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Ethical Foundations of Radiological Protection

“The economic and societal factors of the population living in contaminated territories are not the same as the ones of the other parts of the country.”

It even applies to antinuclear activists. Immediately after 311 the priority for the Fukushima activists was the evacuation of the Fukushima children whereas the priority for the other Japanese antinuclear activists was to keep all Japan’s nuke plants from being  restarted.

Sadly at national level the second priority prevailed over the first priority, and no measures were in the end taken to evacuate or to protect the Fukushima children from continuous radiation exposure nor from prolonged internal exposure thru local foods.

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“..Regarding existing exposure situations after a large-scale nuclear accident, the economic and societal factors of the population living in contaminated territories are not the same as the ones of the other parts of the country. For example, the former want to sell their agricultural production and the later avoids internal contamination….”
“…ICRP recognize that the assessment of beneficence and non-maleficence is a key challenge but has nothing else to propose than recommending, “that such an assessment [should] be transparent about what was included, recognise disagreements where they arise, and go beyond a simple balancing of direct health impacts against economic costs.” ICRP provides no example of good practice arising from these recommendations that are rarely implemented….”
“…Moreover some categories of people are more sensitive to radiations than others. It is particularly the case of children and infants. Justice would mean a better protection with lower limits for them. This is a strong request from families living around the Fukushima dai-ichi nuclear power plant. Some of them evacuated without any support in order to protect their children.
Similarly, individuals are not all equal in terms of genetic heritage and part of this population of hypersensitivity to the adverse effects of radiation (1 to 3% are heterozygous for ataxia telangiectasia). The radiation protection system cannot be built to protect the majority of citizens, but all citizens…..”
“…CRP does not address this issue of individual health in its draft report. How can it expect to answer to the demands of the populations and be understood by them?

Intergenerational justice has been addressed by the Commission for the management of radioactive waste […]. The Commission introduces responsibilities towards future generations in terms of providing the means to deal with their protection”. Justice could also be extended spatial consideration by forbidding the export of radioactive waste to foreign countries that did not benefit from the electricity production.

Implementation of radiological protection requires democracy to avoid abuses. Nevertheless, democracy is not considered as a core ethical value by ICRP….”
“…ACRO strongly supports the implementation of these three procedural values and considers that they should be implemented from the justification stage. This is not mentioned in the draft report, although it is a requirement the Aarhus convention for environmental issues. This should be extended to radiological protection….”
“…Most of citizen living around the Fukushima dai-ichi nuclear power plant still do not trust authorities. “Accountability” and “transparency” have being ignored by Japanese authorities. The arbitrary evacuation limit of 20 mSv/y has never been explained nor justified. People refusing this limit might have no other choice than remaining in contaminated territories due to economical constrains.

It is a pity that the ICRP has never tried to grasp the situation in contaminated territories as whole and has limited its so-called “dialogues” to a limited number of people that agrees with the Commission. It would have learned much more about the consequences of its recommendations in talking to all categories of people.

As conclusion, ACRO considers that studying the ethical basis of the radiological protection is a necessity but it is not achieved in the present draft report. It should be submitted to various stakeholders and discussed by other means than a simple public consultation on the Internet….”

http://www.acro.eu.org/fondements-ethiques-de-la-radioprotection-ethical-foundations-of-radiological-protection/

 

July 25, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

High School Girls Used to Promote a Beach in Fukushima

They used high school girls to promote a beach in Fukushima. The same way that they were using highschool kids to pick up trash along the Joban Expressway….

 

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“Photo Journal: Long-awaited laughter”

High school students in the garb of Hawaiian hula dancers play in the waves at the Usuiso seaside resort in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, after the beach opened for the first time in seven years on July 15, 2017. The resort was heavily hit by the 2011 tsunami, which took the lives of 115 residents and destroyed close to 90 percent of homes in the district. However, the resort finally reopened its stretches of white sands to families on Saturday, with lively hula performances by local high school girls. (Mainichi) https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170715/p2a/00m/0na/014000c

 

July 25, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

30Bq/kg of Strontium 90 in Sea Breams in the Sea 2km from the Kido River

TEPCO released a document stating that 30Bq/kg of Strontium 90 was found in sea breams in the sea 2km from the Kido river (near J-Village).

http://www.tepco.co.jp/nu/fukushima-np/f1/smp/2017/images3/fish03_170713-j.pdf

 

22 july 2017 Strontium sea breams 1

 

22 july 2017 Strontium sea breams 2

 

22 july 2017 Strontium sea breams 3

July 22, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

5.8-Magnitude Quake Strikes Off Coast of Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture, Near Ongoing Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Site

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An earthquake with an initial magnitude of 5.8 hit northeast of Tokyo on Japan’s main island of Honshu on Thursday, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) reported.
 
The quake was measured at a depth of 33 km (20 miles) about 79 km (49 miles) east-northeast of Iwaki on Honshu.
 
The temblor, which measured 4 on the Japanese seismic scale which peaks at 7, struck at a latitude of 37.3 degrees north and a longitude of 141.6 degrees east at 9:11 a.m. local time (0000 GMT).
 
The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said the quake struck at a depth of 40 km.
 
Fukushima police also said there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.
 
No fresh damage to the crippled nuclear power plant there was reported and there was no risk of a tsunami, officials said.
 
“We have found no (new) abnormality so far” at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant said a spokesman at Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator. Tokyo Electric is working to clean up and dismantle the reactors in a process that is expected to take decades.
 
A 9.0-magnitude earthquake in March 2011 triggered a massive and deadly tsunami, which smashed into the power station and sparked the world’s worst atomic accident since Chernobyl in 1986.
 
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July 21, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Evacuations Ordered as Heavy Rains Lashed Fukushima…

Heavy rains lashed Fukushima Prefecture during the last few days, prompting evacuation orders in some areas amid fears of flooding. These rains transport lots of radionuclides from the mountainsides and forests down into the towns, redistributing the insoluble cesium particles, recontaminating places having being previously decontaminated. A never ending story.

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Evacuations ordered as heavy rains lash Fukushima and Niigata prefectures
 
Heavy rains lashed Fukushima and Niigata prefectures on Tuesday, prompting evacuation orders in some areas amid fears of flooding.
 
The town of Tadami in western Fukushima ordered over 4,300 residents to evacuate, warning against river flooding and landslides. A local train service was partially suspended, according to East Japan Railway Co.
 
In the city of Gosen and the town of Aga in Niigata, over 1,400 residents were ordered to move to shelters amid flood concerns, according to the municipalities.
 
There were no reports of injuries in the towns and city on Tuesday morning.
 
In Niigata, including the cities of Nagaoka and Sanjo, an evacuation advisory was in effect on Tuesday, affecting over 20,000 people.
 
The number of deaths in flood-hit southwestern Japan climbed to 34 on Monday, with seven more people still unaccounted for.
 
In Kyushu, some 2,700 Self-Defense Forces personnel and firefighters continued a search for the missing, while around 9,000 volunteers worked over the three-day holiday weekend to clear mud and damaged furniture from houses.
 
But their work was temporarily suspended Monday as evacuation orders were issued to about 16,000 residents from almost 6,000 households in the city of Asakura and the village of Toho, both in Fukuoka Prefecture, due to potential heavy rain. They were among the areas hardest hit by torrential rains that began July 5.
 
The mercury hit 34.8 in Asakura and 36.2 in Hita on Monday, according to the Meteorological Agency.
 
In the meantime, two bodies recovered from the Ariake Sea, several dozen kilometers from the disaster-hit area, were identified as Yukie Kojima, 70, and Kazuko Ide, 59, both from Asakura.
 
Five bodies found in the sea have been identified as victims of the disaster.
 
Heavy rain triggers evacuation orders in Fukushima, Niigata municipalities
 
Evacuation orders were issued across the town of Tadami, Fukushima Prefecture, as of 10 a.m. on July 18 as the area was struck with heavy rainfall.
 
Meanwhile, according to the Niigata Prefectural Government risk management department, evacuation orders were also issued as of 10 a.m. to some areas in the districts of Minamitanaka, Aohashi, Nakanohashi, Sasanomachi, Nagahashi and Agamachi in the prefectural city of Gosen.
 
In addition, evacuation advisories are also in place in seven Niigata Prefecture municipalities including the prefectural capital of Niigata, Sanjo and Uonuma, covering roughly 80,000 residents.
 

 

July 19, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima City Still Struggling with Labor Shortages

serveimage.jpgRecent soil contamination map made by the “Environmental Radioactivity Measurement Project around Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.” https://dunrenard.wordpress.com/2017/01/14/new-data-show-massive-radiation-levels-in-odaka-minamisoma/

 

Minamisoma, Fukushima Pref., July 12 (Jiji Press)–Minamisoma is still struggling with labor shortages, one year after the Japanese government lifted its nuclear evacuation advisory for part of the Fukushima Prefecture city.
In the city, only slightly over 20 pct of residents have returned home, and the productive-age population of people aged 15-64 fell by some 8,200 from the level before the March 2011 meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s <9501> disaster-crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
The situation is “tough,” said Takuzo Tsuchida, a 58-year-old worker at a factory in the Kashima district that is run by a subsidiary of clothing maker Fukuso Co. The factory saw its number of employees halve to some 70.
The Fukuso unit this year hired five graduates from a dressmaking school with which it held a joint fashion show last year. But the move was insufficient because some workers quit.
To cover its lower output, the company has asked a partner factory for increased production. “We have to continue to put up with” the situation, Tsuchida said.

http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2017071200924

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

EU looks at lifting import curbs on Fukushima rice, Tohoku marine products, wild vegetables ???

It could be some propaganda spin on the Japanese side, but I doubt it. It is most probably true as Japan and Europe just signed a new trade deal on Thursday July 6, 2017, when Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met top European Union officials in Brussels on the eve of a G20 summit of world leaders, including President Trump, in Germany.

The deal, which had been discussed since 2011, will remove almost all customs duties on European exports to Japan. Those are currently worth as much as €1 billion ($1.1 billion) a year.

That lifting import curbs on Fukushima rice, Tohoku marine products, wild vegetables, into Europe, might have been included in that trade deal package, to the detriment of the health protection of yet unaware Europeans.

n-fukushimafood-a-20170711-870x580.jpgThe European Union may lift an import restriction on rice produced in nuclear disaster-hit Fukushima Prefecture.

 

BRUSSELS – The European Union is considering lifting an import restriction on rice produced in meltdown-hit Fukushima Prefecture as well as on wild vegetables and marine products from Japan, sources said Sunday.

At present, the EU requires that radiation inspection certificates be submitted by exporters of some food products from 13 prefectures in the eastern half of the Japanese archipelago.

But the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, has drafted import regulation reform plans that call for scrapping the requirement when it comes to rice from Fukushima, home to the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the sources said.

The EC also proposes removing the regulation for some kinds of seafood, including shrimp, crab, octopus, yellowtail, red sea bream and bluefin tuna, from the seven prefectures of Fukushima, Miyagi, Gunma, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Chiba and Iwate, and certain wild vegetables from seven prefectures including Akita, Nagano and Yamagata.

Meanwhile, the radiation certificate obligation will remain in place for food imports from Yamanashi, Niigata and Shizuoka prefectures.

A formal decision on the deregulation proposal could come as early as this autumn, the sources said.

The Fukushima No. 1 power plant is run by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/07/10/national/eu-looking-lift-import-curbs-fukushima-rice-tohoku-marine-products-wild-vegetables-sources/

July 10, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Voluntary evacuees from 2011 disaster still need support

DTMANAGE.000000020170702154140312-1.jpgSix years have passed since this woman voluntarily evacuated to Chiba city from Fukushima city after the 2011 nuclear accident. She frequently shuttles between the two cities by car.

 

FUKUSHIMA — Three months have passed since the Fukushima prefectural government stopped providing free housing on March 31 to residents who voluntarily left areas outside the evacuation zone after the 2011 accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

More than 2,000 applications have been submitted to a new rental subsidy system started by the prefectural government in place of free housing, to ease this sudden change in evacuees’ lives. This was more than initially predicted, which indicates there are still many voluntary evacuees who require public support.

The number of voluntary evacuees inside and outside the prefecture totals about 12,000 households.

The free housing provision had been promoted under a system in which the prefecture shouldered the rent for those who voluntarily evacuated from areas outside those subject to evacuation orders — up to ¥60,000 per month in principle — using the national budget.

The prefecture ended the rental provision system at the end of fiscal 2016, for reasons including progress in decontamination work. The new system applies to households with a monthly income of ¥214,000 or less, offering up to ¥30,000 per month as a rental subsidy. The subsidy will be reduced to ¥20,000 per month in fiscal 2018.

According to the prefecture, applications for the new system have been accepted since October last year, totaling 874 cases as of the end of March. About 1,200 more came in during the three months from April to June.

The prefecture had estimated 2,000 cases would be approved for the new rental subsidy, but the ultimate number is likely to surpass the initial estimates and applications will likely increase further, according to the prefecture.

However, low-income earners living in public housing, and those who evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture to other prefectures and moved again to another prefecture in response to the end of the free housing provision, are disqualified from the new rental subsidy. Therefore, many evacuees have been put in a worse position by the termination of the free housing provision.

Immediately after the nuclear accident, a 62-year-old woman evacuated with her daughter, 22, who was then a high school student, from Fukushima city to Chiba city. Since the end of the free housing provision, she often pays the rent for her public housing later than the due date. Two-thirds of the deposit to rent her public housing remains unpaid, and she has no savings. She manages to make ends meet by receiving her pension benefits early.

In Chiba city, the woman has been teaching painting techniques for porcelain at a class, but her salary — less than ¥100,000 a month — is not enough to support her family.

Since April, she has been visiting Fukushima city by car to resume teaching painting to her former students.

http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003797179

 

July 10, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Serious delays in breast cancer diagnosis in Fukushima: study

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Serious delays have been seen in breast cancer diagnosis among women living in the northern coastal area of Fukushima devastated by the March 2011 earthquake-triggered tsunami and ensuing nuclear disaster, according to a study by a local doctor.

After the crisis, the proportion of women who consulted with doctors more than three months after noticing breast cancer symptoms rose to 29.9 percent of those who consulted with them about symptoms, compared with 18.0 percent before the disaster, the study found.

Many women who saw a doctor about their symptoms only did so after being encouraged by family members, according to the study. A rise in the number of single-person households and that of those composed only of elderly couples due to protracted evacuation is believed to be behind the trend.

The study was conducted by Akihiko Ozaki, a doctor at Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital in Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, after he noticed that many women began visiting him after their symptoms had progressed.

Early diagnosis is the key to breast cancer treatment. If it takes a woman three months or longer to see a doctor after first noticing symptoms, she is said to face a poor prognosis.

A doctor with knowledge of medical conditions in disaster-affected areas says similar problems could occur in other areas hit by disasters or the Tokyo metropolitan area, where the population is graying just as the rest of the country.

In Japan, breast cancer is the most common cancer for women. Around 13,000 people die of it every year. The number of breast cancer patients including young women has been rising, and the issue has attracted renewed attention after popular TV personality Mao Kobayashi recently died of the disease at age 34.

Ozaki’s research, published in a British journal on cancer, covered a total of 219 breast cancer patients who, after noticing such symptoms as a lump, visited either of two hospitals in the city of Minamisoma between 2005 and 2015. Of those, 122 visited the hospitals before the disaster, while 97 did so after that.

The figures exclude patients who were diagnosed with cancer in health examinations. The average age of the patients before the disaster was 62 compared with 63 after the calamity.

Of the patients who did not see doctors until at least three months after first noticing symptoms, 37.9 percent were living in the households of their son or daughter. Of the patients who saw doctors less than three months after first noticing symptoms, 51.5 percent were living in similar households.

https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2017/07/b97b2f3d9afa-serious-delays-in-breast-cancer-diagnosis-in-fukushima-study.html

July 3, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Court finds ex-environment ministry official Yuji Suzuki guilty of taking bribes

n-fukbribe-a-20170630-870x580.jpgAn excavator sits among bags of nuclear waste in the town of Tomioka near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in March 2016.

 

FUKUSHIMA – The Fukushima District Court on Thursday sentenced a former Environment Ministry official to one year in prison, suspended for three years, for accepting bribes to help a company win a decontamination project in Fukushima Prefecture.

The court also ordered 57-year-old Yuji Suzuki, who formerly worked at a branch of the ministry’s environment regeneration office in Fukushima, to pay a fine of ¥230,000.

Presiding Judge Shoji Miyata said that with people aiming for a swift recovery from the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, rapid and secure implementation of decontamination work was strongly anticipated in areas tainted by radioactive substances from Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 plant.

Miyata criticized Suzuki, saying that the fact that he betrayed those expectations “cannot be overlooked” and that the social impact of his actions was “not insignificant.”

As for the reason for the suspended sentence, Miyata said Suzuki was “showing regret.”

According to the ruling, Suzuki helped a civil engineering and construction company based in Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture, join a decontamination project in the Fukushima town of Namie as a subcontractor of a consortium.

In return, Suzuki received ¥25,000 in cash and benefits worth ¥206,000 in the form of dining and accommodation between September 2015 and June 2016.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/06/29/national/crime-legal/court-finds-ex-environment-ministry-official-guilty-taking-bribes/

June 30, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

For Tepco’s new president the town of Futaba does not belong to the No-Go Zone

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The new president of Tepco, Tomoaki Kobayakawa, did not even know that the city of Futaba is still part of the evacuated No-Go Zone, a forbidden zone to enter, except for a part of the town for short time visits only during the day.


Quite shameful and irresponsible from a man presiding the company which caused the nuclear disater responsible for the still unfortunate present situation of thousands of evacuees.

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

Council must clearly communicate reliable information on radiation

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First of all, the standard of 20 millisieverts per year is the international standard for nuclear workers inside nuclear power plants. In comparison the international standard for civilians is 1 millisievert per year. Nuclear workers are willingly choosing the risks to their health and are paid to take those risks. To make people live in an environment with more than 1 milliesievert per year and to lie to them that it won’t be harmful to their health is plainly criminal, especially when it comes to pregnant women, children, infants, who are so much more vulnerable to radiation.

Second, to place such Radiation Council under the jurisdiction of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, is to put the fox in charge of the chicken house.

All the rest is damage control, lies and deception….The Japan News, The Yomiuri Shimbun, is a pro-government newspaper, a government propaganda organ.

Thoroughly implementing scientific radiation protection and safety measures so that post-disaster reconstruction from the nuclear accident at a power plant in Fukushima Prefecture can be accelerated: This is the duty the government’s Radiation Council must carry out.

The council, under the jurisdiction of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, comprises experts working at medical institutions or universities.

The matters taken up for discussion by the council had previously been limited to inquiries submitted by government ministries or agencies. As radiation measures have gained importance, the council’s functions were strengthened with the revision of a related law in April, enabling the council to conduct investigations and make proposals based on its own judgment. Now with five additional members, the council has become a 13-member entity, and related research budgets have been allocated.

Rebuilding a legal structure is a task at hand for the council.

After the accident, ministries and agencies concerned developed a number of laws and regulations. The government’s headquarters has set a radiation standard by which residents must evacuate from a place where 20 or more millisieverts are gauged in a year. The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has set standards for levels of radioactive cesium in food products, while the Environment Ministry has set standards for decontaminated waste.

As all of these standards were set by the ministries and agencies concerned on their own, the safety levels are difficult to understand for ordinary citizens.

The standard of 20 millisieverts for evacuation orders was adopted by the administration led by the then Democratic Party of Japan based on the opinions of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) and others. It is in line with international standards, but there are some who have misgivings about it.

Reflect reality in law

The standard limits for radioactive substances in food products are far lower than those adopted overseas. While the United States allows 1,200 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram of drinking water, the permissible level is 10 becquerels in Japan.

The standard limits for radioactive substances in general foods other than drinking water and the like are calculated on the presumption that 50 percent of the general foods eaten by Japanese people are contaminated with radioactive substances. Given the current situation, in which food contamination has rarely been detected, the standard limits are out of tune with the reality.

Regarding these standards, the Environment Ministry has compiled “uniform, basic data,” which have been widely circulated in pamphlets and via the internet. It also presents information saying that radiation exposure of less than 100 millisieverts does not pose a significant cancer risk. But disaster-hit areas and the like remain in the grip of the “1-millisievert curse.”

From now, the council plans to scrutinize the ICRP’s latest recommendations on radiation protection and safety measures, and have them reflected in related laws.

Laws and regulations should be created to reflect the real situation of the areas concerned, including the fact that there has been a steady decline in the amount of radiation.

In a speech advocating the phase-out of nuclear power generation in his country, South Korean President Moon Jae In said that 1,368 people died in the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, and that it is impossible to even grasp the number of deaths or how many have developed cancer due to the impact of radiation. On what basis did Moon say this?

The World Health Organization and other bodies have presented a view that there is a low possibility of confirming the health impacts from radiation. In order to wipe out harmful misconceptions, the council must communicate reliable information both inside and outside the country.

http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003784039

June 26, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , | Leave a comment

For Fukushima returnees, security a growing concern in deserted towns

n-fukushimafile-a-20170619-870x577.jpgThe deserted streets of the town of Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, are seen at night after its evacuation order was lifted in this undated photo.

 

Via Fukushima Minpo –  It’s like a dream to once again be able to live in my “home, sweet home.”

That’s what Hidezo Sato, 72, says he feels every day since returning to his fallout-hit hometown of Namie, Fukushima Prefecture.

The government partially lifted its nuclear evacuation order on March 31, six years after radiation from the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant forced them to evacuate.

Now, friends come by to chat at his home in the Gongendo district, which is much more comfortable than where he spent the past six years living as a Fukushima evacuee.

But one thing still bugs him — he doesn’t feel safe at night.

According to town officials, only about 300 residents have come back so far.

Many of the houses in Sato’s neighborhood remain uninhabited. So when he spots a car parked in the dark, it frightens him.

If safety and security aren’t ensured, there won’t be more people coming back,” Sato said.

Sparked by returnees’ concerns about security, many recovering municipalities have set up neighborhood watch groups, installed security cameras and taken other measures to increase safety.

In December, two men were arrested on theft charges after spotted by security cameras.

In Minamisoma, City Hall is installing home security systems for returnees in the Odaka district that allow them to alert a security company simply by pushing a button. As of April 27, about 240 households, or 30 percent of the roughly 770 households that have returned, had the system installed by the city.

The number of police officers brought in from outside Fukushima to help patrol the no-go zone has been reduced to 192, or about 150 fewer than five years ago. The police presence is expected to decline further as decontamination progresses, raising concerns on how to ensure security there in the future.

Many municipalities have been funding security costs with central government subsidies, but it is unclear whether that will continue after fiscal 2020, when the state-designated reconstruction and revitalization period is scheduled to end. The Reconstruction Agency is also slated to be dissolved by then.

A top Reconstruction Agency official would only say it will “consider the issue in the future.”

For its part, the town of Namie is expected to spend about ¥700 million in fiscal 2017 to fund the neighborhood watch teams and surveillance systems. But town officials are worried whether they’ll be able to afford the systems once the subsidies dry up.

Reconstruction minister Masayoshi Yoshino, a Lower House politician representing the Fukushima No. 5 district, said in April that he will consider creating a new government entity to take over the work of the Reconstruction Agency.

I want the government to tell us that it will continue to fund” such projects, said Namie Deputy Mayor Katsumi Miyaguchi.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/06/18/national/fukushima-returnees-security-growing-concern-deserted-towns/

June 19, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima may get rice variant that absorbs less radiation

Thank you, now I feel so much safer:

Mutant rice to be introduced into Fukushima prefecture as part of efforts to dispel lingering negative publicity.

Capture du 2017-06-13 18-25-17.pngThe Koshihikari rice variant with low cesium absorption, right, looks almost indistinguishable from normal Koshihikari rice.

 

TSUKUBA, Ibaraki Prefecture–A new type of the famed Koshihikari rice strain that absorbs just half as much radioactive cesium as the regular variety may be grown in Fukushima Prefecture.

The National Agriculture and Food Research Organization hopes to introduce it into the prefecture as part of efforts to dispel lingering negative publicity after the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant disaster of 2011.

Satoru Ishikawa, who leads NARO’s Crop Safety Unit, and his co-workers used ion-beam irradiation to cause a gene mutation in Koshihikari to block the discharge of sodium ions from its roots. That enhanced the concentration of sodium ions in its root cells and suppressed the intake of cesium.

When the mutant was test-grown on contaminated soil alongside conventional Koshihikari, the cesium concentration in the mutant turned out to be 55 percent lower in unpolished rice grains and 59 percent lower in rice straw, both well below the government’s safety limit.

The mutant had about the same number of rice ears and about the same yield of unpolished rice grains as traditional Koshihikari, and its taste was evaluated by an external organization as being “almost equal” to that of the parent strain.

The use of potassium ion fertilizer to suppress cesium absorption has been effective in reducing cesium, but that method is expensive and labor intensive.

(Use of the mutant suppresses cesium uptake) more effectively when combined with the use of potassium fertilizer,” Ishikawa said. “We hope introduction of the mutant will be considered as an option in areas where farming is going to be resumed.”

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201706130005.html

June 13, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Farmers Struggle

The technology to fully decontaminate a contaminated land has not yet been invented. Despite of all their efforts and hopes, those farmers’ struggle is just beginning and will last for ages…

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Farmers in Fukushima are struggling to revive their livelihoods. The 2011 nuclear accident and subsequent evacuation devastated farms — the area’s main source of jobs.

Some areas, like the village of Iitate, have lifted most of their evacuation orders. But getting back to normal is taking some time.

More than 200 farmers used to raise cows in this region. But 2 months after authorities lifted their evacuation order, few farmers have tried to return to raising animals.

Six cows were released into a paddy field to graze. It’s a step to revive the farm work that was widely seen in Iitate village.

One farmer is using his cows as an experiment that could bring hope to others.

After the animals eat these fields for 2 months, they’ll have their blood tested to check if they have been influenced in any way by radioactive material.

“It’s finally starting. For those who are worried or not confident about resuming cattle raising, I hope what I’m doing will encourage them,” says the farmer, Takeshi Yamada.

Before the accident, farmers in Iitate used to cultivate some 2,300 hectares of land. But this year, only 20 are being used to grow rice and buckwheat.

Some 60 farmers plan to resume farming this year — a small fraction of the previous total.

A major concern behind the slow uptake is the uncertainty farmers have about being able to sell their produce. Surface soil in the area was removed to help decontaminate the ground, but doing that also lowered its fertility.

Another challenge according to farmers is weakened community bonds.

“We used to work together. We were ready to take on whatever tasks we had. But it’s been 6 years, and the motivation to work is low. Nobody now says ‘let’s work together,'” says farmer Koichi Aoki.

To counter their plight, farmers are doing small things.

They formed a group of volunteers to remove weeds. They’re planting flower seeds to beautify the land and keep weeds from coming back. And there’s an even bigger benefit.

“We’ve been protecting our farmland. We want to keep it from turning to wasteland. And by working together, we’ll be able to form human bonds again. That’s our main goal,” says farmer Masuo Nagasho.

It will take time, but people here are hopeful these small steps are just the beginning.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/editors/3/fukushimafarmersstruggle/

 

June 11, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment