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Mom of student called ‘germ’ at school links bullying to Fukushima disaster

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The mother of a fourth-year elementary school student in Niigata, who has been staying home from school since late November after being called “germ” by his peers and his teacher, spoke to the Mainichi Shimbun, saying that her son was bullied because he came from nuclear disaster-hit Fukushima Prefecture.
The family evacuated from Fukushima after the nuclear disaster. While the Niigata Municipal Board of Education has denied a link between the bullying of the student and his Fukushima roots, according to the mother, the student started being called “germ” around March of this year, which marked five years since the disaster, and this is one reason she argues that there is a connection.

According to the mother, around March 11 of this year when the nuclear disaster issue came up in class, her son proactively talked about his own experiences.

“He must have been happy to be able to give lots of answers,” she says. However, it was around that time that he started being called “germ” by his classmates.

“Some kids who knew he had come from Fukushima started calling him germ, and that led to kids who didn’t know him also calling him that, like a nickname,” she says.

In June, the student talked to his teacher, complaining that he was “being treated like a germ.” At that point the student is thought to have not considered the name as bullying, and when the teacher referred to him as “germ” after summer vacation ended, he didn’t appear to be deeply bothered by it.

In early November, though, it was reported in the news that a junior high school student in Yokohama who had evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture was bullied by being called “germ.” When the student in Niigata heard this, he said, “It’s the same as me,” and the mother says she thinks “he probably began to see himself as being bullied.” On the mother’s advice, the student talked to his teacher about it again on Nov. 17. When he came home, he triumphantly said with a smile that he had talked to the teacher.

After a strong earthquake off the Fukushima Prefecture coast early on the morning of Nov. 22 this year, the boy went off to school looking anxious, he and his mother having not yet been able to get in contact with the father, who works in Fukushima Prefecture. During recess that day, while the student was receiving teacher-parent correspondence from his teacher, the teacher called him “germ” again. The shocked student returned home, and since Nov. 24 has been staying home from school, saying, “I want to go to school, but I can’t because that teacher is there.”

According to the mother, at first school authorities denied the teacher had called the student “germ.” On Nov. 25 the father called the school and said tearfully that “There are kids who commit suicide (when they are bullied).” Although the teacher apologized, the mother says that the teacher treated them coldly, saying it was only this year that they had become the student’s homeroom teacher. The teacher has said they want to apologize to the student, but the student is refusing to see the instructor and the school principal has been visiting the family’s home every day to try and deal with the matter.

The family has been planning to move after the free rent for the government-leased apartment they are living in ends at the end of this fiscal year. The mother says, “My son had been asking that we stay in the same school district, but now that this has happened, we have no choice but to have him change schools,” adding, “We evacuated voluntarily (from Fukushima), and I don’t want to impose on the people of Niigata.”

According to the Niigata Municipal Board of Education, there are 291 children who have evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture to the city of Niigata. It holds that “there is no bullying of students related to their Fukushima roots.”

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Timeline of events involving the bullying of the student:

2011:

March — The Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster occur. The student evacuates to the city of Niigata.

2016:

Around March — Student begins to be ostracized by peers and called “germ.”

April — Student enters fourth grade and homeroom teacher changes.

June — Student speaks to teacher about being called “germ.” Teacher disciplines classmates who bullied student.

Early November — News is reported of a junior high school student in Yokohama who evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture and was bullied, including being called “germ.”

Nov. 17 — Student again speaks to teacher about being bullied.

Nov. 22 — During recess, student is called “germ” by teacher in classroom in front of classmates.

Nov. 24 — Student begins to stay home from school (Nov. 23 was a school holiday).

Nov. 29 — School questions students about incident. Multiple students testify that teacher called student “germ,” and teacher also says it is true.

(Based on sources including student’s parents and the Niigata Municipal Board of Education)

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20161205/p2a/00m/0na/020000c

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December 5, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Dr. Timothy Mousseau speaks on consequences of Chernobyl and Fukushima

 

Dr Mousseau’s lecture on consequences of Chernobyl and Fukushima on plants and animals. Nov 4 2016

Dr. Timothy Mousseau speaks Nov. 4, 2016 to students and faculty of U of T about his research into the consequences of the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear accidents on plants and animals. His research shows increased mutations, genetic damage, poorer performing and malformed sperm, sterility, pollen inviability, cancers, cataracts, mental retardation, fewer species, fewer numbers, deadzones, and no evidence of adaptation.

His website is: http://cricket.biol.sc.edu/chernobyl/Chernobyl_Research_Initiative/Introduction.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPWRinjQKyg

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December 5, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima’s voluntary evacuees

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A citizens’ group supporting the people in Fukushima Prefecture who have fled from their homes in the wake of the March 2011 nuclear disaster has submitted a petition to the Diet with nearly 200,000 signatures asking for the continuation of public housing assistance for the evacuees. The prefectural government announced last year that it plans at the end of next March to terminate the assistance for people who voluntarily left their homes. However, most such evacuees have yet to find new residences.

Halting the housing assistance will place a heavy financial burden on low-income evacuees. Fears also persist over the radioactive contamination in the areas where they lived before the nuclear crisis. Not only the prefecture but the national government, which pays for a large portion of the assistance, should rethink the decision.

As of July, some 89,000 Fukushima people continued to live away from their homes — 48,000 inside the prefecture and 41,000 elsewhere in Japan — after they fled from the dangers posed by the triple meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power’s Fukushima No. 1 power plant. Some evacuees followed the government’s designation of their hometowns as no-go zones due to the high levels of fallout, while others left their homes on their own out of fear of radiation exposure, particularly for their children, and other reasons even though they lived outside the designated evacuation zones.

The Fukushima Prefectural Government has since been providing housing assistance to the nuclear refugees regardless of whether they stayed within the prefecture — and regardless of whether they were forced out by government order or fled by choice — to cover their rent, including for public housing units owned by local governments. Fukushima has offered the aid by annually renewing the application of the Disaster Relief Law, under which a prefectural government carries out relief measures to residents in the event of a disaster — including supply of food, water, clothing and medical services as well as emergency repairs to damaged homes — with a large portion of the cost coming from national coffers. The national government has shouldered most of the expense of the housing assistance regarding Fukushima.

The prefectural government announced in June last year that it would end the assistance for voluntary evacuees at the end of next March. Gov. Masao Uchibori said the termination is aimed at prompting the evacuees to return to their original homes and at helping promote their sense of self-reliance. He explained that living conditions in the prefecture have improved with the development of public infrastructure and progress in the cleanup of radiation-contaminated soil.

According to a prefectural report based on a survey conducted in January and February, the decision will halt housing assistance for 12,436 households. Of the 3,614 households that voluntarily evacuated but remained in the prefecture, 56 percent have not yet found a place where they can live once the assistance is halted. The corresponding figure for the 3,453 such households living outside the prefecture is much higher — nearly 78 percent. The prefecture should pay serious attention to these findings. Some families may not be able to find and pay for a new home, although the prefecture reportedly plans to offer small subsidies for low-income and single-mother households after the large-scale assistance is ended.

The voluntary evacuees are confronted with various difficulties, both financial and psychological. The amount of compensation they received from Tepco is much smaller than that paid out to evacuees from the no-go zones. They also do not receive the monthly damages of some ¥100,000 that Tepco doles out to cover the mental suffering of those from the designated evacuation zones. Many of them face hardships ranging from the loss of their former jobs to separation from family members, long-distance commuting and divorces of couples due to differences over evacuating. The loss of housing assistance will likely result in even more hardships, both financial and emotional.

Many of the voluntary evacuees remain reluctant to go back to their hometowns for a variety of reasons, including the persistent fear of radiation, the desolate conditions of their original homes, and anticipated low levels of medical and other services in their former communities. The national government says it is safe for evacuees to return if the annual cumulative dose in the area is 20 millisieverts (mSv) or less, but that level is much higher than the legal limit of 1 mSv allowed for people in ordinary circumstances. In Ukraine, hit by the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe, people are required to migrate if the annual cumulative dose in their area is 5 mSv or more and have “the right to evacuate” if the rate is between 1 mSv and 5 mSv. The national government and Fukushima Prefecture need to address why many of the volunteer evacuees are reluctant to return.

The national government may want to highlight the reconstruction in areas devastated by the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami as well as the Fukushima nuclear disaster when Tokyo hosts the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. However, this should not result in the premature termination of vital relief measures for the affected people or untimely lifting of the designation of danger zones hit by the nuclear crisis. The government, which has sought to reactivate the nation’s nuclear power plants idled since the 2011 disaster, should understand why the evacuees felt they had to flee from their homes in the first place. It should not give up its duty of adequately helping the disaster victims.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2016/12/03/editorials/fukushimas-voluntary-evacuees/#.WEO9W1zia-c

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December 5, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

School Bullyism Against Fukushima Evacuees Children

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Fukushima evacuee hurt by teacher’s remark

Education authorities in Niigata City, north of Tokyo, have apologized after learning that a school teacher used a word that can mean “germ” to address a pupil. The boy had evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture after the 2011 nuclear accident.
Officials of the city’s education board said on Friday that the 4th grader has not been able to attend his elementary school for more than a week because of what happened.
They say the boy consulted his homeroom teacher several days before the incident. He said his classmates were calling him “kin”, which can mean “germ”.
The teacher has reportedly explained that the students had a habit of adding “kin” to each other’s names, as a way of showing friendliness to their classmates.
He said this also made them sound like “Anakin” Skywalker in the Star Wars movie series and other celebrities.
The teacher said he added the suffix to the students’ names, but he never intended to refer to them as “germs”.
But the officials said the teacher’s use of the term was inconsiderate and hurt the feelings of the pupil, who felt he was being bullied and was seeking help.
They said the teacher will visit the boy and his parents to apologize, and the education board will offer support so he can return to his school.
In a similar recent case, another young evacuee from Fukushima said he was called a “germ” at his school in Yokohama and he thought of killing himself many times.
His parents have criticized school and local education board officials for failing to promptly act on their complaint.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20161202_30/

Teacher ‘insulted’ Fukushima boy in latest school bullying case

NIIGATA–In the latest classroom bullying case involving children from Fukushima, a fourth-grader has not attended school for more than a week due to the alleged victimization by a teacher as well as his classmates.

The municipal board of education here is investigating the harassment of the boy who had the derogatory term “germ” added to his name by his classmates, which was then apparently emulated by his teacher.The boy has been absent from his elementary school since his homeroom teacher, who is in his 40s, is alleged to have used the insult on the boy. The teacher has denied the accusation, but other pupils have corroborated the boy’s account.

The school’s principal has admitted that the teacher’s behavior was problematic.

The principal also said in an interview with The Asahi Shimbun on Dec. 2 that the school will provide an opportunity for the teacher to apologize directly to the student and his parents.

The case is the latest to have surfaced of the potentially widespread bullying at their new schools of Fukushima students who fled the 2011 nuclear disaster.

Last month, media reports on a 13-year-old junior high school boy who moved to Yokohama recounted his experiences at his elementary school through his handwritten notes, sparking huge repercussions across the country.

In Tokyo, another Fukushima boy attending junior high school described his ordeal at his elementary school in an interview with The Asahi Shimbun later that month.

The two boys were called “germ” by their classmates, who also harassed them in other ways.

But in the Niigata case, the teacher called the boy by the insulting name in front of other students when he handed his pupil a correspondence notebook on Nov. 22, according to the boy’s mother.

The boy appeared to be devastated by the teacher’s behavior, which compounded the anxiety he already felt when his family was unable to contact his father to make sure he was safe after a powerful quake jolted Fukushima Prefecture earlier that day. His father works in the prefecture.

The following day was a national holiday and the school was closed. The boy has not attended the school since Nov. 24.

The boy’s family moved to Niigata over concerns about radiation in 2011 following the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March that year.

According to his mother, some of his classmates began ostracizing him and calling him “germ” when he was in the third grade.

When he entered the fourth grade, some children threw away his stationery and broke his umbrella, and the harassment later escalated.

Although his mother was worried about him, he reassured her, saying, “I have friends who are trying to protect me. I will be OK.”

But he became visibly depressed when he learned of the report about the bullying the boy in Yokohama went through, according to his mother.

My son must have thought that he is also the victim of severe harassment,” his mother said.

Urged on by his mother, he told his homeroom teacher on Nov. 17 that he, too, was being called “germ” by other children.

Five days later, however, he found that his teacher had joined in the name-calling.

His mother contacted the school to raise the issue. The teacher initially denied the allegation when school officials inquired.

I have never said such a thing, given that the boy came to me for counseling,” the teacher was quoted by one of the officials as saying.

But the teacher was found to have actually used the insult when other teachers interviewed all the students in the boy’s class on Nov. 29. Some students admitted that they called the boys by an unkind name and that the teacher, too, had done the same.

According to the principal, the homeroom teacher said he wanted to apologize for being insensitive.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201612020060.html

December 5, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

“The Silent Voices”: what is really to be living within the Fukushima disaster

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This Sunday, December 4th, 2016, I was invited to the premiere of a documentary film, produced by a couple, Lucas Rue, the french husband, and his Japanese wife Chiho Sato, from Fukushima.

Their documentary film titled “Les voies silencieuses” (The silent voices) in my humble opinion is definitely the best documentary film I have seen about the Fukushima catastrophe.

First because this documentary was made, written, directed by someone who is native of Fukushima. Only a person from Fukushima could penetrate in such manner the social fabric of the Fukushima people, to bring out the inner perspective of what the Fukushima people are living right now. An outsider, Japanese not from Fukushima or a foreigner could never penetrate the intimacy, the reserve of the people in such manner that Chiho Sato did.

Second, this film exposes very well the left unsaid things and the paradoxes in which the population of Fukushima is forced to live.
This film will help many people to better understand the dilemma in which these people live, bringing this living perspective from the inside that was really lacking, which is quite difficult to be understood by those who are not living it, living in it.

They are working right now to produce the english version to be soon screened. This Fukushima documentary is a must, to not be missed, to be absolutely watched by the many. I am also convinced that this documentary film will become THE film of Fukushima, and will win certainly some trophies for its excellency.

Thank you to both Lucas Rue and Chiho Sato for this absolutely excellent, quite unique documentary about Fukushima.

December 5, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | 1 Comment

12,000 evacuee households from Fukushima fret over benefit loss

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Evacuees from the Fukushima nuclear disaster deliver a petition to politicians in Tokyo on Oct. 26 calling for the extension of free housing benefits.

Anxiety is spreading among many of the 12,000 or so households evacuated after the Fukushima nuclear disaster five years ago as their free housing benefits will end next March.

In late October, about 180 people, who have been receiving free housing after leaving their homes in Fukushima Prefecture, delivered a 200,000-signature petition to politicians in Tokyo asking for the accommodation allowance to be extended.

At the Upper House Members’ Office Building, they voiced their concerns, one after another.

We are being told to get out of our house,” one of them said. “We are in a real fix.”

The central government and Fukushima prefectural authorities have been providing prefabricated temporary housing units or paying the rent of those who have evacuated either within or to outside the prefecture, even if they did not come from designated evacuation zones.

The measures were introduced because many residents living outside evacuation zones left their homes out of anxiety over the spread of radioactive fallout.

A total of 231.6 billion yen ($2.9 billion) had been spent by March 2016 on 44,000 households, including the cost of building prefab temporary housing units.

But the Fukushima prefectural government decided in June 2015 to discontinue the assistance for evacuees from areas outside evacuation zones.

With cleanup efforts moving ahead, the living environments are getting better,” Fukushima Governor Masao Uchibori said at the time.

The decision will affect the so-called voluntary evacuees, who lived in areas that were never designated evacuation zones, and evacuees from areas where evacuation orders were lifted in 2014.

Briefing sessions have been held by the prefectural government since December 2015 at about 40 locations within and outside the prefecture to explain details of rent subsidy measures for low-income households, which will replace the free housing benefits.

In late September, prefectural government officials faced a barrage of questions from about 70 residents of Kawauchi, Fukushima Prefecture, who packed a meeting hall in a temporary housing complex in Koriyama, also in the prefecture.

The village of Kawauchi had 2,739 residents as of Oct. 1 and at least 889 of them were living for free in rented housing, prefab temporary housing units and elsewhere outside the village.

Fumio Sakuma, 67, is one of them. His wife, who has a kidney disease, takes a 40-minute drive to hospital three times a week to undergo dialysis. Sakuma said he is anxious about having to relocate with his sick wife.

We would feel grateful if we were allowed to stay here for one or two more years,” he said at the meeting.

Municipalities in disaster areas in Fukushima Prefecture, in the meantime, are hoping that the end of the free housing benefits will see a return of residents.

Assistance measures by the central and prefectural governments cannot continue forever,” said Yuko Endo, mayor of Kawauchi. “We might as well take a step forward to rebuild our livelihoods.”

The town of Naraha, also in Fukushima Prefecture, has seen less than 10 percent of its residents return.

More than five and a half years have passed since the onset of the nuclear disaster,” said Naraha Mayor Yukiei Matsumoto. “It’s time for every one of us to think about standing on our own two feet.”

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201612010006.html


December 1, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Northeastern Japan Asks Koike for Tokyo Olympics Support

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Northeastern Japan asks Koike for support

Prefectural leaders from northeastern Japan have asked the Tokyo governor for cooperation in supporting reconstruction of the 2011 disaster-hit region through the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The governors and vice governors of the 6 prefectures handed a letter to Yuriko Koike when they met in Tokyo on Monday.

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They hope the Tokyo Games will help revitalize areas affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The region’s recovery is a key theme for the Games.

The letter calls for the region’s festivals and traditional arts performances to be featured in events held in the run-up to the Olympics and Paralympics.

It also asks that the region’s wood materials be used at the Games facilities and food products at cafeterias in the athletes’ village.

The letter requests the torch relay course pass through the entire region so as many residents as possible will be able to take part in the run.

The governors said they hope the Games will contribute to bringing more foreign tourists to northeastern Japan.

They also said people in the region want an opportunity to express their gratitude to other countries for assisting in reconstruction.

Tokyo Governor Koike said the Games are the best opportunity to show to the world how the region has recovered.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20161128_20/

November 29, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Nobel-winning Belarusian writer Alexievich speaks on nuclear disasters and the future of human hubris

Alexievich: “the wonderful civilization turned into garbage” referring to the Fukushima Triple meltdowns…

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Svetlana Alexievich, winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in literature, called the nuclear catastrophes at Chernobyl and Fukushima events that people cannot yet fully fathom and warned against the hubris that humans have the power to conquer nature.

The 68-year-old Belarusian writer was in Tokyo at the invitation of researchers at the University of Tokyo, where she gave a lecture on Friday. More than 200 people attended.

The Nobel laureate, who writes in Russian, is known for addressing dramatic and tragic events involving the former Soviet Union World War II, the Soviet war in Afghanistan, the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster and the 1991 collapse of the communist state.

Her style is distinctive in that she presents the testimonies of ordinary people going through traumatic experiences as they speak, without intruding on their narratives.

Alexievich, who visited the Tomari nuclear power plant in Hokkaido in 2003, recalled a remark by an official there that a catastrophe like Chernobyl would not happen in Japan because “Japanese are well-prepared for quakes and are not drunken, unlike Russians.”

But 10 years later, the wonderful civilization turned into garbage,” she said through a Russian-Japanese interpreter, referring to the 2011 Fukushima core meltdowns.

Humans have occupied a position in nature that they should not. It is impossible for humans to conquer nature.

Nature is now rebelling against humans. We need a philosophy for humans and nature to live together,” she said.

Referring to the policies of Japan and other countries to stick with nuclear power even after Chernobyl and Fukushima, she said: “I think that, unless we change our thinking, nuclear power generation will continue.”

Alexievich also said that documenting catastrophes like Chernobyl and Fukushima, whose effects will last for decades, is a big burden for writers. Listening to the voices of people affected by a catastrophe is like being forced to relive it, she explained.

Yet, pointing out that fictional works on Chernobyl, such as novels and movies, have not been successful, she stressed the importance of collecting the voices of citizens.

A catastrophe has not yet been incorporated into culture. The only language that has been able to convey a catastrophe is testimonies (by people who have experienced it), she said.

She cited the story of a Soviet pilot who died of radiation exposure after splashing sand over the radiation-spewing Chernobyl plant. She remembers him as telling her: “I could not understand what I saw with my eyes. You will not understand, either. But you must record it and hand it down to future generations. Then they may understand it.”

Alexievich acknowledged that people today live in a difficult era.

People are looking to the past to find solutions for today’s problems. This trend is testified to by the rise of conservatism. Never before in the past has the vulnerability of democracy manifested itself so clearly,” she said.

Remembering that even German fascism and Soviet communism are gone, intellectuals need to encourage people so that they will not despair.”

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/11/27/national/nobel-winning-belarusian-writer-alexievich-speaks-nuclear-disasters-future-human-hubris

November 28, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | 1 Comment

2nd Fukushima boy speaks up about bullying in new schools

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A junior high school boy from Fukushima Prefecture recounts his experiences of bullying after he moved to Tokyo with his family as a second-grader in an interview with The Asahi Shimbun on Nov. 24

In a troubling development, the bullying of students who fled the Fukushima nuclear disaster is apparently more widespread than the boy whose ordeal in Yokohama recently attracted much media attention and generated public sympathy.

A junior high school boy in Tokyo also has recounted his agonizing experiences of becoming the target of harassment, which continued off and on in his first and second elementary schools in the capital.

Unless a person who experienced it speaks up, a true picture of bullying cannot be conveyed to the public,” the boy, accompanied by his parents, told of his decision to come forward in an interview with The Asahi Shimbun.

When the boy evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture in 2011, following the nuclear accident in March that year, he was in the second grade. All he could take with him from his home in the scramble to flee were a few clothes. He could not bring his school backpack or textbooks.

At his new school, he soon found himself being bullied by his classmates, including girls.

Your germs will infect us,” one said, while another jeered, “What you touch will be contaminated.”

Still another commented, “You are living in a house for free.”

He took down a drawing that was on a classroom wall alongside those of other children after he found some classmates had scribbled disparaging comments on it.

At the school, students formed small groups with their desks when they have school lunch. But students in his group avoided doing so with him.

After the boy tried to join them by pushing his desk toward theirs, a homeroom teacher called his parents to urge him to improve his behavior, saying that their son was “restless.”

The boy finally began to refuse to go to school.

I cannot stand up due to pain in my legs,” he complained to his parents.

His mother decided to transfer him to a new school only several months after he was enrolled in the Tokyo school.

But the boy quickly discovered that the new situation was not much different from his former school.

A teacher introduced him as a Fukushima evacuee in front of the entire school. Soon children asked him how much compensation money his family had received. They also told him that his family must live in a nice home for free just because they were evacuees.

In the face of such bullying at his new school as well, the boy made the wish that he would be strong enough to persevere through the difficulties.

His mother finally took action to help her son when he was a fifth-grader. She brought up his troubles during her talks with his homeroom teacher.

Until then, though concerned, she restrained herself from speaking out in the crowd as several Fukushima evacuees were also attending the school.

If I spoke out in a strong tone, I might have caused trouble for other evacuees,” the mother said of her feelings at the time.

But her patience ran out.

In response to her pleas, the boy’s homeroom teacher asked her to “wait three months,” and the bullying stopped.

But the harassment continued at the boy’s cram school.

A few children from the same school were also enrolled at the cram school, and they, coupled with students from other schools, continued taunting him where the homeroom teacher’s oversight did not reach.

After a child dropped the boy’s shoe in the lavatory basin, he was told, “This is your home.”

The boy mustered the courage to resist when another child, showing him a pet bottle containing leftover food, said the bullying would stop if he consumed it.

The mother, alerted by her son, reported the harassment to cram school officials and the situation improved after that.

The boy said his relationships with his new classmates were good after he entered a junior high school away from his home.

Although he did not reveal that he is an evacuee, he did not become the target of bullying even after his classmates later found out by accident.

I was under the impression that I was not equal to my peers as I was an evacuee at my elementary school,” the boy said. “Children were in an environment that barely accepts individuality and those with differing backgrounds, and an evacuee was viewed as an individual with an abnormal trait.”

The parents said his family, evacuating from outside the evacuation zone, did receive compensation, but only a fraction of the sum a family from the evacuation zone was entitled to.

The family’s access to free housing will end in March.

I am so worried about my future because I have no clue as to our life after that,” he said.

Yuya Kamoshita, who heads a group of evacuees in the Tokyo metropolitan area, said the organization received five other complaints about bullying, in addition to the boy’s case.

He said many children from Fukushima are routinely derided as “a germ” or “dirty” in association with the disaster at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

People around the children who call out those taunts must know about their behavior,” he said. “School officials should make a firm response.”

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201611270040.html

A junior high school boy from Fukushima Prefecture recounts his experiences of bullying after he moved to Tokyo with his family as a second-grader in an interview with The Asahi Shimbun on Nov. 24

November 28, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

 

Nov 12, 2016 (5 years & 8 months after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster)
Radiation was monitored around Oguraji-Terasaka of Fukushima city, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan.
Oguraji-Terasaka is a name of the place. Oguraji-Terasaka litaraly means a slope to the Oguraji temple. People of Fukushima respect the Oguraji-temple, and come there to pray for Senju Kannon statue, thousand-armed goddess who rescues all people.
Rain water from the previous night was flowing down the slope, accumulating at the slope road side, radioactive materials also accumulating there.
The air dose rate of the place was 0.5 micro Sv/h
The measuring instrument that was used in this video, is Ukraine made, ECOTEST’s MKS-05.
Fukusima city has a population of 284 000 people, it is located 94,9 km North-East from the Tepco Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

November 27, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Evacuees Still Unable to Go Home Over 5 Years after Earthquake, Nuclear Accident

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Over five-and-a-half years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011 and the subsequent nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Since then, big disasters have occurred in several other areas around the world, and in Japan the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes also caused great damage. So, the term “disaster area” does not always evoke specific images of Tohoku or Fukushima for many of us in Japan today. However, a large number of disaster victims continues to suffer from the disaster in Tohoku, especially by the nuclear accident in Fukushima. The hard times for disaster victims haven’t ended yet. We report here on the latest situation in the Tohoku and Fukushima districts so as not to forget their ongoing suffering.

The losses from the Great East Japan Earthquake as of March 10, 2016, were officially reported as follows: 18,455 people dead or still missing (not including deaths related to injuries after the earthquake); 400,326 houses or buildings either completely destroyed or half destroyed. By prefecture in the most seriously affected areas in the Tohoku region, the death tolls are 4,673, 9,541, and 1,613, in Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima, respectively.

The estimated number of evacuees was approximately 470,000 at the peak, but 144,471 people were still living as refugees as of February 12, 2016.

Looking at the data of estimated populations of communities in the disaster-hit areas, comparing the population as of March 1, 2011 (before the disaster) and the most recent population, we see that the severely affected communities in Iwate and Miyagi have lost about one third of their populations. In Fukushima, several communities show “minus 100%” as the change of their population. Those ones are communities in the areas affected by the nuclear accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, where the evacuation order has not yet been lifted even today.

On a chart showing the timeline of evacuation orders issued right after the disaster, we see that areas ordered to evacuate were rapidly increasing one by one, while in the middle of all this, another explosion occurred at the reactor No.3. The timeline shows how the evacuation-ordered areas expanded.

Later, the government designated three evacuation zones based on international basic safety standards on radiation exposure. We can see on a map two significant evacuation zones: the Evacuation Order Zone (Warning Zone) — within a 20-kilometer radius from Fukushima Daiichi — and the Emergency Evacuation Preparation Zone — within a 20-30 kilometer radius. And we also see one more evacuation zone on the map, the Planned Evacuation Zone — a large zone including part of the 20-30-kilometer radius zone and extending to areas outside of a 30-kilometer radius, which is the area into which the wind was blowing when the plant exploded — meaning large amounts of radioactive materials were carried into the area by wind.

At the same time, Emergency Evacuation Preparation Zones were also designated where the cumulative dose during the year after the nuclear accident was predicted to exceed 20 millisieverts (mSv) depending on wind direction and geography. The zones were also called “hot spots,” and an evacuation advisory was issued to their residents.

Later on, the categories of evacuation zones were revised as follows:

  1. Zones where evacuation orders were ready to be lifted (where it was confirmed that the annual cumulative dose of radiation will definitely be 20 mSv or less). People could go home temporarily (staying overnight prohibited) to prepare to return completely, and resume some operations such as hospitals, welfare facilities, shops, and farming.
  2. Zones in which the residents were not permitted to live (where the annual cumulative dose of radiation was expected to be 20 mSv or more and where residents were ordered to remain evacuated in order to reduce the risk of radiation exposure). People could temporarily return home and pass through the areas along main roads to repair infrastructure.
  3. Zones where it was expected that the residents would have difficulties in returning for a long time (where the annual cumulative dose of radiation was expected not to be less than 20 mSv in five years and the current cumulative dose of radiation per year was 50 mSv or more). People were legally required to evacuate from the area.

As seen in the zone map showing evacuation orders, many areas are still designated today as “difficult-to-return” zones.

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Let’s look specifically at the status of Fukushima Prefecture. Before May 2012, the total number of evacuees was 164,655. As of March 2013, the number from zones with evacuation orders and other areas was about 109,000. Looking at the updates in July 2016, 89,319 people in Fukushima are still living as evacuees . Also, Tomioka, Futaba, and some other Fukushima towns and local governments located in evacuation zones have moved their administrative functions both inside and outside of the prefecture.

Besides the number of deaths related directly to disaster-caused injuries in Fukushima Prefecture, the number of disaster-related deaths is still increasing, due to mental shock and physical conditions at shelters, such as poor hygiene and cold. Japan’s Reconstruction Agency recognized 459 people in Iwate Prefecture, 920 in Miyagi, and 2,038 in Fukushima as qualifying for payment of condolence money for disaster-related deaths. These numbers surpass the deaths directly caused by the earthquakes and tsunami.

The Tokyo Shimbun, a regional newspaper covering eastern Japan, gathered statistics on the deaths tied to the nuclear accident by asking municipalities in Fukushima to read through application forms for condolence money to find out the number of people that died from worsened physical conditions due to the stress of evacuation from the nuclear accident. The company wrote in its newspaper on March 6, 2016, “We interviewed municipal governments in Fukushima Prefecture and found that at least 1,368 people had died in connection with the nuclear accident, just from the numbers that could be confirmed.” The disaster-related death toll confirmed by each municipal government amounted to 2,028 as of March 4, 2016. It states that 67% of the disaster-related deaths are considered to be nuclear-related deaths.

According to statistics gathered by the Cabinet Office on the number of annual suicides related to the Great East Japan Earthquake and Fukushima nuclear plant accident, the number in Miyagi and Iwate prefectures is approaching zero, while it is still increasing in Fukushima.

Victims of nuclear accident face multiple difficulties, as shown below.

  • Loss of daily living
  • Loss of ways to earn a living
  • Loss of community
  • Forced to make own decisions whether to evacuate or not, and personally accept all risks that entail (people whose homes are outside of designated mandatory evacuation zones)
  • Divorce, family breakdown, and separation of generations due to differences of opinion among family members
  • A second mortgage to pay at the place of temporary evacuation
  • Discrimination or bullying at place of temporary evacuation
  • Not knowing when they can return home
  • Uncertain about safety of returning home even after evacuation order is lifted
  • Unable to rebuild community because many people have rebuilt their own lives (employment, human relations) at their place of temporary evacuation, and leaving mainly the elderly to return home.

Before the disaster, the nuclear power plants in Fukushima were generating power to send the electricity mainly to the Tokyo metropolitan area, not for local use. The nuclear accident forced people to leave their hometowns, and they are still not allowed to return to some areas. Even if the evacuation directive is lifted, evacuees will be unable to escape their anxieties about whether or not their homes are safe, and this situation continues to bring sorrow and hardship to the evacuees.

Even in this situation, Japan continues to approve the restart of nuclear power plants, some with operating permits for more than 40 years, despite the fact that the ruined plants have not yet been cleaned up, compensation for the accident is still not complete, and many people are still forced to live away from their hometowns. Each of us needs to think about the seriousness of nuclear accidents and the responsibilities that come with using nuclear power.

http://www.japanfs.org/sp/en/news/archives/news_id035681.html

November 26, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Japan Earthquake: Social Aftershocks of Fukushima Disaster are Still Being Felt

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A fishing boat washed inland by the 2011 Tsunami next to a shrine inside the Fukushima nuclear exclusion zone.

At 5.59am local time on November 22, Fukushima was hit by a 7.4 magnitude earthquake, triggering a tsunami warning. For residents in the same region of Japan devastated by the major 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and its tsunami, the threat of a renewed disaster was very real.

The tsunami warning was lifted a few hours later, and the earthquake was later declared a long-term aftershock from the larger quake five years ago. But for people still coming to terms with that disaster and its aftermath, this new earthquake will severely test their resilience once again.

On March 11 2011, the 9.0 magnitude earthquake created a 15-metre tsunami that inundated the Fukushima Daiichi (Fukushima I) nuclear power station. Power was disabled to three reactors, which caused a serious nuclear accident as cooling systems failed. Large quantities of radiation were immediately released into the environment and approximately 100,000 people were evacuated.

The long-term social consequences of the original Fukushima Daiichi accident have been broad and far-reaching. Perception of risk, the likelihood of exposure to danger, has been at the heart of social controversy after the 2011 disaster. Radiation is invisible, and it is challenging to understand or percieve a threat that can only be detected by specialist scientific equipment. Often women and children are hit the hardest by this, regardless of socioeconomic status.

The concept of Fūhyōhigai, or the “harmful rumour”, was initially used by the media and local government to dismiss local women’s concerns about radiation exposure as weak and unscientific. However, this led to a cultural shift by women known as Fukushima’s “radiation brain moms”, who purchased monitoring equipment and took matters into their own hands, forming citizen radiation monitoring organisations (CRMOs).

By forming these groups of resistance, self-help and support, women rejected their culture’s social norms of obedience and subservience, that could have suppressed them from cultivating outrage over injustice and inequality. Participation in CRMOs has decreased over time, as the social memory of Fukushima Daiichi fades, but citizen science initiatives such as Safecast still provide useful information to many.

The recent earthquake temporarily halted the cooling system at the nearby Fukushima Daini (Fukushima II) reactor, and so there is likely to be a resurgence in monitoring, and a reunion of these support networks. Regardless of what happens now, there has already been a positive seismic shift in attitudes by both the government and scientists toward concerned mothers and community monitoring.

Living in ‘temporary’ permanence

Many impacts of the 2011 disaster have been hidden away in the private spaces of everyday life, with the tragedy putting enormous strain on family relations. Not only were thousands of families displaced from their homes, evacuation has meant the separation of family groups.

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Two girls play on a swing next to a radiation monitor and their temporary housing in Minamisōma, Fukushima prefecture.

Where once three generations could live together in Fukushima’s close-knit rural villages, relocation to cramped prefabricated temporary housing has meant many are forced to live apart. Today, five years after the disaster, 174,000 people are still displaced in a state of “temporary” permanence. Disconnection from the familiarity of place and family, as well as the constant worry about radiation risk, even threatens marital relationships. “Atomic divorce” (Genpatsu rikon) is on the rise, with disagreements on radiation safety, or whether to relocate back to territory now deemed “decontaminated”. News of the recent earthquake will doubtless have jogged memories and resurfaced hidden tensions.

The Japanese government is gradually declaring sections of the 20km nuclear exclusion zone safe and habitable. Despite this, the desire to move back to previously contaminated land has been underwhelming. For example, four months after Naraha Town was declared safe in September last year, only 6% of former inhabitants decided to move home to one of Fukushima’s many atomic “ghost towns”.

In the town of Minamisōma, on the northern edge of the exclusion zone, thousands of mothers and children have refused to return, despite societal pressure not to “betray” their home communities.

Nuclear uncertainty

While Japan’s tsunami warning system worked well, there is still considerable uncertainty surrounding the consequences and likelihood of a further natural hazard causing a nuclear accident in Japan.

The 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident had already permanently changed the Japanese nuclear landscape. The government has undergone a process of gradual nuclear decommissioning since October 2011, and Fukushima Daaichi and Dai-ni no longer produce energy. Yet, Japan is still heavily reliant on nuclear energy and since 2015 has restarted two of its nuclear reactors, with 24 other reactors in the process of restart approvals.

While social resilience to emergencies has improved since 2011 in Japan, the social aftershocks of Fukushima Daaichi are ongoing. Though many advances have been made that emancipate vulnerable populations and provide increased connectivity, it remains to be seen how much these new technologies and attitudes have improved social resilience and reduced the likelihood of anxiety within the community of Fukushima.

http://theconversation.com/japan-earthquake-social-aftershocks-of-fukushima-disaster-are-still-being-felt-69241?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+November+23+2016+-+6153&utm_content=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+November+23+2016+-+6153+CID_024bb0c94bf6d40a12017353049b25cd&utm_source=campaign_monitor_uk&utm_term=is+being+tested

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November 24, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Tax Breaks Mulled to Aid Reconstruction in Fukushima No-Go Zone

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The Abe government and ruling coalition are considering giving tax breaks to companies that do business in reconstruction footholds to be set up in the no-go zone heavily contaminated by the 2011 nuclear accident in Fukushima Prefecture, according to informed sources.

Officials believe such measures will help advance industrial recovery in the prefecture hurt by the reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant in March 2011, the sources said Tuesday.

Under consideration are corporate tax cuts to promote capital investment and employment of people affected by the crisis by firms damaged by the nuclear accident and companies that newly expand into the area.

The special reconstruction areas will be created starting in fiscal 2017. Priority will be given to decontamination work and infrastructure development in the footholds, so that evacuation orders for local residents can be lifted around the end of March 2022.

The tax measures will be included in the fiscal 2017 tax system reform package that the Liberal Democratic Party-led ruling coalition plans to draw up Dec. 8.

Similar tax breaks are provided in evacuation areas outside the no-go zone. Through the planned measures, the government hopes to encourage the opening of businesses necessary for residents to live in the area, such as convenience stores and gas stations, as well as promoting job creation.

The government and the ruling camp are considering the options of allowing companies to deduct from their corporate taxes 15 percent of the amounts of their capital investment made in the footholds and granting lump-sum depreciation of new equipment and facilities so they can reduce their taxable incomes by larger margins than under regular depreciation rules.

Another possible measure is giving a corporate tax cut equivalent to 20 percent of salaries for employees in the footholds that companies hire from among those affected by the nuclear accident.

Also under consideration extending by four years a corporate tax cut granted to the owners of housing for disaster victims in special economic zones on condition the buildings meet fire resistance and other requirements and that the owners give priority to disaster-affected people in choosing tenants.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/11/22/national/tax-breaks-mulled-aid-reconstruction-fukushima-no-go-zone/#.WDXSalzia-e

November 24, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Radiation Measuring on Nov. 22, After the 6.9 Magnitude Earthquake

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Following the November 22, 2016 earthquake striking at 5:59am, the Tarachine Mothers’ Radiation Lab in Iwaki city Fukushima kept measuring ambiant radiation every hour for the sake of precaution.

According to TEPCO, cooling to the spent nuclear fuel pool for the No. 3 reactor at the Fukushima Daini nuclear plant resumed at 7:47 am. It had stopped after the earthquakes this morning.

Radiation measurement 6:30 am on November 22nd, Izumigaoka, Iwaki city, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, indoor 0.05µSv/h measured by PA-1000 Environmental Radiation Monitor Radi.

Radiation measurement 7:00 am on November 22nd, Izumigaoka, Iwaki city, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, indoor 0.05µSv/h measured by PA-1000 Environmental Radiation Monitor Radi.

Radiation measurement 7:30 am on November 22nd, Izumigaoka, Iwaki city, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, indoor 0.05µSv/h measured by PA-1000 Environmental Radiation Monitor Radi.

Radiation measurement 8:00 am on November 22nd, Izumigaoka, Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, indoor 0.05 μSv/h, outdoor 0.08μSv/h measured by PA-1000 Environmental Radiation Monitor Radi.

Radiation measurement 8:30 am on November 22nd, Izumigaoka, Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, indoor 0.05 μSv/h, outdoor 0.09μSv/h measured by PA-1000 Environmental Radiation Monitor Radi.

Radiation measurement 9:00 am on November 22nd, Izumigaoka, Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, indoor 0.05 μSv/h, outdoor 0.09μSv/h measured by PA-1000 Environmental Radiation Monitor Radi.

Radiation measurement 10:00 am on November 22nd, Hanabatake-cho,Onahama, Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, indoor 0.06 μSv/h, outdoor 0.08μSv/h measured by ALOKA γSURVEY METER TCS-172 

Radiation measurement 11:00am on November 22nd, Hanabatake-cho,Onahama, Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, indoor 0.06 μSv/h, outdoor 0.08μSv/h measured by ALOKA γSURVEY METER TCS-172 

Radiation measurement 12:00am on November 22nd, Hanabatake-cho,Onahama, Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, indoor 0.06 μSv/h, outdoor 0.08μSv/h measured by ALOKA γSURVEY METER TCS-172 

Radiation measurement 15:00am on November 22nd, Hanabatake-cho,Onahama, Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, indoor 0.06 μSv/h, outdoor 0.07μSv/h measured by ALOKA γSURVEY METER TCS-172 

Radiation measurement 23:15pm on November 22nd, Izumigaoka, Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, indoor 0.05 μSv/h measured by PA-1000 Environmental Radiation Monitor Radi.

Source : Tarachine, Mothers’ Radiation Lab, Iwaki city, Fukushima Prefecture

November 22, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Magnitude 6.9 Earthquake Strikes Off Japanese Coast, Tsunami Warning

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An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.3 hit northern Japan on Tuesday, the Japan Meteorological Agency said, generating a tsunami that hit the nation’s northern Pacific coast.

The U.S. Geological Survey initially put Tuesday’s quake at a magnitude of 7.3 but down graded it to 6.9.

The earthquake, which was felt in Tokyo, was centered off the coast of Fukushima prefecture at a depth of about 10 km (6 miles) and struck at 5:59 a.m. (2059 GMT) the agency said.

USGS said that it was a shallow quake, at about 10 kilometers, which tended to cause more shaking damage and had greater potential to cause a tsunami.

“The good news here is that the direction the fault was moving is a slight lateral slip. When the faults move laterally they do not create the vertical movement associated with large tsunamis,” the U.S. agency said.

A 60 cm (2 foot) tsunami had been observed at Iwaki city’s Onahama Port and a 90 cm (3 foot) tsunami at Soma Port soon after, public broadcaster NHK said. The region is the same that was devastated by a tsunami following a massive earthquake in 2011. A tsunami warning of up to 3 meters (10 feet) has been issued.

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Japan’s chief government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said that a government taskforce had been established to deal with the quake and tsunami, and called on people in affected areas to evacuate, according to media outlet NHK.

NHK also reported that water could be seen moving bath and forth in Onahama Port and that tide levels were rising in some areas on Japan’s eastern coast. Television footage showed ships moving out to sea from Fukushima harbors as tsunami warning signals wailed.

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Tokyo Electric Power, known as Tepco, said on its website that no damage from the quake has been confirmed at any of its power plants, although there have been blackouts in some areas. Tepco’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant caused Japan’s worst nuclear disaster when it was knocked out by the 2011 tsunami.

Tohoku Electric Power said there was no damage to its Onagawa nuclear plant, while the Kyodo news agency reported there were no irregularities at the Tokai Daini nuclear plant in Ibaraki Prefecture.

Earthquakes are common in Japan, one of the world’s most seismically active areas. Japan accounts for about 20 percent of the world’s earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater.

The March 11, 2011, quake was magnitude 9, the strongest quake in Japan on record. The massive tsunami it triggered caused world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl a quarter of a century earlier.

An Iwaki city fire dept official said there was smoke or fire at Kureha’s research center in a petrochemical complex in Iwaki city at 6:17 a.m., but it was extinguished at 6:40 a.m. Other details were not clear, he said, adding that no other major damage in the city has been reported at the moment.

One hotel in Ofunato, badly hit by the 2011 quake, told guests to stay in the facility, which is on high ground.

All nuclear plants on the coast threatened by the tsunami are shut down in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster. Only two reactors are operating in Japan, both in the southwest of the country. Even when in shutdown nuclear plants need cooling systems operating to keep spent fuel cool.

At Fukushima Daiichi, the plant workers are reporting they felt shaken even in the seismic isolation building. Most of the workers have not come to the plant for today yet. The situation is still under investigation. No further information yet.

At Fukushima Daini,  Tepco said that its water-cooling system for spent fuel at reactor 3 had stopped working at 6:10AM but that there was enough water in the pool to keep the fuel cool, posing no immediate danger. Tepco rebooted the coolant system of SFP 3 of Fukushima DAINI at 7:47AM (JST).

http://www.jma.go.jp/en/quake/20161122061144495-220559.html

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/11/21/magnitude-73-earthquake-hits-japan-usgs-says.html

https://twitter.com/nhk_seikatsu/status/800825947507212288

https://www.pref.fukushima.lg.jp/sec/16025c/genan10.html

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20161122/k10010779181000.html

 

 

 

November 22, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment