to lift the order for part of Okuma town on April 10…
“We have determined the radiation level in the environment has fallen sufficiently as a result of decontamination work,” said Yoshihiko Isozaki, the head of the government’s nuclear emergency response headquarters…
… The evacuation order will remain in place for so-called difficult-to-return zones still registering high radiation levels..
… As of the end of February, only 374 people out of the previous 10,000 residents were registered as residents of the targeted areas…
… Japan’s government has lifted evacuation orders across much of the region affected by the meltdown – allowing residents to return – as Tokyo has pressed an aggressive decontamination programme involving removing radioactive topsoil and cleaning affected areas….
… But not everyone has been convinced, with a poll conducted in February by the Asahi Shimbun daily and Fukushima local broadcaster KFB finding that 60 per cent of Fukushima region residents still felt anxious about radiation….
… “People have the freedom to go back if they want to, but personally I am against living in areas where there are no children and no places to work,” said a 72-year-old man, who has relocated to the nearby city of Iwaki.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen when they remove (nuclear) debris” at the crippled plant, co-hosted by the towns of Okuma and Futaba, he added…
… No one is officially recorded as having died as a result of radiation from the accident, but last year, the government for the first time acknowledged the death from cancer of a man involved in the clean-up….
… As of the end of February, around 52,000 people remain displaced because of evacuation orders or because they are unwilling to return, according to Japan’s Reconstruction Agency.
jokklm.jpg
This March 10, 2018 photo shows barricades installed in Okuma, a Fukushima Prefecture town near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, designated as an evacuated zone.