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Plan to Release Radioactive Fukushima Wastewater Into Pacific Ocean Panned by Critics

“Another reason to not build nuclear power plants.”

 

greenpeace_2.jpgGreenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior sailing past the destroyed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, five years after the plant’s accident.

 

September 10, 2019
The far-reaching dangers of nuclear power were on full display Tuesday as Japan’s environmental minister recommended releasing more than one million tons of radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi plant into the Pacific Ocean nearly a decade after a tsunami caused a meltdown at the coastal facility.
“There are no other options” other than dumping the water into the ocean and diluting it, Yoshiaki Harada said at a news conference in Tokyo.
Chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga disputed Harada’s claim, saying the government has not settled on a method of disposing of the wastewater. Other options include vaporizing the water and storing it on land.
But critics on social media said the suggestion of pouring contaminated water into the Pacific is more than enough evidence that the risks associated with nuclear power are too great to continue running plants like Fukushima.
The wastewater has been stored in tanks at Fukushima since the 2011 tsunami, when a meltdown at the plant forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people.
For years since the disaster, the plant has pumped tens of thousands of tons of water to help cool its damaged reactor cores and keep them from melting. After the water is used and contaminated with radionuclides and radioactive isotopes, it is stored in the tanks, but the plant expects to run out of room in 2022. 
The Atomic Energy Society of Japan said recently that it could take 17 years for water to meet safety standards after it is diluted.
Greenpeace, which has long called on the Japanese government to invest in technology to remove radioactivity from the water, said the environmental minister’s proposal is unacceptable.
“The government must commit to the only environmentally acceptable option for managing this water crisis which is long-term storage and processing to remove radioactivity, including tritium,” Shaun Burnie, a senior nuclear specialist the group’s German office, told France 24.
The government of neighboring South Korea expressed grave concerns over the potential plan to dump the water into the Pacific, saying it planned to work closely with Japan to come up with an alternative.
“The South Korean government is well aware of the impact of the treatment of the contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant on the health and safety of the people of both countries, and to the entire nation,” the government said.
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September 14, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

“Amid invisible terror, we were witnesses”

From Mari Inoue
I would like to share a poem of Fukushima nuclear disaster by Arata MAEDA, which was published on July 18, 2011 in “Shimbun Noumin”, family farmers’ newspaper in Japan.
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“Amid invisible terror, we were witnesses”
by Arata MAEDA*
(Tanslated into English by Andrew E. Barshay)**
Assaulted by an invisible terror
Even now, after four months
We remain driven from our own birthplace, our hometown
At Level 7, with no change in the situation at all
Tens of thousands of livestock, starved to death, all of them
In the deserted villages, only the stink from their corpses
Rises into the air
Across the mountains and rivers of our home country,
Stolen away by something that will not show itself,
The seasons change, as if nothing at all had happened
There where the cuckoo cries, can it be only in our dreams
That we toil and sweat?
There, where we cannot even set foot!
Once it was by our country’s policy that we were driven to Manchuria
By our country’s defeat to commit suicide together
And abandoning our little ones, to escape back home
And now as then, this home of ours
Is smashed to bits as our country’s grand plans collapse in ruin
And this time, it’s a painless death that takes its time in coming
Yet just as on that day, isn’t it collective suicide all over again?
Isn’t it the live experiments of Unit 731 all over again?
Friends, friends, we can’t just stand here grieving and crying
Over these four months, amid invisible terror
What we have seen with our own eyes
Is the true face of terror that says: no matter
For pro it’s sake, the reactors must stay on
All right then! If that’s how it is
We’re ready to take them on, for the sake of our children and theirs
Just like the Kwantung Army before them, these bastards
hid the facts and were the irst to run from danger
And now they put on an innocent face and prattle about safety and reconstruction
No way will we let them take these lives so easily!
Oh, but friends, my friends are dead
*MAEDA Arata: member of Fukushima Farmers’ Alliance, resident of Aizumisato, Fukushima Prefecture
**Andrew E.BARSHAY: Professor, University of California at Berkeley
(The name of “friend” mentioned at the end of the poem is Hisashi Tarukawa who was an organic farmer and a member of the Japan Family Farmers Movement living in Sukagawa, Fukushima. He had devoted himself to growing organic cabbages. On March 23, 2011, he received a fax from the Fukushima local government, which requested him to forbear the shipping of cabbages contaminated by radioactivity. The next day he committed suicide by hanging himself in despair at losing his whole future.)

September 14, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Minister says Japan will have to dump radioactive water into Pacific

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Fukushima: Japan will have to dump radioactive water into Pacific, minister says

More than a million tonnes of contaminated water lies in storage but power company says it will run out of space by 2022

The operator of the ruined Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant will have to dump huge quantities of contaminated water from the site directly into the Pacific Ocean, Japan’s environment minister has said – a move that would enrage local fishermen.

More than 1 million tonnes of contaminated water has accumulated at the plant since it was struck by a tsunami in March 2011, triggering a triple meltdown that forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of residents.

Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) has struggled to deal with the buildup of groundwater, which becomes contaminated when it mixes with water used to prevent the three damaged reactor cores from melting.

Tepco has attempted to remove most radionuclides from the excess water, but the technology does not exist to rid the water of tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen. Coastal nuclear plants commonly dump water that contains tritium into the ocean. It occurs in minute amounts in nature.

Tepco admitted last year that the water in its tanks still contained contaminants beside tritium.

Currently, more than 1m tonnes of contaminated water is held in almost 1,000 tanks at the Fukushima Daiichi site, but the utility has warned that it will run out of tank space by the summer of 2022.

The only option will be to drain it into the sea and dilute it,” Yoshiaki Harada told a news briefing in Tokyo on Tuesday. “The whole of the government will discuss this, but I would like to offer my simple opinion.”

No decision on how to dispose of the water will be made until the government has received a report from a panel of experts. Other options include vaporising the liquid or storing it on land for an extended period.

Harada did not say how much water would need to be discharged into the ocean.

One recent study by Hiroshi Miyano, who heads a committee studying the decommissioning of Fukushima Daiichi at the Atomic Energy Society of Japan, said it could take 17 years to discharge the treated water after it has been diluted to reduce radioactive substances to levels that meet the plant’s safety standards.

Any decision to dispose of the waste water into the sea would anger local fishermen, who have spent the past eight years rebuilding their industry.

Nearby South Korea has also voiced concern over the impact it would have on the reputation of its own seafood.

Last month, Seoul summoned a senior Japanese embassy official to explain how Fukushima Daiichi’s waste water would be dealt with.

Ties between the north-east Asian nations are already at a low ebb following a compensation dispute over Koreans forced to work in Japanese factories during the second world war.

The government spent 34.5bn yen (£260m) to build a frozen underground wall to prevent groundwater reaching the three damaged reactor buildings. The wall, however, has succeeded only in reducing the flow of groundwater from about 500 tonnes a day to about 100 tonnes a day.

Japan has come under renewed pressure to address the contaminated water problem before Tokyo hosts the Olympics and Paralympics next summer.

Six years ago during the city’s bid for the games, the prime minister, Shinzo Abe, assured the international community that the situation was “under control”.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/10/fukushima-japan-will-have-to-dump-radioactive-water-into-pacific-minister-says?CMP=twt_gu&utm_medium&utm_source=Twitter&fbclid=IwAR0y_cSlb7u-xDEJ8_IZ7DEYK18r0a3AKAm1pQcdxHKaE_OOmzKhbstrx8Q#Echobox=1568114071

Minister calls for dumping Fukushima plant treated water into ocean

September 10, 2019

Japan’s environment minister called Tuesday for water contaminated with low-toxicity radioactive tritium at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant to be discharged into the Pacific Ocean, potentially provoking controversy with South Korea that has expressed concerns about the idea.

“Although I’m not the minister in charge, I believe there’s no choice but to dump the water (into the ocean) and dilute it,” Environment Minister Yoshiaki Harada told a press conference, a day before Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s planned Cabinet reshuffle.

Even after being treated, the water, used to cool reactor cores that suffered meltdowns at the plant following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, remains contaminated with tritium.

But the water, currently stored in tanks at the Fukushima plant, is regarded by the government as relatively harmless to humans.

Seoul has expressed concern over the possibility that the water could be discharged into the ocean. Local fishermen are also opposed to the release of the water into the sea, fearing the potential impact on fish stocks.

The Japanese government has yet to decide on how to dispose of the accumulating water. The tanks storing the water are expected to be full by the summer of 2022, according to Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., the operator of the Fukushima plant.

A nuclear expert from the International Atomic Energy Agency said in 2018 that a controlled discharge of such contaminated water “is something which is applied in many nuclear facilities, so it is not something that is new.”

Harada said his view was based on a visit to the Fukushima complex, where he saw a number of tanks storing the water, and the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s support for the water discharge.

In an apparent reference to South Korea, Harada added the most important thing for Japan is to “provide sincere explanations” to countries that may oppose Tokyo’s policy.

The environment minister made the remarks as he looked back on his time in the post since October last year.

In August, a government panel began discussing the possibility of long-term water storage. It has looked at other options such as discharging it into the sea and vaporization.

Toxic water produced by cooling debris and other processes at the Fukushima plant is purified using the Advanced Liquid Processing System, said to be capable of removing almost all radioactive materials except tritium.

https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2019/09/c1a5b0cc2143-minister-calls-for-dumping-fukushima-plant-treated-water-into-ocean.html

September 14, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima map with false data for foreigners

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Via Cecile Brice

Risk communication: they do not hesitate to produce maps with false data for foreigners. What not to do to make believe that everything is fine.

In the picture, we do not see the number given to “Tepco-Fukushima”. No numbers, they removed all hot spots on their map …

 

September 14, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Evacuated Fukushima town begins efforts to have produce restrictions lifted

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People are seen planting produce during a cultivation test in the Morotake district of the town of Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture, on Sept. 2, 2019, in this photo provided by the Futaba Municipal Government.
September 9, 2019
FUTABA, Fukushima — Vegetable cultivation trials began in September in this town, which has been completely evacuated since Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station melted down following the earthquakes and tsunami in March 2011.
The prefectural government has been putting on the trials with cooperation from the town office as well as farmers who were based in the town in northeastern Japan.
At a full staff meeting of the town assembly on Sept. 5, it was explained that if the crops can be confirmed to be safe, then the aim will be to have shipping restrictions removed on a part of the town whose evacuation orders are expected to be lifted next spring. It is thought that doing so will help revive farming in the area.
According to the town office, seeds and saplings for five produce items, including broccoli, cabbage and spinach, were planted at three locations in the Morotake district on Sept. 2. The district is currently classed as an area preparing for the lifting of an evacuation order, from which orders may soon be lifted.
It is the first planting in the town to produce food since the onset of the nuclear disaster in March 2011. Harvesting is expected to take place from late October to mid-November, but because the aim is to confirm data, all of the crop will be disposed of and not distributed.
If the inspection can confirm that the radiation dosage is lower than the national standard of 100 becquerels per 1 kilogram, then the prefectural government will make a request to the national government to have the shipment restrictions on the area removed.
Shipment restrictions are aimed at leafy and non-leafy headed types of vegetables, as well as mustards such as broccoli, and turnips. Immediately after the start of the nuclear disaster, these items all across the prefecture were under restrictions, but as areas have each confirmed the safety of their crops, they have been lifted.
Excluding areas deemed “difficult-to-return” zones, only the parts of Futaba that are classed as preparing for the lifting of evacuation orders remain as areas yet to have the restrictions removed.
(Japanese original by Tatsushi Inui, Iwaki Local Bureau)

September 14, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Tokyo Officials Still Unsure What to Do With Radioactive Fukushima Water

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September 7, 2019
The Japanese government told diplomats on Wednesday they had not yet decided what to do with the roughly 1 million tons of radioactive water being stored at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
A toxic mix of groundwater and rainwater exposed to the damaged nuclear reactors at Fukushima Daiichi in eastern Japan has presented Japanese officials with a disposal problem for years. More than 1 million tons of contaminated water are now stored in more than 1,000 storage tanks around the site, in various stages of decontamination.
However, the clock is ticking: Fukushima operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) says it is due to hit maximum capacity by 2022, and what will be 1.37 million tons of water by then will need to be disposed of or properly treated to be made safer.
“With transparency in mind, Japan will continue providing the international community with information (on the Fukushima situation),” Koichiro Matsumoto, the Foreign Ministry’s director of international cooperation, told 27 diplomats representing 22 countries and regions on Wednesday, Reuters reported.
Seoul raised the issue last month during a larger trade spat with Tokyo, with the South Korean Foreign Ministry saying, “If it’s deemed necessary, we will … closely cooperate with our neighbors in the Pacific … to actively cope with the problem of the discharge of contaminated water,” Yonhap News Agency reported.
When the most powerful earthquake in Japanese history struck offshore of the city of Sendai in March 2011, it produced a huge tsunami that washed miles inland, killing tens of thousands of people. It also damaged the ostensibly-tsunami-proof Fukushima plant, causing three of its reactors to melt down after they overheated. While the situation was brought under control, the huge problem of radioactive cleanup remains, as does the continued growth of radioactive water at the site.
Various proposals have been floated for disposal, including injecting the water deep underground or dumping the partially treated water into the Pacific Ocean.
“It will have a devastating effect on fishing in Fukushima,” Tetsu Nozaki, who heads the Fukushima prefectural federation of fisheries cooperative associations, told the Asahi Shimbun about dumping the water into the Pacific in March. Fishermen returned to the waters near Sendai in 2017, but their catch is still only 20% of pre-earthquake levels, the Asahi noted.
Tokyo has spent about 34.5 billion yen ($309 million) stemming the exposure of groundwater to the reactors with a massive earthen wall, but the site continues to accumulate roughly 100 tons of contaminated water per day, the Asahi noted.
The government was forced to admit last year that treatment had not proceeded as planned; nuclear plants typically treat their waste water to eliminate all radioactive elements except tritium, because tritium is both relatively harmless and also plentiful in the environment already.
Reprocessing all the water at Fukushima could take two years and would result in further delays to the enormous project of dismantling the wrecked reactors – which could take 40 years and cost up to 21.5 trillion yen ($192.5 billion), or roughly one-fifth of the Japanese government’s annual budget.

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

To Prevent Polluted Water from Being Discharged into Sea Korea Pushing for International Cooperation in Handling Fukushima Water

Why South Korean government is the only one complaining? How about the other countries who will be also affected by the Fukushima Daiichi radioactive water dumping: China, Taiwan, Philippines, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the U.S. ? Why are they silent?
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The Korean government is seeking international cooperation to prevent the Japanese government from discharging the contaminated water at its crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean.
September 6, 2019
The Korean government has decided to promote international cooperation to cope with the possibility of the Japanese government discharging contaminated water at its crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean.
The Seoul government is moving to raise the international community’s awareness of the danger of discharging the polluted water from the ill-fated power plant in Fukushima.
The Korean Ministry of Science and ICT and the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission of Korea said that they sent a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) requesting international cooperation for the treatment of the contaminated water at Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. The letter contained concerns over the possibility of the contaminated water being discharged into the sea. It also included a request that the IAEA play an active role in this matter with international organizations and interested parties.
In addition, Moon Mi-ok, first vice science and ICT minister of Korea and Um Jae-sik, chairman of the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission will attend the IAEA General Assembly in Vienna on Sept. 16 to bring the issue to the attention of member countries and make it a hot topic for discussion. Moon will also deliver a keynote speech at the general assembly to warn of the dangers of the contaminated water.
“We will continue to request the international community to ensure that the Japanese government finds a legitimate and optimized method for treating the contaminated water safely without giving burden to future generations,” said Choi Won-ho, director general of public research at the Minister of Science and ICT.
Earlier, the Japanese government said through its embassy in Seoul that the IAEA has confirmed that the concentration of radioactive materials did not rise in seawater around Japan. It said contaminated groundwater has not been released to a level that affect public safety.

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

North Korea lambasts Japan over Fukushima

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Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant stores more than 1 million tons of contaminated water.
September 4, 2019
Sept. 4 (UPI) — North Korea slammed a Japanese plan to discharge highly radioactive water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, calling the plan a recipe for an “outrageous nuclear disaster.”
Korean Workers’ Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun stated Wednesday the controversial plan, which could be being reviewed in Tokyo, is an “anti-humanitarian act” that needs to be rescinded immediately.
Japan’s original plan was to release into the Pacific Ocean some of the 1.09 million tons of highly radioactive water from Fukushima. Last month, Greenpeace condemned Tokyo for the plan, calling it “motivated by short-term cost-cutting,” according to the South China Morning Post.
Pyongyang said Wednesday the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was being selfish and putting neighboring countries at risk.
“More than a few countries operate nuclear power stations, but only one country, Japan, would threaten the survival of other nations and people by carelessly throwing away radioactive water into the sea for national profit,” the Rodong said.
North Korea also claimed people on the Korean Peninsula would suffer the most damage.
“The island nation gang [Japan] that brought our people unparalleled misery and suffering are now trying to cover up their nuclear disaster with radioactive pollution,” the Rodong said, adding Japan should immediate withdraw plans to discharge radioactive water into the sea.
Tokyo may be postponing the plans, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.
Government officials in Japan told diplomats representing 22 countries, including South Korea, they are still mulling their options on discharging the water.
The water, currently stored in tanks in Fukushima, will be disposed of with “transparency” in mind, Tokyo said.
Controversy remains over Japan’s Advanced Liquid Processing System plant at Fukushima, which treats water but still leaves higher than permitted levels of strontium-90 in the treated water.

 

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

Vietnamese trainees sue Fukushima firm over decontamination work

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(Workers involved in decontamination work in the northeastern Japan town of Namie offer silent prayers to mourn victims of the March 2011 massive quake and tsunami on March 11, 2016.)
 
September 4, 2019
Three Vietnamese men on a foreign trainee program in Japan have sued a construction company for making them conduct radioactive decontamination work related to the March 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima Prefecture without prior explanation, supporters of the plaintiffs said Wednesday.
The lawsuit, dated Tuesday and filed with a branch of the Fukushima District Court, demanded that Hiwada Co., based in Koriyama in the northeastern Japan prefecture, pay a total of about 12.3 million yen in damages, according to the supporters.
The case is the latest in a string of inappropriate practices under the Japanese government’s Technical Intern Training Program which has been often criticized as a cover for cheap labor.
According to Zentouitsu Workers Union, a Tokyo-based labor union that supports foreign trainees, Hiwada made the plaintiffs conduct decontamination work in the cities of Koriyma and Motomiya in Fukushima Prefecture between 2016 and 2018.
The Vietnamese, who arrived in Japan in July 2015, also did pipe work in the town of Namie while evacuation orders were still in place.
The plaintiffs’ contracts only said they would be engaging in reinforcing steel placement and formwork installation.
Hiwada did not provide them with detailed explanation on decontamination work beforehand, and it did not offer sufficient training either.
“We were not told that it was dangerous work. I am very worried about my future health,” said one of the plaintiffs, a 36-year-old, in a written statement.
In separate instances, foreign trainees have said they were inappropriately involved in decontamination work in Fukushima, including a Vietnamese man who said in March last year that he was hired by a construction firm in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture.
The Justice Ministry and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare have said decontamination work does not fit the purpose of the trainee program.

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

Japan briefs diplomats on Fukushima nuclear water concerns

920x920.jpgThis Jan. 25, 2019, file photo shows water tanks containing contaminated water that has been treated at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Okuma town, Fukushima prefecture, northeastern Japan. Japan has reassured foreign diplomats about the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant’s safety amid concerns about massive amounts of treated but radioactive water stored in tanks. Diplomats from 22 countries, including South Korea, attended a briefing Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019, where Japanese officials stressed the importance of combating rumors.

1024x1024.jpgDiplomats from 22 countries attend a briefing on the Fukushima nuclear plant’s safety at the foreign ministry in Tokyo, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019. Japan has reassured foreign diplomats about the crippled nuclear plant’s safety amid concerns about massive amounts of treated but radioactive water stored in tanks

 

September 4, 2019

TOKYO (AP) — Japan tried to reassure foreign diplomats Wednesday about safety at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant amid concerns about massive amounts of treated but radioactive water stored in tanks.

Diplomats from 22 countries and regions attended a briefing at the Foreign Ministry, where Japanese officials stressed the importance of combating rumors about safety at the plant, which was decimated by a 2011 earthquake and tsunami, while pledging transparency.

The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., or TEPCO, said last month that it would run out of storage space for the water in 2022, prompting South Korea to raise safety questions amid tensions with Japan that have intensified over trade and history. South Korea was among those represented at Wednesday’s briefing.

Water must be continuously pumped into the four melted reactors at the plant so the fuel inside can be kept cool, and radioactive water has leaked from the reactors and mixed with groundwater and rainwater since the disaster.

The plant has accumulated more than 1 million tons of water in nearly 1,000 tanks. The water has been treated but still contains some radioactive elements. One, tritium — a relative of radiation-emitting hydrogen — cannot be separated.

Tritium is not unique to Fukushima’s melted reactors and is not harmful in low doses, and water containing it is routinely released from nuclear power plants around the world, including in South Korea, officials say.

The water has been a source of concern, sparking rumors about safety, especially as Japan tries to get countries to lift restrictions on food imports from the Fukushima area ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Import restrictions are still in place in 22 countries and regions, including South Korea and China.

“In order to prevent harmful rumors about the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant from being circulated, we believe it is extremely important to provide scientific and accurate information,” Yumiko Hata, a Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry official in charge of the Fukushima accident response, said at the briefing. “We appreciate your understanding of the situation and continuing support for the decommissioning work at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant.”

Officials said there were no complaints from the diplomats Wednesday about Japan’s handling of the water.

More than eight years after the accident, Japan has yet to decide what to do with the radioactive water. A government-commissioned panel has picked five options, including the controlled release of the water into the Pacific Ocean.

As disputes between Japan and neighboring South Korea escalated over export controls and colonial-era labor used by Japanese companies, Seoul last month announced plans to step up radiation tests of Japanese food products, and asked about the contaminated water and the possibility of its release into the sea.

Experts say the tanks pose flooding and radiation risks and hamper decontamination efforts at the plant. Nuclear scientists, including members the International Atomic Energy Agency and Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority, have recommended the water’s controlled release into the sea as the only realistic option scientifically and financially. Local residents oppose this, saying the release would trigger rumors of contamination, which would spell doom for Fukushima’s fishing and agriculture industries.

The panel recently added a sixth option of long-term storage.

https://www.chron.com/news/science/article/Japan-briefs-diplomats-to-wipe-Fukushima-nuke-14412118.php?fbclid=IwAR3s08wA1bmvk0pODxuvDWOiQ4Kd5wy81v8vA7FzhX7gB_7PzflRoure5ZA

 

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

Japanese government to send staff to disaster-hit Fukushima towns to help restart farming production

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Yoshiyuki Takahashi(left), the head of an agriculture promotion association in Fukuoka Prefecture, examines vegetables produced in the prefecture at a grocery in Tokyo’s Minato Ward in March
Sep 3, 2019
The agriculture ministry said Tuesday it will send officials to 12 municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture that were hit by the 2011 nuclear disaster to help farmers there resume agricultural production.
From April 2020, one official will be stationed in each of the 12 municipalities near Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s crippled Fukushima No. 1 plant, including the facility’s two host towns.
The ministry officials will create teams with prefectural government and local agricultural cooperatives officials.
The teams will hold discussions with local farmland owners and farmers hoping to expand their operations in order to devise and implement farming resumption plans.
The ministry hopes to consolidate abandoned parcels of farmland in cooperation with local agriculture-related organizations and start large-scale farming there using advanced equipment.
Due to the nuclear disaster, farming had been stopped on a total of 17,298 hectares of land in the 12 municipalities. As of the end of March 2018, farming had resumed on 4,345 hectares, only a fourth of the total.

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

Section of exhaust stack at nuclear plant removed

Work that was expected to take two days ended up taking a month. They were initially delayed because the crane wasn’t tall enough!? Good grief. Pretty hard to believe that their engineers/decommissioning crew aren’t working together enough to figure something as simple and basic as that out in advance. Work of this “quality” certainly doesn’t instill a lot of confidence in their ability in their decommissioning efforts.
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September 3, 2019
 
Workers have finished removing the top section of an exhaust stack for two damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
 
The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, is working to dismantle the upper half of the 120-meter-tall stack.
 
It has released footage of the work completed on Sunday, about a month behind schedule.
 
The workers used a crane to lift off a section of the stack, together with the equipment used to cut it, and lowered them to the ground.
 
The stack was contaminated by radioactive gases released after the 2011 accident and is at risk of collapsing in an earthquake.
 
The iron framework that supports the stack was also damaged in the accident.
 
The company plans to complete the work by the end of March.
 
Removing the first section was originally scheduled to take two days but ended up taking over a month to complete.
 
The work was initially delayed when it was discovered that the crane wasn’t tall enough.
 
Equipment failures and other problems created further delays.
 
Officials say they will study the work done so far in order to streamline the demolition process.
 

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

Hatoyama says ‘radioactive contamination not under control’

optimize.jpgFormer Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama speaks during an exclusive interview with The Korea Times at the newspaper’s headquarters in Seoul, Thursday.

 

September 2, 2019

The Japanese government has tried to convince the world with an extensive propaganda campaign to claim any persisting dangers from the Fukushima nuclear disaster are under control ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Recently, concerns have been mounting among the South Korean government and international environmental groups such as Greenpeace about reports of Japan’s plan to release radioactive water into the sea off the coast of Fukushima. Korean political parties have also taken issue with the possible radioactive contamination of food that will be provided to athletes at the Olympics. Former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama showed concern about the Shinzo Abe administration’s handling of the radioactive water situation and called for urgent action for the reconstruction of Fukushima. The following are edited questions and answers from The Korea Times interview with the former Japanese leader. ― ED.

Former Japanese PM slams Abe over economic retaliation against Seoul

Q. The deteriorating relations between South Korea and Japan created by the forced labor issue has expanded to economic and security areas. How do you interpret the current relations between the two countries?

A. I express deep regret that Japan-South Korea relations are in such a difficult situation. Japan and South Korea had been learning from each other in their long history and were able to build trust. Japan colonized the Korean Peninsula, and this caused a great deal of pain for Koreans. As one of the Japanese people, I am very sorry that this historical issue has led to a deteriorating relationship between Seoul and Tokyo.

Q. Japan’s Abe administration appears to consider the current disputes between South Korea and Japan as a matter of trust. Meanwhile, President Moon Jae-in said South Korea will join hands with Japan if it chooses dialogue. However, Seoul decided not to extend the military intelligence-sharing pact with Japan. The two countries seem to be taking hawkish stances against each other. What makes the two think differently?

A. Japan colonized the Korean Peninsula in the past. As a result, Korea was divided into two. During the process, Japan made people on the peninsula suffer. I think [the differences in the stances between Seoul and Japan are] rooted in history. Japan says that the current problems were settled in the bilateral treaty made in 1965. The problem is that the [individual] rights to seek compensation are not settled in the agreement. The Japanese government had the understanding in the past that individuals can demand compensation. In 1991, Shunji Yanai, then director of the treaty bureau at Japan’s foreign ministry, made it clear during a parliamentary session that the treaty did put an end to the right to demand compensation between countries. He said it did not apply to individuals’ final and complete compensation. I think this is the official stance of Japan. But it seems the current Abe administration is reversing its stance. Because the current government started saying that the problem has been solved, it became a matter of trust. I think Japan’s side should not say such a thing and should face the reality of history with a humble mind.

Q. On Aug. 28, Japan implemented the removal of South Korea from its whitelist of trusted trading partners. Why do you think the Japanese government removed Seoul from its list? And is this appropriate?

A. In conclusion, it is not appropriate. The Japanese government claims that it is not relevant to the forced labor issue
and it is about security issues. It says it tried to ask South Korea to improve its control of traded goods, but it ended up removing Seoul as South Korea did not respond to Japan’s request while claiming that its measures are not trade restrictions or embargos. But I think South Korea relates the removal to the forced labor issue. The Japanese government may think the problem was solved already, but the South’s Supreme Court made such a ruling. I think it is valid to think that the emotional issue led to the removal.

I asked [the government] about it, but it didn’t give me an answer claiming it cannot say anything. If it was a matter of controlling trade, Japan should have continued to strongly ask South Korea to improve its system between officials, rather than removing the country at this time. I assume that there would have been some orders from the Prime Minister’s Office of Japan in an apparent response to the South’s court ruling. I think the measure should be lifted.

Q. The United States government is likely pressuring South Korea to cancel the decision to end the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) and have meaningful dialogues between South Korea and Japan. If Seoul and Tokyo continue to take strong measures against each other, what will happen to security in the East Asia region?

A. I think, since last year, the political situation on the Korean Peninsula is heading toward peace. The Japanese government should join hands to create peace with the two Koreas and with the U.S. and North Korea. The GSOMIA has its meaning when the North continues to develop its nuclear missiles. But when peace is around with Pyongyang, it may be necessary to reconsider the meaning of keeping it. I heard that the necessity of the GSOMIA for Japan and the U.S. is to cope with China. In that sense, the GSOMIA is still necessary. It might be necessary for both Seoul and Tokyo to extend the pact with the mediation of the U.S. in a way to restore trust. If the U.S. agrees [with the cancellation of Japan’s removal of South Korea from its whitelist and the South’s extension of the GSOMIA], there is a possibility Japan would add Seoul in the whitelist again.

Q. Some claim Japan’s pressure against South Korea is to raise Abe’s support rating. Actually, Abe appears to be gaining popularity through it. He also openly talks about his ambition for the revision of the Constitution, which is gaining a lot of attention in South Korea. Do you think Abe really wants to revise the Constitution? Or is this part of his ambition to restore militarism?

A. I am not Abe. So I would not be able to tell what he really thinks. But what I can say is Japanese people, especially young people, don’t know history. And the young people have no memory that Japan made its growth amid its slump for several decades. Facing South Korea and China which are making strong remarks, people prefer a politician who makes likewise remarks such as “I will make Japan stronger.” It is true that the world is shifting to the right and nationalism is gaining power. Prime Minister Abe is good at promoting it. But I don’t think the situation will make it easier to revise the Constitution. Of course, Japan is on its way to be able to start a war. But as some half of Japanese oppose the idea of the revision, it would be difficult for Abe, who is gaining support by claiming it, to push for it.

Q. The liberal governments run by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) put their efforts into improving relations between the two countries and succeeded to a certain extent. But with the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) back in power, the relations deteriorated. How do you think Abe positions South Korea in diplomatic relations?

A. The DPJ wanted to rule the country with liberal philosophy. In particular, it wanted to establish more trust with such neighboring countries as China and South Korea. And it also tried to make more Asia-centered policies and diplomacy rather than prioritizing the U.S.; this approach also existed in the LDP as well. But along with the collapse of the Tanaka faction, led by former Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka, the so-called liberal politicians inside the LDP became a minority, meaning fewer people criticize Abe. Abe is cleverly using the media by building good relationships with them. And the Japanese media don’t criticize the government’s rightward drift or nationalism. Abe cannot resolve the problems of Japanese abductees by North Korean spies and establish diplomatic relations between Japan and North Korea unless he builds a better relationship with South Korea. I cannot clearly see the government’s relationship roadmap with the South.

Q. There are rising concerns over the Fukushima nuclear issue before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. According to Greenpeace, the Japanese government hopes to release more than 1 million tons of highly radioactive water into the sea off the coast of Fukushima. Do you have any comments on that?

A. I strongly suspected the situation that Japan was able to host the Olympics after Abe claimed that the radioactive contamination issue is under control by his government. But it is not under control. Releasing the massive amount of contaminated water sparked a big debate [in Japan]. However, Japanese media and the government try not to speak about it. I’m extremely worried as the date of the Olympics approaches, which is somewhat natural to do so. Athletes who participate in the games should not be contaminated by radioactivity. I’m one of the people who have long insisted that the government should spend more money on the reconstruction of Fukushima rather than into the Olympics.

Q. Some people in the LDP may have started to raise their voices against the Abe administration. I read that Rep. Shigeru Ishiba, a member of the LDP and Japan’s House of Representatives, wrote “There are many problems created by the fact that Japan didn’t take responsibility for the war after being defeated in the past and those are surfacing now.” Many Japanese citizens participate in campaigns to criticize the government. Do you think these moves can spread to the change of the current administration? Do you have any idea to achieve cooperation between the two countries at any level?

A. I respect Ishiba for speaking out critically on the government’s policies, including the whitelist issue. It is very difficult for anyone to directly criticize the party or the Prime Minister’s Office of Japan other than popular politicians under the single-member constituency as it is related to securing the recommendation from the party for elections. Moreover, the media is controlled by the office, self-examining for the government.

But I think there are many people behind who potentially don’t agree with what Abe is doing. The increase of the number of LDP seats does not necessarily mean it did well and gained popularity; it’s because the opposition parties have split up. Therefore, the most important thing is that the grassroots and the private sector should unite and communicate with the Korean people through social media. It is important in democracy to take various actions to make changes in policies. In this context, it is important to create opportunities in which experts from Japan and South Korea work together to raise voices against the Abe administration.

Q. Any more comments?

A. I hope the situation would come that both Japanese and Korean people can learn from each other as they did in the past for a long time. In order to do so, I think when Japanese citizens can show that they understand the aggressor should remain humble and keep making an apology until the victim can forgive, Korean people can understand Japanese people. Right now, what we need is to make efforts between private sectors of the two countries and not to hate each other even though both governments are not in a good time.
https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/nation/2019/09/356_274905.html

 

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

Theater puts human face on nuclear crisis, life in Trump era

nn,tgv.jpgDai Matsuoka of the Japanese butoh dance troupe Sankai Juku performs in “Falling Out.”

August 29, 2019

Six dancers silently toss black garbage bags across the stage as images of the areas around a crippled nuclear power plant scroll over a large screen.

Whenever a survivor of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, which triggered a triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in northeastern Japan, begins to speak on screen, the dancers imitate the individual’s gestures to emphasize his or her words.

The filmed interviews with those who experienced the Great East Japan Earthquake and its consequences form the heart of “Falling Out,” a theatrical production featured at the inaugural CrossCurrents Festival, held this spring in Washington, D.C.

The festival was the brainchild of Georgetown University’s Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, whose goal is to “humanize global politics through performance.”

Other productions showcased at the festival centered on such topics as the global refugee crisis, climate change, and the rise of polarization.

(The productions) engage with issues that are important to people and present them in a very powerful way through some form of narrative,” said Cynthia Schneider, a professor of diplomacy at the university and a co-founder of the Lab. “Each performance provides a deeper context than one might read from news reports.”

Falling Out” is a collaboration between Phantom Limb Co., a New York-based multimedia theatrical production company that works with marionette puppetry, and Dai Matsuoka of the Japanese butoh dance troupe Sankai Juku.

The black bags onstage are symbols of prolonged recovery efforts, representing bags containing soil and other debris contaminated with radioactive materials that remain scattered in Fukushima Prefecture more than eight years after the nuclear accident.

I was surprised at how little had actually happened in the recovery process,” said Jessica Grindstaff, artistic director of Phantom Limb, who spent three months in the Tohoku region in 2018 to interview residents and film footage of the devastated areas.

The spirits of the people that I met with were strong and beautiful … but in terms of infrastructure and logistics, very little had changed since the tsunami. There was no real clear plan on how to rebuild the city.”

The butoh dancers interact with life-size puppets throughout the play to complement the stories of the survivors, representing their loss and life after the disaster.

Matsuoka, one of the performers in “Falling Out,” told The Asahi Shimbun that in butoh performances, the dancer’s body is used as an empty vessel to hold an artistic message.

Grindstaff said “Falling Out” shows that environmental and nuclear issues impact and connect all of humanity.

It doesn’t just belong to Japan,” she said. “These are global issues, and we all need to start thinking about what role we play.”

BRINGING ARTISTS, POLICYMAKERS TOGETHER

The Chibok Girls: Our Story,” another production presented at the CrossCurrents Festival, is based on interviews with the survivors of the 2014 Boko Haram kidnappings of schoolgirls in Chibok, Nigeria.

The play was written by Nigerian playwright Wole Oguntokun, and the second act is comprised of 20 monologues about specific incidents based on the survivors’ accounts, punctuated by drumbeats from a supporting percussionist onstage.

Schneider, who founded the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics in 2012 with theater artist Derek Goldman, said the Lab seeks to engage policymakers, artists and audiences, drawing on its strategic base in the nation’s capital.

We find that artists and policymakers really enjoy this engagement together,” said Schneider, U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands from 1998 to 2001. “The Lab is about bringing those two sides that are usually kept apart together so they can learn from each other and audiences can learn as well.”

After a performance of “The Chibok Girls,” Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a former assistant secretary of state for African affairs, offered reflections from her tenure, such as the Nigerian government’s long-standing denial of the kidnappings, during a talk-back session with the audience.

People seem really hungry for the kind of substantial, rich, wide-ranging, inter-disciplinary conversations that we have at our events,” Schneider said. “People really want something more than just go to a play and leave or go to a play and hear the playwright talk about how they made that play.”

Falling Out” has sparked conversations in different ways.

Phantom Limb created a Memory Telephone as a chance for audience members to share their thoughts on “love, water, nature and loss,” either in person or over voicemail. The company puts a mix of the voice recordings together and plays it in the theater while audiences wait for a subsequent performance to begin.

I’ve spoken to people about the experience, and they’ve all said that they felt that they were a part of the show, a part of the story,” Grindstaff said. “It’s really easy to read the newspapers and detach from everything you see, but if you can get people to emotionally feel connected, then I think that’s one thing … we can do together to start (taking action).”

Audience members approached her to discuss ways to use the arts to start dialogues on nuclear power, both with the public and international organizations such as the United Nations.

The kinds of conversations that happened and are continuing to happen were very productive,” Grindstaff said. “It actually felt like it was starting bigger conversations that could potentially start to create change.”

PARTICIPATING IN PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics has also served as a catalyst for conversations through its own play, “I Pledge Allegiance,” which Schneider says was “very much provoked by what Trump has been doing.”

Devika Ranjan, an Indian-American Georgetown alumna from the class of 2017, developed it at the Lab during her senior year to explore what it meant to be young immigrants and people of color who grew up during the period between the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the era of U.S. President Donald Trump.

The presence of racism and imperialism in the city was so tangible,” Ranjan said, looking back on the time period after the 2016 presidential election that she spent in Washington, D.C. “Hate crimes started happening on campus, and people were openly harassed … it was a really difficult way to leave D.C.”

Ranjan and four of her classmates created a series of vignettes drawing from their own personal stories, their ancestors’ experiences of coming to the United States and interviews with young immigrants both on and off the Georgetown campus.

Premiering at the World Theater Congress in Segovia, Spain, in July 2017, “I Pledge Allegiance” has since toured the United States. Whether the cast performed the play domestically or internationally, the members found that audiences could relate to the ideas of exclusion and underrepresentation.

The play is an evolving production, influenced both by the cast’s conversations with audience members after each show, as well as by their own developing personal and societal understandings of the Trump administration.

Ranjan, who spoke in a telephone interview from London, described “I Pledge Allegiance” as a “continual call and response.”

We listen to what the audience has to say, and we offer our own feedback and thoughts and then take those things into account in the next development of (the play),” she said.

In a striking moment of the play, the performers, who have considered their national identities and their connections with the Pledge of Allegiance, invite audience members to stand and participate in the pledge.

Many audience members look to each other for reinforcement when they are suddenly called on to consider what the pledge means to them. While some stand after others stand, others remain seated and put their hand over their heart, according to Ranjan.

This instance of active participation in the play allows audience members to connect with the performers and their perspectives, often provoking conversations during the play’s talk-back sessions.

Falling Out,” “The Chibok Girls” and “I Pledge Allegiance” are all testimonial in nature, built from the voices of the people who experienced the featured events, and place reality front and center for audiences to experience.

None of these stories have definitive conclusions.

The recovery efforts in Japan’s Tohoku region are still ongoing. According to Human Rights Watch, 112 of the Chibok girls were still missing as of April 2019, five years after they were kidnapped. And Americans are grappling with the implications of the Trump administration’s constantly changing immigration policies.

These are not isolated stories but are part of the collective human experience.

The idea of humanizing global politics through the power of performance has remained and if anything been reaffirmed when we see how effective it is,” Schneider said.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201908290018.html?fbclid=IwAR28ktvEWPDGgDOF2Q6VF39VKN_qLDFOzShrJXMxEeqIx1Othas4hbtZhUo

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

Nearly 17 Tons of Radioactive Materials Detected in Japanese Food Imports

190830083949_36.jpg
August 30, 2019
Anchor: Amid a renewed radiation scare sparked by news Tokyo could be considering dumping radioactive water from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster into the Pacific Ocean, KBS has obtained a list of Japanese food imports from which radioactive materials were detected over the past five years. The list includes household food items like coffee and chocolate.
Choi You Sun reports.
 
Report: The office of South Korea’s minor opposition Bareunmirae Party Rep. Chang Jung-sook said nearly 17 tons of radioactive materials were detected in more than a dozen processed food categories imported from Japan between 2014 and June of this year.
 
Documents from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety on Thursday showed the 19 food categories include roasted coffee, tea, chocolate, fish jerky, peanuts, and processed fish products.
 
There were eleven cases of detection in 2014, six in both 2015 and 2016, four in 2017, six last year and two this year through June.
 
KBS has learned popular Japanese chocolate, candy and drip coffee brands were on the list; the drip coffee is currently being sold at Japanese food supply stores in South Korea.
 
Some of the products, such as talcum powder used to make chewing gum and bilberry extract in dietary supplements, were found to have been manufactured in the nuclear-hit Fukushima and seven other prefectures subject to Seoul’s ban on fish product imports.
 
While the Food Ministry assured all the imports with radiation detection were returned to Japan and were not distributed or sold in the country, experts say the ministry’s current 30-minute-long tests should be extended to three hours to detect smaller levels of radiation.
 
Amid mounting concerns over the safety of Japanese food products, Rep. Chang urged the ministry to seek ways to calm public anxieties over food safety and to disclose information about imports from Fukushima as it had previously announced.
 
The Seoul city government, meanwhile, plans to inspect 160 items ranging from Japanese fishery products to confection made from Japanese food ingredients over the next month and post the outcome on its official website.
Choi You Sun, KBS World Radio News.

September 1, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment