FUKUSHIMA A RECORD OF LIVING THINGS

“The Fukushima nuclear disaster must have brought about huge damage not only to us humans, but also to countless animals”
A sad video from 2016, by director Masanori Iwasaki
in 4 episodes, about 3mins each
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3/11 survivors may struggle to repay loans

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Many people in areas of Japan hit by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami worry that they may have trouble repaying loans extended by local governments to help in rebuilding their lives.
 
Municipalities can lend up to 31,000 dollars to each household affected by disasters.
 
The Cabinet Office says that as of the end of October, municipalities have lent some 460 million dollars in over 29,000 cases related to the March 11th disaster.
 
Three prefectures were hit hardest by the disaster. Households in Miyagi were lent the most at about 360 million dollars. Fukushima came next at roughly 52 million dollars and those in Iwate received some 24.6 million dollars.
 
As of the end of October, nearly 90 percent of planned public housing units for disaster survivors had been completed in the 3 prefectures.
 
But pensioners and people whose income has dropped since the disaster worry about their ability to pay off the loans. Repayment periods began this month.
 
Many people used the lending system after the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake in western Japan. Roughly 27.5 million dollars in loans have not been repaid in Kobe City.

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The Japanese Government Is Lying to the International Community: the Radiological Situation in and around Fukushima is NOT Safe

A report from NIRS (Nuclear Information and Resource Service, in USA)
The Japanese government has created foreign language websites which provide the information about radiology in general and the radiological situation in Fukushima. Journalists around the world, our friends and acquaintances living abroad are continually asking us whether the information that these Japanese central and local government websites present to the international community is correct or not. The following is our answer.
 
Appeal from a Japanese Anti-nuclear Activist Etsuji Watanabe
Nov.29 2017 Revised (Oct.12 2017)
Etsuji Watanabe: Member of the Japanese anti-radiation citizen-scientist group ACSIR (Association for Citizens and Scientists Concerned about Internal Radiation Exposures)
Special thanks to Mrs Yuko Kato, Mr Ruiwen Song, Ms Nozomi Ishizu, Mrs Kurly Burch, Ms Jennifer Alpern, and Mark Bennett Yuko Kato: Evacuee from Fukushima, member of the Kansai plaintiff group for compensation against TEPCO and government Ruiwen Song: Taiwanese freelance journalist.
The Japanese government has created foreign language websites which provide the information about radiology in general and the radiological situation in Fukushima. Journalists around the world, our friends and acquaintances living abroad are continually asking us whether the information that these Japanese central and local government websites present to the international community is correct or not. The following is our answer.
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[Question 1]
The stories uploaded on these websites give people the impression that worrying about radiation is unnecessary. As for this impression, has Fukushima now really become a safe place to live or visit?
[Answer]
First of all, Japanese anti-nuclear activists and evacuees from contaminated areas in Fukushima and Kanto, have been warning people all over the world NEVER to trust what the Japanese government is saying about both radiology in general and the specific radiological health effects caused by the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster (hereafter Fukushima accident) following the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami on March 11th, 2011.
Prime-minister Shinzo Abe and the Japanese government as a whole including Fukushima prefectural government have repeatedly declared that “with regard to health-related problems (of the Fukushima accident), I (Abe) will state in the most emphatic and unequivocal terms that there have been no problems until now, nor are there any at present, nor will there be in the future.” (Abe’s statement at a news conference). See the Japanese government website here.
This claim is completely fabricated and false. In making these claims, the Japanese government is blatantly ignoring the vast number of studies in radiological sciences and epidemiology that have been accumulating historically. By engaging in this behavior, the Japanese government has been systematically deceiving the public, both nationally and internationally.
Just think of the amount of radioactivity released during the Fukushima accident. As you know, one of the standards used to assess the extent of radioactive releases and longtime human health effects is the levels of cesium 137 (Cs137) released into the environment. Based on the Japanese government data (which is an underestimate), the Fukushima accident released 168 times the Cs137 discharged by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. This amount is almost the equivalent to the total atmospheric nuclear explosions conducted by the United States on the Nevada test ground. The Nevada desert is not designated as a residential area, but the Japanese government has recommended evacuated residents return to live in areas with radiation levels of up to 20 mSv/year. By removing economic support for evacuees, the Japanese government has forced many people who had evacuated from these areas to return.
We estimate that in the Fukushima accident approximately 400-600 times the Cs137 were released into the atmosphere by the atomic bomb blast in Hiroshima. Roughly 20% of the Cs137, or 80-120 Hiroshima-equivalents, were deposited on Japan. Of this, the decontamination efforts have only been able to retrieve five Hiroshima-equivalents. The waste from decontamination efforts is typically stored all over Fukushima mostly in mountainous heaps of large plastic bags. This means that 75-115 Hiroshima-equivalents of Cs137 still remain in Fukushima, surrounding prefectures, and all over Japan.
In addition, the Japanese government is now planning to reuse the retrieved contaminated soil under 8000Bq/kg in public works projects all over Japan. This self-destructive program has now been partially started without any announcements as to where the contaminated soil are and will be reused, under the pretext of “avoiding damage caused by harmful rumors”. This project is tantamount to scattering lethal fallout of Cs137 equivalent to about 5 times that of Hiroshima bomb all over Japan. The Japanese government is literally behaving like a nuclear terrorist.
Do you really imagine that Fukushima prefecture and surrounding areas, contaminated as they are to levels similar to the Nevada test site, is really a safe place for people to permanently live, or for foreign tourists to visit and go sightseeing?
Regrettably, we must conclude that it is not, for either residents or tourists the situation in Fukushima is not safe.
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[Question 2]
These websites also point out that the international annual dose limit for the public is at 1mSv, but this level is easily exceeded by only one CT-scan, insinuating that this 1mSv standard is set too low and thus not a useful indicator.
[Answer]
CT-Scans are often cited as if they had no radiation risks, But this is not true. A recent study clearly shows that every CT-scan (about 4.5mSv irradiation) increases the risk of cancers in children by 24%. See the website here.
In Fukushima the allowable level of radiation per year for residents is now 20mSv. Can you imagine having 4-5 CT-scans every year?
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[Question 3]
One of the websites states: “In Fukushima, the indoor radiation doses are now so reduced that no radioactive cesium can be found in the air. Therefore, no radioactive particles can invade the human body during breathing.” What do you think of this statement?
[Answer]
The Japanese government also ignores the long-term peril caused by “hot particles” ――micron-and- nano-sized radioactive particulates――which, if inhaled or absorbed into the human body, may lead to many kinds of cancers and other diseases including cardiac failure. We should consider internal irradiation to the cells near the radiation sources to be 500 times more dangerous than external irradiation because particles inside the body radiates very near or even inside cells, causing intensive damage to DNAs and other cell organs such as mitochondria.
 
[Question 4]
These websites explain that there exists not only artificial but also natural radioactivity, thus people are living in an environment surrounded by radiation all the time in everyday life.
[Answer]
One of the main tactics that the Japanese government often uses to propagate the “safety of low level irradiation” is to compare artificial radioactivity with natural radioactivity. But this logic is a methodological sleight of hand. It is crystal-clear that even exposure to natural radioactivity has its own health risks. Cancers sickened and killed people long before artificial radioactivity was used. For example, Seishu Hanaoka, one of the founders of Japan’s medicine, carried out 152 breast cancer surgeries from 1804 to 1836.
Both kinds of radioactivity have their own health risks. Risks caused by artificial radioactivity should not be compared but be added to the natural radioactivity risks as they both lead to the accumulation of exposure.
For example, potassium 40 (K40) is a typical natural radioactive nuclide. According to  the Japanese government, the average internal exposure dose for adults from K40 is about 4,000Bq/year or 0.17mSv/year. See the website here (in Japanese).
The ICRP risk model (2007) allows us to estimate the approximate risk posed by K40. The calculation shows that K40 is responsible for approximately 4,000 cancer cases and 1,000 deaths every year. If the same amount of radiation was added to that of K40 in the human body by artificial sources, the cancers and mortalities would be doubled to 8,000 and 2,000 a year, respectively. Based on the ECRR (2010) model, which criticizes the ICRP risk model as a severe underestimate, these figures should be multiplied by 40, reaching 320,000 and 80,000, respectively.
The extract you cite from the Fukushima government website is completely fake: “In Fukushima, the indoor radiation doses are now so reduced that no radioactive cesium can be found in the air. Therefore, no radioactive particles can invade the human body during respiration”. Reports from civic radiation measurement stations refute this claim. For example, dust collecting paper packs of vacuum cleaners used in Iwaki City, Fukushima prefecture, are radiologically measured and 4,800-53,900Bq/kg radioactive cesium was detected in Oct-Dec 2015. See the website here (in Japanese).
 
[Question 5]
One of the websites says that the Fukushima prefecture has conducted whole-body counter screenings of the 170,000 local population so far but cesium was rarely detected.” Does this mean that we can safely consume food from Fukushima, and Fukushima residents are no longer being exposed internally to radiation?
[Answer]
This is a typical example of demagogy by the Japanese government: vague expressions lacking specific data, using the words “safe and secure” without clear explanation. In reality, the government has not publicized any data indicating serious irradiation of the population. For example, you mentioned the Fukushima prefectural government website saying that whole-body counter screenings of 170,000 members of the local population have found radioactive Cs only in very few cases. However, the fact that no specific number is given makes the statement suspicious.
These statistics, more than likely, exclude many firefighters or other municipal employees who, at the time of accident, helped local residents evacuate from a lot of contaminated areas surrounding the defunct Fukushima plant. These people were subjected to serious radiation doses.
Civic groups’ efforts for the disclosure of information has recently prompted city officials near the defunct plant to disclose the fact that it conducted whole-body counter check-ups on about 180 firefighters, nurses and municipal employees. According to Koichi Ohyama, a member of the municipal assembly of Minami Soma, the screening conducted in July, 2011, showed almost all of these people tested positive in Cs. The maximum Cs137 dose among the firefighters was as high as 140,000 Bq. This data reveals a part of the reality of irradiation but it is only a tiny part.
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[Question 6]
The government websites suggest that no health effects from irradiation have been reported in Fukushima. Is this true? Or have any symptoms appeared that indicate an increase in radiation-induced diseases in Fukushima?
[Answer]
One example is the outbreak of child thyroid cancer, but the Japanese government has been denying the relationship with irradiation from radioactive iodine released from the Fukushima disaster.
Japan’s population statistics reflect the health effects from the Fukushima disaster radioactivity. The following data clearly show that diseases increasing in Fukushima are highly likely to have been radiation-induced.
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[Question 7]
The Fukushima prefecture website says, “After the Fukushima accident, the Japanese government has introduced the provisional standards for radioactive iodine and cesium. The Fukushima prefectural government subsequently strictly regulated distribution and consumption of food with levels of radioactivity exceeding the provisional standards. Now we have had this new much stricter standard. The distribution and consumption  of food exceeding this new standard has been continuously regulated; therefore any food on the market is safe to consume.” Is it true?
[Answer]
As for food contamination, the Japanese government has also tried to cover up the real picture. First, the current government standard for radioactivity in food, 100Bq/kg, is dangerously high for human health, especially for fetuses, infants, children and pregnant women. Even six and a half years after the accident, the Agriculture Ministry of Japan as well as many civic radioactivity measurement stations all over the country have reported many food contamination cases, although the frequency is evidently reduced. See the website here.
The Japanese government has underestimated the danger presented by internal irradiation. But, we must consider two important factors. (1) The wide range of difference in personal radio-sensitivity. According to Professor Tadashi Hongyo (Osaka University Medical Faculty), the maximum difference is as wide as 100 times in terms of biological half-life of Cs137. (2) Recent studies denying that the so-called biological half-life decrease curve actually exists. According to the new model, daily food contamination can cause concentrations to accumulate as time passes. Even a daily 1Bq internal radiation dose from food cannot be safe for human health (details below).
Our recommendation is to be cautious of food or produce from Fukushima and the surrounding areas, and, even if contamination levels are said to have now generally decreased, to avoid jumping to the conclusion that all the food is fit to eat.
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[Question 8]
We would like to ask about the situations in prefectures surrounding Fukushima. A television program once reported, “As for the safety of Tochigi and Gunma prefectures, few people are raising concern about health effects of radiation.” Is it true that the prefectures somewhat distant from the Fukushima Daiichi plant are now safe with no human risk?
[Answer]
Regarding the radioactive contamination in prefectures surrounding Fukushima, you can refer to the following website.
This article examines the contamination in the Tokyo metropolitan area, but conditions are the same or more serious in Tochigi or other prefectures north of Tokyo, nearer to the defunct Fukushima Daiichi plant.
Another example is the statistics of stillbirth and neonatal mortality in Fukushima and the surrounding five prefectures (Tochigi, Gunma, Ibaragi, Miyagi, Iwate) shown here.
Perinatal mortality in not only Fukushima prefecture but also neighboring prefectures rose 15.6% just 10 months after the accidents. This clearly indicates the existence of some kind of human health damage from radiation.
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[Question 9]
We would like to ask about the decontamination efforts by famers living in Fukushima and neighboring prefectures. Should we think highly of the farmers measuring the amount of radiation deposited on the surface of soil to create radiation maps for farms, or washing the radiation from the surface of every single tree off the radiation with high-pressure washers? The farmers said that while these methods have been shown to be radiologically effective, their produce did not sell well, because consumers are still feeling anxious about health risks. Does the problem of radioactive food contamination in Japan just end up in whether each consumer personally believes it safe or not?
[Answer]
We must raise a question that, despite the government’s decontamination efforts, a huge amount of radioactive materials deposited in mountainous areas remain untouched. Now they are re-dispersing and re-depositing over wide areas of Fukushima and surrounding prefectures via winds, cars, trains, river water, pollen, spores, emissions from incinerators, in the form of radioactive dusts and particulates, among many others. For an example, see the following website.
So I regret to say that, although these farmers’ endeavors you mentioned are very precious and respectable, they are not sufficient to completely eliminate the risk of radiation exposure from food. The problem exists objectively in the nuclear materials deposited on and in soil, algae, plants, houses, buildings, forests, animal and human bodies, not subjectively in the consumers’ sentiment or psychology.
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[Question 10]
Japanese experts have recently pitched a cultivation method that can remove cesium by intensive use of potassium fertilizer. Is this method effective at all? Do you have any doubt about their claims?
[Answer]
They seem to be among those experts who have been criticizing the general public’s tendency to demand “zero irradiation risk” as an obstacle to Fukushima reconstruction.
As you know, cesium (Cs) has chemically similar characteristics to potassium (K). So it is true that higher levels of application of potassium fertilizer lowers the plant’s absorption, and therefore concentration, of radioactive Cs, decreasing Cs137/134 concentrations in produce, often to below the government standard of 100Bq/kg. But the following problems remain: (1) This procedure can prevent Cs transfer from the soil to produce only partly, not completely; (2) This process raises the potassium concentration in the produce and therefore heightens the burdens on certain human organs such as kidneys, the heart and the nervous system, causing new health risks; (3) Heightened concentration of potassium also leads to the heightened concentration of radioactive K40, so the reduced risk of radioactive Cs lead to an increased risk of internal irradiation by K40.
 
[Question 11]
Even if cesium concentration was reduced by applying more potassium fertilizer than usual, strontium contamination would remain. In Japanese government’s international press campaign as to the Fukushima accident, almost nothing has been said about strontium. If you have any information on strontium contamination, let us know.
[Answer]
We regret that the information about strontium that you are asking for is very limited and searching for it is also a challenge for us. The Japanese government and research institutes under the government have reported very limited data regarding strontium contamination. But it is important that the Japanese government admits the fact of strontium contamination within 80km from the defunct Fukushima plant. See the website here.
Did you know that the US Department of Energy data on the strontium contamination of soil in Japan and its visualization (in Japanese)  can be seen on the websites here?
 
[Question 12]
Some Japanese experts say, “the Japanese government has declared that no health effects from irradiation below 100mSv (or 100mSv/year) have been confirmed.” Some farmers have established a private food standard of 20Bq/kg, much lower than the Japanese government standard of 100Bq/kg. Do you think that doses under 100mSv or under 20Bq/kg are safe and secure?
[Answer]
As you mentioned, the Japanese government claims that no scientific studies verify that irradiation of 100mSv or less poses a threat to human health, suggesting that irradiation under 100mSv has no risk. This, however, is false. The government is fabricating this information. In fact, very many scientific studies have already confirmed and proven health effects induced by irradiation under 100mSv. For example, see the websites below.
 
The Japanese government is using the term “100mSv” in a deliberately ambiguous and confusing manner. The expression 100mSv can have three meanings: (1) a one-time irradiation dose, (2) cumulative irradiation doses, or (3) annual irradiation doses. So 100mSv is not the same as, nor equal to the 100mSv/year that you mentioned in parenthesis. The latter amounts to a 1Sv in cumulative dose over 10 years (which is an up to 10% lethal dose), and 5Sv over 50 years (which is a 50% lethal dose). The present government standard for evacuees to return, 20mSv/year, means that living there for 5 years leads to a cumulative dose of 100mSv, at which the Japanese government admits clear health risks.
Regarding 20Bq/kg as some farmers’ private food standard, it is critical to pay serious attention to the extraction process of Cs from tissues. Japanese-Canadian non-organic biochemist Eiichiro Ochiai points out in his book “Hiroshima to Fukushima, Biohazards of Radiation” (2014) that, based on the Leggett model, the Cs concentration injected in tissues at one time diminishes relatively quickly for about 10 days in most tissues. After that, processes slow down, tending to become steady. He writes: the decrease of the overall Cs level in the body does not follow an exponential decay curve (p.83). This means that consecutive intake of Cs, even in very low levels, results in the accumulation of Cs in the body. (Incidentally, Ochiai’s book can be downloaded for free from the website below.)
Regarding the Leggett model, see the website below.
Yuri Bandazhevsky considers over 10Bq/kg of radioactive Cs concentrations in the body to be unsafe because even this low level can possibly cause abnormal electrocardiographic pattern in babies, metabolic disorders, high blood pressure, cataracts, and so on.
Therefore, we can conclude unequivocally that neither the irradiation under 100mSv nor the privately set 20Bq/kg food standard are safe and secure.
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A Call for Working Together to Enact the Chernobyl Law in Japan

By Masami Ueno (Director of Fukushima-Iseshima Association)
 
Fukushima-Isehima Association is a Non-Profit Organization located in Mie Prefecture in Japan. We have been helping the evacuees (be it forced or volunteered) from Fukushima to settle in Mie Prefecture and providing the children of Fukushima with recuperation programs in Mie since March 2011. We also send fresh vegetables to families in Fukushima.  
 
Our activities mentioned above have been supported by generous donations and grants. However, after six years have passed, we have realized that what private organizations—like ours—can do is limited. Yet, our activities are still necessary for many people since radiation continues to be released into the air every day as the result of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Then, the question is how we can tackle with such an unprecedented scale of disaster. To be honest, we are at a loss. However, there are two important precedents we should follow. 
 
The first instance is the Chernobyl Law that was established by the government of the former Soviet Union for the people affected by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in order to protect their lives and health from radiation. The Chernobyl Law is also the first law in the world that manifests the universal human rights to the life of the people affected by the radiation disaster. We believe that Japan must enact the law equivalent to the Chernobyl Law.  
 
Another instance is Japan’s Freedom of Information Law that was established by the government of Japan in 1999. This law was the product of the accumulated efforts made by the citizens all over Japan; those citizens requested their own local governments and members of the city councils to enact the Freedom of Information Law at the municipal levels. This citizen movement eventually led to the enactment of this law at the national level. We can establish Japan’s Chernobyl Law by following this history and experience of the civil actions that eventually realized the Freedom of Information Law in Japan.
 
We would like to work together with many of you toward the enactment of Japan’s Chernobyl Law in order to protect our health and lives from the radiation disaster.
Please take a moment to read the following. We hope that you support our idea and join our effort to establish Japan’s Chernobyl Law.
 
Five years after the Chernobyl nuclear accident, the so-called “Chernobyl Law” was established by the former Soviet Union; it was then succeeded by the governments of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus after the dissolvement of the Soviets.  
 
All these governments have guaranteed the right to evacuation for the residents living in the contaminated areas by radiation, while providing the people living in the areas to which the evacuation orders were issued with the social security. The three countries are not necessarily in a sound economic situation; consequently, they are not able to fulfill all the compensations stimulated by the law. Nonetheless, the Chernobyl Law is still significant for human history as it identifies the government as the primary responsible for the nuclear disaster and guarantees the unconditional right to evacuation for the residents living in areas where one’s exposure to radiation would exceed 1 mSv/year.
 
On the other hand, the Japanese government raised the standard of public dose limit for radiation exposure from 1 mSv to 20 mSv per year after the Fukushima nuclear accident, and continues to maintain the same dose limit as the safety standard, which turns to be the criteria for the government to lift the evacuation order today. 
 
Furthermore, the Fukushima Health Management Survey Committee has renounced the possibility of causal relation between the increasing number of thyroid cancers among the Fukushima children and radiation, and has never taken a drastic measurement for the health problems among the residents of Fukushima.
 
Japan’s radiation risk management policy considerably differs from that of the three former USSR countries, which set up 1 mSv/ year as the public dose limit for radiation exposure and provide the social security for the people who are diagnosed as a possible victim of the radiological consequences of the Chernobyl nuclear accident.
 
Immediately after the Chernobyl nuclear accident, the government of the former Soviet Union raised the standard of the public dose for radiation exposure from 1 mSv to 100 mSv/year; and some experts insisted that 100 mSv/year was ‘safe’ even around the period where the Chernobyl Law was being established. However, the public dose limit was reversed to 1mSv/year, which is the international standard, because the nuclear power plant workers, who had dealt with the accident, fiercely opposed to the government’s policy of 100 mSv as the post-Chernobyl public dose limit. 
 
We, the citizens in Japan, too, experienced the nuclear catastrophe that reminded us of the dignity of life.
We must speak out and take actions in order to establish Japan’s Chernobyl Law.
                                                          
May 2017
 
Please contact us if you like to work with us to draft a model plan and formulate a procedure to enact the law at the municipal level. The below is our contacts:
 
Email:
ueno_masami_1108@yahoo.co.jp(Masami Ueno)
noam@m6.dion.ne.jp(Toshio Yanagihara)
 

11,800 homes to be destroyed in areas evacuated from the nuclear disaster

“Nothing will ever be the same again and no return to normal is possible.”
The homes of the evacuated areas have remained abandoned for several years after being damaged by the March 2011 earthquake. Many are no longer repairable and must be destroyed.
According to the latest data, in the 11 municipalities evacuated, there are 11,800 applications for demolition, not to count the most contaminated areas, modestly called difficult to return zones, 8,700 homes have already been demolished.
The Ministry of the Environment wanted to finish by March 2018, this may not be possible. They were 6,700 last April.
According to the Fukushima Minpo, new demands continue to arrive even after evacuation orders are lifted.
In Tomioka and Namié, where evacuation orders were lifted last April, more than 400 new demolition applications have been filed in each municipality since April 1, 2017, it’s more than the number of demolitions over the same period. The Ministry of the Environment is considering extending the deadline for filing applications.
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Demolition of decrepit homes progressing in Fukushima 6 years, 8 months after disaster
This destruction of the living environment, landmarks and the past is one of the sad consequences of the nuclear disaster which caused prolonged evacuations. Nothing will ever be more like before and no return to normal is possible.
Dilapidated houses left in evacuated areas of Fukushima Prefecture following the 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi plant are being torn down at a steady pace of late. Of some 11,800 homes subjected to demolition applications by October in 11 municipalities where evacuation zones were once set up, about 8,700, or 70%, have been scrapped. Difficult-to-return zones are not included in the demolition work. Applications have been increasing even after the start of fiscal 2017 in April in the towns of Namie and Tomioka where evacuation orders were lifted this spring. As of last year, the Environment Ministry had targeted work completion by the end of fiscal 2017 through next March. But attaining the goal remains uncertain at present.
 
■Accelerating demolition work
 
Of the residences for which demolition applications were in place, all 19 have been dismantled in Tamura city and all 102 in Kawauchi village. About 360 houses out of some 390 have been taken down in Kawamata town, about 1,330 out of some 1,420 in Naraha town and about 340 out of some 360 in Katsurao village, marking a progress rate of more than 90% each. In Minamisoma city, about 2,350 homes have been demolished, nearly 90% of some 2,670 requested.
 
As of last April, approximately 6,700 houses had been dismantled, about 60% of some 10,900 applied for. In half a year since then, roughly 2,000 residences were removed. The ministry spurred surveys, preparatory work and other undertakings necessary for demolition in an effort to establish a living environment for returning evacuees, focusing on areas where evacuation has been terminated.
 
■Demolition requests greater than expected in Namie, Tomioka
 
Of municipalities where evacuation orders were eliminated this spring, Tomioka saw demolition work completed on some 1,700 houses, about 70% of almost 2,400 targeted, Namie on roughly 1,660, approximately 60% of some 2,840, and Iitate village on about 740, only 50% of some 1,390. Notable are swelling demolition applications in Tomioka and Namie, where more than 400 requests have been submitted each since the start of fiscal 2017, far exceeding the pace at which demolition work was assumed to be undertaken for completion by the end of the fiscal year. According to the ministry, many evacuees live in places far away from their hometowns, requiring substantial time for them to confirm the current status of their houses before applying for demolition. Against this backdrop, it is set to wait and continue accepting further applications.
 
If the demolition of aging houses is prolonged, they pose the risk of collapsing, possibly causing adverse effects on the hygienic environment around them. “We have to undertake demolition work while securing safety amid progress in the permanent return of evacuees,” said an official of the ministry’s environment office in Fukushima, indicating difficulty to accelerate the work drastically. “But we want to complete the work as soon as possible.”

NEDO, Fukushima Pref. Sign Cooperation Pact on Robot Tests

“To revitalize Fukushima Prefecture”, signing of a technological cooperation agreement with NEDO (organization for the development of new energies and industrial technologies), for tests of drones and robots ; construction of a huge site of 50 hectares straddling the municipalities of Minamisoma and Namie …

 

Screenshot from 2017-11-25 16-37-16.png
 
Koriyama, Fukushima Pref., Nov. 22 (Jiji Press)–The New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization on Wednesday concluded a cooperation pact with the Fukushima prefectural government on the development of technologies for demonstration tests for drones and robots.
The organization, better known as NEDO, aims to establish technologies to accurately measure the durability and safety of drones and robots, utilizing the Fukushima Robot Test Field, a planned large test site over 50 hectares that straddles the city of Minamisoma and the town of Namie in a coastal region in the northeastern Japan prefecture.
The Fukushima government is building the site as part of efforts to revitalize the coastal region, devastated by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami and the subsequent nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s <9501> Fukushima No. 1 power plant. The test site will partly enter into service in fiscal 2018.
Various demonstration tests will be conducted there, such as one to check a robot’s capabilities to conduct underwater inspections of old dams using a 7-meter-deep pool.
NEDO plans to develop technology to check whether drones can fly stably in strong wind. For this, the central government-linked organization will use a wind tunnel facility to be set up in the site.
 

Fukushima Darkness

“Japan is a totalitarian corporate state where corporate interests are protected from liability by layers of subcontractors and by vested interests of powerful political bodies and extremely harsh state secrecy laws. As such, it is believed that nuclear safety and health issues, including deaths, are underreported and likely not reported at all in most cases. Therefore, the worldview of nuclear power, as represented in Japan at Fukushima Daiichi, is horribly distorted in favor of nuclear power advocacy.”
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The radiation effects of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant triple meltdowns are felt worldwide, whether lodged in sea life or in humans, it cumulates over time. The impact is now slowly grinding away only to show its true colors at some unpredictable date in the future. That’s how radiation works, slow but assuredly destructive, which serves to identify its risks, meaning, one nuke meltdown has the impact, over decades, of 1,000 regular industrial accidents, maybe more.
It’s been six years since the triple 100% nuke meltdowns occurred at Fukushima Daiichi d/d March 11th, 2011, nowadays referred to as “311”. Over time, it’s easy for the world at large to lose track of the serious implications of the world’s largest-ever industrial disaster; out of sight out of mind works that way.
According to Japanese government and TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) estimates, decommissioning is a decade-by-decade work-in-progress, most likely four decades at a cost of up to ¥21 trillion ($189B). However, that’s the simple part to understanding the Fukushima nuclear disaster story. The difficult painful part is largely hidden from pubic view via a highly restrictive harsh national secrecy law (Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets, Act No. 108/2013), political pressure galore, and fear of exposing the truth about the inherent dangers of nuclear reactor meltdowns. Powerful vested interests want it concealed.
Following passage of the 2013 government secrecy act, which says that civil servants or others who “leak secrets” will face up to 10 years in prison, and those who “instigate leaks,” especially journalists, will be subject to a prison term of up to 5 years, Japan fell below Serbia and Botswana in the Reporters Without Borders 2014 World Press Freedom Index. The secrecy act, sharply criticized by the Japanese Federation of Bar Associations, is a shameless act of buttoned-up totalitarianism at the very moment when citizens need and in fact require transparency.
The current status, according to Mr. Okamura, a TEPCO manager, as of November 2017: “We’re struggling with four problems: (1) reducing the radiation at the site (2) stopping the influx of groundwater (3) retrieving the spent fuel rods and (4) removing the molten nuclear fuel.” (Source: Martin Fritz, The Illusion of Normality at Fukushima, Deutsche Welle–Asia, Nov. 3, 2017)
In short, nothing much has changed in nearly seven years at the plant facilities, even though tens of thousands of workers have combed the Fukushima countryside, washing down structures, removing topsoil and storing it in large black plastic bags, which end-to-end would extend from Tokyo to Denver and back.
As it happens, sorrowfully, complete nuclear meltdowns are nearly impossible to fix because, in part, nobody knows what to do next. That’s why Chernobyl sealed off the greater area surrounding its meltdown of 1986. Along those same lines, according to Fukushima Daiichi plant manager Shunji Uchida: ”Robots and cameras have already provided us with valuable pictures. But it is still unclear what is really going on inside,” Ibid.
Seven years and they do not know what’s going on inside. Is it the China Syndrome dilemma of molten hot radioactive corium burrowing into Earth? Is it contaminating aquifers? Nobody knows, nobody can possibly know, which is one of the major risks of nuclear meltdowns, nobody knows what to do. There is no playbook for 100% meltdowns. Fukushima Daiichi proves the point.
“When a major radiological disaster happens and impacts vast tracts of land, it cannot be ‘cleaned up’ or ‘fixed’.” (Source: Hanis Maketab, Environmental Impacts of Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Will Last ‘decades to centuries’ – Greenpeace, Asia Correspondent, March 4, 2016)
Meanwhile, the world nuclear industry has ambitious growth plans, 50-60 reactors currently under construction, mostly in Asia, with up to 400 more on drawing boards. Nuke advocates claim Fukushima is well along in the cleanup phase so not to worry as the Olympics are coming in a couple of years, including events held smack dab in the heart of Fukushima, where the agricultural economy will provide fresh foodstuff.
The Olympics are PM Abe’s major PR punch to prove to the world that all-is-well at the world’s most dangerous, and out of control, industrial accident site. And, yes it is still out of control. Nevertheless, the Abe government is not concerned. Be that as it may, the risks are multi-fold and likely not well understood. For example, what if another earthquake causes further damage to already-damaged nuclear facilities that are precariously held together with hopes and prayers, subject to massive radiation explosions? Then what? After all, Japan is earthquake country, which defines the boundaries of the country. Japan typically has 400-500 earthquakes in 365 days, or nearly 1.5 quakes per day.
According to Dr. Shuzo Takemoto, professor, Department of Geophysics, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University: “The problem of Unit 2… If it should encounter a big earth tremor, it will be destroyed and scatter the remaining nuclear fuel and its debris, making the Tokyo metropolitan area uninhabitable. The Tokyo Olympics in 2020 will then be utterly out of the question,” (Shuzo Takemoto, Potential Global Catastrophe of the Reactor No. 2 at Fukushima Daiichi, February 11, 2017).
Since the Olympics will be held not far from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident site, it’s worthwhile knowing what to expect, i.e., repercussions hidden from public view. After all, it’s highly improbable that the Japan Olympic Committee will address the radiation-risk factors for upcoming athletes and spectators. Which prompts a question: What criteria did the International Olympic Committee (IOC) follow in selecting Japan for the 2020 Summer Olympics in the face of three 100% nuclear meltdowns totally out of control? On its face, it seems reckless.
This article, in part, is based upon an academic study that brings to light serious concerns about overall transparency, TEPCO workforce health & sudden deaths, as well as upcoming Olympians, bringing to mind the proposition: Is the decision to hold the Olympics in Japan in 2020 a foolish act of insanity and a crude attempt to help cover up the ravages of radiation?
Thus therefore, a preview of what’s happening behind, as well as within, the scenes researched by Adam Broinowski, PhD (author of 25 major academic publications and Post Doctoral Research Fellow, Australian National University): “Informal Labour, Local Citizens and the Tokyo Electric Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Crisis: Responses to Neoliberal Disaster Management,” Australian National University, 2017.
The title of Dr. Broinowski’s study provides a hint of the inherent conflict, as well as opportunism, that arises with neoliberal capitalism applied to “disaster management” principles. (Naomi Klein explored a similar concept in The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, Knopf Canada, 2007).
Dr. Broinowski’s research is detailed, thorough, and complex. His study begins by delving into the impact of neoliberal capitalism, bringing to the fore an equivalence of slave labor to the Japanese economy, especially in regards to what he references as “informal labour.” He preeminently describes the onslaught of supply side/neoliberal tendencies throughout the economy of Japan. The Fukushima nuke meltdowns simply bring to surface all of the warts and blemishes endemic to the neoliberal brand of capitalism.
According to Professor Broinowski: “The ongoing disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station (FDNPS), operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), since 11 March 2011 can be recognised as part of a global phenomenon that has been in development over some time. This disaster occurred within a social and political shift that began in the mid-1970s (ed. supply-side economics, which is strongly reflected in America’s current tax bill under consideration) and that became more acute in the early 1990s in Japan with the downturn of economic growth and greater deregulation and financialisation in the global economy. After 40 years of corporate fealty in return for lifetime contracts guaranteed by corporate unions, as tariff protections were lifted further and the workforce was increasingly casualised, those most acutely affected by a weakening welfare regime were irregular day labourers, or what we might call ‘informal labour.”
In short, the 45,000-60,000 workers recruited to deconstruct decontaminate Fukushima Daiichi and the surrounding prefecture mostly came off the streets, castoffs of neoliberalism’s impact on “… independent unions, rendered powerless, growing numbers of unemployed, unskilled and precarious youths (freeters) alongside older, vulnerable and homeless day labourers (these groups together comprising roughly 38 per cent of the workforce in 2015) found themselves not only (a) lacking insurance or (b) industrial protection but also in many cases (c) basic living needs. With increasing deindustrialisation and capital flight, regular public outbursts of frustration and anger from these groups have manifested since the Osaka riots of 1992.” (Broinowski)
The Osaka Riots of 25 years ago depict the breakdown of modern society’s working class, a problem that has spilled over into national political elections worldwide as populism/nationalism dictate winners/losers. In Osaka 1,500 rampaging laborers besieged a police station (somewhat similar to John Carpenter’s 1976 iconic film Assault on Precinct 13) over outrage of interconnecting links between police and Japan’s powerful “Yakuza” or gangsters that bribe police to turn a blind eye to gangster syndicates that get paid to recruit, often forcibly, workers for low-paying manual jobs for industry.
That’s how TEPCO gets workers to work in radiation-sensitive high risks jobs. Along the way, subcontractors rake off most of the money allocated for workers, resulting in a subhuman lifestyle for the riskiest most life-threatening jobs in Japan, maybe the riskiest most life-threatening in the world.
Japan has a long history of assembling and recruiting unskilled labor pools at cheap rates, which is typical of nearly all large-scale modern industrial projects. Labor is simply one more commodity to be used and discarded. Tokyo Electric Power Company (“TEPCO”) of Fukushima Daiichi fame adheres to those long-standing feudalistic employment practices. They hire workers via layers of subcontractors in order to avoid liabilities, i.e. accidents, health insurance, safety standards, by penetrating into the bottom social layers that have no voice in society.
As such, TEPCO is not legally obligated to report industrial accidents when workers are hired through complex webs or networks of subcontractors; there are approximately 733 subcontractors for TEPCO. Here’s the process: TEPCO employs a subcontractor “shita-uke,” which in turn employs another subcontractor “mago-uke” that relies upon labor brokers “tehaishilninpu-dashi.” At the end of the day, who’s responsible for the health and safety of workers? Who’s responsible for reporting cases of radiation sickness and/or death caused by radiation exposure?
Based upon anecdotal evidence from reliable sources in Japan, there is good reason to believe TEPCO, as well as the Japanese government, suppress public knowledge of worker radiation sickness and death, as well as the civilian population of Fukushima. Thereby, essentially hoodwinking worldwide public opinion, for example, pro-nuke enthusiasts/advocates point to the safety of nuclear power generation because of so few reported deaths in Japan. But, then again, who’s responsible for reporting worker deaths? Answer: Other than an occasional token death report by official sources, nobody!
Furthermore, TEPCO does not report worker deaths that occur outside of the workplace even though the death is a direct result of excessive radiation exposure at the workplace. For example, if a worker with radiation sickness becomes too ill to go to work, they’ll obviously die at home and therefore not be reported as a work-related death. As a result, pro-nuke advocates claim Fukushima proves how safe nuclear power is, even when it goes haywire, because there are so few, if any, deaths, as to be inconsequential. That’s a boldfaced lie that is discussed in the sequel: Fukushima Darkness – Part 2.
“As one labourer stated re Fukushima Daiichi: ‘TEPCO is God. The main contractors are kings, and we are slaves’. In short, Fukushima Daiichi clearly illustrates the social reproduction, exploitation and disposability of informal labour, in the state protection of capital, corporations and their assets.” (Broinowski)
Indeed, Japan is a totalitarian corporate state where corporate interests are protected from liability by layers of subcontractors and by vested interests of powerful political bodies and extremely harsh state secrecy laws. As such, it is believed that nuclear safety and health issues, including deaths, are underreported and likely not reported at all in most cases. Therefore, the worldview of nuclear power, as represented in Japan at Fukushima Daiichi, is horribly distorted in favor of nuclear power advocacy.
DW article cited in Fukushima Darkness: http://www.dw.com/en/the-illusion-of-normality-at-fukushima/a-37885120 “Robots and cameras have already provided us with valuable pictures,” says Uchida, adding: “But it is still unclear what is really going on inside.”
And Full-text (PDF) of Adam Broinowski’s cited research paper is available here: