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Yusuke Kimura’s ‘Sacred Cesium Ground and Isa’s Deluge’: Tohoku refuses to be silenced

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March 23, 2019
An anger directed toward Tokyo underlies Yusuke Kimura’s two novellas, “Sacred Cesium Ground” and “Isa’s Deluge.” Born from a keen sense of abandonment felt by the Tohoku region in the aftermath of the 3/11 disaster, this anger plays out across stories exploring the post-disaster relationships between humans and animals.
The main character in “Sacred Cesium Ground” is a woman from Tokyo who travels to Fukushima Prefecture to volunteer at the Fortress of Hope, a farm where cattle irradiated by the meltdown of the Fukushima No. 1 power plant are tended to despite a government order to kill them.
Based on the story of a real post-Fukushima ranch, the novella carries with it a weight of research born from the author’s own volunteering, though proves somewhat slow reading and ultimately unsatisfying, never quite reaching the moment of reinvention that the lead character hints at throughout.
“Isa’s Deluge” is the more readable of the two, with a flow and pacing that draws in the reader. Shortlisted for the Mishima Yukio Prize after it was first published in 2012, it follows a family of fishermen who relate the story of their uncle Isa and his “deluge” of pain and depression, an allegory of the 3/11 tsunami.
Both novellas highlight peripheral voices in the post-3/11 period and ultimately return time and again to that tension between a “sacrificial” Tohoku and an all-powerful capital. These perspectives are those not frequently heard and challenge the widespread narrative of an ever-dominant Tokyo.
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March 25, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Radioactive material released from Fukushima plant doubled up since last year

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March 23, 2019
The released amount of Cs-137 and Cs-134 from the crippled reactors in Fukushima plant reached over the double compared to the previous year.
Tepco released their monthly report about the additional atmospheric contamination on 25th February 2019.
According to the report, from January 2018 to January 2019, 933,000,000 Bq of Cs-137 and Cs-134 were release from the buildings of reactor 1, 2, 3 and 4 in total. It was 471,000,000 Bq during the corresponding period of the previous year.
 
Tepco commented it is likely to be affected by debris removal task around reactor 1 etc.. They avoided mentioning the further details.
 
 

March 25, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

10 Reasons You Might Want to Think Twice about the Tokyo Olympics

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March 23, 2019
Sure, the Olympics/Paralympics deliver thrilling races, stunning performances and inspiring stories… But they also steal green space and leave mountains of trash, require massive human displacement (gentrification on steroids) and worker abuse (including athlete exploitation), enforce the gender binary, promote noisy nationalism, high-tech surveillance, corruption and cost overruns.
So what’s unique about the 2020 Tokyo Olympics?  It’s happening with a Declaration of Nuclear Emergency, issued March 11, 2011, still in place. Then why is Japan spending astronomical sums for the Games? Because these Games are supposed to show the world that the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster is a thing of the past, that Japan is roaring and ready for business. Should we go along with that agenda? Here are ten issues for you to consider:
1.     Eight years and counting, Tepco, the owner of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, still lacks a viable plan for dealing with the fuel cores that not only “melted down” but “melted through” the heavy steel pressure vessel and landed …where?
2.     To keep the site “under control,” the plant uses massive amounts of water daily. The result? Tank after tank of contaminated water, with leaks and releases, exposing workers and the surrounding environment – including the Pacific Ocean. Factor recurring earthquakes into that mix.
3. The Japanese government has spent huge sums to corporations to “decontaminate” – moving radioactive contaminants instead of getting people away from harm. Their method involves bagging yard waste and topsoil, resulting in seas of neatly stacked black plastic bags. And just think: 70 % of Fukushima consists of forests and mountains – which by definition cannot be decontaminated. Moreover, the government even wants to reuse contaminated soil.
4.     Decontamination can reduce radiation levels to a degree, for a limited time and space. But, every part of the process – hosing down, trimming, digging, bagging, burying, re-digging, transporting, reusing – subjects workers to the risk of exposure. Not surprisingly, many of them are Fukushima residents who lost their livelihoods in the 2011 disaster.
5.     Radioactivity itself is invisible. In Fukushima, strange white columns called “monitoring posts” for measuring airborne radiation have become an awkward feature of the landscape. The government wants to get rid of them. Local residents insist that the disaster is not over and that the government needs to be looking after its people—not hosting a sports extravaganza that benefits an elite few.
6.     People who fled radiation—often women with children—knew all too well from the beginning the absurdity of the Games being hosted in Tokyo. Their existence is now being erased, with the government cutting off housing aid and opening up mandatory evacuation zones it deems safe for return. What’s “safe” for the Japanese government is 20 times looser than international standards.
7.     The mandated evacuation zone in Fukushima was too narrow in the first place, and many areas including parts of Tokyo should be designated “radiation-controlled areas,” where you’d have to be trained in radiation occupational safety and wear personal protective equipment.
8. The Japanese government and the Japan Olympic Committee (JOC), with the implicit collaboration of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), have concealed or distorted data inconvenient not just for declaring an end to the disaster but for continuing with the national nuclear program. In fact, the Games are a key weapon in suppressing information on radiation and health effects. In the only large-scale health study conducted on the nuclear disaster, the government consistently denies a link between radiation and people’s health, despite a striking increase of thyroid cancer among children and youths.
9.     The JOC claims that airborne radiation levels in Fukushima and Tokyo are no higher than those in other world cities. But radionuclides move around, and there are many radioactive waste storage sites close to Olympic venues, in addition to “hotspots” with highly radioactive contaminants carried by the wind and distributed unevenly throughout eastern Japan.
10.  The JOC has chosen sites in Fukushima for the Olympic softball and baseball games. As the saying goes, the best defense is a good offense. To make sure we get the point, the Olympic torch relay will begin in Fukushima, just 20km (12 miles) south of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are a disaster coverup.
Is that something you want to be part of?
Statement drafted by NoTokyo2020, an informal collective standing in solidarity with the people of Fukushima and other disaster-affected areas, both those who have left and those who have stayed on.
Image courtesy of 281_Anti nuke

March 25, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Japan’s Swimming Great and 2020 Tokyo Olympics Hopeful diagnosed with Leukemia cancer

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NEW YORK – March 22, 2019 – PRLog — Rikako Ikee, Japan’s reigning national record holder in multiple swimming events and record-setting winner of 6 gold and 2 silver medals at the recent Asian Games has been diagnosed with cancer in the form of Leukemia.
 
Author of “Fukushima 311: Is the enduring aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster killing off the Earth?” Col. Walter T. Richmond was saddened to learn the news, and expressed his sincerest best wishes that Ikee is able to beat the disease since doctors apparently discovered it in its earlier stages.
 
In light of the serious news, Richmond revisited his health warnings surrounding the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. He said “Ikee would have been about 10 or 11 years old at the time of the original Fukushima nuclear disaster. She’s also a native of Tokyo, and Japanese citizen scientists have reportedly found radioactive materials all over Japan, including Tokyo.”
 
Author Richmond pointed out that since “the health effects and cancers from nuclear radiation exposure can take years to manifest, chances are people won’t get sick immediately, if ever. But why would anyone roll the dice on their health? The research we did for this book paints a very disturbing radioactive picture compared to the apparent marketing hype coming out of Japan.”
 
That the authorities were often not forthcoming or transparent about the gravity of the actual crisis has Richmond equally concerned, saying, “After the anomalies we found during our Fukushima 311 research, plus the serious concerns and red flags raised by the United Nations recently, we have little faith in official claims that ‘all is well’ that aren’t corroborated by independent outside sources. The time to ask hard questions is now, not after the 2020 Olympics.”
 
Richmond ended by, yet again, calling for an impartial international team of highly-specialized scientists and doctors to determine the actual radiation safety levels in and around the 2020 Olympic facilities, in Tokyo and the Olympic ball fields in Fukushima, as well as the surrounding areas likely to be visited by athletes, guests, and spectators.

March 25, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

On the Frontline of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident: Workers and Children – Radiation risks and human rights violations

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22 Mar 2019
 
Eight years after the start of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and two years after the Japanese government lifted evacuation orders in areas of Namie and Iitate, radiation levels remain too high for the safe return of thousands of Japanese citizen evacuees.
 
This report summarizes information from Greenpeace’s latest extensive radiation survey in Namie and Iitate, Fukushima prefecture. The survey, conducted during October 2018, focused in particular on the radiation risks to decontamination workers, whose exploitation and human rights violations have rightly become a focus of attention from United Nations human rights experts during the last year.
 
The report also focuses on the failure of the Japanese government to comply with its international obligations to protect the rights of children. Preventing exposure of children to harmful radiation, one of the obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, is particularly critical given their higher vulnerability to health effects from radiation. In the case of workers and children, who are in the frontline of hazards resulting from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the Japanese government continues to ignore international radioprotection recommendations

Download PDF (12.03 MB)

https://reliefweb.int/report/japan/frontline-fukushima-nuclear-accident-workers-and-children-radiation-risks-and-human

 

March 25, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Mega-quake would likely flood more of Fukushima than 2011 tsunami

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Mar 21, 2019
This handout picture released by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. on March 21, 2011, shows black smoke rising from reactor No. 3 of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant after a mega-quake and tsunami knocked off the plant’s backup generators, triggering a triple meltdown crisis.
If a once-in-1,000-years earthquake occurs, the area of Fukushima Prefecture expected to be flooded by subsequent tsunami could be 1.3 times larger than at the time of the March 2011 disaster, the prefectural government said Wednesday.
If such a powerful earthquake takes place, tsunami of up to 22.4 meters high could hit the coast of Fukushima, and some 14,300 hectares of land in the prefecture could be inundated, according to a prefectural government estimate.
The prefectural government plans to call for 10 coastal municipalities to create hazard maps and review evacuation routes by the end of fiscal 2020.
Fukushima is the first of the three prefectures hardest hit by the 2011 disaster to work out such an estimate.
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March 25, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

The Unlearned Lessons of Japan’s Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

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March 20, 2019
Last week, Japan marked the eighth anniversary of the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that hit the country in 2011, leaving more than 18,000 people dead or unaccounted for and triggering one of the worst nuclear accidents in modern history. A moment of silence was observed across the country at 2:46 p.m. on March 11, the time the earthquake struck. Sports teams interrupted their practice to pray for the souls of those who perished. “We must never let the valuable lessons that we have learned from the enormous damage caused by the disaster to fade away,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at a commemorative ceremony.
 
The following day, three former executives of the Tokyo Electric Power Corporation, or TEPCO—which operated the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant when it took a direct hit from the tsunami—entered the district courthouse in Tokyo for the final day of their trial. They reiterated pleas of “not guilty” in response to charges of criminal negligence in connection with the disaster at Fukushima. The prosecution is requesting that each defendant serve five years in prison….
… Eight years on, residents of Fukushima continue to feel the impact of the nuclear accident. Much of the surrounding area remains designated as a “difficult-to-return zone,” requiring special permission to enter. Even in parts of the nine municipalities that have been deemed safe since 2014, most residents have yet to return home. An investigation by the Kyodo News service revealed that only 23 percent of registered homes in those areas are currently inhabited.
For citizens affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the process of seeking justice has been halting and uncertain.
Even for areas outside the initial evacuation zone, fears of radiation persist amid a massive, ongoing cleanup effort. One problem has to do with contaminated soil and debris that has been removed and stored in black bulk container bags across Fukushima. There’s still no set plan for their removal, so in many neighborhoods, the bags simply pile up—an ugly reminder of a tragedy that continues to reverberate through the area. In some cases, storage pits have been created, but they are far from a lasting solution, and not sufficient to hold the massive amounts of contaminated material slated for eventual disposal. The government has also installed monitoring posts throughout the affected area, but these sensors often fail to catch radioactive “hot spots”—concentrations of contaminated particles that accumulate over time due to weather patterns…
 
… Concerns over residual radiation are also hampering the recovery of the largely agriculture-based economy in Tohoku, the region that includes Fukushima. In the weeks and months after the meltdown, as many as 54 of Japan’s trading partners, fearing that radiation would reach their shores via contaminated produce, enacted trade embargoes on agricultural products from the region. Many governments have since removed or relaxed these prohibitions, but 24 countries and territories maintain some form of restriction despite repeated assurances from Tokyo that food products from the region are safe. These include major nearby export markets like China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea. The Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan’s most widely circulated daily newspaper, reports roughly $6 billion worth of exports are affected….
 
… This reality points to the permanent reputational damage to the people of Fukushima and its neighboring prefectures caused by the nuclear meltdown, which is proving just as hard to clean up. Like other sites of major nuclear accidents—Chernobyl, for example, and Three Mile Island—Fukushima is indelibly associated with nuclear fallout and the stigma that comes with it…
 
… For affected citizens, the process of seeking justice has been halting and uncertain, but there has been some progress. The verdict in the Tokyo criminal case is expected in September, though legal experts point out that guilty verdicts in cases that have been forcibly brought to trial by an inquest panel are rare. Meanwhile, roughly 30 class action lawsuits brought by residents of the Fukushima plant’s surrounding area are working their way through Japan’s legal system. A number of courts in those cases have found both TEPCO and the Japanese government liable for the disaster, awarding substantial damages…
 
… Japan is certainly no exception when it comes to lax and failing government regulation. Nor is it the only country that has prioritized economic growth over safety concerns. But as Japan’s nuclear reactors gradually come back online eight years after the meltdown in Fukushima, the potential costs of failing to learn from its mistakes seem particularly stark.
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March 25, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

As fears linger, Fukushima rice rebounds under anonymity

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A Fukushima prefectural government worker advertises rice from his prefecture at a Tokyo commercial facility in November 2018
March 20, 2019
FUKUSHIMA–Shipments of Fukushima rice have rebounded since the 2011 nuclear disaster, but Masao Matsukawa, a rice farmer in the prefecture, is not happy about the situation.
Before the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, most of the rice grown at Matsukawa’s farm in Sukagawa was sold for household use.
Now, the bulk of his annual harvest of 15 tons is designated for “industrial use,” mainly by convenience store and restaurant chains, and simply labeled “domestic product.”
“I am so sad about it all,” Matsukawa, 74, said. “I am so confident in the rice I grow, so I wish to sell it openly under the ‘Fukushima’ label.”
But rice from the northeastern prefecture is still struggling to reach pre-disaster levels for household use because of lingering consumer concerns about radiation.
The nuclear disaster took a heavy toll on the prices of Fukushima rice.
The “arm’s length price” of the rice, for direct transactions between marketing groups and wholesalers, was 10.4 percent below the national average for the 2014 harvest.
However, the price was only 3.0 percent below the national average for the 2018 harvest, according to preliminary figures.
The comeback has been driven by solid demand for industrial use rice for products sold at convenience stores and dishes served at restaurants.
According to a farm ministry survey, industrial use accounted for 65 percent of shipments of rice produced in Fukushima Prefecture in the year through June 2017, one of the highest ratios in Japan.
No comparable figures are available, though, for the pre-disaster period.
When the scope is limited to rice handled by the Fukushima Prefecture branch of the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations, industrial use accounts for more than 80 percent of the shipments, up about 15 percentage points from pre-disaster levels, officials said.
“There is high demand for industrial use rice from Fukushima Prefecture, which is cheap for its taste,” one distributor said.
Industrial use rice often only carries a “domestic” label with no mention of the production area.
But labels on rice for hpusehold use usually show the production area. And consumers are still pulling back from Fukushima labels.
Rice of the Tennotsubu strain, a brand from Fukushima Prefecture that debuted in autumn 2011, was put on the shelves at a rice store in Tokyo last year, only to be withdrawn because of next-to-nothing sales.
“Products of Fukushima Prefecture, where the nuclear disaster has had lingering consequences, are not the first to be chosen,” the shopkeeper said.
Since 2012, all bags of rice produced in Fukushima Prefecture have been subject to the prefectural government’s blanket testing. The screening has cost about 6 billion yen ($54 million) annually.
Since August 2015, no rice has been found with radioactive substances exceeding the central government’s safety standards.
The prefectural government plans to switch to a sample testing, possibly with the 2020 harvest.
According to a Consumer Affairs Agency survey conducted in February, 12.5 percent of consumers are hesitant to buy products from Fukushima Prefecture because of possible radioactive content.
Although that percentage is the lowest since the survey started in 2013, it shows that aversion to Fukushima products remains.
In hopes of further reducing the ratio, the prefectural government in October began sending its workers to rice shops across Japan to advertise the taste and safety of Fukushima rice.

March 25, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | | Leave a comment

2020 Tokyo Olympic torch relay in Japan to begin at soccer middle in Fukushima

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March 19, 2019
TOKYO, March 12 (Xinhua) — Japan’s torch relay of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games will kick off on March 26, 2020 at a soccer facility in Fukushima Prefecture that was stricken by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, president of the organizing committee Yoshiro Mori said Tuesday.
The move of selecting the J-Village national soccer training center as the starting point was part of the Olympic organizers’ efforts to demonstrate the games as “reconstruction Olympics.”
“It is important to help showcase the reconstruction to people in Japan and abroad. But I hope this will be some support to the people, who struggled so hard, to find new hope,” Mori said, as Tuesday marked 500 days to go ahead of the Tokyo Games.
The J-Village national soccer training center is regarded as a symbol of the country’s reconstruction from the natural catastrophe, as it served as an operational base during the nuclear crisis.
Located 20km away from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, the center sheltered thousands of workers engaged in the cleanup of the nuclear plant in northeastern Japan.
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March 25, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima water headache: 1 million tons and counting

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Hundreds of storage tanks on the grounds of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant hold water contaminated with radioactive materials.
March 19, 2019
The crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant reached an undesired milestone on March 18: Storage tanks at the site now contain more than 1 million tons of radiation-contaminated water.
The announcement by the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., came as the utility and the central government continue to weigh water-disposal methods while hearing the concerns of fishermen who fear for their livelihoods.
Toyoshi Fuketa, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, has repeatedly said a decision must be made soon on how to deal with the contaminated water.
Groundwater becomes contaminated when it flows into the buildings of the three reactors that suffered meltdowns in 2011 following the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.
… Water is used to cool the nuclear fuel debris, but its processing in order to remove radioactive substances is far from successful, which Tepco itself recently finally admitted after years of claiming that it was effective and that only tritium remained in the filtered water, lobbying for its relase into the ocean…
… These problems have forced TEPCO to store the contaminated water in hundreds of tanks installed at the Fukushima plant.
If more storage tanks are constructed, the overall capacity of 1.37 million tons at the site will likely be reached by the end of 2020….
… Fukushima fishermen are already on alert for the one option they have already criticized–diluting the water and dumping it into the Pacific Ocean…
… The government has spent about 34.5 billion yen ($309 million) to build a frozen underground earth wall around the three reactor buildings to divert the groundwater to the ocean. The “ice wall” has cut down the flow of groundwater, which at one time reached about 500 tons a day.
But still, groundwater continues to flow into the three reactor buildings at a rate of about 100 tons daily.
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March 25, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Schools reopen, but student numbers fail to rebound in disaster-hit Fukushima municipalities

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Four elementary schools in Fukushima Prefecture link up via a teleconference system in February and conduct a joint class on ethics.
March 19, 2019
FUKUSHIMA – Eight years after the March 2011 disasters, elementary and junior high schools have reopened in 10 Fukushima Prefecture municipalities after the lifting of nuclear evacuation advisories. Student numbers have not rebounded.
According to statistics released last May, the number of students stood at only about 10 percent of the level before 3/11.
During the protracted evacuations, many families rebuilt their lives in new locations, leading to the sharp fall in students in Fukushima. As a result, local governments are facing difficulties keeping schools operating.
… A man in his 60s who is a member of a neighborhood community association in the Yamakiya district in the town of Kawamata is disappointed by the steep decrease in the number of children.
“The disappearance of children’s voices is like the lights going out,” the man, who did not want his name published, said….
… The central government is working to improve small-class education in depopulated areas through the use of information and communications technology.
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March 25, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima 8th Anniversary: 2 events in London

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March 22, 2019
Every year since year 2011, I participated in Paris, France, to the events organized for the anniversary of Fukushima nuclear disaster. This year I decided to do it differently and to go to London, England, to participate there to the events organized by the London antinuclear community and the Japanese community.
Four events were scheduled in London this year for the 8th anniversary:
On the evening of March 11th a vigil in front of the London Japanese Embassy, then on March 16th a march from the Japanese Embassy to the British Parliament, then on March 19th a Parliamentary meeting at the House of Commons with three Fukushima mothers, then on March 20th screening of the film « Munen » (Remorse) followed by a debate with the three Fukushima mothers.
As my very tight budget would not allow me to stay in London for 10 days and 10 nights, I could not go there to attend to all those 4 events, so I decided to go for the two last events on the 19th and 20th, which meant staying in London only 2 nights, arriving from Paris in the mid-afternoon of the 19th and leaving very early morning on the 21st. With my shoestring budget I could only afford to stay at the Keystone House Youth Hostel in the Kings Cross district (cheap dormitory bunk) closed to the St Pancras railway station where I was arriving from Paris on the Eurostar train.
After checking in at the Youth hostel, I went by bus to Westminster district, to attend at 7pm to the Parlementary public meeting  – with three Fukushima mothers in the House of commons, hosted by the member of parlement Caroline Lucas MP, Green Party for Brighton.
The speakers were :
The three mothers of Fukushima : Akiko Morimatsu, Asami Yokota, Ms Sonoda, and also Dr Ian Fairlie, a well-know independent consultant on radioactivity in the environment.
The event was co-organised by Kick Nuclear (London): https://kicknuclear.com; Japanese Against Nuclear London: http://www.januk.org; Nos Voisins Lointains 311 (France): https://nosvoisinslointains311.home.blog/agenda/ and CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament): https://cnduk.org

I was very happy to finally be able to meet in person, Doctor Ian Fairlie, the well-known doctor in radiation biology, Lis field, from the Remember Fukushima blog, David Polden from Kick Nuclear and from CND, Shigeo Kobayashi from Jan UK (Japanese against nuclear UK) Kurumi Sugita from Nos Voisins Lointains 311 (France) who accompanied the Fukushima mothers from Grenoble in France to London, Kurumi Sugita has the excellent blog Fukushima 311 Voices, she is also my co-admin on the FB public page Fukushima 311 Voices and on our FB group Rainbow Warriors, I was also very happy to meet and get to know Robin Lawrence and his wife Camelia, as they came to attend this event, Robin is a longtime member of our FB group Rainbow Warriors.

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Akiko Morimatsu at the House of Commons, London
Each Fukushima mother’s testimony was heart touching, each woman a resistant, a hero of her own :
Akiko Morimatsu, Fukushima mother who evacuated to Osaka with her two young children; leading light in the Japanese anti-nuclear movement & campaigning on behalf of the victims of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster: in March 2018 Akiko appeared in front of the UNHRC (United Nations Human Rights Council) to speak on behalf of the victims of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, key member of Osaka-based “Thanks & Dream The Great Eastern Japan Earthquake & Nuclear Evacuee Association” http://sandori2014.blog.fc2.com/blog-entry-2062.html.
Asami Yokota, Fukushima mother who remained in Fukushima but evacuated her son to Hokkaido.
Ms Sonoda, Fukushima mother who evacuated with her child and husband; in June 2018 Ms Sonoda attended the 38th UNHRC (United Nations Human Rights Council) as a panellist in the Displaced  Persons session, speaking as a victim of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear disaster. Kaori Mikata-Pralat was the one interpreting from japanese to english and Vice versa.
The apex of the testimonies was certainly Akiko Morimatsu pointing out that to live in a healthy environment without radiation nor contamination should be considered a basic human right, is a basic human right.
Three brave, courageous women, who stood out to protect their children and for what is right, against all odds, despite all the social pressure exercised on them fueled by the media and the government massive campaign of disinformation. My deep respect to those three very courageous women.
After the meeting went to a nearby english pub, with Robin Lawrence and his wife Camelia, had great time in their company and getting to know better, before going back by Tube (subway) to my Kings Cross Youth Hostel.
*****
Then on March 20th went on foot to another district of London, Bloomsbury, not to far from Kings Cross, spend the day around there near the University of London, discovered a great multiple floors bookstore, Waterstones on Malet Street,  then got a free lunch plate distributed on the street at the gate of London University, lentils and potatoes.
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Then later at 5pm met with Lis Fields, Kurumi Sugita, Akiko Morimatsu and her two children, Asami Yokota, and had a quick early dinner, before going at 7pm to attend the second event, at the Brunei’s Gallery, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.
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That March 20th event also organized by Kick Nuclear (London): https://kicknuclear.com; Japanese Against Nuclear London: http://www.januk.org; Nos Voisins Lointains 311 (France): https://nosvoisinslointains311.home.blog/agenda/ and CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament): https://cnduk.org
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The first part of that event was the screening of « Munen » (Remorse) an 47 minutes animation film made in 2016 by Hidenobu Fukumoto.
Many inspirational episodes in “Munen” film. Below are just some of them.
* Following day of the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, when the firefighters were working to rescue people, they were ordered to cease the rescue mission due to explosion in Fukushima Daiichi nuclear station. Later, even though they understood the risk of nuclear accident, they felt “remorse” and cried – that if, just if, they kept rescuing, they could have helped some more people in the suffered reagion.
* Three days after the earthquake and tsunami, the second explosion happened in the nuclear station. The TV news said it was “hydrogen explosion”. People in NAMIE town were asked to evacuate but people were not given the answers to their questions:
– What is the reason of evacuation?
– Where should we evacuate?
– Until when they need to evacuate?
* “Nuclear Power – Bright Energy in the Future”. This is the slogan in the banner which has been hung in the town. And it was me who made it in my school days, and I was so proud that it was chosen as our town’s slogan, but now I know the slogan was wrong.
About Munen : Group creates film and story series based on interviews with Fukushima evacuees
Six years ago in March, a firefighter in the town of Namie in Fukushima Prefecture couldn’t save tsunami victims in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake, because he himself had to evacuate due to the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.
His anguish has been illustrated in the animated film “Munen”. The film begins with a scene in which the wife of the firefighter explains to her niece why her husband puts his hands together everyday and looks toward Namie.
“He is apologizing to lives that he could not save,” she tells her niece.
At the screening in Paris, the audience of about 100 people stared at the screen. The crowd erupted in applause when the film ended.
France depends heavily on nuclear power, which produces 75 percent of its electricity.
“I could understand clearly the seriousness (of nuclear power). I want many French people to watch this,” said a male university professor.
A citizens’ group that created the film has also produced about 40 illustrated story performances in the last five years, featuring experiences of evacuees of the nuclear disaster and a folk tale set in areas that have emptied of people. The shows have also been screened at various locations.
One story called “Mienai Kumo no Shita de” (“Under the Unseen Cloud”) depicts the life of a female evacuee from Namie.
Another called “Yuki-kun no Tegami” (“Yuki’s Letter”) features an autistic boy who struggles in an evacuation center, while a work titled “Inochi no Tsugi ni Taisetsuna Mono” (“The Precious Thing Next to Life”) is based on a story from the disaster that a manager of an inn heard from a fisherman.
“Munen” was also based on an illustrated story.
“An illustrated story show is easy and inexpensive (to produce). It tends to win the sympathy of the audience as it stimulates their imagination,” said Hidenobu Fukumoto, who heads a group called Machi Monogatari Seisaku Iinkai (Town Story Production Committee).
The 60-year-old former official of the Hiroshima Municipal Government was born in Hiroshima and graduated from Hiroshima Shudo University.
At the city office, he was involved in publishing a public relations magazine and event planning, with many opportunities to create illustrations. He retired in March.
What prompted him to create the shows was a book about the relationship of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and the nuclear plant in Fukushima operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. He read the book when he was engaged in volunteer activities in Fukushima after the disaster.
The book by Hisato Nakajima, titled “Sengoshi no Nakano Fukushima Genpatsu” (“The Fukushima Nuclear Power plant in Postwar History”), includes the story of a Tepco employee who was involved in the construction of the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.
The man, who lost his older brother in to the atomic bombing, also helped rescue atomic bomb survivors. In around 1964, he was assigned to work in the town of Okuma in Fukushima and talked to local people who were concerned about hosting a nuclear plant.
“I saw the B-29 bomber that dropped the atomic bomb and the mushroom cloud that soared in the sky afterward. I know the fear more than you all do, and that’s why I studied nuclear power seriously,” the man is quoted as saying. “I believe nuclear power is safe enough, as it is put under extremely thorough safety measures.”
Fukumoto was shocked to learn that the man’s atomic bombing experience was used to convince people to accept the construction of a nuclear power facility.
Meanwhile, the book also tells about a landowner in Namie — where Tohoku Electric Power Co. had planned to build a nuclear power facility — refusing to sell his land because he witnessed the devastation following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
“In the 1960s when I was in elementary school, atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima refrained from talking about the bombing over fear of being discriminated against,” Fukumoto said.
“If the horror of the atomic bombing had been conveyed better, people in Fukushima might have become suspicious about being persuaded, and nuclear power plants would not have been built,” he said, adding that if Fukushima becomes silent, the silence could be used as an excuse for maintaining nuclear power.
In order to prevent that outcome, Fukumoto is determined to convey the stories of remorse triggered by the meltdown disaster, the stories of evacuees, and the individual personalities of the victims.
Every month, Fukumoto makes a round trip of around 800 kilometers between Hiroshima and Fukushima to hold interviews to create new stories.
On Jan. 31, he visited the Namie home of 56-year-old Yoko Oka. Oka evacuated to the city of Fukushima, as her home was in a restricted zone which allowed only daytime access. The restriction was lifted at the end of March this year.
Her home was almost empty after she threw away everything but a chest, which she brought after getting married. There were many holes in the paper doors because they were devastated by masked palm civets, which also scattered feces in the home.
Oka stood in front of a pillar marked with the heights of her two daughters.
“This is the only proof that we lived here,” she said.
Fukumoto listened carefully to Oka and photographed her. Based on such interviews, he uses his computer to make illustrations for new stories and write scripts.
The production group currently has around 10 members, including a hibakusha from 72 years ago. The survivor continues to contact Fukushima evacuees, believing it is not someone else’s problem as they both were exposed to radiation.
There are also many evacuees who perform similar shows in various places.
Hisai Yashima, 51, who evacuated to the town of Kori, Fukushima, belongs to a group of around 15 storytellers.
“I could not have talked about (the nuclear disaster) if I were in my 20s … waiting to get married or expecting a baby,” she said. “Our generation can talk about it and young generations can succeed after they get older.”
After hearing the experiences of those who survived the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, Yashima thought the prejudice echoes the discrimination suffered by the Fukushima nuclear disaster evacuees.
But she is proud that the group was able to visit some 500 locations to screen shows.
“We are able to send out (our message). We will never let people become silent like in Hiroshima,” Yashima said.
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The movie screeningwas  followed by a debate between the three Fukushima mothers, and the people attending. It was less formal than the previous evening at the House of Commons, with plenty time for people to ask many questions, to which Akiko Morimatsu and Asami Yokota, were answering in details, there was a lot to learn there from them, how the Fukushima nuclear disaster had affected their lives, their family life, how it had changed their life forever. Kaori Mikata-Pralat was again the one interpreting from japanese to english and Vice versa.
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Kurumi Sugita explaining what can be done to help the Fukushima people
*****
I was not able to sleep much that second night as I had to go very early at 5 am to the nearby St Pancras station, to get thru immigration and customs to get on the 5:40am scheduled Eurostar train going back to Paris.
This 2 days quick trip, was tiring but not regrets at all. Those two days in London  were awesome, I was able to meet people I had wanted to meet for a long time, and to get to know them now personally, all of them beautiful people, the kind of company who lift your spirit and give you hope and energy to continue, to not give up, to continue to stand for what is right, and help sharing awareness to others.
Thank you all my dear friends for what you are, for who you are.
See you next year March again!

March 22, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

Court absolves government of blame in nuclear disaster

hkjml.jpgPlaintiff Takahiro Kanno, left, speaks about the verdict in Chiba’s Chuo Ward on March 14.

 

March 15, 2019

CHIBA–A district court here on March 14 absolved the central government of responsibility but ordered the operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to pay compensation to nine of 19 plaintiffs who evacuated to Chiba.

The Chiba District Court ordered Tokyo Electric Power Co. to pay a total of about 5.1 million yen ($45,630) to nine plaintiffs who evacuated out of radiation fears following the nuclear accident triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

The 19 plaintiffs were from six households who voluntarily evacuated from Fukushima to Chiba Prefecture. The plaintiffs sought a total of 247 million yen from TEPCO and the central government.

While the presiding judge ordered TEPCO to pay compensation to nine plaintiffs from four households, it denied the central government’s responsibility.

Read more :

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201903150041.html

March 18, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Reduced number of high schools due to number of kids diving in disaster-hit Fukushima municipalities

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March 15, 2019
8 Years On: Number of Kids Dives in Disaster-Hit Fukushima Municipalities
Fukushima, March 15 (Jiji Press)–In 10 Fukushima Prefecture municipalities where elementary and junior high school have reopened after the lifting of nuclear evacuation advisories, the number of students stood at 758 as of May 1, 2018, about 10 pct of the level before the March 2011 disasters.
During protracted evacuations, many child-rearing families rebuilt their lives in new locations, leading to the sharp fall in the number of students in Fukushima.
Read more :
 
As population declines, Fukushima Prefecture to lose 15 of its 96 high schools
The Fukushima Prefectural Board of Education will reduce its number of prefecture-run high schools by 15 by the end of fiscal 2023 as the region continues to struggle with a dwindling number of students due to a declining birthrate.
The mergers will be implemented over the span of three years from fiscal 2021 and will reduce the number of high schools in the prefecture from 96 to 81.
Twenty-five schools will be merged and reorganized into 13 under the plan, which will integrate schools located in close proximity of one another. Each school will retain four to six classes per grade.
Read more :

March 18, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

The Truth About Radiation in Fukushima

thediplomat-picture-1-386x515.jpgA radiation monitoring post in Fukushima city.

 

March 14, 2019

Despite government claims, radiation from the 2011 nuclear disaster is not gone.

Fukushima, on the other hand, is dealing with the release of radionuclides, which are fission products from nuclear power plants. These radionuclides are not rays, but dust-like particles that can stick to the body and be inhaled or ingested. Weather factors like wind and rain have displaced many radionuclides like cesium-137, which accumulate in patchy locations, such as ditches, drainage areas, or playgrounds. Because of this uneven dispersion, monitoring posts often overlook the presence of hot spots, places where the level of radiation is significantly greater. Dissatisfied by state-sponsored monitoring, many citizen scientists have collectively tracked and monitored residual radioactivity in Japan, legitimizing the presence of hot spots.

To measure radiation levels in Fukushima, the Japanese government has installed monitoring posts that display the current atmospheric level of radiation on an electronic board. Measurements of radiation levels in the air are taken at different locations and compiled to create an average level of radiation for the cities of Fukushima.

Monitoring posts are also strategically placed and their surrounding areas cleaned so that the levels of radiation remain lower. No monitoring posts are present in forests and mountains, which represent more than 70 percent of the area of Fukushima prefecture.

On top of such problems, radiation posts only measure radiation in the form of gamma rays. Yet the disaster has also released radionuclides that emit ionized particles, that is, alpha and beta particles. These ionized particles are not taken into account by state monitoring posts, even though they are dangerous if inhaled or ingested. Consequently, the data accumulated by monitoring posts is partial and unrepresentative of the extent of radioactive contamination.

Levels of radiation have also decreased due to a massive state-sponsored program of radioactive decontamination in the urban and rural areas of Fukushima. The process of decontamination consists of collecting and removing radioactive pollutants. Radionuclides are then contained in vinyl bags, so as to impede the risk of rescattering residual radioactivity. As a testament of the government-led decontamination, mountains of black plastic bags, filled with contaminated soil or debris, can be seen in many parts of Fukushima, forming a stark contrast against the emerald-green mountains of the region.

As such, decontamination does not imply that radiation has vanished; it has simply been moved elsewhere. Yet in rural regions, where many of the bags are currently being disposed, far away from the eyes of urban dwellers, residents are still forced to live near the storage sites. Many rural residents have criticized the actual efficacy of the decontamination projects. For instance, vinyl bags are now starting to break down due to the build-up of gas released by rotten soil. Plants and flowers have also started to grow inside the bags, in the process tearing them apart. With weather factors, residual radioactivity inside the bags will eventually be scattered back into the environment.

In the end, state-sponsored monitoring and decontamination are remedial measures that manage the perception of radiation in the environment. However, this does not imply that radioactive contamination is gone – not at all. When we look at the official maps of radiation of northeastern Japan, levels are low, but there are many ways to make them appear low. With overall lifespan that exceeds hundreds of years, radionuclides like cesium-137 or strontium-90 will continue to pose a problem for decades to come. However, with the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics, it is doubtful that the Japanese state will ever acknowledge this reality.

Read more :

https://thediplomat.com/2019/03/the-truth-about-radiation-in-fukushima/

March 18, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment