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Korea brings up Fukushima’s radioactive water disposal issue at WHO

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October 15, 2019
The Ministry of Health and Welfare said that it conveyed the Korean government’s concerns over radioactive water disposal at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan, during the 70th World Health Organization’s West Pacific Regional Conference.
Kang Dae-tae, assistant minister for the Planning and Coordination Office at the ministry and chief representative of the regional meeting, expressed concern about the handling of radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant and urged the Japanese government and international agencies to respond with care.
“Disposing of radioactive water into the sea is not just a problem for Japan but an international issue that can have a significant impact on the marine environment of the Western Pacific region and the health of its people,” Kang said. “The WHO Western Pacific Regional Office, along with relevant international organizations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has to minimize the impact on the health of the residents of the region.”
Kang urged the international bodies to disclose relevant information transparently so that there is no unnecessary anxiety when Japan decides on how to dispose of the contaminated water.
In response to Korea’s concerns, the Japanese health ministry officials said that they have made efforts to share information and clean up contaminated water, but have not currently decided on how to deal with Fukushima’s contaminated water.
The Japanese officials also noted that the decision to discharge the radioactive waters would be made under international standards such as the International Radiation Protection Committee.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is now sitting on a million-ton of water contaminated with radioactive elements while the amount grows around 150 tons a day.
While the Japanese government has claimed that it has removed most of the radioactive isotopes using an elaborate filtration process, it could not eliminate one isotope, tritium, so it has been storing the water in large tanks, which will fill up by 2022.
Some scientists have claimed that tritium causes harm to humans except in very high concentrations, and the IAEA also argues that properly filtered Fukushima water could be diluted with seawater and then safely released into the ocean without causing environmental problems.
However, other experts have claimed that even the diluted version of tritium can affect cell structures in plants, animals, or humans. The consensus of dumping the water into the Pacific Ocean also faces fierce backlash from both the Japanese fisherman groups and the Korean government, they said.

October 20, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Lies dominates typhoon Hagibis Diet debate response

For bags made to resist only 3 years, they fared incredibly well in this powerful typhoon, that after 8 years, more than double their resistance expectancy….
The lies and cover-up continue:
 Koizumi (Environment Minister) insists that “there won’t be any impact on the environment” regarding radioactive bags swept away by the typhoon.
Koizumi said, “I’ve received reports that large bags that have already been collected were not damaged, so there won’t be any impact on the environment.”

Anyway, the radioactive bags are not the main problem. The main problem is the accumulated radionuclides in the forested hills of Fukushima prefecture, 80% of its land surface. Which have never been decomtaminated. that powerful typhoon has redistributed a lot of those forested hills radiation everywhere…. To be inhaled by people….

The plan is to bring the 17 million tons of radiactive bags scattered allover the Fukushima prefecture to the intermediary storage location build between Okume and Futaba, to separate the debris from the soil, to incinerate the debris, so as to reduce the volume of incinerated debris by 50. To store the resulting high radiation waste for the 30 years before to find somewhere a final storage site, and to recycle the low radiation waste into roads and building construction….http://josen.env.go.jp/en/storage/

17 million radioactive bags resulting from multiple partial decontamination of the residence areas and some of the agricultural fields, from less than 20% of the Fukushima prefecture land surface. 80%, the forested parts, hills and mountains have never been decontaminated. And from those the accumulated radionuclides are ruisseling down to the previously decontaminated places, recontaminating them, during the raining season, the typhoon redistributing thos radionuclides all over Fukushima and even outside Fukushima to other prefectures. A never ending story.


Typhoon response dominates diet debate
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October 15, 2019
The government’s response to Typhoon Hagibis dominated Tuesday’s debate in the Diet.
Opposition lawmakers grilled the government on its handling of the storm, including why radioactive waste produced after the 2011 nuclear disaster was not properly protected.
Multiple bags of waste produced from decontamination efforts flooded into a river in Fukushima.
Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi says local officials found 10 bags that had been swept away by the storm and are investigating whether there are any more.
Koizumi said, “I’ve received reports that large bags that have already been collected were not damaged, so there won’t be any impact on the environment.”
Another issue debated was the management of emergency shelters.
Opposition members pointed out that a municipality in Tokyo did not accept homeless people at some evacuation centers.
Yuko Mori of Democratic Party for the People said, “We should respect the basic human rights of disaster victims and provide necessary facilities for them. That’s a basic principle.”
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe replied, “I think it would be desirable for each evacuation center to properly accept all people. We will examine what really happened with the local governments and take appropriate measures.”

October 20, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima, Beaten Down by Nuclear Disaster, Takes Big Typhoon Hit

Some facilities that had been damaged in 2011 were hit again over the weekend in a region of Japan that can never seem to catch a break.
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A woman cleaning out her home in Koriyama, in Fukushima Prefecture, on Sunday. Typhoon Hagibis struck as the Japanese government was eager to declare the region recovered from the 2011 nuclear crisis.
Oct. 15, 2019
KORIYAMA, Japan — For Hiroyoshi Yaginuma, the typhoon may well be the straw that breaks his back.
On Monday, Mr. Yaginuma, 49, a third-generation owner of an auto body shop in Fukushima Prefecture, was cleaning out the wreckage from Typhoon Hagibis, which battered Japan over the weekend and killed more than 70 people. The typhoon had brought record-setting rains that caused a levee to break on a nearby river, unleashing floodwaters that filled the first floor of his building, destroying everything.
It was only two years ago that Mr. Yaginuma finally finished paying off a $185,000 loan he had taken out to rebuild his shop in Koriyama, an industrial city in Fukushima, after it was badly damaged by a devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011.
Fukushima is the name that everyone remembers from that disaster eight years ago. It was in this prefecture that waves from the tsunami overpowered a nuclear power plant’s protective sea walls, setting off a catastrophic meltdown. Tens of thousands of people were evacuated; many have still not returned.
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An aerial view of Koriyama on Sunday.
 
On Monday, as Mr. Yaginuma surveyed the garage floor where demolished equipment and heaps of tires, hubcaps and oil cans were drowning in a mess of mud, he said he wasn’t sure he could summon the energy to rebuild his business all over again.
“I am thinking maybe now this is the end,” he said. “I think there is a possibility that this will be a place where not many people can live anymore.”
Typhoon Hagibis struck as the Japanese government and many municipal leaders were eager to declare Fukushima recovered from the 2011 crisis.
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“I am thinking maybe now this is the end,” said Hiroyoshi Yaginuma, the owner of an auto body shop in Koriyama.
 
Critics have said that narrative was already too rosy. The cleanup at the Daiichi nuclear plant is far from complete. The government has yet to decide what to do with more than one million tons of contaminated water stored in close to 1,000 tanks on the site.
Soil scraped from land that was exposed to radiation in the days after the nuclear accident is still stored in millions of industrial-strength plastic bags all over the prefecture. In the city of Tamura, the floodwaters displaced an unknown number of these bags from a temporary storage area, although 10 bags were later recovered undamaged.
Now the region will have to undergo a more intensive cleanup to recover from the typhoon, especially as a stadium 55 miles west of the Daiichi plant prepares to host baseball during the Tokyo Summer Olympics next year.
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Storage tanks holding contaminated water at the Daiichi nuclear power plant last year.
 
The storm inundated several communities throughout Fukushima with floodwaters from the Abukuma River. According to NHK, the public broadcaster, 25 people died in Fukushima because of the typhoon.
Some facilities that had been damaged in 2011 in Koriyama, less than 45 miles from the nuclear plant, were hit again over the weekend. A hospital that was knocked out for two months by the earthquake, for example, flooded this time around.
On Monday, many neighborhoods were still underwater. Where the waters had receded, residents and business owners went back to retrieve what little was salvageable.
In an industrial park off the banks of the Abukuma, couches, bookshelves, desks and office chairs sat along roadsides, awaiting garbage pickup. As rain fell again, workers hosed down walls and mopped up floors.
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Workers checking a power line in Koriyama
 
At Sanko Mokuzai, a company that sells wood stoves and lumber, the chief executive, Toshiyuki Iwasaki, 63, joined several workers to load water-damaged wood panels onto a flatbed truck.
The Fukushima nuclear disaster had already forced him to find another source of timber after the government forbade sales of lumber harvested from the prefecture over radiation fears.
Yet even with the pileup of natural and man-made disasters, he said he could not afford to move because of local connections built over the company’s 50-year history.
“If I have to move,” Mr. Iwasaki said, “I will have to abandon my business.”
Still, he said he had little appetite for some of the government cheerleading for Fukushima’s recovery.
“I don’t really have any ambitions for Fukushima,” he said. “We just have to do what we need for ourselves. We are not really thinking, Let’s do this for Fukushima.”
Although the region’s population overall has dropped and those over 65 now account for close to a third of the population, Fukushima’s plight has attracted a few new residents who hope it might still be revived.
Naohisa Fujita, 46, and his wife, Yumi, 34, said they had moved to Koriyama from Nagano in 2013 because they wanted to help the people of the region.
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Yasuko Kokubun found her daughter’s wedding album intact as she cleaned her house after the typhoon.
 
Early Monday morning, Mr. Fujita, who works in home maintenance and renovation, got a chance to help someone directly. When he and two other residents took a boat to inspect the damage from the typhoon’s floods in their neighborhood, they rescued an older man and his son who were stranded inside their home.
The Fujitas said they were anxious about how soon they could move back to their flooded first-floor rental apartment after cleaning it out. They acknowledged they might have to find a new place to live.
Still, Ms. Fujita was determined that they stay in Koriyama. “We have to work to make this place livable,” she said.
In 2011, about 9,100 people who had lived in villages elsewhere in Fukushima evacuated to Koriyama. Many of them put down roots and stayed.
But about 10,000 Koriyama residents decided to leave in the aftermath of the nuclear meltdown.
Those who remained have built up a resilience in the face of repeated setbacks.
“There is the disaster fatigue of these people who have been hit by all these disasters,” said Kyle Cleveland, a professor of sociology at the Tokyo campus of Temple University, who has written extensively about the response of Fukushima communities to the 2011 nuclear crisis.
“But I think it tends to breed a sense of fatalism,” he added.
That sense of resignation could be felt at Takase Elementary School in Koriyama, where about 400 people sought shelter from the typhoon and more than 230 remained on Monday.
Yukari Yoshinari, 22, who was there with her husband and 2-month-old son, as well as her older sister and her family, was overwhelmed but stoic about the flooding of her home.
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Members of the Yoshinari and Yamanobe families were evacuated to an elementary school.
 
Sitting on the floor of the gym on cardboard mats covered with thin foam pads, Ms. Yoshinari, who is on maternity leave from her job as a caregiver at a nursing home, and her sister, Satomi Yamanobe, 24, folded clothes they had taken to a local laundromat.
Two nights as evacuees had been taxing. The baby had trouble sleeping with bright lights on all night. There were no diapers and only minimal food. When the Yoshinaris went to inspect their home, the floodwaters still came to their hips and they could see that their electronic appliances, tatami straw floor mats and furniture had been destroyed.
But there was no question of moving out of Koriyama. “I have grown up here,” said Ms. Yoshinari, as she rocked her son, Ayuto, to sleep on her shoulder. “It would take too much courage to leave.”
“But,” she added, “I would not recommend anyone else to move into Koriyama.”

October 20, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

Typhoon Hagibis Redistributes Fukushima Radionuclides

The real problem, more than bags of radioactive waste flushed into rivers, is the dispersion of radioactive contamination by the flood. Contaminated land and radionuclides move to homes coming from mountains and forests that had never been decontaminated.
In addition, the deposition of contaminated sludge at the bottom of rivers and dams has been disturbed and dispersed. When the sludge is dried and the dust disperses in the air with the wind, increasing highly the risk of the internal irradiation by inhalation.
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Flexible bulk bags containing waste produced from decontamination work around the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant were swept away in flooding during Typhoon No. 19 in Tamura, Fukushima Prefecture.
Bags of debris from Fukushima disaster swept away in typhoon
 
October 14, 2019
TAMURA, Fukushima Prefecture–Bulk bags filled with greenery collected during decontamination efforts after the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant were swept into a river during Typhoon No. 19 on Oct. 12.
According to the Tamura city government, the bags were among 2,667 that have been stored temporarily at a site in the Miyakoji-machi district here.
The facility was flooded after heavy rains brought by the typhoon, and the water carried an unknown number of the bags to a river about 100 meters away.
A city government official received a phone call at around 9:20 p.m. on Oct. 12 from a nearby civil engineering firm, saying six of the bulk bags had been recovered from the river.
Each of the bulk bags was 1 cubic meter in size. No sheets had been placed over the bags as a precaution against the rain and wind from the typhoon.
A city official said consultations will be held with the Environment Ministry to determine possible effects on the environment.
The decontamination effort involved removing debris, such as soil, leaves and plants, containing radioactive substances released after the 2011 triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 plant.

October 20, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

South Korea Brings Fukushima Radioactive Water Sea Dumping Issue at International London Convention and Protocol of Marine Pollution

S. Korea raises issue of Fukushima’s contaminated water dump to international convention

Japan says it will keep international community updated on progress

157077756772_20191012Song Myeong-dal, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries ocean environment policy officer, represents South Korea during a consultative meeting of contracted parties to the London Convention and London Protocol on Oct. 7.

Oct.11,2019

The South Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF) raised the danger of Japan’s ocean dump of contaminated water from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant as an international issue at a meeting in London concerning an international convention. Japan responded by saying it would keep the international community informed of the progress on an ongoing basis. The developments suggest South Korea was successful in raising international interest in and concern about Japan’s irresponsible approach to the disposal of contaminated water from Fukushima.

On Oct. 10, the MOF reported that the day before, representatives had attended a consultative meeting of contracted parties to the London Convention and Protocol on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter – which opened in London on Oct. 7 – to express concerns to Japan concerning the handling of the contaminated water from Fukushima and request ongoing interest in the issue at the consultative meeting level. The meeting was attended by representatives of 47 contracted parties, as well as international organizations such as the OECD and NGOs including Greenpeace.

The Japanese government has recently talked several times about the ‘unavoidability’ of an ocean dump as a way of dealing with contaminated water from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant,” Song Myeong-dal, MOF ocean environment policy officer and senior South Korean representative at the meeting, said on Oct. 9.

If [Japan] does release contaminated water from the plant into the ocean, this could have an impact on the global oceanic environment and be in violation of the aims of the London Protocol,” Song warned. Article 2 of the London Convention and Protocol states that contracting parties “shall individually and collectively protect and preserve the marine environment from all sources of pollution and take effective measures [. . . ] to prevent, reduce and where practicable eliminate pollution caused by dumping or incineration at sea of wastes or other matter.”

Song stressed that the Japanese government “needs to be transparent about its means of handling contaminated nuclear power plant water, adequately communicating and discussing important matters such as its handling methods and schedule with neighboring countries and the international community in the future and deciding on a safe and rational approach.”

In order to find a method of contaminated nuclear power plant water handling that the international community can be confident is safe, I think this matter should be discussed on an ongoing basis by the consultative meeting of contracted parties to the London Convention and Protocol ,” he suggested.

157077756799_20191012A consultative meeting of contracted parties to the London Convention and London Protocol on Oct. 7.

 

In response, a representative of the Japanese government reiterated the position that the matter was “not something to be discussed by the consultative meeting,” adding that there had been “no decision within the Japanese government on how to handle the contaminated nuclear power plant water” and that the international community would be “kept informed about the process.” The representative also presented information on the water’s handling that was previously shared in September with locally stationed diplomats in Japan.

Greenpeace expresses similar concern about ocean dump

The issue of contaminated water had not previously been discussed within the context of the London Protocol at past consultative meetings since the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster. In addition to South Korea, representatives from China and Chile also expressed concerns at the latest meeting over the possibility of Japan dumping the contaminated water into the sea and suggested that the issue would be the focus of ongoing discussions at the meeting.

The NGO Greenpeace similarly shared concerns about the possibility of an ocean dump in a document at the meeting containing “concerns and questions about the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant contaminated water release plan.” Contending that the Japanese system for handling contaminated nuclear power plant water is “inefficient,” it proposed that the international community work together on finding a solution.

During a Compliance Group meeting held ahead of the consultative meeting on Oct. 3–4, the South Korean representative strongly emphasized the need to review the ocean release of radioactive waste matter within the context of the London Protocol, insisting that Japan should not be allowed to make a unilateral decision on whether to proceed with the dumping of contaminated nuclear power plant water into the ocean. The Compliance Group meeting was established to discuss whether contracted parties to the protocol are complying with their obligations.

In bilateral meetings with major countries and through issues raised in the Compliance Group setting, the South Korean government rallied support for the position that this matter should be addressed at the consultative meeting,” said Song Myeong-dal.

We will continue to make such requests at this meeting and other international meetings going forward so that the Japanese government can find an approach that we can be confident is safe,” he pledged.

http://www.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_international/912889.html

 

South Korea Brings Fukushima Wastewater Issue to London Convention Meeting

October 11, 2019

The South Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF) raised the danger of Japan’s contaminated water from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant as an international issue at a meeting to the London Convention. 

 

South Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF) deemed the danger of Japan’s contaminated water from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant as an international issue at a meeting to the London Convention. 

The London Convention controls pollution of the seas and oceans by dumping and covers the deliberate disposal of wastes and other matter into the world’s waters, according to the U.S. EPA. The discharged water will have a direct influence on the marine life and ecosystem in its territorial waters and eventually the people in Korea, according to the Korea Times.

As of Aug. 22, approximately 1.1 million tons of contaminated water is being stored in 977 tanks at the decommissioned power plant in Fukushima, which was destroyed by the 2011 earthquake and ensuing tsunami

The Japanese government said recently it will only build more facilities through 2020, which will bring the total stored volume to 1.37 million tons, according to Science Page News. The storage facilities are projected to be filled by August 2020, which suggests that there will be no more tanks to hold the 170 tons of radiation-contaminated water created daily.

If [Japan] does release contaminated water from the plant into the ocean, this could have an impact on the global oceanic environment and be in violation of the aims of the London Protocol,” said Song Myeong-dal, MOF ocean environment policy officer and senior South Korean representative. “In order to find a method of contaminated nuclear power plant water handling that the international community can be confident is safe, I think this matter should be discussed on an ongoing basis by the consultative meeting of contracted parties to the London Convention and Protocol.”

In response, a representative of the Japanese government said that the matter was not something to be discussed by the consultative meeting and that the international community would be kept informed about the process, reported the Hankyoreh.

“There is another option to deal with radioactive water. Japan can keep it in the tanks until the radiation level becomes low enough. But this takes time and money. It will take about 300 years until it is okay to discharge the water,” said Kim Ik-jung, a former medical professor and member of the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission to the Korea Times.

South Korea plans to continue to raise the wastewater issue to the international community until Japan comes up with a safe and acceptable solution, according to the Hankyoreh.

https://www.wwdmag.com/waste-treatment-disposal-services/south-korea-brings-fukushima-wastewater-issue-london-convention

 

October 20, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima pushing its radioactive peaches to Southeast Asian neighbors

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Fukushima peaches gain popularity
11th October 2019
Indonesian importer, Laris Manis Utama (LMU), has teamed up with Japanese fresh fruit and vegetable wholesaler, Showa Boeki, in an effort to increase consumption of peaches grown in Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture.
Promotional campaigns during 2018 were effective in introducing consumers to the fruit and encouraged the two companies to further develop the market.
During August to September of 2019, in-store activations were held in 29 stores across Indonesia. 
A key focus of the in-store activations was to educate consumers on the health benefits of the fruit.
In an interview with Asiafruit in September 2019, LMU’s vice director, Hendry Sim, said healthy living is a top priority for Indonesian consumers.
“Indonesians want to eat better and healthier, and fruits are one of the foods that can contribute to good health,” explained Sim.
Although consumer sentiment for the Fukushima Peach is showing positive signs of growth, the reality is peach imports into Indonesia remain low.
In 2018, 202 tonnes of peaches were imported into Indonesia, the majority sourced from Australia (71 tonnes) and the US (61 tonnes).
Apart from Indonesia, the Fukushima peach is also exported to Thailand and Malaysia.

 

October 20, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

With appeal of Tepco acquittal, thousands hit by Fukushima nuclear disaster seek closure

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Ruiko Muto, the 66-year-old leader of the class action lawsuit against former Tepco executives, speaks at Utsunomiya University in Tochigi Prefecture on July 21.
Oct 11, 2019
Plaintiffs have appealed a ruling handed down by the Tokyo District Court in mid-September that found three former Tokyo Electric Power Co. executives not guilty of professional negligence. A class action lawsuit against the executives claimed they had failed to apply the proper safety measures to prevent the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, despite being aware of the devastating effect tsunami would have.
The disaster upended daily life as local residents knew it and tore apart the social fabric of societies and communities around the area. Eight and a half years on, the victims are still grappling with the loss of their homes, and are turning to the courts for answers and closure.
 
Ruiko Muto, the 66-year-old leader of the class action lawsuit against former Tepco executives, has tirelessly conducted talks around the country since the nuclear disaster in 2011, which saw three of the six core reactors of the Fukushima No. 1 power plant go into meltdown after massive tsunami struck the facility.
“Grassroots efforts are what pushes forward the social change we need to see,” she said, adding, “awareness spreads only when each individual starts to think about the issue at hand.”
Muto has campaigned for the end of nuclear power for over 30 years. Seeing the devastating effects of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident in the former Soviet Union catapulted her into the anti-nuclear movement.
On that fateful day in the Tohoku region in March 2011, a day after a massive earthquake hit Japan, she drew parallels with what had happened in Chernobyl over 30 years ago to what was happening in her hometown.
“I thought, this is exactly the same as Chernobyl,” she said, remembering her initial reaction to hearing news of an explosion at the nuclear reactor building.
Muto eventually filed a lawsuit questioning the responsibility and accountability of the Tepco executives. She had sued them in the hope that “the truth of what happened that day and who should be held accountable would come to light,” she recalled.
Word of the lawsuit spread and support began to snowball, until ultimately 14,716 people signed on to the class action.
Muto went to Tokyo for all 37 of the court sessions held before the ruling was handed down. The notes that she took in the spectators’ gallery of the Tokyo District Court fill 14 notebooks.
From hours of listening to witnesses and pouring over evidence from the spectators’ gallery, she learned that the main reason why the executives repeatedly put off applying countermeasures against possible tsunami was they feared it would cause the company to run at a loss.
Muto believes that a lot of the evidence discussed in court would have never seen the light of day had she not filed the lawsuit.
Yet throughout the trial, the former chairman of Tepco refused to accept responsibility for the nuclear disaster, saying in court that the “relevant department should assume sole responsibility over what safety measures should have been put into place.”
“These were the words of the head of the biggest nuclear energy business in the country. It was almost like it represented a society that refuses to take responsibility,” Muto said.
The words made her feel powerless, she recalled.
Although the court claims there are 57 victims — people who had either died or were physically injured by the disaster — Muto believes “countless victims have been affected by the accident.”
Fumio Okubo was one of those countless victims.
“I wanted him to die a dignified death. It pains me that that didn’t happen,” said his daughter-in-law, Mieko Okubo, 66, as she placed flowers on his grave, nine summers after his death, before putting her hands together in quiet prayer.
In April 2011, Fumio hanged himself at their house. He was 102. It happened half a day after the government ordered the entire village to evacuate following the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.
On Fumio’s 99th birthday, 80 members of his extended family got together to celebrate. He wowed those who had come to celebrate by singing his favorite songs for them. When he turned 100, he received awards and gifts from all over the country celebrating his long life. That day is captured in a photo of him on his birthday, surrounded by his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A wide smile lights up his face in the photograph.
But two years later, as he lay in his coffin, Fumio looked calm — almost like he was sleeping. His last words to Mieko were “I might have lived a tad too long.”
As a man who loved his hometown and made a living through farming, Iitate village — his home — was also his life. Mieko eventually developed a visceral dislike for nuclear power and its potentially devastating effects. She filed a civil lawsuit at the Fukushima District Court in July 2015 against Tepco, seeking to hold the utility responsible. All she wanted was revenge.
She got that three years later in February 2018, when Mieko won the lawsuit against Tepco.
In keeping with Mieko’s wishes, Tepco employees visited her at her house to apologize in person. “We are deeply sorry,” they had said, before lighting incense in memory of Fumio — a common practice in Japan that displays respect for the deceased — as Mieko had requested.
Yet despite the courtroom win and the compliance with Mieko’s wishes, she also heard later that the employees who visited her were employees in charge of handling matters related to the “aftermath” of the accident.
“My father-in-law is gone, and he won’t ever come back. It should have been the company executives who were being held accountable for the accident who came to apologize,” Mieko said.
“I didn’t get any sense of integrity from them,” she added.
Mieko had repeatedly asked Tepco to think of the issue as one that “may have affected their very own family.” After the Great East Japan Earthquake, over 100 suicides within Fukushima Prefecture alone have been officially recognized as being caused by the nuclear disaster.
Mieko believes that there is a culture of devaluing people’s lives that is prevalent within the company.
The devastating effects of the accident are as clear as day. Yet, the detachment of the employees were as if the issue didn’t concern them at all, Mieko said.
This section features topics and issues from the Tohoku region covered by Kahoku Shimpo, the largest newspaper in Tohoku. The original articles were published on Sept. 12, 13 and 14.

October 20, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

IOC President welcomes Governor of Fukushima Prefecture to Olympic House

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October 10, 2019
Governor Masao Uchibori gave an update on progress in the Fukushima Prefecture, where the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 are playing a key role in the reconstruction of the area affected by the 2011 tsunami.
 
He informed the IOC that the Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium is already being used. It will host baseball and softball competitions for Tokyo 2020, including the tournament opening matches. Football games will be played at nearby Miyagi Stadium.
The IOC President and Governor Uchibori also discussed the visit by a group of students from Fukushima to Lausanne on the occasion of the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020.
The Governor also gave reassurances on the safety issues with regard to food and radiation.
 
He emphasised the evaluation of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), which said: “Measures [taken by the Japanese authorities] to monitor and respond to issues regarding radionuclide contamination of food are appropriate, and the food supply chain is controlled effectively by the relevant authorities.” The Governor explained food safety is being constantly monitored by the FAO and that these levels can be considered as safe for all visitors.
Governor Uchibori explained that the radiation levels in 97.5 per cent of the Fukushima prefecture do not pose a risk and could, in fact, be compared to those found in major cities around the world. The remaining 2.5 per cent, where there is higher radiation, is fenced off and not accessible to visitors.
 
President Bach visited the tsunami-hit area of Fukushima in November last year with Prime Minister Abe. He met young athletes, toured some venues and witnessed the progress of reconstruction. He also saw there a number of students from the region whom he later welcomed to the IOC headquarters in Lausanne. President Bach invited them to join him at a softball game to be played in Fukushima during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. These young people are part of the “Support Our Kids” programme in which the Swiss Embassy in Japan is involved, and which supports children affected by the 2011 tsunami.
 
The IOC President will welcome a second group of students to Olympic House in Lausanne in January 2020 during the Winter Youth Olympic Games.
Many cities in the region affected by the 2011 earthquake will be a point of international sports exchanges as a “Host Town”. They will welcome teams from different countries and regions ahead of and during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
In another symbolic gesture, Fukushima will also stage the first leg of the Olympic Torch Relay in the run-up to the Olympic Games next July.

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October 20, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , , | Leave a comment

S. Korea raises worries over Fukushima waste water at global maritime conference

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October 10, 2019
South Korea raised the issue of Japan’s reported plan to release radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean …at a global conference of the International Maritime Organization in London this week.
During a meeting to discuss the London Convention and Protocol… Seoul’s fishery ministry demanded that Tokyo transparently disclose information over its handling of the contaminated water and called for continuous discussion of the issue.
The London Protocol is aimed at preventing marine pollution and bans the export of waste or other matter to other countries for dumping or incineration at sea.
However, the direct dumping of wastewater from land to sea has been absent from the discussion.
 
With the management of radioactive waste on the agenda for this year’s meeting, …representatives from China and Chile also expressed their concern and called for more discussions over the matter.
Ghana’s representative to the IMO, who is the chair of the meeting, also noted that the issue can be brought up for discussion and that Japan should provide information.
For the first time, Japan’s representative said it will continue to provide transparent information concerning the contaminated water at Fukushima.
 
This is the latest effort by the Korean government to deter Tokyo from discharging an estimated one.one million tons of contaminated water stored at its Fukushima plant.
Last month, Seoul raised the issue at the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
At the gathering, Japan dismissed criticisms, claiming they were not based on scientific evidence.
Park Se-young, Arirang News.

October 20, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Activists urge Japan to avoid Fukushima in Tokyo Olympics

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Oct 10, 2019
South Korean civic groups on Thursday kicked off a global campaign against potential radiation risks during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, demanding that Japan ban Fukushima food products and cancel games at the Japanese city.
 
“We launch an international campaign to protect thousands of athletes and visitors at the Tokyo Olympics from radiation risks and to stop the Japanese government from using the Olympics as a tool” to conceal lingering damages from the Fukushima nuclear crisis, the environmental groups told a press briefing in Seoul.
 
Taking part in the initiative are a handful of Korean environmental organizations, consisting of activists and academics, as well as major environmental and anti-nuclear groups based in Germany, Taiwan and the Philippines.
The civic groups demanded the Japanese government and Olympics organizers refrain from providing food produced near Fukushima and cancel games scheduled to be held in the city. They also urged the torch relay to be held in areas outside of Fukushima, which was hit by the nuclear disaster caused by a 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
 
They also claimed that if Japan seeks to misuse Olympic events for a political or commercial purpose, it would goes against the Olympic spirit.
 
The environmental groups said they plan to collect signatures through an online website and hold international conferences to raise awareness on the risks of radiation.
 
Some baseball and softball games are scheduled to take place at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium, according to the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games website.
 
It also shows that a 121-day torch relay will “commence on March 26, 2020, in Fukushima Prefecture and start its journey southwards” in an aim at “showcasing solidarity with the regions still recovering from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.” (Yonhap)

October 20, 2019 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Flawed acquittal of TEPCO execs demands high court review

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Lawyer Shozaburo Ishida, right, who served as a prosecutor in the TEPCO trial, expresses outrage over the not-guilty verdicts at a news conference in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward on Sept. 19.
October 7, 2019
Lawyers appealed a court ruling that acquitted three former top executives of Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) of criminal responsibility for the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
The lawyers were appointed to serve as prosecutors in the case after the Tokyo prosecutors’ decision against indicting the former executives was reviewed by a prosecution inquest panel, which concluded that they must stand trial.
There has been criticism about appealing court rulings that have found the defendants not guilty, which forces people acquitted of criminal charges to stand trial again.
But many flaws in the Tokyo District Court’s ruling justifies the move made by the lawyers to seek a high court judgment.
For example, the district court asserted that the only way the nuclear accident that crippled the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in 2011 could have been prevented was if plant operations had been halted before the quake.
But the lawyers referred to measures that could have prevented the disaster if they had been taken, including the construction of a seawall, work to protect key structures from flooding and relocating the plant’s emergency power source to high ground.
Witnesses were questioned to determine the feasibility of these measures.
But the ruling dismissed the argument that these measures, if they had been taken, could have prevented the disaster without examining them meticulously.
As a result, the focus of the ruling on the case against the three former TEPCO executives was on whether they had the obligation to take the drastic step of shutting down the reactors before the Great East Japan Earthquake.
It is obviously an extremely tough decision to make given that such a step will inevitably seriously affect people’s lives.
It is no wonder that many victims of the Fukushima meltdowns and multiple academic experts have raised doubts about the district court decision. Critics say the court changed the focus of the case without good reason.
The court’s judgment on some core nuclear safety issues is also questionable.
The court rejected the credibility of the central government’s long-term earthquake forecast published in 2002.
The forecast said a gigantic earthquake could occur anywhere in wide sea areas stretching from off the Sanriku part of the Tohoku region, which was devastated by the 2011 earthquake, to off the Boso Peninsula in Chiba Prefecture within 30 years at a probability of around 20 percent.
In dismissing the importance of this prognostication, the ruling pointed to dissenting opinions as well as the fact that neither electric utilities nor the nuclear safety regulators used this projection in assessing nuclear safety measures.
By doing so, the ruling effectively defended the government and the electric power industry against the accusations of omission and negligence, and on those grounds rejected the quake projection made by experts through discussions.
The government and the industry have been accused of failing to make sufficient efforts to secure the safety of nuclear power plants as they have worked in close cooperation to promote atomic energy.
Moreover, the ruling said the law at the time of the accident did not require utilities to “ensure absolute safety” of nuclear plants.
But it was widely assumed that all possible measures were taken to ensure that no severe nuclear accident would take place.
This is not about dealing with such farfetched risks as a huge asteroid hitting the Earth.
In fact, the long-term earthquake projection prompted TEPCO employees in charge of nuclear plant operations to consider possible measures to protect facilities against large tsunami and report them to the company’s management team.
It also led Japan Atomic Power Co., which, like TEPCO, operates a nuclear plant on the Pacific coast, to improve facilities at the plant.
It is highly doubtful whether the district court properly assessed the implications of these facts.
To be fair, it is by no means easy to hold individuals criminally liable for an accident caused by a complicated web of factors related to both organizations and people.
Few doubted the difficulty of proving the guilt of the accused. But the problem is the deeply flawed process and argument leading to the court’s ruling.
Still, the trial has offered valuable insights into the accident as many important facts that were not mentioned in the probes by the government or the Diet have come to light.
The district court was expected to assess the implications of all these facts carefully and explain how they were relevant to the accident and to what extent in language ordinary citizens can clearly understand. But the ruling failed to meet this expectation.
This is why the ruling needs to be reviewed by the high court.

October 8, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Japan heavily lobbying for its contamined food exports

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This photo taken on April 17, 2015, shows a retail store in Taipei selling Japanese food and pharmaceutical products.
Taiwan’s lifting food import ban key to economic deals: Japan group
October 5, 2019
TAIPEI (Kyodo) — Lifting the ban on food imports from five Japanese prefectures imposed in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster is key for Taiwan to join any economic deals with Japan or other countries in the region, the Japanese business community in Taipei said on Friday.
In its annual white paper, the Taipei branch of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the Japanese business community in Taipei urged the Taiwan government to relax or lift restrictions on the food ban imposed over eight years ago.
“We hope the Taiwan government will change all practices and rules that run counter to international practices and are unique only in Taiwan, so it can ink any economic partnership agreement of its wish,” it said, adding that the ban on the food exports of five Japanese prefectures is a particular case.
The local Japanese chamber with 480 member companies called on the government to base its decisions on scientific evidence and international standards.
It pointed out that as of Aug. 1, all food products imported from Japan have passed inspections since March 15, 2011, while the Japanese government conducts strict inspections on all food products and only those that are safe can be sold at markets or exported.
It also emphasized that of the 54 countries or regions that imposed restrictions on Japanese food products since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, 32 of them have completely lifted their bans as of July.
The European Union and the United States have also lifted or eased Fukushima-related restrictions, though six countries or regions — including South Korea, China and Taiwan — continue a blanket ban on food products from Fukushima and certain adjacent prefectures.
National Development Council Minister Chen Mei-ling, who accepted the white paper on the government’s behalf, told chamber members that more persuasion of the Taiwanese public is needed.
A public referendum on maintaining the ban, initiated by the main opposition Nationalist Party, successfully passed in November 2018.
Chen dismissed speculation that Japan will not begin talks with Taiwan on joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership until the food ban issue is addressed, saying they are two different matters.
Go Ishikawa, chairman of the Japanese chamber, said all suggestions the chamber made in the white paper are purely business without taking into any consideration of Taiwan’s January elections.
No matter who will win the polls, Ishikawa said, the chamber will continue to urge the new Taiwan government to ease or lift the ban.

October 8, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

EU to ease post-Fukushima restrictions on Japanese food imports

According to Japanese officials….How true it is, time will tell. But let’s not forget that Jean-Claude Juncker is a high profile crook….

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October 5, 2019

The European Union will ease its restrictions on Japanese food imports imposed following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, possibly by the end of this year, government officials said Saturday.

Specifically, the European Union is planning to remove its import restrictions on fishery products from Iwate and Miyagi prefectures, no longer requiring radiation inspection certificates for them, the officials said.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker informed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of the plan when they held talks in Brussels on Sept. 27, according to the Japanese officials.

Japan has been trying to persuade the 28-member bloc and countries including China, South Korea and the United States that have continued to restrict imports of food products from Fukushima and adjacent prefectures that they have been scientifically proven to be safe.

The European Union already lifted a ban on rice produced in Fukushima Prefecture in 2017.

As of September, 22 countries and regions had not removed import restrictions on some Japanese agricultural and fishery products imposed in the wake of the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, according to Japan’s farm ministry.

But the number was down from 54 countries and regions after the disaster.

https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2019/10/aebde307b01b-breaking-news-eu-to-ease-post-fukushima-restrictions-on-japanese-food-imports.html

October 8, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

At Fukushima plant, a million-tonne headache: Radioactive water

nz_daiichi_051055.jpgA Tokyo Electric Power Company researcher shows processed water where tritium remains, at a lab in Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Okuma, Fukushima prefecture, Japan, on Oct 2, 2019.

Oct 5, 2019,

FUKUSHIMA (AFP) – In the grounds of the ravaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant sits a million-tonne headache for the plant’s operators and Japan’s government: tank after tank of water contaminated with radioactive elements.

What to do with the enormous amount of water, which grows by around 150 tonnes a day, is a thorny question, with controversy surrounding a longstanding proposal to discharge it into the sea, after extensive decontamination.

The water comes from several different sources: some is used for cooling at the plant, which suffered a meltdown after it was hit by a tsunami triggered by a massive earthquake in March 2011.

Groundwater that seeps into the plant daily, along with rainwater, add to the problem.

A thousand, towering tanks have now replaced many of the cherry trees that once dotted the plant’s ground.

Each can hold 1,200 tonnes, and most of them are already full.

“We will build more on the site until the end of 2020, and we think all the tanks will be full by around the summer of 2022,” said Mr Junichi Matsumoto, an official with the unit of plant operator Tepco in charge of dismantling the site.

Tepco has been struggling with the problem for years, taking various measures to limit the amount of groundwater entering the site.

There is also an extensive pumping and filtration system, that each day brings up tonnes of newly contaminated water and filters out as many of the radioactive elements as possib

HIGHLY RADIOACTIVE

The hangar where the decontamination system runs is designated “Zone Y” – a danger zone requiring special protections.

All those entering must wear elaborate protection: a full body suit, three layers of socks, three layers of gloves, a double cap topped by a helmet, a vest with a pocket carrying a dosimeter, a full-face respirator mask and special shoes.

Most of the outfit has to be burnt after use.

“The machinery filters contain radionuclides, so you have to be very protected here, just like with the buildings where the reactors are,” explained Tepco risk communicator Katsutoshi Oyama.

Tepco has been filtering newly contaminated water for years, but much of it needs to go through the process again because early versions of the filtration process did not fully remove some dangerous radioactive elements, including strontium 90.

The current process is more effective, removing or reducing around 60 radionuclides to levels accepted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for water being discharged.

But there is one that remains, which cannot be removed with the current technology: tritium.

Tritium is naturally present in the environment, and has also been discharged in its artificial form into the environment by the nuclear industry around the world.

There is little evidence that it causes harm to humans except in very high concentrations and the IAEA argues that properly filtered Fukushima water could be diluted with seawater and then safely released into the ocean without causing environmental problems.

‘ABSOLUTELY AGAINST IT’

But those assurances are of little comfort to many in the region, particularly Fukushima’s fishing industry which, like local farmers, has suffered from the outside perception that food from the region is unsafe.

Mr Kyoichi Kamiyama, director of the radioactivity research department at the regional government’s Fisheries and Marine Science Research Centre, points out that local fishermen are still struggling eight years after the disaster.

“Discharging into the ocean? I’m absolutely against it,” he told AFP.

At the national government level, the view is more sanguine.

“We want to study how to minimise the damage (from a potential discharge) to the region’s reputation and Fukushima products,” an Industry Ministry official said.

The government is sensitive to fears that people inside Japan and farther afield will view any discharge as sending radioactive waste into the sea.

No decisions are likely in the near term, with the country sensitive to the international spotlight that will fall on Japan as it hosts the Olympic Games next year.

Environmentalists are also resolutely opposed to any discharge into the sea, and Greenpeace argues that Tepco cannot trusted to properly decontaminate the water.

The solution, said Greenpeace senior nuclear specialist Shaun Burnie, “ultimately can only be long-term storage and processing”.

https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/at-fukushima-plant-a-million-tonne-headache-radioactive-water

October 8, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima to sue non-rent-paying evacuees from nuclear disaster

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Lawyer Kiyoshi Morikawa, center, who represents evacuees in Tokyo from Fukushima Prefecture, speaks at a news conference in Tokyo on Oct. 3.
October 4, 2019
Fukushima Prefecture will take legal action to evict five households living in public housing in Tokyo who voluntarily evacuated from the prefecture following the 2011 nuclear accident.
The prefectural assembly on Oct. 3 approved in a majority vote plans to file a lawsuit against the evacuees, who are residing in the housing for government employees without signing a contract or paying rent.
The suit will also demand that the households pay a total of about 6 million yen ($56,190), which is between 500,000 yen and 2 million yen per household, equivalent to two years of rent.
All factions except for the Japanese Communist Party voted in favor, while an assembly member belonging to the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan left before the vote. The prefecture plans to file the lawsuit within this year.
Rent-free housing for evacuees who left their homes located outside the government-designated evacuation zones ended at the end of March 2017. The prefecture allowed them to continue living in the accommodations through the end of March 2019 if they paid rent.
However, the five households have not signed contracts to remain in the housing and have not paid rent or parking fees.
Lawyer Kiyoshi Morikawa, who represents three of the five households and is a co-representative of a lawyers group for the Fukushima nuclear disaster victims in areas around Tokyo, and other members held a news conference in Tokyo on Oct. 3.
Morikawa read out a statement from a female evacuee in her 30s who said, “I have spent every day living in fear. Although being evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture, I am scared as I feel like the prefecture is going to take everything from me.”
Morikawa also read out a complaint made by a group of plaintiffs in a Fukushima nuclear disaster lawsuit in Tokyo and its lawyers group that said, “What the prefecture is going to do is to take housing by force at the evacuation sites. It is extremely unacceptable.”
According to Morikawa, the three households are unable to pay the rents as their incomes dropped due to being forced to evacuate from the prefecture following the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

October 8, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment