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Temporary Radioactive Soil Storage Sites Hinder Fukushima Farmers

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Farmers harvest rice in one of Hisayoshi Shiraiwa’s paddies in Katsurao, Fukushima Prefecture, on Oct. 19, 2016. Another rice paddy in the foreground serves as a temporary storage site for piles of black plastic bags containing radioactive soil.

FUKUSHIMA — Wide swaths of temporary storage sites for radioactive soil and other waste generated from decontamination work in areas around the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant are hampering locals from resuming farming, it has been learned.

The makeshift storage sites occupy roughly 1,000 hectares in total, or an area the size of 213 Tokyo Domes, across zones currently or formerly designated for evacuation in 11 municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture, according to the Ministry of the Environment. The high occupancy is the result of delayed work to develop interim storage facilities for contaminated soil.

Because slightly over 90 percent of those temporary storage sites lie on farmland, local governments are deprived of the very foundation for restoring farming — a key local industry — in those areas while farmers are concerned about possible damage caused by harmful rumors.

According to the Environment Ministry, there are about 280 temporary storage sites in areas designated as evacuation zones. Those storage sites — which are leased to the ministry by local farmers — accommodate over 7 million black plastic bags containing radioactive soil, grass and branches. Those flexible container bags — each capable of containing 1 cubic meter of soil and other waste — are commonly known as “flecon baggu” in Japanese.

Under the ministry plan, interim storage facilities will be built in areas totaling some 1,600 hectares in the so-called “difficult-to-return” zones in the prefectural towns of Futaba and Okuma around the Fukushima No. 1 plant. Under the scheme, radioactive soil temporarily stored at different locations in Fukushima Prefecture will be transported there for longer storage periods spanning up to 30 years before it is put to final disposal outside the prefecture.

While the ministry had initially sought to begin construction of interim storage facilities in July 2014, delays in negotiations with local residents and efforts to acquire land lots made it impossible to meet the schedule. The ministry aims to finish acquiring up to 70 percent of land necessary for the construction of interim storage facilities by the end of fiscal 2020, but the land it had managed to acquire by the end of October this year stood at a mere 170 hectares, or only 10 percent of the planned area.

The Environment Ministry estimates that up to 22 million cubic meters of contaminated soil and other waste will be generated across Fukushima Prefecture, but the interim storage facilities are expected to be able to accommodate no more than 12.5 million cubic meters of such waste by the end of fiscal 2020.

The Fukushima Prefecture village of Katsurao, where evacuation orders were lifted in most areas in June, has been pushing restoration of farming as a key policy measure. However, the total size of rice paddies in the village has dropped from some 130 hectares operated by roughly 270 households in 2010 — prior to the Fukushima meltdowns — to around 6 hectares operated by 11 households this year. Nearly 30 percent of the village’s rice paddies totaling some 220 hectares now serve as temporary storage sites for radioactive soil and other waste.

Hisayoshi Shiraiwa, a 70-year-old farmer in Katsurao, harvested rice in his paddy in October, which is adjacent to another paddy that serves as a temporary storage site for piles of black plastic bags containing radioactive soil. As the price of rice from the area hasn’t recovered to pre-disaster levels, local farmers are worried about prolonged reputational damage.

“As long as temporary storage sites remain here, farmers will lose their motivation and face a shortage of successors,” Shiraiwa said.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20161120/p2a/00m/0na/004000c

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November 21, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Skiing in Fukushima

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Fukushima mounts winter tourism offensive to draw foreign tourists to its snowy charms

A project will kick off in Fukushima Prefecture this winter to lure more foreign tourists to its snowy hills and mountains to help revitalize depopulated regions.

For starters, the prefecture will invite tourists from Taiwan, Thailand and Australia to Okuaizu, Urabandai and southern areas of the prefecture, and subsidize nearly all of their transportation and accommodation costs. About 200 people are expected to participate.

The purpose of the project is to promote Fukushima’s name overseas, raise occupancy at its hotels and inns, and bolster jobs in its tourism industry.

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The project will run until fiscal 2018. The Fukushima Prefectural Government plans to earmark about ¥17 million from the central government’s local revitalization subsidies to finance the first year.

The prefecture is coordinating with travel agencies so that areas including the towns of Minamiaizu, Kaneyama and Bandai, as well as the villages of Kitashiobara and Tenei, can welcome visitors from Australia, where skiing is very popular, and Taiwan and Thailand, where Fukushima has tourism offices.

The four towns and villages will get three tours each, including an overnight journey, with the prefecture shouldering most of the transport and accommodation fees.

Each tour is designed so participants can ski, snowboard and have snowball fights in Fukushima’s powder snow, as well as enjoy local snow festivals. There are also plans to reserve a ski resort for a whole weekday just for foreign visitors.

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In addition, tourists will be invited to soak in hot springs to interact with local residents after experiencing snow-removal activities. This will be followed by chances to sample the local cuisine and taste sake popular at home and abroad.

Other trips are being planned to famous tourist spots along the Tadami Line, which has gained an overseas following on the internet, and to fishing spots where pond smelt can be caught in Hibara and Hatori lakes.

Once the visitors return home, the project encourages them to spread information on the ski resorts, tourist spots, food and sake they experienced via SNS.

Already, the Fukushima Prefectural Government is looking to create more tours that appeal to a wider range of countries, including China and South Korea.

It intends to set up a study group comprising officials from cities, towns, villages and local tourism associations to analyze the participants’ reactions. Based on the results, the prefecture will set up multiple tourism routes to draw attention ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Amid tepid demand from Japanese skiers, if the prefecture successfully emphasizes the high quality of its snow, it is possible to lure more tourists from abroad,” said a source connected with a ski resort in the Aizu region.

We’d like to design a model tour to make the mountainous areas popular in winter,” an official in the prefecture’s regional development section said.

Even though tourism has rebounded since the Fukushima disaster unfolded in 2011, it has not fully recovered.

Last year, foreign tourists who stayed at lodging facilities with more than 20 employees in Fukushima came to 48,090, more than double the 2011 tally, according to the Japan Tourism Agency.

But that’s still far short of the 87,170 who did so in 2010, and the prefecture is hunting for more ways to raise tourism in cooperation with its neighbors in the Tohoku and Kanto regions.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/11/20/national/fukushima-mounts-winter-tourism-offensive-draw-foreigners-snowy-charms/#.WDHn3lzia-c

November 21, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Taiwan Continued Protest Against Food Imports from Japan

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Hundreds protest Fukushima imports

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Hundreds on Thursday called for the president and premier to resign, accusing the ruling party of “selling out Taiwan” and “poisoning our children” in its push to ease a ban on food imports from Japan’s radiation-affected regions.

Protesters organized by the Kuomintang (KMT) demonstrated in front of the Executive Yuan early Thursday, as party councilors from across the country took turns addressing the crowd.

“We are humans, and humans don’t eat radiation-contaminated food,” the crowd chanted with Tainan City Councilor Hsieh Lung-chieh (謝龍介), who accused that Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of betraying its promise to safeguard Taiwan’s food safety.

“We all remember clearly which party strongly protested against nuclear power in the past, but who’s about to feed poisonous food to our children now!” Hsieh said.

Taipei City Councilor Wang Hsin-yi (王欣儀) said the protest was not about political issues but was instead “a matter of life and death.”

Taipei City Councilor Ying Hsiao-wei (應曉薇) introduced a 3-year-old girl carried by an elderly woman, and urged the crowd to “fight the government to defend public health.”

Clash with Police

Hsieh asked police officers to “give way” to protesters so they could enter the Executive Yuan and submit their petition to the premier.

When the police stood their ground, demonstrators attempted to storm the grounds.

The clash ended after Hsu Fu (許輔), director of the Cabinet’s food safety office, stepped outside the Executive Yuan to receive the protesters’ petition and then invited KMT Legislator Alicia Wang (王育敏) and Chen Yi-ming (陳宜民) into the building for talks.

‘No contaminated food’

“No radiation-contaminated food products will be allowed into the nation,” according to a Cabinet press statement released Friday afternoon.

The Cabinet stated that it would take protesters’ concerns into account and reinstate its “four-noes policy” on Japanese food imports.

It said all products from the Fukushima Prefecture would continue to be prohibited from entering Taiwan’s borders.

Food products from Gunma, Ibaraki, Tochigi, and Chiba — four of the five prefectures affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster — that are at high risk of absorbing radiation would also remain banned.

Those with a lower risk of radiation contamination would also stay banned if they did not have a certificate confirming state of origin and radiation levels.

Food products still banned by the U.S. and the Japanese government would also remain banned from Taiwan.

An earthquake and tsunami had triggered meltdowns of nuclear power plants in Fukushima Prefecture in 2011.

Dozens of countries worldwide imposed sanctions or tightened restrictions on food imports produced in the regions around Fukushima Prefecture.

Starting 2015, the European Union and the U.S. gradually lifted the bans as Tokyo continued to urge the move on grounds of fair international trade.

http://www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/national/national-news/2016/11/19/484392/Hundreds-protest.htm

Government communication on Japanese food is a failure: Luis Ko

The issue of allowing the import of food products from parts of Japan affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster has triggered a spate of conflicts and quarrels in Taiwan. Apart from opposition parties and social groups including physicians, even Democratic Progressive Party city mayors and county magistrates have been sending out mixed signals. The uproar has even made the model student in the matter of food safety, I-Mei Foods Co. CEO Luis Ko, shake his head. On November 19, he wrote on his Facebook page that the government should plan first and move later, and not create needless public dissatisfaction and unease.

Because several countries recently gradually lifted import restrictions on products from the disaster-stricken areas, Taiwan could soon follow suit and allow the import of some products from Fukushima prefecture and from four other prefectures (Gunma, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Chiba). The government organized public hearings on the matter which were criticized as haphazard. Earlier this week, 15 county and city chiefs from ruling and opposition parties voiced their opposition and said they did not agree with the import of the food. However, after the Presidential Office and the Executive Yuan contacted the 13 DPP mayors and magistrates, they altered their stance and said they agreed with the central government, saying that what they opposed was food imported from Fukushima prefecture.

On November 19, I-Mei Foods CEO Luis Ko wrote on his Facebook page that he felt surprise and concern at the government’s current handling of its food safety policy. He wondered why the government departments and officials in charge of agricultural produce and foodstuffs were the ones to stand at the forefront of the discussions with the public, and why the officials at the Ministry of Health and Welfare and at the Food and Drug Administration, who have usually made brave statements about food safety issues, only played a “supporting role.” He said the government had failed in its internal communication and integration. “Major problems have arisen with the functioning of the government team!”

Luis Ko also says the fact that the new government has failed to successfully execute several policies over the past six months as a result of insufficient internal “communication and integration” and of being unable to “plan first and move later.” He concluded by calling on the president and the premier to bear in mind the profound hopes of the people and to show the ability to reflect.

http://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3033853

November 19, 2016 Posted by | Taiwan | , , | 1 Comment

World Baseball Chief Plays Down Fukushima Olympic Fears

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The president of the World Baseball Softball Confederation Ricardo Fraccari at press conference in Tokyo on Friday.

World baseball chief plays down Fukushima Olympic fears

The president of world baseball’s governing body on Friday played down fears that the sport’s top stars will refuse to play in Fukushima if the nuclear disaster-hit prefecture hosts games at the 2020 Olympics.

Olympic chiefs are currently considering a proposal to play part of the Tokyo 2020 baseball and softball competition in Fukushima Prefecture, which in 2011 suffered the world’s worst nuclear accident in 25 years when the Great East Japan Earthquake triggered a meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The prefecture successfully hosted games at the Under-15 Baseball World Cup in the city of Iwaki this summer, and World Baseball Softball Confederation President Riccardo Fraccari believes senior teams will not be deterred from playing there in 2020 should its bid to host games be accepted.

This can be an issue, but from the data I received, the situation at this moment is not dangerous in Fukushima,” said Fraccari, who held talks with Tokyo 2020 organizers in Tokyo on Friday and will visit the prefecture on Saturday to inspect potential venues.

Even at the last Under-15 World Cup, only one country refused to come. But the rest were there. In three years — just now the situation is good, so I think from this point there won’t be any problem for countries to come to Fukushima.”

Fraccari must give his consent to the prefecture’s bid before it can be put before the International Olympic Committee, which will make a final decision when it holds its executive board meeting from Dec. 6 to 8.

Three venues in the prefecture are under consideration — Iwaki Green Stadium in Iwaki, Azuma Baseball Stadium of the city of Fukushima and Koriyama Kaiseizan Baseball Stadium in Koriyama.

From the perspective of the WBSC, I know the importance of baseball and softball in Japan, and I know how we can facilitate the recovery from the disaster,” said Italian Fraccari. “If the field in Fukushima has all the requirements, we can take it into consideration and analyze internally the possibility.

But I repeat, we have to check many things because we have to see how it’s possible to include it in the schedule, the distance, the fields. There are many issues and we won’t take any decision yet.”

Baseball and softball were voted onto the 2020 program as a joint bid after an absence of 12 years at an IOC session in Rio de Janeiro in August ahead of the Summer Games. The format of the competitions has yet to be decided.

Nippon Professional Baseball has agreed to suspend play for the duration of the July 24 to Aug. 9 Tokyo Olympics, but Major League Baseball has yet to say whether it will cooperate.

There is, even from the major leagues, a desire to be more international,” said Fraccari. “Now we are discussing, but before we discuss we need to have the details of the tournament, the details of the schedule. I think that we can find a solution to have the best games possible.”

Fraccari also played down suggestions that pressure to agree to Fukushima’s proposal, which was floated by IOC President Thomas Bach during a visit to Tokyo last month, will affect his decision.

I used to be an umpire, so I know what it means to be under pressure,” he said.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/11/18/national/world-baseball-chief-plays-fukushima-olympic-fears/#.WC_RY7RBChA

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Olympics: No decision yet as world baseball-softball chief inspects Fukushima

World Baseball Softball Confederation President Riccardo Fraccari stopped short of issuing a verdict after inspecting Fukushima Prefecture as a potential host site of the 2020 Olympic baseball and softball competitions Saturday.

Fraccari scouted Azuma Stadium in Fukushima City and Koriyama’s Kaiseizan Stadium but insisted the purpose of his visit this time was to gather intelligence and not to reach a decision of any kind. The third city being considered is Iwaki, whose Green Stadium Fraccari has already visited.

“At the moment, I’m just collecting information of the stadiums,” said Fraccari, who met Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori ahead of his stadium tours.

“The problem for Fukushima is not just the stadium. We have to check about the transportation, the facility for the teams and the schedule.”

The 2020 organizing committee is looking to open the baseball and softball tournaments in the prefecture, with Japan set to play in the first game of both competitions.

Fraccari did not mention a deadline on when the competition format and the overall schedule would be made, but did say all the stakeholders would have to work fast, with the organizing committee aiming to finalize details at the Dec. 6-8 executive board meeting of the International Olympic Committee.

“Yesterday, it was a good meeting with Tokyo 2020,” he said. “We work very close with them, we cooperate a lot because both of us have the best interests in the Games in 2020.”

“We have to work very fast because we don’t have too much time. We don’t yet have a fixed deadline, for sure but we have to work very, very soon towards the entire Games (plan).”

Uchibori reiterated Fukushima’s willingness to stage the two sports.

“We want to express our strong desire to organize the events in Fukushima Prefecture,” Uchibori said to Fraccari in his native Italian.

“It will help unite the people of Fukushima, and help unite the prefecture and the world. They’re fantastic sports.”

Uchibori reassured Fraccari that the radiation levels in Fukushima, which was devastated by the March 2011 earthquake and the nuclear power plant crisis that followed, are no different to that of major cities around the world.

“In almost all areas in the prefecture, the figures are the same as any of the world’s major cities,” Uchibori said.

http://kyodonews.net/news/2016/11/19/89076

November 19, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

School failed to act on extortion of Fukushima evacuee bullied at school

 

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YOKOHAMA — Education authorities failed to react to financial and emotional damage incurred by a boy who was bullied at his school here after evacuating from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, it has been learned.

The boy, who is now 13, was bullied at an elementary school in Yokohama after he transferred there from Fukushima Prefecture. Although the school and the Yokohama Municipal Board of Education were aware that the boy was forced to pay about 1.5 million yen to his classmates, they failed to respond proactively to the case. His parents had conveyed the amount to the school and education board after being informed of it by Kanagawa Prefectural Police.

According to attorneys for the student and other sources, the parents consulted with prefectural police in July 2014 about their son’s classmates demanding money from him. After checking the footage of security cameras at a video arcade, prefectural police found that at least one of the bullies had squandered hundreds of thousands of yen of boy’s money each time.

The money that the victim was forced to pay was spent on travel, dining and entertainment. The student was initially demanded to pay around 50,000 yen at a time, but the sum eventually snowballed.

The bully extorted the victim, saying, “You’ve got compensation money (for the nuclear disaster), don’t you?” The victim could not confide the incidents to his parents and secretly paid the bullies using his family’s money budgeted for living expenses.

The victim stopped attending school for a second time in June 2014, and his parents reported the prefectural police’s investigation results to his school and the city education board. However, the school didn’t deem the case a “serious situation” under the law to promote measure to prevent bullying, and shelved it.

At a Nov. 15 press conference, the city education board admitted that there was money trouble between the students. Superintendent of schools Yuko Okada said, “We should have recognized the case as serious as more than one month had passed since the student stopped attending school and the money and goods issues surfaced.”

A third-party panel to the city education board criticized the school and the education board, saying, “There are no traces of their having given sufficient instructions to the parties who ‘paid’ and ‘were paid for,’ though (the education authorities) were aware of the exchange of monies in the tens of thousands of yen.”

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20161118/p2a/00m/0na/018000c

November 19, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | 1 Comment

Constant Taiwanese Opposition to Japan Contaminated Food Imports

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Keelung city council member Lu Mei-ling appeared with zombie makeup applied to her face

Keelung councilwoman paints face like zombie to protest ‘radioactive’ Japanese food Wearing makeup to appear like a zombie covered in radiation burns, Keelung councilwoman protests lifting of ban on imported Japanese food

At a city council budget review meeting in Keelung City on Thursday, council member Lu Mei-ling appeared with zombie makeup applied to her face to dramatize her concerns about the proposal to allow the import of food from radiation-affected areas of Japan.

Lu claimed if she ate radioactive food products for three months, her skin would start to look like the zombie makeup on her face and her bone marrow would contain large amounts of radiation, with no way to expel it from her body.  She also questioned the health bureau for not having plans on educating the public about protecting themselves from this danger.

Lu said just thinking about a nuclear disaster makes her loose sleep at night, “I’m really afraid, just thinking about it makes me tremble, this isn’t serious?”

A group of 19 Keelung City Council members from across the political spectrum held a press conference at noon. Lead by Council Speaker Sung Wei-li (宋瑋莉), the councilors shouted “don’t eat or buy” and “no nukes, protect Taiwan.” Meanwhile 20 members of the council signed a joint statement asking Keelung Mayor Lin Yu-chang (林右昌) to “add a ban on the importation of foods from radiation-affected prefectures of Japan to The Keelung City Food Safety Regulations.”

Three nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in March 2011 suffered meltdowns after sustaining damage from a magnitute 9.0 earthquake and flooding by a subsequent 13-to-15-meter tsunami. Four of the plant’s six reactors released radiation into the atmosphere and ocean, prompting many countries around the world, including Taiwan, to ban imports of food products from the Japanese prefectures of Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba, for fear of radioactive contamination. 

Taiwan’s government is now considering lifting the ban on food imports from four prefectures, and though Fukushima has been excluded from this list, the measure is still facing stiff opposition with protesters paralyzing 10 public hearings held by the Cabinet over the weekend on the issue. 

The Cabinet is mulling a gradual lifting of the ban in two phases. The first phase would keep the ban on Fukushima, while lifting the ban on Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba prefectures on the condition of batch-by-batch inspection and the exclusion of high-risk products, such as baby milk powder, drinking water, and tea products. A yet-to-be-announced second phase could take place six months later. 

An analysis by Colorado State University showed that after taking 900,000 samples of food produced in Fukushima over the course of three years, found that radiation levels in the vast majority of the samples were below Japan’s limits, the strictest in the world. As for the safety seafood, a study released by the National Academy of Sciences in February 2016 said “the overall contamination risk for aquatic food items is very low” and has steadily decreased since the reactor meltdowns in 2011. 

Many Japanese organizations have been pressing President Tsai Ying-wen to lift the ban on food products since she took office in May. Taiwan and China are reportedly the only countries still banning food from the five Japanese prefectures surrounding the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.

http://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3032954

November 19, 2016 Posted by | Taiwan | , , | Leave a comment

Taiwan Public Hearing on Fukushima Imports Ends in Clashes

November 19, 2016 Posted by | Taiwan | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima ‘ghost town’ uses dummies to fill sad post-3/11 void

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Completed dummies sit while women make another in Naraha, Fukushima Prefecture, on Nov. 14.

 

NARAHA, Fukushima Prefecture–Ghosts of the past are all around in this Fukushima town whose communities were decimated in the aftermath of the 2011 nuclear disaster.

Less than one-tenth of Naraha’s residents have come home since its evacuation order was lifted, but some who did return have devised a creative solution to the population problem.

Locals have formed a group to make dummies to place them around the town in lieu of the many human inhabitants who have been absent since the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant disaster of March 2011.

The results are poignant.

All residents of Naraha, Fukushima Prefecture, were ordered to evacuate the area following the triple meltdown, and were given the green light to return in September 2015.

However, only 718 residents–less than 10 percent of the town’s total population–had returned to their homes as of Nov. 4 this year.

Missing their friends and neighbors, some of the returned residents started the dummy project in June this year.

Currently, five women are making mannequins, including members of local voluntary group, Nanikashitai (“I want to do something”), which numbers about 30 members.

The women gather once a month at a former elementary school building to assemble cotton-stuffed heads, wooden frames, and arms and legs made from rolled newspapers. Then, they choose outfits and dress them.

The “ages” of the figures range from two to 85, according to the women.

So far, the women have completed 28 dummies, of which more than 10 occupy seven locations, including a financial institution and a day-care facility. When they showed them at an event in the town, they had visitors name them, and they even registered them as town residents.

We hope that the dummies will bring a smile to the faces of those who see them,” said Kaneko Takahara, 68, one of the women.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201611170053.html

November 19, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Work Starts in Fukushima on Intermediate Waste Facility

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The planned site for an intermediate storage facility of radiation-contaminated waste spans the towns of Futaba and Okuma and surround the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture.

The Environment Ministry on Nov. 15 started building a facility in Fukushima Prefecture that will store radiation-contaminated debris for up to 30 years, despite obtaining permission for only 11 percent of the site.

The 16-square-kilometer storage facility is expected to hold up to 22 million cubic meters of materials contaminated by radioactive fallout from the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011.

I hope that you take pride in this project and cooperate to construct the facility,” Tadahiko Ito, a vice environment minister, told workers.

The facility, which will span the towns of Futaba and Okuma, is expected to start accepting, sorting and storing the debris in autumn 2017 at the earliest, more than two-and-a-half years later than the initial schedule of January 2015.

The project has been delayed because the ministry has faced difficulties buying or borrowing land for the project.

In fact, only 445 of the 2,360 landowners of plots at the site have agreed to sell or lend their properties to the ministry for the storage facility as of the end of October.

Many of the reluctant landowners, who possess 89 percent of the land, fear the contaminated waste will remain at the facility well beyond 30 years.

The government has worked out a bill stipulating that contaminated materials kept in the intermediate storage facility will be moved out of Fukushima Prefecture in 2045. However, the government has yet to decide on the location of the final disposal site.

A huge cleanup operation after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant collected tons of radioactive soil and debris.

In March 2015, the ministry borrowed land and created a “temporary storage place” within a 16-square-km site on an experimental basis.

However, only about 70,000 cubic meters of the waste has been taken to the temporary storage site as of the end of October. The remaining waste, exceeding 10 million cubic meters, is being tentatively stored at about 150,000 locations in the prefecture.

If the transportation of contaminated materials to the intermediate storage facility proceeds, the waste currently stored in residential areas and at company compounds will be transported there,” said an official of the Fukushima prefectural government’s section in charge of decontamination.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201611150040.html

Work begins on Fukushima nuclear waste site

Construction work has begun in Fukushima Prefecture on intermediate storage facilities for contaminated soil and waste materials from the 2011 nuclear disaster.

Groundbreaking ceremonies were held in the towns of Futaba and Okuma on Tuesday.

Two facilities will be built in a 16-square-kilometer area that straddles in the towns. One will be used to sort nuclear waste by size and level of contamination, and the other will store the sorted soil.

State Minister for the Environment Tadahiko Ito encouraged workers, saying they should be proud to be working for the region’s revival.

In the first day of work on Tuesday, workers removed contaminated soil from the surface of the site. Full-fledged construction work is to begin in January.

Waste from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and soil that has been removed in decontamination operations will be stored at the intermediate storage site before it is ultimately disposed of.

The contaminated soil and waste have been kept at temporary sites throughout Fukushima Prefecture longer than the 3 years the government had initially promised local communities. This is because construction of the intermediate storage site was delayed due to a lack of progress in acquiring the land.

The Environment Ministry plans to begin operating the intermediate storage facilities in about a year. It plans to enlarge the site after acquiring more land.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20161115_26/

November 16, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Taiwan protests at Public Hearings about Japanese food & Citizen Group Radiation Measuring

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Public hearings on Japanese food in Tainan ends in rowdy protests

Taipei, Nov. 12 (CNA) A melee broke out at a public hearing in Tainan on lifting the ban on imports of currently banned Japanese food from radiation-affected prefectures when protesters clashed with government officials Saturday.

A total of 10 public hearings are scheduled from Nov. 12-14 in the northern, central, southern and eastern parts of Taiwan, as part of a government move widely seen as paving the way for its impending lifting of a five-year ban on Japanese produce from the prefectures affected by radiation following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.

The public hearing in Tainan was the first of the 10, and was presided over by Chen Chun-yen (陳俊言), head of the department of international cooperation under the Council of Agriculture. Also on hand were Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) , deputy director of the Council of Agriculture, and officials from the Office of Food Safety under the Executive Yuan, the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Atomic Energy Council.

But shortly after the opening of the public hearing, Tsai Yu-hui(蔡育輝), a caucus whip of the opposition Kuomintang at the Tainan City Council, and City councilor Lu Kun-fu (盧崑福), led around two dozen protesters into the venue, demanding that the public hearing be suspended.

They lashed out at the central government for its “sneaky” way of holding the public hearing. Lu said that, as a Tainan city Councilor, he only learned about the public hearing Friday evening.

An agitated Lu later twice pushed and shoved Chen Chun-yen during the protest. Tsai and Lu presented a signature book to show that only one citizen attended the public hearing, shouting “is this the one-man public hearing?”

They questioned if this was really a public hearing with only government officials, protesters and policemen attending. The protesters also dashed to the chairman’s table and hoisting protest cards, with some smashing the papers on the chairman’s table and spilliing his cup of water, shouting angrily that “the food that even Japanese would not eat are going to be exported to Taiwan. Are (our) children worth nothing?”

A larger contingent of police force was sent in to help maintain order, and the public hearing was interrupted for nearly one hour.

When it reopened, the protesters said the procedure was a gross violation of regulations, noting that a public hearing should be announced 10 days before it is held. “This public hearing doesn’t count, as the Executive Yuan has grossly violated the law,” a protester said.

Chen Chun-yen said that the COA will review the procedural issue.

About 10 minutes before the forum ended, the chairman’s table was overturned. Chen Chun-yen then called an end to the forum after the scheduled two-hour period for the forum had expired. Both COA officials left the venue under police escort.

A similar public hearing was held in Chiayi Saturday morning in which participants said the government’s responsibility is to protect the people and ensure food safety.

They asked why the government wants to import risky food from Japan. Chen Chi-chung has said that a partial reopening of currently banned Japanese products could come next year, but would not include items from Fukushima.

In an interview with CNA on Thursday, he said Japan will still be required to produce certificates of radiation inspection and certificates of origin with each shipment, and Taiwan will also inspect imports shipment by shipment at its border.

Food imports from the Japanese prefectures of Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba have been suspended in Taiwan since March 25, 2011 because of fears of radioactive contamination in those areas from a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

The nuclear disaster was triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunamis on March 11, 2011.

Since May 15, 2015, importers of Japanese food products have been required to present certificates of origin to prove that their items do not originate from any of the five prefectures.

For some imports such as tea, baby food, dairy and aquatic products, radiation inspection certificates are also required.

Various Japanese groups have reportedly asked Taiwan to lift the ban since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) assumed office in May. Her administration is keen to build stronger ties with Japan.

http://focustaiwan.tw/news/asoc/201611120005.aspx

Group to measure Japan radiation

A civic group opposed to the government’s plan to lift a ban on food and agricultural produce from five prefectures in Japan is to travel to Japan later this month to measure radiation levels.

Green Consumers’ Foundation chairman Jay Fang (方儉) said that while a government team went to Japan in August, it did not have its own radiation detection equipment.

The team relied entirely on data provided by Japan, and the report provided was very “rough,” he said.

Fang said he and three others would head to 25 locations in six prefectures — Chiba, Fukushima, Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki and Yamanashi — to check radiation levels in the food and the environment for themselves on Nov. 22.

Taiwan suspended food imports from the Japanese prefectures of Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba following the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster.

The Executive Yuan on Thursday evening announced that 10 public hearings would be held nationwide from yesterday to tomorrow on the issue, amid reports that it will soon lift the ban on imported food items from the prefectures.

Fang said that he has two-and-a-half years of experience working in a laboratory and that his companions also have similar experience.

He said that they are “qualified personnel” and that their equipment meets International Atomic Energy Agency standards.

The inspections will be streamed live on his Facebook page, he said, welcoming the government to follow them online.

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2016/11/13/2003659171

November 13, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Project ETHOS: Living in the Nuclear Garden, a Crime Against Humanity(Part I)

CEPN.jpg

In the words of a recent opinion column, * the planners for mutilated life (life also called half-life **) claim that contamination dangerous in principle, would turn into harmless in real life. This is a lie of extreme violence, an insult to the relatives of victims and survivors, in order to restrict evacuations and protection measures, thus exposing people affected with terrible health damage. It’s a crime.

So it is to stem the horror of the effects of contamination by camouflaging it, by pretending that we can escape danger by confronting it, by managing our fear.

Because in effect it is indeed to block any heresy attempt questioning the religion of the atom, and for that to discreetly fill hospital with patients and cemeteries with victims, rather than to evacuate and to treat populations of lands which became uninhabitable. Therefore no question to recognize the inhumanity and the terrible dangers of the atom.

In what follows we will see how and why everything is done to hide an atomic crime and what it costs to the affected populations, with great responsibility of the French nucleocracy and especially of two of its main representatives Jacques Lochard and Gilles Hériard Dubreuil.

*Tribune libre collective de : Cécile Asanuma-Brice, Jean-Jacques Delfour, Kolin Kobayashi, Nadine Ribault et Thierry Ribault.

http://sciences-critiques.fr/tchernobyl-fukushima-les-amenageurs-de-la-vie-mutilee/

**Michael Ferrier, « Fukushima – Récit d’un désastre » 2012.

Children are particularly affected by nuclear disasters, only one treatment is available : pectin.

Growing children are particularly vulnerable facing contamination by radionuclides dispersed in the environment whether by atomic disaster until thousands of kilometers, or by the multiple incidents that dot the operation of nuclear facilities. What to do to protect the multitude of sick or weakened children living in contaminated territories? Principal victims, their situation worsens from year to year, depending on the content of Césium137 and Strontium 90 in their bodies. It is cesium that lodges itself in all organs (a bit like potassium) which is easier to measure in order to assess the need for treatment. Only pectin, known to enable the removal of heavy metals including these radionuclides, can relieve these young people.

Experience in Belarus show that cures of three weeks of vitamin apple pectin can reduce the cesium, therefore reducing the damages. Those cures can be renewed every three months and must be accompanied by safeguards in the selection and preparation of food.

apple_radioprotective

But the nuclear lobby has blocked the spread of pectin cures.

Incredible as it may seem, apple pectin is a true opponent of nuclear lobby. It is the only explanation for the war the nuclear lobby is conducting against apple pectin. In fact those who are responsible for ensuring protection against the effects of nuclear, claim that the patients are only victims of stress and irrational fears which annihilate the immune system. For the ICRP * and the CEPN ** to recognize that pectin cure, known for its ability to remove cesium and strontium, is effective in improving the health of children, is to recognize that they are contaminated. Thus in the name of the nuclear religion hundreds of thousands of young people are condemned to an amputated life .

It is criminal on the part of our state agencies to propose to Belarus and Japan who are only asking for that, the application of Ethos-Core program which role is to stifle the effects of radioactivity, to save the image of the nuclear industry and of the country, and that to the expense of victims abandoned to their fate. And we can be sure, it will be the same in our home country in case of nuclear disaster, everything will be done to downplay the effects, to hide the reality of the risks and human damages, the goal being to save the nuclear industry regardless of the price, in the name of the identity and the “greatness” of France. …

Let us demand that pectin be provided to second generation children of Chernobyl, almost all sick, and to the first generation children of Fukushima. In view of the nuclear catastrophe that threatens us more and more, also demand that pectin be available for distribution in France, such as iodine for the thyroid.

It is through studies conducted within the framework of the Ethos and Core projects that the strategy of the nuclear lobby has been defined, we must explain what it is so as to understand what is happening in Belarus, in Japan and what is planned for us ….

The Franco-European Ethos project : The ETHOS project was implemented by a research team involving four scientific organizations:

CEPN is a a non-profit organisation created in 1976 to establish a research and development centre in the fields of optimisation of radiological protection and comparison of health and environmental risks associated with energy systems. This program was initially strongly focused on the development and application of the principle of optimization of radiological protection. Over the past few years, however, the group’s research programme has also been directed towards the involvement of stakeholders in radiological risk assessment and management, and spreading the radiological protection culture. The studies are undertaken by a group of around fifteen engineers and economists. The research programme is evaluated by a Scientific Council. The association currently has four members: the French public electricity generating utility (EDF), the Institute of Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN), the French Alternatives Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and AREVA.

http://www.cepn.asso.fr/en

Agro ParisTech (officially French Institut des sciences et industries du vivant et de l’environnement, or Paris Institute of Technology for Life, Food and Environmental Sciences) is a French university-level institution, also known as a “Grande Ecole“. It was founded on January 1, 2007, by the merger of three life sciences grandes écoles. AgroParisTech is the merger of three graduate institutes of science and engineering located around Paris. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agro_ParisTech

The University of Technology of Compiègne (French: Université de Technologie de Compiègne), or UTC is a public research university located in Compiegne, France. It was founded in 1972 by Guy Deniélou and is described as the first experimental technological university in France. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Technology_of_Compi%C3%A8gne

Mutadis that coordinates, was founded in 1990, Mutadis is a multidisciplinary research and intervention team specialised in sustainable development issues  and governance of high-risk activities to society at territorial, national and international levels. http://www.mutadis.org/en/

Ethos Project was presented as to sustainably improve the living conditions of people affected by the long-term presence of radioactive contamination following the Chernobyl accident. This is actually several successive programs, always financed by Europe and France, Ethos 1 and 2, Core, Sage (hereinafter called the “Ethos Project” or even “Ethos” for short). They have been tested on populations living in contaminated territories in Chernobyl, in villages located southeast of Belarus, about 200 km from Chernobyl.

The official purpose was to study how to help people living in territories contaminated by radioactivity. The real purpose is to pretend that we can live there, when observing basic precautions, especially as everything is done to convince that there is little contamination, and can adapt. These campaigns are supported by french “experts” (Gilles Hériard Dubreuil, Jacques Lochard) and international experts, members of organizations responsible for the safety of nuclear power.

These intervenors deny the reality of dangerous contamination. Their criminal strategy will even announce that the damages suffered by the inhabitants are not due to radioactivity, but to the fear and phobia of nuclear power that make them weak and sick. So any therapy such as distribution of pectin, has no place to be … All suiting well the government of that country eager to get rid of this sordid affair.

And it is the same in Japan where Jacques Lochard prevails there to promote the revival of nuclear power under French tutelage in needs of this valued customer…

It will be the same for us after a disaster, it is planned to evacuate the least possible of inhabitants, and to persuade those who remain that it is without risk… For that even to impose a very large received dose standard: In France, the current standard is 1 mSv / year, but if there is an accident, it will be 20 mSv / year and if you are unfortunate enough to live too close to the disaster, it will be 100 mSv / year. Food contamination threshold is also expected to be multiplied in all European countries so as not to hinder trade and exports (business as usual).

The epidemic of fatal or disabling diseases that develop later with pain does not matter to our leaders, health and genetic damages are deferred in time, the crime of the approach will be diluted, especially as the inhabitants will be held responsible for the effects of the disaster of which they are nevertheless victims…

Does not the Ethos project constitute a crime against humanity, to which the responsible are the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) and the CEPN?

Some figures to clearly see the issues: (see press release of the Criirad of 10.03.2016). Under normal circumstances, the maximum dose limit applicable to the public is 1 mSv / year and this amount is already at a high level of risk… if 66 million French received a dose of 1 mSv, this exposure would cause indeed ultimately probably more than 22,000 radiation-induced cancers, not counting all non-cancer diseases, malformations and genetic diseases. If we multiply these numbers by 20 or 100, the risk levels identified by the authorities are staggering.

It also underlines the very high number of those who will be exposed to lower doses, but which are nonetheless unacceptable: infants, children, teens could receive quite legally dose of 10 mSv / year, that is to say doses that can only be considered for nuclear workers.

More reference levels are high and more the costs of protective measures for people and compensations for damages are alleviated. The choice of the authorities is quite coherent, indeed the nuclear industry is exempt from the application of the polluter-pays principle: for the most part, the health and economic consequences of the disaster will be borne by the victims and the State. The decision to set such high dose thresholds is the result of 20 years of efforts of the nuclear lobby, and more specifically of the French nuclear lobby (CEPN). Rather than offering compensation to start a new life in a healthy environment, they direct the victims to be resilient and adapt to the new reality: that of a contaminated environment. This is obviously all to benefit the nuclear industry. The major nuclear accidents are not disasters anymore but manageable risks.

To be convinced of the crime of applying the ethos program, see these documents:

– Tribune libre collective de : Cécile Asanuma-Brice, Jean-Jacques Delfour, Kolin Kobayashi, Nadine Ribault et Thierry Ribault http://sciences-critiques.fr/tchernobyl-fukushima-les-amenageurs-de-la-vie-mutilee/

And the video (30 min) ‘Save Japan Kids’, a presentation about Ethos Fukushima subtitled in French by Japanese freelance journalist Mari Takenouchi, struggling with Japan Justice for her questioning of the ETHOS project, aiming to maintain and to bring back the people of Fukushima in contaminated areas.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccYPtQwPx78

Notes:
* -The International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) is an NGO that makes recommendations on the safety measures to be taken on sensitive installations. It bases its recommendations on the basis of the information provided by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, UNSCEAR.
The mandate of UNSCEAR is to report to the Member States of the United Nations on the effects and dangers of radiation in the environment. It is within this body that the official doctrine is developed without any scientific criticism or questioning, the WHO (World Health Organization) having abdicated all competence in the field of radioactivity.

Almost all international regulations, standards and national regulations are based on recommendations aimed above all at not hindering the atomic industry.

* -The CEPN, Center for the Study of the Evaluation of Nuclear Protection, represents the French nuclear lobby. The CEPN is a “false nose” of the CEA where it has its headquarters (in Fontenay aux Roses near Paris), it is an association that brings together: EDF, AREVA, CEA, IRSN!

The members of these structures are all from the same mold, co-opted or appointed out of any democratic process, They are interchangeable. Jacques Lochard is director of the CEPN and vice-president of the ICRP.

Translated from French by Hervé Courtois (Dun Renard)

Vivre dans le jardin nucléaire avec Ethos, un crime contre l’humanité.

http://coordination-antinucleaire-sudest.net/2012/index.php?post/2016/11/07/Vivre-dans-le-jardin-nucleaire-avec-Ethos-un-crime-contre-l-humanite

November 13, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Minamisoma Whistleblowers, Fukushima

A few days ago Pierre Fetet learned of a map which immediately called his attention.

That map displays at the same time precise and unsettling measurements. Not knowing Japanese, Pierre Fetet asked Kurumi Sugita, the president of Nos voisins lointains 3.11 association, to translate for him the text. She immediately accepted and explained to him what it was:

“The project to measure environmental radioactivity around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (“Fukuichi Area Environmental Radiation Monitoring Project“) is conducted by a team of relatively old volunteers (who are less radiosensitive than youth) to perform radioactivity measurements with a tight mesh size of 75 x 100 m for radioactivity in air and 375 x 500 m for soil contamination. Measurements of ambient radioactivity and soil radioactivity are carried out mainly in the city of Minamisōma and its surroundings. They try to make detailed measurements so as to show the inhabitants the real conditions of their lives, and also to accumulate data for the analysis of long-term health and environmental damages.”

Thanks to the Kurumi Sugita’s translation and with the agreement of Mr. Ozawa, author of the document, Pierre Fetet was able to make a French version of this map, which I translated into english here below:

Minamisoma contamination map oct 2016.jpg

Map of Mr. Ozawa’s team,“Fukuichi Area Environmental Radiation Monitoring Project” (translation first by Kurumi Sugita, then by Hervé Courtois)

In the context of the normalization of contaminated areas into habitable areas, the evacuation order of the Odaka district of the city of Minamisōma was lifted on 12 July 2016, except the area bordering Namie (Hamlet of Ohatake where a single household lives) classified as a “difficult return” area.

Minamisoma contamination map oct 2016 2.jpg

Situation of the study area

The contamination map examines the Kanaya and Kawabusa areas of the Odaka district, about fifteen kilometers from the former Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Mr. Ozawa, the engineer who launched this investigation, has chosen the precision of the measurements, that is to say laboratory scintillation radiometers are used to measure radioactivity: Hitachi Aloka TCS172B, Hitachi Aloka TGS146B and Canberra NaI Scintillation Detector.

The originality of this map is due as much to the quality of its realization as to the abundance of its informations: it can be read, for each of the 36 samples taken, measurements in Bq / m², in Bq / kg, in μSv / h at three different soil heights (1 m, 50 cm, 1 cm) And in cpm (counts per minute) at the height of 1 cm. For those who know a little about radioactivity, these informations are very valuable informations. Usually, measurements are given in either unit, but never simultaneously with 4 units. Official organizations should learn this way of working.

The measures revealed by the map are very disturbing. They show that the earth has a level of contamination that would make it a radioactive waste in any uncontaminated country. As Mr. Ozawa writes, these lands should be considered a “controlled zone”, that is to say a secure space, as in nuclear power plants, where the doses received must be constantly checked. In fact, it is worse than inside of a nuclear power plant because in Japan the inhabitants evacuated since five and a half years are now asked to return home, whereas it is known that they will be irradiated (Up to 20 mSv / year) and contaminated (by inhalation and ingestion).

This citizen research is remarkable in more ways than one:

  • It is independent of any organization. There is no lobby to alter or play down this or that measure. These are just raw data, taken by honest people, in search of truth.
  • It respects a scientific protocol, explained on the map. There will always be people to criticize this or that aspect of the process, But this one is rigorous and objective.
  • It takes measurements 1 m from the ground but also 1 cm from the ground. This approach is more logical because until now men are walking on the ground no? The contamination maps of Japan often show measurements at 1 m from the ground, Which does not reflect reality and seems to be done to minimize the facts. Indeed, the measurement is often twice as high at 1 cm from the ground as at 1 m.
  • It acts as a revealing map. Mr. Ozawa and his team are whistleblowers. Their maps say: Watch out ! Laws contradict each other in Japan. What the government claims, namely that a dose of 20 mSv / year will not produce any health effect, is not necessarily the truth. If you come back, you are going to be irradiated and contaminated.

France is preparing for the same forfeiture, namely that ‘it is transposing into national law the provisions of Directive 2013/59 / Euratom: the French authorities retained the upper limit of the interval: 100 mSv for the emergency phase and 20 mSv for the following 12 months (And for the following years there is no guarantee that this reference level will not be renewed). These values apply to all, including infants, children and pregnant women! ” (source Criirad)

The Japanese government is asking residents to return home and abolishing compensation for evacuees. The Olympics are coming, Fukushima must be perceived as “normal” so that the athletes and supporters of the whole world won’t be afraid, even if it means sacrificing the health of the local population. It is therefore necessary to make known the map of Mr. Ozawa so that future advertising campaigns do not stifle the reality of the facts.

Pierre Fetet

Data on measurements at Minamisōma

http://www.f1-monitoring-project.jp/open_deta.html

Website of the measuring team: “Fukuichi Area Environmental Radiation Monitoring Project

http://www.f1-monitoring-project.jp/index.html

Address of the original map (HD)

http://www.f1-monitoring-project.jp/dirtsfiles/20161104-Odaka-Kanaya-Kawabusa-s.jpg

3-ob_8977f5_20161104-odaka-kanaya-kawabusa-s.jpg

Source : Article of Pierre Fetet

http://www.fukushima-blog.com/2016/11/alerte-a-minamisoma.html

(Translation Hervé Courtois)

 


November 12, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , , | 1 Comment

Fukushima Evacuee Student Bullied as School Failed to Act

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YOKOHAMA–A junior high school student evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture after the 2011 nuclear disaster is refusing to attend classes due to years of bullying.

At an elementary school, the boy was given a cruel nickname with “germ” added to his name. His tormentors demanded he pay them money from government compensation for disaster victims.

His elementary school failed to take action in the case, which was “tantamount to abandoning the duty of education,” according to a damning report Nov. 9 by an investigative committee of the city’s board of education.

“It’s really disappointing,” said Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi at a news conference the same day. “Not everybody fully understands what people in the disaster-hit areas went through. It is our job to keep educating them by all means possible.”

The boy entered a public elementary school here, south of Tokyo, in August 2011, five months after the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The disaster prompted his parents to flee Fukushima Prefecture.

The boy was a second-grader at the time and the bullying started soon after his arrival at the school.

When he was a fifth grader, a group of 10 or so bullies forced him to pay 50,000 yen ($480) to 100,000 yen on around 10 occasions. They apparently spent the money in game arcades and for other purposes.

“You are receiving compensation (for the nuclear accident),” one bully was quoted as saying, referring to financial efforts to alleviate the plight of evacuees from Fukushima Prefecture. The boy stole the cash from his parents to meet their demands.

He began refusing to go to the school on occasion, and now, as a student in a public junior high school, has stopped going to school ever.

In May 2014, his parents complained to the elementary school that the bullying was escalating.

The school held two meetings of an investigative committee into school bullying but concluded the situation was not sufficiently “serious” in terms of the antibullying law.

The school said the investigation was abandoned, citing a “lack of communication with the boy’s guardians.”

The parents asked the city’s board of education in December 2015 to do its own investigation.

The school then finally admitted a “serious situation” existed and the board’s third-party investigative committee started its own probe.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201611100047.html

November 10, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima to host some baseball, softball games at 2020 Olympics

n-olympics-a-20161110-870x683.jpg

Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori (left) shakes hands with Yoshiro Mori, who heads the 2020 Tokyo Olympic organizing committee Wednesday in Tokyo, as the committee approved a plan to host baseball and softball games in the prefecture.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic organizers on Wednesday gave the green light for disaster-affected Fukushima Prefecture to host baseball and softball games.

Three cities — Fukushima, Koriyama and Iwaki — are under consideration to stage part of the competition as the two sports return to the Olympic program after an absence of 12 years.

Riccardo Fraccari, president of the World Baseball Softball Confederation, will visit Japan next week to inspect the venues. The International Olympic Committee will make the final decision when it holds its executive board meeting from Dec. 6 to 8.

“We want to emphasize this as a ‘recovery games’ and we want to work together with everyone to move it forward,” said 2020 executive board member Toshiaki Endo.

“These Olympics and Paralympics are not just for Tokyo but for the whole of Japan. We only have 1,353 days left, so we need everyone to make an effort so we can put on a fantastic event.”

IOC President Thomas Bach floated the idea of hosting baseball and softball games in Fukushima during a visit to Tokyo last month to take part in the World Forum on Sport and Culture.

“I felt that President Bach had a strong feeling toward Fukushima when he came here,” said Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori. “The idea of a ‘recovery games’ is once again in the spotlight and people are thinking carefully about how that can be achieved.

“It can show the courage of Fukushima Prefecture and the Tohoku region, and on a wider scale Kumamoto and Tottori — places that are working hard to recover from disaster.”

The Yomiuri Giants professional baseball team occasionally hosts Nippon Professional Baseball games at all three venues. Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium and Iwaki Green Stadium both have capacities of 30,000, while the older Koriyama Kaiseizan Baseball Stadium holds 18,200.

Neighboring Miyagi Prefecture is hoping to stage rowing and canoe sprint events as a result of a cost-cutting review currently being undertaken by the IOC, Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Tokyo 2020 organizers and the national government.

“Miyagi Prefecture, Iwate Prefecture and Fukushima Prefecture all suffered a lot of damage from the Great East Japan Earthquake,” said Uchibori.

“These three prefectures have a close bond and always work together. We want to form a movement. We want to show our appreciation to people and get people excited about the Tokyo Olympics. I’d like to consult with my fellow governors.”

Uchibori also said he would like his prefecture to host other Olympic-related events such as training camps and a section of the torch relay.

Baseball and softball were voted back onto the Olympic program as a joint bid at an IOC session in Rio de Janeiro in August ahead of the Summer Games. The format of the competitions has yet to be decided.

Fukushima eyed for baseball, softball games in 2020 Olympics

November 10, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment

Swelling Decommissioning Costs, Who’s Gonna Pay

 

The 2016 road report points to inflated decommissioning costs.
Three reactor meltdowns to be decommissioned,
an unprecedented task in the world.
It’s a long journey, to continue to record the series
“The road to decommissioning”.

Five years and half years have passed since the disaster at the Tepco’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, among the many technical difficulties, the removal of nuclear fuel remains a challenge.

As the disaster costs keep on rising more than expected, it is becoming extremely difficult to to finance them under the current system.

Not just the increase in labor costs and technology development costs, and the cost of decontamination to enable the residents return, but also the compensation costs, all are significant. Therefore the current « system » to finance those costs has hit a wall.

TEPCO recently complained of the severity of the burden, it seeked from the country a policy to provide additional support. Who is to pay.

God only knows how much those costs will swell, and whose burden will they be.
The overall picture of the disaster costs is already hard to visualize, the sustainable “road to decommissioning” even more.

 

 

November 7, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , , | Leave a comment