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Third Court, Kyoto District Court, Rules Tepco and Government Liable to Pay Damages to Evacuees

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TEPCO, state told to pay 3/11 evacuees who left on their own
March 15, 2018
The legal team for evacuees of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster hold signs stating partial victory at the Kyoto District Court on March 15.
KYOTO–The district court here ordered the government and the operator of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant on March 15 to pay a combined 110 million yen ($1 million) to 110 evacuees who fled voluntarily after the 2011 nuclear disaster.
Presiding Judge Nobuyoshi Asami at the Kyoto District Court ruled that the government and plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. were liable on grounds that they failed to take adequate measures to protect the plant from the tsunami that inundated the facility after the Great East Japan Earthquake.
The court noted the government’s “long-term assessment” for possible earthquakes unleashing tsunami compiled in 2002. The report pointed to the possibility of a powerful earthquake and tsunami striking the plant.
All of the 174 plaintiffs from 57 families had evacuated to Kyoto Prefecture without an evacuation order except for one individual from Tomioka, Fukushima Prefecture.
Tomioka was within the 20-kilometer radius from the plant ordered to evacuate after the crisis unfolded on March 11, 2011, triggered by the magnitude-9.0 quake and tsunami.
Apart from Fukushima, the plaintiffs were from Miyagi, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Chiba prefectures.
The plaintiffs plan to appeal the court decision, as 64 were not awarded compensation.
The plaintiffs sought 846.6 million yen collectively in damages from the government and the utility.
The district court ruling marked the fifth in a series of similar lawsuits brought across the nation.
In all five cases, the respective courts acknowledged TEPCO’s responsibility to pay damages to the plaintiffs.
The Kyoto District Court’s decision was the third to acknowledge the government’s responsibility.
The key issues in the Kyoto case were if the towering tsunami that swamped the plant was foreseen, if the government had authority to force TEPCO to take countermeasures against such an event, and if the amount of compensation paid by TEPCO to voluntary evacuees based on the government’s guidelines was appropriate.
Most of the plaintiffs sought 5.5 million yen each in damages.
In the ruling, the district court determined that TEPCO should pay additional compensation on top of the amount set in the government guidelines to 109 plaintiffs who fled voluntarily despite not being subject to evacuation orders.
The criteria for extra payment are distance from the plant, radiation levels around homes, and family members who require medical attention due to the exposure to radiation.
Among the plaintiffs who were awarded additional compensation were those from Chiba Prefecture, just east of Tokyo and roughly 240 km from Fukushima Prefecture.
The court stated that the extra payment should be based on damage they suffered over two years after they began evacuating.
In the lawsuits filed at three other districts, some of the plaintiffs who evacuated voluntarily were awarded additional compensation, ranging from 10,000 yen to 730,000 yen per person.
 
Third court rules Tepco, govt liable over Fukushima disaster-media
TOKYO, March 15 (Reuters) –
* Kyoto district court on Thursday ruled that Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) and the Japanese government were liable for damages arising from the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011, the Asahi newspaper said
* The ruling is the third court decision assigning liability to both Tepco and the government for the disaster that led to the evacuation of around 160,000 people
* A group of 174 claimants sought 850 million yen ($8 million)in damages arising from the disaster
* The court in western Japan did not accept that all plaintiffs should be awarded damages ($1 = 105.9900 yen) (Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
 
Court orders Japan government to pay new Fukushima damages
TOKYO (AFP)-A Japanese court on Thursday ordered the government to pay one million dollars in new damages over the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, ruling it should have predicted and avoided the meltdown.
The Kyoto district court ordered the government and power plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) to pay 110 million yen in damages to 110 local residents who had to leave the Fukushima region, a court official and local media said.
Thursday’s verdict was the third time the government has been ruled liable for the meltdown in eastern Japan, the world’s most serious nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986.
In October, a court in Fukushima city ruled that both the government and TEPCO were responsible, following a similar ruling in March in the eastern city of Maebashi.
However, another court, in Chiba near Tokyo, ruled in September that only the operator was liable.
On Thursday, presiding judge Nobuyoshi Asami ordered that 110 plaintiffs who saw their lives ruined and their property destroyed by the disaster be awarded compensation, Jiji Press and other media reported.
Contacted by AFP, a court spokesman confirmed the reports, adding that the ruling denied damages to several dozen additional plaintiffs.
“That damages for 64 people were not recognised was unexpected and regrettable,” a lawyer for the plaintiffs said, adding that they would appeal, according to public broadcaster NHK.
Around 12,000 people who fled after the disaster due to radiation fears have filed various lawsuits against the government and TEPCO.
Cases have revolved around whether the government and TEPCO, both of whom are responsible for disaster prevention measures, could have foreseen the scale of the tsunami and subsequent meltdown.
Dozens of class-action lawsuits have been filed seeking compensation from the government.
In June, former TEPCO executives went on trial in the only criminal case in connection with the disaster.
The hearing is continuing.
Triggered by a 9.1-magnitude earthquake, the tsunami overwhelmed reactor cooling systems, sending three into meltdown and sending radiation over a large area.
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March 16, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima’s Diplomatic Fallout, 7 Years After the Nuclear Disaster

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March 14, 2018
Japan faces questions from abroad about its handling of the lingering aftereffects of the triple disaster.
 
March 11 marked the seventh anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami disaster that devastated Japan’s northeast coastal regions in 2011. While the resulting accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant continues to cause a great deal of disruption within the country, it also poses ongoing challenges for Japan’s diplomacy.
 
The Japanese government recently came under pressure in a United Nations human rights forum over the adequacy of its support for people who fled the disaster zone – and faced scrutiny about radiation levels in places where evacuees have returned. At the same time, Japanese diplomats have been waging a long battle to persuade other countries to ease import restrictions on food from the surrounding areas.
 
The Fukushima prefectural government says that the number of evacuees peaked at 164,865 in 2012, the year after the disaster, but that figure has now fallen to about 50,000 with decontamination work progressing and the lifting of evacuation orders in a number of towns.
 
Several countries took up the issue of the rights of Fukushima residents and evacuees as part of the UN’s universal periodic review of Japan. Austria, for example, urged the government to continue to provide housing support to so-called voluntary evacuees. These are people who had been living outside officially designated evacuation zones but fled because of their fears about radiation. Their housing aid ended about a year ago. Portugal, meanwhile, called on Japan to ensure women and men had equal participation in decision-making processes about their resettlement and Mexico urged the government to guarantee access to health services.
 
Germany’s representatives focused on radiation levels. Under Japanese government policies, evacuation orders can be lifted if the level of exposure for residents is estimated to be below 20 millisievert (mSv) per year. Germany called on the government to “respect the rights of persons living in the area of Fukushima, in particular of pregnant women and children, to the highest level of physical and mental health, notably by restoring the allowable dose of radiation to the 1 mSv/year limit, and by a continuing support to the evacuees and residents.” Incidentally, the International Commission on Radiological Protection recommends that the level for people in contaminated areas should be in the lower part of the 1 to 20 mSv/year range, with a long-term post-accident target of 1 mSv/year.
 
In a response dated March 1, the Japanese government said it accepted these four recommendations for follow-up, while arguing that it was providing necessary support to affected people under the relevant laws. The minister for reconstruction, Masayoshi Yoshino, subsequently told foreign journalists and diplomats that the government was effectively already committed to the long-term target advocated by Germany. “We have proceeded with decontamination efforts and as a long-term goal the government has indicated 1 mSv per annum,” he said during a briefing at the Foreign Press Center Japan on March 7.
 
The problem, according to environmental activists, is that the time-frame for achieving that goal is vague. Shaun Burnie, a nuclear specialist at Greenpeace Germany, said the raising of the issue in the UN process was important for evacuees as the recommendations could not simply be ignored. “The German government’s intervention on behalf of tens of thousands of Japanese citizens is absolutely welcome,” he said during a visit to Tokyo. Burnie and others plan to closely monitor how the recommendations are implemented.
 
Meanwhile, the Japanese government has been seeking to promote the safety of food products from Fukushima and other nearby regions, as a handful of places (including China and Taiwan) still impose import restrictions.
 
Tokyo last month enjoyed a significant win when a World Trade Organization dispute panel ruled that South Korea’s broad restrictions targeting eight prefectures were “unjustifiably discriminate.” Seoul is appealing the finding.
 
The Japanese government emphasizes the integrity of its food screening measures. In a recent report to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the government said 25,864 food samples were taken and analyzed in January 2018, of which 19 samples or 0.07 percent were found to be above the limits for cesium-134 and cesium-137.
 
Yoshino, the reconstruction minister, said vegetables, tea, and livestock products had not exceeded the standard limits over the past five years. No bags of rice produced in Fukushima prefecture had breached the limit since 2015, he added. Yoshino further described the “elimination of negative reputation” as the biggest challenge in promoting reconstruction of disaster-affected areas.
 
“Hoping that overseas consumers would also experience our delicious foods, I would be grateful if you would tell the people of your country about these initiatives for food safety that I have presented here today,” Yoshino said in a press briefing that was also attended by diplomats.
 

March 16, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Japan in talks over bid for UK uranium powerhouse

Japanese government wants to acquire a producer of enriched uranium that is expected to be worth several billions of dollars.
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Kansai Electric’s Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture. Japan looks to have atomic energy supply a fifth of the nation’s power by fiscal 2030.
Multibillion-dollar deal would keep China and Russia from gaining control of Urenco
TOKYO — The Japanese government has entered into negotiations to acquire U.K.-based Urenco, a major European producer of enriched uranium, in a deal that is expected to be worth several billions of dollars.
The state-owned Japan Bank for International Cooperation is expected to make an offer together with U.S. nuclear energy company Centrus Energy.
The not-so-ulterior motive is to block companies from Russia and China — two countries that are increasing their influence in the global nuclear power market — from taking control of the company.
At home, the Japanese government is promoting nuclear power generation as a major source of electricity — another reason it hopes to secure an interest in Urenco’s enriched uranium.
The Japanese government is holding talks with major shareholders of Urenco, sources close to the matter said. Ownership of Urenco is evenly split by three parties — the governments of the U.K. and the Netherlands as well as German electric utilities including RWE.
The German side is exploring a sale as the government plans to phase out nuclear power. The U.K. government, working on fiscal consolidation, is also looking for a buyer.
Urenco is engaged in turning natural uranium into enriched uranium, which is critical in generating nuclear power. The company ranks second in the world after Tenex — a unit of Russian nuclear concern Rosatom — in terms of capacity to produce enriched uranium, holding a global share of around 30%.
JBIC and Centrus Energy are looking to acquire a majority or larger stake in Urenco, which would cost several hundred billion yen (several billions of dollars). JBIC by itself hopes to hold a stake of around 20-30%. Negotiations are expected to last through the summer. A deal could be struck as early as this year.
The joint bid for Urenco is aimed at keeping Russia and China at bay. Both countries are said to be showing interest in acquiring the enriched uranium producer.
According to the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum, China had 35 nuclear reactors in operation as of January 2017, while Russia had 30. Including reactors in the planning stage, however, the numbers grow to 82 in China and 55 in Russia, surpassing Japan’s 53.

January 21, 2018 Posted by | Nuclear | , , | Leave a comment

Controversial conspiracy bill approved by Abe Cabinet

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Protesters stage a rally in front of the prime minister’s office in Tokyo on Tuesday as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet approved an anti-conspiracy bill

The Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe approved Tuesday a controversial bill that would revise the organized crime law so authorities can crack down on individuals and organizations who conspire to engage in serious criminal activity.

The conspiracy charges apply to groups of two or more people, where at least one person procures funds, supplies or surveys a location in preparation for committing a crime. Efforts to maintain or expand organized crime groups would also be punished, while reduced penalties would be considered for those who turn themselves in before a crime is carried out.

The government is pushing to enact the revised bill during the ordinary Diet session through mid-June, but strong objections by opposition parties are expected amid concern that the law may be used against civic groups.

The backlash against the measure has been a persistent hurdle in passing the anti-conspiracy law, which the government has attempted and failed to enact three times in the past, as it targeted “groups” in general.

The bill needs to be passed to ensure necessary counterterrorism measures are in place before the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, according to the government. It is also a prerequisite to ratify the U.N. Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, which was adopted by member states in 2000 and took effect in 2003.

It is an urgent necessity for the government to ratify the treaty to promote international cooperation on counter-terrorism,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference Tuesday, adding Japan is the only country among the Group of Seven nations that has not signed the treaty.

Suga also said the targets of the new bill would be strictly applied to terrorists and other organized crime syndicates, not ordinary citizens.

Some opposition parties and the Tokyo Bar Association denounced the revisions, which they say would still allow the possibility of government overreach and retaliation against civic groups.

The conspiracy bill goes against the basic principles of our country’s criminal code and the legal system,” Motoji Kobayashi, president of the Tokyo Bar Association, said in a statement in January. “It threatens the function of protecting human rights.”

The government previously included 676 crimes in its original draft, but has narrowed that number down to 277 in the revised bill.

Yukio Yamashita, an attorney and member of the association, warned that 277 crimes are still too many and noted some are unnecessary.

For example, a person using forged stamps or competing in a motor boat race without a license would be subject to punishment under the revised bill, Yamashita said in a seminar held earlier in March.

Meanwhile, the Japan Federation of Bar Associations claims that only a limited number of countries, such as Norway, have newly enacted anti-conspiracy laws for the purpose of ratifying the U.N. treaty, which was adopted to crack down on organized cross-border crimes such as human trafficking, narcotics trading and money laundering.

Japan’s Diet approved the treaty in 2013, but was unable to ratify it without a law covering criminal conspiracy.

As of December, 187 countries and regions have signed the treaty.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/03/21/national/crime-legal/controversial-conspiracy-bill-approved-by-abe-cabinet/#.WNJ_RKKmnIW

March 22, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Japanese Govt. and TEPCO Found Liable by Court for Fukushima Disaster

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People pray for victims of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami near Tokyo Electric Power Co’s (TEPCO) tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant

Japan govt & Tokyo power firm liable for ‘preventable’ Fukushima meltdown – court

Negligence by the government and Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) contributed to the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011, a court in Japan has ruled, saying the catastrophe could have been avoided, and marking the first time the state has been held liable.

The district court in Maebashi, north of Tokyo, said the government and plant operator were to blame for failing to prepare anti-tsunami measures.

The judge awarded a total of 38.55 million yen (US$340,000) in damages to some 62 plaintiffs who evacuated to Gunma Prefecture after the disaster began to loom large at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported

A group of 137 plaintiffs had argued the authorities and TEPCO failed to prevent the triple meltdown at the plant, and demanded 11 million yen ($97,108) each in compensation, the newspaper said, adding that the court accepted most of the arguments about the dramatic lack of anti-tsunami measures.

The plaintiffs highlighted the fact that in May 2008, three years before the disaster, plant operator TEPCO received an estimate of a tsunami as high as 15.7 meters that could hit the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, Asahi Shimbun reported. That apocalyptic forecast came true, with a wave around that height hitting the nuclear power plant in 2011, triggering the reactor meltdowns. A huge tsunami knocked out the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, spewing radiation and forcing 160,000 people to flee their homes.

If the utility had installed emergency diesel electric generators on higher ground, the measure could have prevented the nuclear disaster, the court ruled on Friday.

Citing a government estimate released in July 2002, the court said that “TEPCO was capable of foreseeing several months after (the estimate) that a large tsunami posed a risk to the facility and could possibly flood its premises and damage safety equipment, such as the backup power generators,” the Japan Times reported

Meanwhile, in its long-term estimate, unveiled in 2002, the government said that the probability of an earthquake striking in the Japan Trench off the coast of northeastern Japan, including the sea area off the Fukushima No. 1 plant, was “about 20 percent within 30 years,” the Asahi Shimbun paper said

The lawyers for the plaintiffs welcomed the Friday court ruling, saying “It was extremely significant that (a court) has acknowledged the responsibility of the state,” Kyodo news agency reported

Around 30 similar suits have been filed in at least 20 district courts across Japan, lawyers said.

However, Takehiro Matsuta, one of the plaintiffs who evacuated from the city of Koriyama in central Fukushima Prefecture, called the damages “disappointing.” His child, who was three years old at the time of the nuclear disaster, received no compensation whatsoever.

My wife and I are struggling every day, but it’s my child who suffers the most,” the 38-year-old father said, as cited by the Japan Times. 

The ruling was one big step for my family, for those who evacuated from Fukushima to Gunma, and for tens of thousands of earthquake victims nationwide,” he said.

Both the government and TEPCO argued that the long-term estimate and the May 2008 tsunami study were not credible enough, continuing to insist that the massive tsunami was unexpected.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, the government’s top spokesman, told a press conference on Friday that the officials “will consider how to respond after carefully examining the ruling.”

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant suffered a blackout and subsequent failure of its cooling systems in March 2011, when it was hit by an earthquake and a killer tsunami that knocked out the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, spewing radiation and forcing 160,000 people to flee their homes. Three of the plant’s six reactors were hit by meltdowns, making the Fukushima nuclear disaster the worst since the Chernobyl catastrophe in 1986.

https://www.rt.com/news/381154-tepco-government-liable-fukushima/

 

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Supporters of plaintiffs seeking compensation for Fukushima evacuees unfurl banners in front of the Maebashi District Court in Gunma Prefecture announcing the court’s decision Friday.


In first, government and Tepco found liable for Fukushima disaster

Maebashi, Gunma Pref. – A court in Japan has ruled for the first time that the government and the operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant were responsible for failing to take preventive measures against the March 11, 2011, quake-triggered tsunami that killed scores and forced tens of thousands from their homes.

Friday’s stunning ruling by the Maebashi District Court was the first to recognize negligence by the state and Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. It called the massive tsunami predictable and said the major nuclear disaster could have been avoided.

The district court ordered the two to pay damages totaling ¥38.55 million to 62 of 137 plaintiffs from 45 households located near the plant, which suffered a triple meltdown caused by the tsunami, awarding ¥70,000 to ¥3.5 million in compensation to each plaintiff.

The plaintiffs had demanded the state and Tepco pay compensation of ¥11 million each — a total of about ¥1.5 billion — over the loss of local infrastructure and psychological stress they were subjected to after being forced to relocate to unfamiliar surroundings.

Citing a government estimate released in July 2002, the court said in the ruling that “Tepco was capable of foreseeing several months after (the estimate) that a large tsunami posed a risk to the facility and could possibly flood its premises and damage safety equipment, such as the backup power generators.”

It pointed out that the state should have ordered Tepco to take bolstered preventive measures, and criticized the utility for prioritizing costs over safety.

Of the plaintiffs, 76 who lived in evacuation zones were forced to move, while another 61 evacuated voluntarily even though their houses were located outside evacuation zones. The ruling was the first of 30 similar class-action suits filed nationwide involving more than 10,000 plaintiffs.

About 80,000 citizens who had lived in Fukushima reportedly left the prefecture after the March 2011 disaster.

I believe that the ruling saying both the government and Tepco were equally responsible is an important judgment,” Katsuyoshi Suzuki, the lead lawyer for the defense said at a news conference following the ruling. “But thinking about the psychological distress (the plaintiffs faced) after being forced to evacuate from their homes, I think the amount is not enough.”

Takehiro Matsuta, 38, one of the plaintiffs who evacuated from the city of Koriyama, hailed the ruling, but called the damages “disappointing.”

The ruling was one big step for my family, for those who evacuated from Fukushima to Gunma, and for tens of thousands of earthquake victims nationwide,” he said.

But called the payout “disappointing,” as his child, who was 3 years old at the time of the nuclear disaster, was not granted compensation. “My wife and I are struggling everyday, but it’s my child who suffers the most.”

The group of lawyers for the plaintiffs, which have had suits filed since September 2011, claimed that the Fukushima disaster resulted in serious human rights violations by forcing victims to relocate after the crisis caused widespread environmental damage.

The plaintiffs argued that Tepco could have prevented the damage if it had implemented measures, including the building of breakwaters, based on its 2008 tsunami trial calculation that showed waves of over 10 meters could hit the Fukushima No. 1 plant.

Those calculations took into account the 2002 estimate by the government’s Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion, which concluded that there was a 20 percent chance of a magnitude-8 earthquake rocking areas off Fukushima within 30 years.

However, the government and Tepco have argued that the massive tsunami was unexpected, claiming that there were different opinions among scholars over the long-term evaluation. Both attacked the credibility of the study, calling it unscientific.

The government also objected to the ruling, saying that because it had no authority to force Tepco to take such preventive measures as argued by the plaintiffs, it bore no responsibility.

According to the defense, a number of other class suits are inching closer to rulings, with one in the city of Chiba scheduled for Sept. 22 and another in the city of Fukushima involving 4,000 plaintiffs expected by the year’s end.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/03/17/national/crime-legal/first-government-tepco-found-liable-fukushima-disaster/#.WMwqEqKmnIV

March 17, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Govt. to keep control over TEPCO for longer period

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The Japanese government has decided to maintain control over the operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant for an extended period.

Officials made the decision due to rising costs from the recovery of the 2011 nuclear accident.

The government acquired a 50.1 percent stake in Tokyo Electric Power Company through a state-backed bailout fund after the accident. This put the utility under effective state control.

Under the current plan, the government was to gradually reduce its control after April by selling TEPCO stocks in phases, while monitoring the company’s management.

But the government estimates that it will cost a total of about 188 billion dollars to clean up the soil, pay compensation, and decommission reactors. That’s about twice as much as an earlier estimate.

The extension of state control over TEPCO means that the government has to give up the current plan to cover the clean-up cost of about 35 billion dollars by selling the utility’s shares.

The government is now considering listing a joint venture set up by TEPCO, and Chubu Electric Power Company, and selling its stocks. It is also looking into selling some shares of a TEPCO group company that operates a power transmission business.

The government intends to include these financial alternatives in the utility’s business plan which will be renewed for the first time in 3 years in spring.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20170302_09/

March 2, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Project Ethos Works with the Japanese Government on all Public Relations Propaganda

I am sharing here with you a sample of Japanese Government propaganda, a video about Fukushima, claiming that everything is now fine.

By watching this propaganda video, you can imagine, you will get an idea of the intensity of propaganda that the Japanese government is subjecting its people with, thru all the government controlled mainstream media, claiming that all is very safely and controlled for everyone’s safety  by a safety conscious government absolutely caring for its people safety. Nice, isn’t it?

Propaganda from PM Abe’s government  forcefully pushing innocent victims back to live in highly contaminated areas, trying to make believe all is ok just in time for the coming 2020 Olympics. Like when they previously sent children to clean off radiation off route 6 just for propaganda’s sake !

Amazing, Chernobyl is still horribly contaminated after over 30 years, but Fukushima radiation is the new self cleaning kind that just vanishes after 5 years?  And that while there are ongoing reactions that are still completely uncontained.

Well isn’t that special. What a load of crap ! How stupid do they think we are to buy this crap?

From what I’ve seen, people should not even be living in certain parts of Tokyo and its vicinity.

I despise with much passion all the ETHOS scoundrels and all those Japanese government criminals.  Shame on you. Your pride and your denial will be your downfall.

Long live Fukushima , Long live the Children of Fukushima!

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Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture has been making tremendous progress in its revitalization since the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.

The area continues to undergo recovery efforts, residents are returning to their everyday lives, and food from Fukushima is being enjoyed all over Japan under strict safety regulations.

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The March 2011Great East Japan Earthquake caused an enormous tsunami that overwhelmed the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

A continuous water injection cooling system has now stabilized the plant’s reactors and reduced radiation emissions dramatically.

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Food grown in Fukushima…

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… is widely available and popular across Japan.

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All food produced in Fukushima must first pass a test for radiation to be sold on the market.

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The standards set by the Japanese government are much stricter than the international standards.

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Thanks to these rigorous safety standards, Fukushima rice is enjoyed throughout Japan.

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A joint research project was conducted in 2014 by high school students in Fukushima and overseas under the supervision of experts.

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The survey found that the radiation exposure levels of students in Fukushima were almost the same as in Europe.

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The total area of Fukushima prefecture subject to evacuation orders has been progressively reduced since 2014, as decontamination efforts have lowered radiation to safe levels,

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allowing people to return to their homes.

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A lot of work still has to be done before the area fully recovers,

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but every day we are making progress toward a brighter future.

Watch this new video to learn more:

 

Japan – The Government of Japan Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/JapanGov/videos/1262473720476424/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE

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

More Evacuees Sue Govt, TEPCO over Fukushima N-Accident

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Fukushima, Dec. 12 (Jiji Press)–A group of 295 people, mainly nuclear disaster evacuees, on Monday joined lawsuits against the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. over the Mach 2011 meltdowns at TEPCO’s Fukushima No. 1 power plant.
Filing their suit with Fukushima District Court, the plaintiffs, many of whom were evacuees in and outside Fukushima Prefecture, demanded that the government and TEPCO pay compensation and restore conditions before the nuclear accident.
The group, made up of men and women from minors to 89 years old, said they were forced to evacuate and deprived of their peaceful lives because of the accident at the power plant in the northeastern Japan prefecture.
The team joined those who filed similar suits against the government and TEPCO in March 2013, raising the total number of plaintiffs to some 4,200.
At a news conference after the latest suit was filed, plaintiff Akemi Eda, who evacuated from the Fukushima Prefecture town of Namie, noted recent incidents in which children evacuated from the prefecture due to the accident have been bullied at schools.

http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2016121200599

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

Tokyo Responsibility to Reveal Truth of Fukushima

We already know what is Tokyo definition of “truth”: five years and half of continuous deception, lies and cover-ups, tidbits of truth released only when forced to do so….

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More than five years after the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan, the legacy of the accident continues, characterized by constant radiation exposure and an ever-lasting sense of fear, not only in this island country but also beyond its territory.

Numerous reports about nuclear radiation and its damage to human bodies have been filed since the Fukushima disaster. An Asahi Shimbun article in 2014 revealed that high levels of accumulated radioactive cesium had been detected in the mud of 468 reservoirs outside of the Fukushima evacuation zone.

But more discouraging news awaits. According to a recent report by The Mainichi, an Environment Ministry survey found that high concentrations of radioactive cesium have been accumulating at the bottom of 10 major dams 50 kilometers away from Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant, yet officials were quoted as saying that “it is best to contain cesium at those dams.”

It is the inaction that is most depressing. As people’s physical health is exposed to possible risks, the psychological fallout from the accident is worrying as well. As nuclear radiation reports are always published, people affected by the nuclear leak are fearful.

The aftermath of the Fukushima disaster that concerns the lives of millions has failed to prompt the Japanese government to assume responsibility actively on a massive scale.

Earlier this month, former Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi accused current leader Shinzo Abe of lying to the international community that the situation at the nuclear power plant is under control.

Those in a position of Japanese authority should release information about Fukushima-related contamination once and for all. The government should also set up a mechanism which can inform the country and the international community of new findings in a timely manner.

As a neighbor of Japan, China has also felt uneasy with the radiation from the disaster. Years after the meltdown of the Fukushima reactors, Chinese travelers are still asking if it is safe to go to Japan. In terms of food safety, despite a ban by Chinese authorities on food imports and agricultural products from Fukushima and 11 other Japanese regions affected by nuclear contamination since the accident, potentially radiation-tainted seafood from Fukushima smuggled to China poses health threats to the Chinese people.

Since a large number of Chinese travelers are going to Japan, related information is indispensable. Therefore, China should also come up with solutions such as assigning experts to monitor the situation in Japan and offer credible advice to the anxious public. This “nuclear war without a war” will attest to the responsibility of a government to its people.

http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1008771.shtml#.V-sabiwjxlg.facebook

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

Edano may take legal action to challenge Fukushima crisis report

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Democratic Party Secretary General Yukio Edano attends a press conference in Tokyo on June 17, 2016. Edano said a report on how Tokyo Electric Power Co. handled the Fukushima nuclear disaster is inappropriate as it notes the then TEPCO chief instructed staff not to use the term “core meltdown” in describing the situation in the early days of the crisis due to pressure from the prime minister’s office. Edano, then chief Cabinet secretary, said, “We may take legal action to challenge it.” (Kyodo)

https://english.kyodonews.jp/photos/2016/06/416899.html

June 20, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Opinion: Tokyo’s handling of Fukushima aftermath lacks responsibility

BEIJING, May 23 (Xinhua) — In the story of one famous Chinese idiom, a man plugs his ears while trying to steal a bell, foolishly believing that by doing so others won’t hear the sound of the bell when it is moved away.

Of course they do, and he gets caught.

The cautionary tale of burying one’s head in the sand aptly applies to the handling of the Fukushima incident by the Japanese government, which has chosen to turn a deaf ear to the aftermath of the worst nuclear accident in decades triggered by quake-related Tsunami five years ago.

Tokyo’s irresponsible attitudes and acts such as speeding up the return of displaced residents to some nuclear disaster-affected areas of Fukushima Prefecture and reluctance to share relevant information, have sparked doubt and anger domestically and internationally.

A joint opinion poll conducted by The Asahi Shimbun, a national daily, and the Fukushima local press in 2015 showed that over 70 percent of the Fukushima residents were unsatisfied with the government’s response.

In an editorial published on the fifth anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear accident, French newspaper “Le Monde” said the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is “eager to turn over the page of Fukushima” and has shown a “willingness to forget.”

On March 11, 2011, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck Japan’s eastern coast and triggered a 15-meter tsunami that crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and sent its nuclear reactors into meltdown. The nuclear disaster was the worst since the Chernobyl incident in 1986.

As a result, up to 120,000 Japanese were relocated as “nuclear refugees” from the region.

A 2015 research found that children living near the Fukushima nuclear facilities are significantly up to 50 times more likely to develop thyroid cancer compared to those children living elsewhere in Japan.

Data on radiation levels collected by Japanese volunteers near the Daiichi nuclear power plant is 8 to 10 times higher than the official number.

At least 300 tons of radiation-contaminated underground water kept pouring into the ocean each day in 2013, but Abe, then vying for Tokyo’s right to host the Olympics, claimed that nuclear contamination was “totally under control.”

Questions over the Fukushima aftermath have never ceased to pop up.

The International Society for Environmental Epidemiology, a global organization, sent a message to the Japanese government this January expressing worry over the high incidence of thyroid cancer among children in the Fukushima region and offering as a professional organization to support the investigation on this matter.

The Japanese government, however, gracefully declined the offer.

The lack of transparency and independent investigation has led to limited access to information about the accident, one of the only two level-seven nuclear disasters according to the international nuclear watchdog.

Tokyo’s approach shows a weak sense of responsibility and the intention to avoid political pressure ahead of the G7 summit later this week and the 2020 Olympic Games.

Japan is concerned with its national image, food security, tourism, nuclear policy, medical compensation and possibility of public lawsuits. But not single one of them should be the country’s excuse for preventing the post-disaster situation from being known to the public.

Given the scale and impact of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, there is no ground for Tokyo to stay secretive and evasive over the handling of the issue.

The international community should urge the Japanese government, if it sticks to the passive attitude, to make public relevant information and its post-disaster management.

The selective amnesia over a disaster out of political or any other purposes is even more terrifying than the disaster itself. Tokyo owes an explanation to the world.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2016-05/23/c_135381193.htm

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

Embassy halts Fukushima disaster exhibit in Ethiopia to stop groundless rumors

A vice foreign minister apologized after an exhibition in Ethiopia about the Fukushima nuclear disaster was scrapped following complaints from the Japanese Embassy that the content was “inappropriate.”

The exhibition, planned by volunteers of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), was supposed to be part of the Japan Festival held in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa on Oct. 31, 2015.

The festival, jointly hosted by the Japanese Embassy, JICA and other entities to promote a better understanding of Japan, went off as scheduled in the east African nation. But the exhibition about the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant was called off after the embassy warned that it might withdraw its participation in the event.

Vice Foreign Minister Seiji Kihara on March 16 apologized for having completely shut the door on the Fukushima exhibition.

“It is important to make known the actual situation in the disaster-hit areas, including Fukushima, so we should have continued our discussions with the aim of holding the exhibition,” Kihara said at a meeting of the Lower House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

JICA’s volunteers, including members of the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers, conceived the idea for the Fukushima exhibition.

An official of the Japanese Embassy, however, criticized the content, telling the volunteers, “It is inappropriate at a time when the central government is working hard to dispel groundless rumors regarding the disaster.”

JICA also said it received an e-mail from the embassy that said, “If the exhibition is one that runs counter to the policies of the central government, such as by taking an ‘anti-nuclear’ stance, it would be difficult for us to jointly host the event.”

After the e-mail was received, JICA’s local office agreed to cancel the exhibition, JICA said.

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201603170035

March 17, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , , , | Leave a comment