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Emperor’s evacuation to Kyoto weighed after Fukushima nuclear disaster

January 2, 2021

The government led by the now-defunct Democratic Party of Japan unofficially proposed that then Emperor Akihito evacuate to Kyoto or somewhere further in the west from Tokyo immediately after the start of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011, a former administration official has said.

However, the Imperial Household Agency flatly dismissed the idea, saying there was “no way” the emperor would do it at a time when people were not evacuating from Tokyo, leading to the government of Prime Minister Naoto Kan to give up the proposal.

Then-Emperor Akihito speaks to an evacuee in May 2011 in Fukushima Prefecture, which hosts the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station that was crippled in the earthquake-tsunami catastrophe of the same year.

Several former senior officials at the prime minister’s office separately said the then DPJ administration also briefly considered evacuating Prince Hisahito, the son of Crown Prince Fumihito and Crown Princess Kiko, from Tokyo to Kyoto.

Prince Hisahito became second in line to the throne when his uncle, Emperor Naruhito, ascended the Chrysanthemum Throne in May 2019. The prince was 4 years old when the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant suffered core meltdowns following a devastating earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan.

Former Emperor Akihito stepped down from the throne on April 30, 2019, becoming the first Japanese monarch to abdicate in around 200 years, his eldest son succeeding him the following day.

Kan, a House of Representatives member now belonging to the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, admitted he was “thinking in my head” of evacuating the emperor at the time but denied he had conveyed the idea to the then emperor or suggested it to someone else.

However, according to the former Kan administration official, at Kan’s request he unofficially asked Shingo Haketa, then chief of the Imperial Household Agency, via a mediator whether Emperor Akihito would agree to evacuate from the Imperial Palace, possibly to the Kyoto Imperial Palace in the ancient capital in western Japan.

A former agency official said he remembers the agency turned down the proposal.

Asked whether the agency actually conveyed the evacuation proposal to the emperor, he said “maybe, but only after” saying no to the administration.

The Kan administration also treated Prince Hisahito’s evacuation as among items that should be considered in case of a spike in Tokyo’s radiation levels, but eventually decided not to formally consider it, according to the former senior officials at the prime minister’s office.

On March 11, 2011, the six-reactor plant on the Pacific coast was flooded by tsunami waves exceeding 10 meters triggered by the magnitude 9.0 quake, causing the reactor cooling systems to lose their power supply.

The Nos. 1 to 3 reactors subsequently suffered core meltdowns, while hydrogen explosions damaged the buildings housing the Nos. 1, 3 and 4 units. Around 160,000 people were evacuated at one point in the nuclear disaster with a severity level rated on a par with the 1986 Chernobyl accident at maximum 7 on an international scale.

Yutaka Kawashima, who was the agency’s grand chamberlain at the time, wrote in a magazine article shortly after the triple disaster, “It is utterly inconceivable for his majesty to abandon the people of Tokyo and leave Tokyo,” as rumors had circulated about the emperor escaping the capital.

On March 16, 2011, five days after the quake and tsunami, Emperor Akihito said in an unprecedented video message he was hurt by the devastation caused by the disaster and expressed hope the people of Japan would overcome the challenges they faced by caring for each other.

He and his wife then Empress Michiko also voluntarily cut electricity at their residence in Tokyo for two hours daily as they wanted to share the hardship experienced by the people under the power rationing measure taken by electric companies, the agency said at the time.

In parts of Tokyo and its vicinity, rolling blackouts were implemented in the face of substantial power shortages stemming from the crippled nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture. Areas in central Tokyo hosting government offices, parliament and the Imperial Palace were excluded from the measure.

https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2021/01/3f87b65872fe-emperors-evacuation-to-kyoto-weighed-after-fukushima-nuclear-disaster.html?fbclid=IwAR2aY9FCyuUnm10Tn2EdkZCJm92OtpR0g1lVig4ROO_kDaR-xrLI_vBwD50

January 9, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

Video analysis prompts new theory on Fukushima explosion

Septembre 4, 2020

Experts revise their theory surrounding a hydrogen explosion at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March 2011 based on Nippon TV’s reprocessing of footage an affiliate took of the event.

http://www.ntv.co.jp/englishnews/fukushima-update/video_analysis_prompts_new_theory_on_fukushima_explosion/?fbclid=IwAR2NBAl2bb6F5NmdAQ4cFBvfFwkooOyvsDs9rF2ISYyRLOlLZ9f6L8J9-nU

September 13, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima 50 film review: drama about nuclear workers’ sacrifice following 2011 earthquake lacks punch

bbA still from Fukushima 50 (category IIA; Japanese) starring Koichi Sato and Ken Watanabe and directed by Setsuro Wakamatsu.

 

22 Jun, 2020

  • Ken Watanabe as Fukushima nuclear power plant superintendent, and Koichi Sato as shift supervisor, lead the battle to avert a meltdown after earthquake, tsunami
  • Blow-by-blow account of the real-life aftermath of the 2011 disaster in Japan loses much of its drama by refusing to point fingers or demonise decision-makers

 

2.5/5 stars

The first mainstream film to dramatise the lives of frontline workers who dealt with the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, Setsuro Wakamatsu’s Fukushima 50 is an earnest, if somewhat toothless, celebration of those who risked everything to avert a reactor meltdown.

Ken Watanabe and Koichi Sato headline this big-budget adaptation of Ryusho Kadota’s non-fiction book, On the Brink: The Inside Story of Fukushima Daiichi.

The film wastes no time setting up characters or pre-existing relationships, opening with the explosive underwater earthquake off the Tohoku coast of northeast Japan on March 11, 2011. The initial impact triggered an automatic shutdown of the Fukushima Daiichi power station’s nuclear fission reactors. The subsequent tsunami swept over the power plant’s coastal defence walls, flooded the main buildings and knocked out the backup generators responsible for cooling the reactor cores.

Facing an imminent meltdown, plant superintendent Masao Yoshida (Watanabe) and shift supervisor Toshio Isaki (Sato) spearhead a daring, potentially suicidal effort to cool the reactors using seawater, while fending off contradictory, face-saving orders from their superiors at Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) and the Japanese government.

In the nine years since the disaster, the Japanese film industry has broached the disaster’s aftermath numerous times, in films from Sion Sono’s uncharacteristically sombre A Land of Hope, to the allegorical 2016 blockbuster

Shin Godzilla

. The eponymous beast of the latter film has been the stand-in for national life-or-death reckonings since the dawn of the atomic era, but that film also took time to expose, and ultimately champion, the country’s multi-tiered bureaucratic leadership.

 

jjjlmKoichi Sato in a still from Fukushima 50.

 

Fukushima 50, and Kadota’s impressively researched book, give blow-by-blow accounts of the disaster and the courageous sacrifices made by those who chose not to evacuate, but stay behind and ensure the nation’s safety. However, arriving in the wake of HBO’s much lauded and dramatically superior miniseries Chernobyl, about the 1986 nuclear disaster in Ukraine, Wakamatsu’s film feels lightweight, and the obstinate heads of Tepco a pushover compared to the Soviet Union’s fearsome Central Committee.

The film functions best as a memorial to Masao Yoshida, the only plant worker to have his real name used, whose willingness to go against his superiors ultimately prevented a far larger disaster, only for him to succumb to an unrelated bout of cancer in 2013. The film’s reluctance to point fingers, or demonise those responsible, saps much of the drama from this true-life tale of selfless heroism.

https://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/entertainment/article/3090106/fukushima-50-film-review-drama-about-nuclear-workers

June 22, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Film on one man’s agony due to 2011 disaster wins key award

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Takayuki Ueno continues his search for his eldest son Kotaro and other missing people in Minami-Soma, Fukushima Prefecture.
 
June 13, 2018
A documentary about a farmer’s years-long quest to retrieve the bodies of four family members killed in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster has won an award that honors a slain journalist.
The Mika Yamamoto International Journalist Award was presented to Chiaki Kasai in Tokyo on May 26 for her “Life–Another Story of Fukushima,” which was completed last year.
The prize was established to perpetuate the spirit of video journalist Mika Yamamoto, who died while covering the civil war in Syria in 2012.
Kasai’s 115-minute documentary charts the struggles of 45-year-old Takayuki Ueno as he tries to rise from the depths of despair over the loss of his two children as well as his parents, who were swept away by tsunami generated by the magnitude-9.0 Great East Japan Earthquake.
Kasai’s story takes place in Fukushima Prefecture, where the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant went into a triple meltdown when the facility’s cooling system was knocked out in the quake and tsunami. It takes place over a number of years.
Ueno lived in the city of Minami-Soma, which was hard-hit by the tsunami.
Ueno had just begun searching for his loved ones when hydrogen explosions rocked the nuclear plant, just 22 kilometers away.
Despite radioactive substances spewing from the stricken plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co., Ueno refused to evacuate. No police or Self-Defense Forces members were coming to rescue him or others stranded in the area.
Ueno found the body of his 8-year-old daughter Erika caked in mud and carried her to a makeshift morgue.
He, along with volunteers, still searches for the body of his son Kotaro, 3, as well as others swept away by the tsunami.
At the time, Kasai, 43, worked for a Hamamatsu-based TV station. She spent the best part of five and a half years documenting Ueno’s life. She completed the project in January 2017, and it was first shown the following May.
Six months after the disaster, Kasai visited Fukushima Prefecture, where she heard about Ueno’s family tragedy and realized that many people were unable to search for missing family members because of the nuclear accident.
“I was disappointed with myself,” Kasai said. “I asked myself what we were doing when we fussed about whether or not we should venture several kilometers nearer to the plant.”
Kasai quit the TV station in 2015 so she could devote herself to the documentary and spend more time visiting devastated areas.
Yamamoto, the journalist who perished in a gun battle while covering the fighting in the Syrian city of Aleppo, had made a name for herself covering Afghanistan, Iraq and other war zones around the world. She was 43 when she died.
The award was established in 2013 as a way to encourage news gathering on people living in conflict or impoverished areas to raise awareness of their plight.
The award is given to journalists who cover people living in extreme conditions. Each award-winning work to date was a record of a conflict being waged away from Japan.
“Wars and disasters. There are people who hang in there, no matter what unreasonable things are thrown at them in life.
(Kasai’s) approach to taking time to present her story honestly and in a respectful manner overlapped with Yamamoto’s footsteps,” said Akihiro Nonaka, head of Asia Press International, who served as a member of the award’s selection committee, explaining the decision to choose a work themed on disaster this year.
One scene in the documentary shows Ueno weeping and muttering that he “can’t remember” the sound of his children’s voices.
He later confesses that he is “scared” to see his eldest daughter’s classmates all grown up. Still, encouraged by how his 6-year-old second daughter Sarii, who was born in 2011, is managing, Ueno tries to stay on top of things while continuing to search for his missing loved ones.
A scene toward the end of the film shows Erika’s former classmates dressed in their junior high school uniforms visit Ueno’s home to pray in front of the family’s Buddhist altar. Ueno and his wife Kiho, 41, see the girls off as they leave, soft smiles creasing the couple’s faces. The title of the film clearly resonates with the audience.
Learning that she had won the award, Kasai expressed sadness rather than happiness as Yamamoto is no longer alive, recalling that they once shared a meal together.
“I feel like she gave me a supportive push to keep telling the world what happened in Fukushima,” she said.
Ueno commented that he hoped the documentary would serve as a warning not to allow a similar event to occur again.

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June 18, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Disaster March 11th – March 21st NRC ET Chronology Descending – Pages From C142487-03X

15 may 2012 enformable.jpg

38 pages  Uploaded by Enformable on May 15, 2012

https://fr.scribd.com/document/93660119/Fukushima-Disaster-March-11th-March-21st-NRC-ET-Chronology-Descending-Pages-From-C142487-03X

July 27, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment