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40% of local leaders doubt 3.11 disaster area recovery by 2020 due to Fukushima crisis

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Many trucks are seen engaged in land redevelopment work in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, on March 9, 2017.

About 40 percent of 42 local leaders along the coasts of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures doubt their areas will recover from the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake by the time of the 2020 Tokyo Games due to the ongoing Fukushima nuclear crisis, a Mainichi Shimbun survey shows.

A large majority of the pessimistic local chiefs represent cities, towns and villages in Fukushima Prefecture where many residents were forced to evacuate following the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. The survey results show that these municipalities have yet to recover from the meltdowns.

The central government has categorized a five-year period from fiscal 2011 as an intensive recovery period, and another five-year period from fiscal 2016 as a recovery and building period. It plans to spend as much as 32 trillion yen over a 10-year period ending in fiscal 2020 to complete recovery operations and abolish the Reconstruction Agency. It aims to support Fukushima and other disaster-stricken prefectures, but has no clear budget provision.

The Mainichi Shimbun received written responses from all 12 city, town and village mayors it queried in Iwate Prefecture, and from all 15 mayors queried in each of Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures.

While only two municipal chiefs in Iwate and one in Miyagi did not anticipate an end to recovery efforts by fiscal 2020, 13 local leaders in Fukushima Prefecture — including those in evacuation zones — shared this view. Only the Shinchi town mayor replied that recovery will be possible by fiscal 2020, while the mayor of Soma said he did not know.

Many local leaders in Fukushima Prefecture say they do not expect recovery operations to be completed by fiscal 2020 due to negative effects from the nuclear disaster. The town of Namie says it does not anticipate an end to recovery operations in three years, pointing out that the recovery speeds in areas hit by tsunami versus the nuclear disaster are obviously different.

The town of Futaba, 96 percent of which is designated as a difficult-to-return zone, says post-disaster restoration has not even started. Kawauchi village, which has already seen its evacuation order lifted, laments that its population is set to drop drastically due to a very low birthrate and a rapidly aging citizenry.

Rikuzentakata and Otsuchi in Iwate, and Yamamoto in Miyagi, responded that they are unlikely to witness a full recovery by fiscal 2020. Rikuzentakata explained that its new city hall isn’t scheduled to be completed until fiscal 2021. The town of Otsuchi cited a delay in a land redevelopment project and other reasons. The town of Yamamoto said that community formation at mass relocation sites and psychological recovery take a long time.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170310/p2a/00m/0na/007000c

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

Survey: Many dissatisfied with 3/11 recovery

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NHK conducted a survey of survivors and nuclear evacuees of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, and a majority of respondents were dissatisfied with recovery efforts so far.

The survey was conducted from November to February, ahead of the 6th anniversary of the disaster on Saturday.

NHK got responses from 1,437 people from the hardest-hit northeastern prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima.

Asked about recovery efforts in the areas where they lived before the disaster, 26 percent of the respondents replied they don’t feel any sense of progress, and 36 percent said they’ve seen slower-than-anticipated recovery.

On the other hand, 34 percent said they’ve seen progress at a reasonable pace, and 2 percent said they’ve seen faster-than-expected recovery.

But even among those who gave positive answers, most of them apparently felt there has been little improvement to regional economies and standards of living. Only 4 percent of them said they think the regional economy is better than before the disaster, and 8 percent said they feel their community is more vibrant.

Associate Professor Reo Kimura of the University of Hyogo says the challenge ahead is to provide support for daily life, and come up with ideas on how to make those regions more attractive.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20170307_02/

March 8, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

To return ‘home’ or not is a tough call for evacuees from Fukushima

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A large portion of Naraha town in Fukushima Prefecture lies within 20 kilometers of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

When I visited recently, I saw mounds of black bags, presumably filled with contaminated soil. Large trucks rumbled on in endless streams. The town’s convenience stores seemed to be flourishing, thanks to an influx of reactor-dismantling crews and reconstruction workers.

After an evacuation order was issued in the immediate aftermath of the March 2011 nuclear disaster, Naraha remained uninhabitable for a long time. It was only 18 months ago that the evacuation order was finally lifted.

“We are merely at the starting line now,” said the mayor at the time.

And true to his observation, the town still faces a long, arduous road ahead. So far, only about 10 percent of Naraha’s 7,000-plus residents have returned.

I met Takayuki Furuichi, 40, who was among the first to return home. Before the disaster, Furuichi worked at a facility for the disabled in Naraha. After his return, he established an NPO for home-visit nursing care. In addition to visiting the disabled and the elderly, his NPO staffers also provide day-care services for disabled children.

Furuichi said it was his “iji,” or stubborn pride, that brought him back to Naraha.

“It’s too vexing to just let my hometown remain in this sorry state. I want to provide support for fellow returnees,” he said.

But he also feels conflicted. Now overrun with large service vehicles, the town looks completely different from before. And worries about radiation have not gone away.

“I cannot really urge anyone to come home,” he lamented.

The lifting of the evacuation order was a step forward. But this also presented a new dilemma to people who had become accustomed to their lives as evacuees. They are still grappling with the tough decision of whether to return home or stay put, or simply hold off any decision for now.

“To use a marathon analogy, Fukushima’s reconstruction is at the 30-km point,” Reconstruction Minister Masahiro Imamura noted recently. But for people who were forced to leave their homes in 2011, the race has only just begun and is in a fog.

This spring, evacuation orders will be lifted in four municipalities, including the town of Namie. This brings to the townspeople not only a sense of relief, but anxiety and vacillation as well.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201703020029.html

 

March 4, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

SIX YEARS AFTER: Poll: At least 20 years to regain lifestyle, half of Fukushima says

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Decontamination work is conducted on March 2 in Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, which will no longer be designated an evacuation zone on March 31.

 

Half of Fukushima Prefecture residents believe it will take at least another 20 years for them to return to the lives they enjoyed before the 3/11 disaster, according to a new poll.

The Asahi Shimbun and Fukushima Broadcasting Co. contacted prefectural residents on Feb. 25-26 to ask about life after the triple nuclear meltdown crisis following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. It was the seventh in the annual series of polls on the issue.

In the survey, 50 percent of respondents said “more than 20 years” when asked their outlook on the timescale to restore their previous lifestyle. Twenty-one percent said “about 20 years,” followed by 16 percent who thought “about 10 years,” and 7 percent who responded “about five years.”

In the 2013 poll, those who thought it would take more than two decades for them to regain their pre-disaster life totaled 60 percent. The numbers cannot simply be cross-referenced since 18 and 19 years olds have been included in the latest survey for the first time, but while the results suggest some improvement, they also paint a picture of many residents of the prefecture still unable to have an optimistic outlook on their future.

Thirty percent of respondents of the latest survey said there are times they feel discriminated against for being Fukushima Prefecture residents.

The central government plans to cover part of the costs on the Fukushima nuclear crisis that is estimated to rise to 21.5 trillion yen ($188 billion) by including the expenses in electricity rates on regular households.

It is a plan that has been criticized to be nothing more than a scheme to bail out Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, and 76 percent of respondents said they could not accept such a measure.

With the evacuation order for the town of Tomioka scheduled to be lifted on April 1, most residents of the prefecture who were displaced from their homes due to the nuclear disaster will be able to go back, excluding those who lived in areas still designated as “difficult-to-return zones.”

But opinions over the issue varied among respondents, suggesting skepticism over decontamination work and concerns over radiation still linger among many residents.

When asked about the timing of lifting the evacuation order, the most popular answer, from 40 percent, was that it was an appropriate decision. However, 19 percent said it was “too soon,” while 22 percent said the order “should not be lifted in the first place.” Nine percent said it was “too late.”

Respondents were also divided over their evaluation of decontamination work in the prefecture conducted by the central and local governments.

Those who applauded the effort, which comprised the 3 percent who “highly” praised it and the 48 percent who “somewhat” did, was at just over half. But an almost equal amount of respondents, 46 percent, expressed criticism, with 39 percent saying they “did not really” think enough was being done and 7 percent saying they were not at all satisfied.

When asked whether they had any concerns of the effects of radiation on themselves or their family, most residents, at 63 percent, said yes. This comprised the 19 percent who said they were very concerned and the 44 percent who responded they were worried to some extent.

Those who were more critical of the decontamination efforts, as well as respondents who expressed concern over the effects of radiation, tended to reply that the evacuation order “should not be lifted in the first place.”

Regarding “difficult-to-return zones,” the central government plans to concentrate their decontamination work on specific areas to allow residents to live there.

Respondents were divided over this decision as well, with 43 percent for and 42 percent against.

However, when asked about how the central government and TEPCO were handling the buildup of contaminated groundwater at the crippled nuclear plant, the majority of respondents expressed criticism. A total of 71 percent said they were dissatisfied, compared with the 14 percent who thought enough was being done.

The poll targeted eligible voters aged 18 or older living in the prefecture. Valid responses were received from 934 individuals out of the 1,739 randomly generated landline numbers contacted, or 54 percent.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201703030048.html

March 4, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Rebuilding Fukushima through Soccer

To expose children to possible radioactive nanoparticles without any protection just for the sake of propaganda to show that everything is safe and back to normal in Fukushima is irresponsible and criminal! All in the name of the recovery and reconstruction campaign organized by the Japanese  government to welcome all the tourists to come to “clean” beautiful Japan for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics! Olympics to which Fukushima produce will be used to prepare the meals fed to the visiting athletes! All in the name of promotion and economic reconstruction! Alternate facts, total denial of reality being substituted to real facts and dangers. A total insanity!

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A former soccer training facility close to Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant has been used as a staging point for recovery work since the 2011 nuclear disaster, but that’s about to change.

Temporary dormitories for workers stand where there used to be a soccer field at the facility, called J-Village. The area is filled with memories for Shigenari Akashi, who worked as a coach for a junior youth team there for more than 10 years.

“National tournament finals used to be held here. Children from all over the country would practice hard, aspiring to play here,” Akashi says.

J-Village was Japan’s first national soccer training center. It opened in 1997 and over the years saw more than a million visitors. The complex was even used to train the national teams of Japan and Argentina.

But the nuclear disaster changed everything. The facility is just 20 kilometers from the plant, so Tokyo Electric Power Company rented it to set up an operational base for containing the accident.

“I was in shock and at a loss for words when I saw the Self-Defense Forces’ tanks here, and the gravel laid on the natural turf for the parking lot,” says Akashi.

At the end of last year, the moment he had been waiting for finally arrived as TEPCO began work to return the facility to its original form.

Fukushima Prefecture has even bigger plans — tt wants to build Japan’s first “all-weather soccer field” at the site. Part of the facility is scheduled to open in the summer of 2018.

The Japan Football Association has given the project its full support. The Japanese national team will use the new J-Village as its training base for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

But there are bigger challenges than rebuilding. There are fears over radiation levels — in some areas they’re still higher than international standards recommend. So the J-Village operator has a plan.

“The construction work will focus on largely replacing the soil, a technique we expect will reduce radiation levels more than usual decontamination methods,” says Eiji Ueda, who is executive vice president at the facility. “We can emphasize how safe it is by hosting national teams from Japan or perhaps abroad for training.”

A town near J-Village was evacuated because of the disaster. Residents got the green light to move back a year and a half ago but few have returned as most of the evacuees still live in a neighboring city.

Akashi and his co-workers have been giving soccer classes for children, including some who lived near J-Village. But there are mixed feelings about playing there again.

“I want to use the new J-Village, but I live far away now, so it will be hard to go there very often,” says a boy at the facility.

“We still have the lingering memory of it being used as the staging ground for decommissioning work,” says one father.

For Akashi, he’s got a specific goal in mind.

“In reviving J-Village, we want to give back local people a gathering place and their sense of pride. We believe this will also help to revive Fukushima as a whole,” he says.

The clock on the J-Village scoreboard is stopped at 2:46 p.m., the moment the earthquake struck. The deep rift created over the last 6 years will need to be filled so that the clock can move forward once more.

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

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

Japan’s post-tsunami recovery plan: tomatoes, fish and hula-dancing

Six years after the Fukushima disaster, local government is working with private firms in one Japanese city to rebuild its economy

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Tomatoes growing in Japan’s Wonder Farm as part of Iwaki City’s reconstruction efforts after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

It’s a cold January day in Iwaki City, 211km north of Tokyo. But here, in a balmy glasshouse, light and sunny, pop music is being piped in, and tonnes of tomatoes are ripening and being picked.

They’re not in the ground; they’re being grown from waist-high pots of coconut matting. These are no ordinary tomatoes. They are growing on Wonder Farm, an “integrated agricultural theme park”, run by Tomato Land Iwaki, which is part-funded by the local city council and the Fukushima prefecture.

But another of the Wonder Farm partners is train firm Japan Rail East, which sells the tomatoes via its own restaurants. Because these small red fruits are part of plans by the local city government and local businesses to reinvigorate the local Iwaki economy after the devastating impact of the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi reactor, a mere 50km up the coast.

After such a cataclysmic series of events, rebuilding an economy based on fishing, agriculture and tourism is not easy. It requires some innovative thinking. Luckily, that’s something with which this area is already familiar. Fifty years ago, another of its industries, coal mining, faced decline. Here in Iwaki City, the Joban coal mining company came up with a novel idea. It retrained coal miners’ daughters as hula dancers and created the Spa Resort Hawaiians, Japan’s first theme park, which from its opening in 1966 until the events of March 2011, attracted thousands of visitors a year to its array of pleasures, including golf, a huge swimming pool and hot springs centre, and, of course, hula dancing and fire knife displays.

We were driven by the need to survive,” explains Yukio Sakamoto, a director at the Joban coal mining company. “Yes, it was a radical change, but it was a success because everyone in the company focused on the plan. It wasn’t about knowledge or expertise, but mindset.” The idea faced considerable opposition: “People said coal miners should just dig coal. But we trained the daughters of coal miners as professional dancers.”

That kind of ingenuity has been called for even more since 2011 in this part of Japan. It’s been hard work for everyone involved to try and get visitors back to the region and to restart the market for local food and produce. The city government has worked with regional and national bodies to measure radioactivity levels in local produce, and the figures are publicly available. But rebuilding trust that food from Fukushima is safe has been slow. The local fish market may be open, but almost all its stock is from elsewhere in the country.

Still, at least it is open and Senzaka Yoshio, one of the officers at the La Mew Mew fish market, which was badly damaged by the earthquake and tsunami, says visitor levels are now back up to 80% of the pre-disaster days.

Further along the quay from the fish market are more fish. Live ones, this time, in the spacious tanks of the Fukushima Aquarium. When the tsunami hit, this aquarium lost 90% of its creatures. It reopened just four months later, in July 2011, a feat possible, according to executive director Yoshitaka Abe, due to teamwork, local leadership and co-operation with other aquarium authorities, who sent specialists and volunteers to help with the reconstruction work.

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The Fukushima aquarium, which reopened just four months after the tsunami of March 2011.

For Sakamoto, at the Spa Resort Hawaiians, overcoming the 2011 disaster has been about local people. The resort has brought more than 9,500 jobs to the area. On the day of the earthquake, there were 617 guests in the hotel. All got safely home. But many employees lost family members and homes. “We continue our operation thinking about the people who suffered,” he says. “Our main idea was not to fire people because of the difficulty in the business, but to redeploy them.”

https://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2017/feb/02/japan-fukushima-tsunami-tomatoes-fish-hula-dancing

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

Fukushima governor rebuts minister’s 3/11 recovery claim

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Reconstruction Minister Masahiro Imamura addresses an official conference on the reconstruction and rebuilding of Fukushima Prefecture in Fukushima city on Jan. 28.

FUKUSHIMA–Using marathon analogies, opinions on the current state of Fukushima Prefecture almost six years after the 2011 nuclear accident were running far apart between a national minister and local officials at a conference here to discuss the recovery process.

If this is a marathon, Fukushima’s recovery is 30 kilometers into the race,” said Reconstruction Minister Masahiro Imamura at the beginning of the conference on reconstruction of quake damage and rebuilding in the prefecture on Jan. 28. “Now, we have come to the crunch.”

A disgruntled Fukushima Governor Masao Uchibori refuted Imamura’s optimistic analogy when he was interviewed by reporters after the conference’s close.

Some regions in the designated evacuation zones are not even at the starting line,” said Uchibori. “Even in the areas where the designation is already lifted, recovery has only just begun.”

The evacuation order in most of the surrounding area of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is scheduled to be lifted at the end of March, apart from some “difficult-to-return zones” where radiation readings remain high.

The affected municipal governments are concerned that the central government’s understanding of areas affected by the 2011 disaster has been fading as the sixth anniversary approaches in March.

Aside from the opening, the conference, chaired by Imamura, was closed to the media.

According to one attendee, Imamura told conference delegates that he put “Fukushima first.”

Aping the catchphrase style of U.S. President Donald Trump and Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, Imamura apparently meant he prioritizes the recovery of the disaster-hit area of Fukushima Prefecture, but his choice of words failed to impress local officials.

The head of one municipal government said: “It is not a very good catchphrase to use here as it reminds us of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.”

I would like him to be more sensitive about expressions he uses,” another complained.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201701300051.html

January 30, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 1 Comment

Namie’s high recovery hopes haunted by dwindling coffers, fears of losing vital state dole

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A robot testing facility, a robotics research center, a base for renewable energy and a memorial park — these are some of the plans the irradiated town of Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, has in mind for rebuilding after the triple reactor meltdown at the nearby Fukushima No. 1 power plant in March 2011.

But to pursue those plans, the town needs funds — a gigantic amount.

Namie is hoping to cover its funding needs with central government grants. But the two sides are still negotiating whether the municipality must shoulder a certain amount.

Also, there is no guarantee that the grants will continue beyond fiscal 2020, when the central government-designated reconstruction and revitalization period ends. This has residents worried that, even if the facilities are built, the municipality won’t be able to shoulder the maintenance and personnel costs needed to keep the facilities running.

We are currently negotiating fiercely with the central government,” said Namie’s deputy mayor, Katsumi Miyaguchi, 61.

The town of Namie had the largest population in the Futaba district, but its coffers took a major hit after the calamity triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011.

Residential tax revenue, which comprises about 30 to 40 percent of all tax revenues, sank to ¥500 million from about a ¥1 billion before 3/11 after the town decided to waive taxes for those with annual income below ¥5 million.

Whether to continue the waiver program is another difficult political issue.

The town was also waiving property taxes but plans to resume them when evacuations are lifted in some areas next spring. But land values have plunged since the meltdowns and any property tax revenues are expected to be low.

The same goes for corporate tax revenue, which has been hit by 3/11 business suspensions.

In short, Namie wouldn’t be able to pay the salaries of its town officials, let alone finance a reconstruction plan, if it weren’t for the central government grants.

As the centerpiece of its plan, Namie plans to build a facility adjacent to its town hall that would offer local information and house restaurants that serve up local specialties.

But that remains to be seen.

We are making plans despite the uncertainty that the central government’s grants will cover them,” said a town official in charge. “If the funds don’t cover the entire plan, it may need to be revised.”

In the mayor’s office, currently in the city of Nihonmatsu, there is a calender showing the number of days that have passed since the disasters hit — over 2,000. But Namie is still far from recovery.

The financial resources we’ve lost due to the disaster are excessive,” said Namie Mayor Tamotsu Baba, 68. “We desperately need the central government to continue its support.”

Another town executive agreed.

If the government stops providing grants four years later when the reconstruction/revitalization period ends, it means the government has abandoned Namie,” the executive said.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/12/18/national/namies-high-recovery-hopes-haunted-dwindling-coffers-fears-losing-vital-state-dole/#.WFZwYVzia-d

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

Abe Sees Fukushima Progress!!!

Radiation risks are being swept under the rug. That restoration plan voluntarily chooses to ignore the risks for people to be living in a contaminated environment, not differentiating between the external and internal exposures and their sure harmful consequences to people health. Not to mention the  ongoing incineration of contaminated waste in the Fukushima Prefecture 19 municipal incinerators, continuously redistributing radioactive nanoparticles into the environment. All done in the name of economic reconstruction!

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Cabinet to approve Fukushima restoration plan

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has visited Fukushima Prefecture to inspect the progress of restoration following the 2011 nuclear accident.
Abe visited a machinery parts manufacturer in Minamisoma City on Saturday.
The government and Fukushima Prefecture have been working to create a cluster of robotics’ companies in the city.
The president of the manufacturer told the prime minister that he hopes the robotics industry will help revitalize the local economy.
Abe responded that the state-of-the-art robot testing facilities that had been built in the city should attract companies from around the world, and that he wants the region to develop around them.
Abe later visited the town of Kawamata, where an evacuation order is expected to be lifted next March.
He ate fermented natto soybeans manufactured in the town using local products.
Abe told reporters after the inspection that his government intends to help people from areas where the evacuation order will be lifted with housing and rebuilding their lives.
He also said his cabinet will approve a plan before the end of the month to accelerate Fukushima’s restoration. He said it includes partial governmental funding for decontamination in non-entry zones.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20161210_23/

 

December 11, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fukushima Governor to Pitch Local Attractions in U.S.

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Washington, Oct. 18 (Jiji Press)–Visiting Fukushima Governor Masao Uchibori said Tuesday that he will pitch in the United States specialties and attractions of the northeastern Japan prefecture, such as sake and hot springs.


At a press conference, Uchibori said he wants many people to visit the prefecture from the United States and take first-hand looks at the current situation there.


If such visitors disseminate information about the prefecture in their own words, that will be a significant step toward reconstruction, he added.


Fukushima was hit hard by the March 2011 nuclear reactor meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. following a massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami.


The evacuation area due to radioactive contamination caused by the nuclear disaster now accounts for only 5 pct of the prefecture’s land area and people live normal lives in the remaining 95 pct, Uchibori explained.

http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2016101900394

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

High-school Students Continuously Put at Risk for Propaganda Use

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National route 6 which runs only a few km parallel to the coast where stands what is left of Daiichi Nuclear power plant, high-school students are cleaning up radiation.

14 high school students were picking up trash. 0.7μSv / h radiation measured by some citizens’ group at some of the places. With dust being blown, many high school students were walking still  without a mask.

The criticism that it could endanger the children, was ignored by Yumiko Nishimoto, president of the NPO “Happy load net” which organized that acttion, answering  “we are living here  every day.” .

Clean-up activities with an eye to the torch relay of the Tokyo Olympics. The priority is the “reconstruction”, and the health of children is secondary,  completely neglected.

The NPO responsible for such insanity argues that it helps them studying about radiation, that they do that every year.

Children are continuously being used to help the propaganda that everything is back to normal. But it’s a lie and it is borderline criminal. Shame on you Japan.

http://taminokoeshimbun.blog.fc2.com/blog-entry-61.html

 

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

Damage caused only by misconceptions about the nuclear incident not by the nuclear accident itself, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun, a pro-government newspaper

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Fukushima farmers plant flowers to revive agriculture

Tomoko Horiuchi checks eustoma she grows in Minami-Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, in early August.

FUKUSHIMA — Farmers from Fukushima Prefecture’s municipalities who have received the government’s evacuation directives in the wake of the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant are cultivating flowers as a new agricultural business to rebuild their lives.

The climate in these areas is suited to growing colorful flowers, as it has abundant sunshine and a relatively large change in temperature between day and night.

After the nuclear crisis, the price of rice harvested in the prefecture has hovered at low levels because of the damaged perception of crops grown in the area.

But because growing flowers is less susceptible to damage caused by misconceptions about the nuclear incident, an increasing number of local farmers actively cultivate eustoma and other popular ornamental flowers.

Junichi Futatsuya, 65, from the Haramachi district in Minami-Soma, began cultivating eustoma in the spring of 2014 using an idle greenhouse where he used to raise rice seedlings. In 2015, a local agricultural cooperative that covers Minami-Soma formed a section to grow eustoma, with Futatsuya participating in the project. Membership has now grown to 25 people.

Stable prices

In July, the evacuation directives were lifted in most areas of Minami-Soma, and many farmers now sell their flowers in Tokyo in the hopes of gaining recognition for them in areas that are major markets.

Futatsuya, who restarted cultivating rice this year, said, “I’m expecting to secure income by growing rice and flowers.”

Kawasaki Flora Auction Market Co. trades in flowers produced by Futatsuya and other farmers from the prefecture.

We don’t hear any dealers in the market saying they would shy away from the products because the flowers are produced in Fukushima Prefecture,” said Manabu Aishima, 49, a section chief of the Kawasaki-based company. “Farmers can expect all-year shipping with adequate investment in plants and equipment.”

Tomoko Horiuchi, 69, also grows eustoma in the district. She said she did not experience a wide fluctuation in prices before or after the crisis.

It made me realize that flowers are not susceptible [to damage caused by misconceptions]. I would like fellow producers to increase to more stably supply flowers to the market,” she said.

Supporting ambition

Daytime entry is allowed in areas where evacuation directives have been issued as long as these areas are not designated as “difficult-to-return zones” due to high levels of radiation exposure.

In July last year, six farmers in the town of Namie formed a study group to grow flowers, and one of the farmers was able to grow and ship eustoma to customers.

The Namie town government plans to conduct a survey to find places suitable for flower cultivation and is considering consolidating greenhouses near the town office.

Meanwhile, in the village of Iitate, evacuation directives are scheduled to be lifted in most places at the end of March 2017. Four farmers will build greenhouses in the village to grow baby’s-breath flowers on a trial basis.

The Fukushima prefectural government is also financially supporting farmers if they build greenhouses and purchase equipment to make flower cultivation a new business in the Hamadori area, which is close to the nuclear plant.

We’d like to support ambitious farmers,” said Masatoshi Kanno, vice chief of the prefectural government’s horticulture section.

http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003124239

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

Footholds Should Be Built in Fukushima No-Go Zone: LDP Team

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Tokyo, Aug. 17 (Jiji Press)–Reconstruction footholds should be set up in the no-go zone heavily contaminated by the 2011 nuclear accident in Fukushima Prefecture in northeastern Japan, a Liberal Democratic Party team proposed Wednesday.


The footholds should be used for decontamination work and infrastructure development so that evacuation orders for residents of the zone will be lifted in around five years, said the ruling party’s Headquarters for Accelerating Reconstruction after the Great East Japan Earthquake.


At a general meeting, the headquarters broadly agreed on a draft outline of the party’s planned sixth reconstruction proposal for areas damaged by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami and the subsequent reactor meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.


The government plans to remove all evacuation advisories in municipalities affected by the nuclear accident by the end of March 2017, excluding in the no-go zone where radiation levels are still too high for local residents to return home anytime soon.


The LDP will submit the proposal to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe later this month, after finalizing it through discussions with its coalition partner, Komeito.

http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2016081700893

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

Fukushima banks hope to lure nuclear evacuees back by reopening branches

FUKUSHIMA – Regional banks in Fukushima Prefecture are reopening outlets in radiation-contaminated areas to help lure residents back more than five years after the triple core meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant laid waste to the region in March 2011.

Residents have been slow to return despite the phased lifting of evacuation orders in cleaned-up areas, so regional banks are eager to play a trailblazing role by allowing residents to use their branches as places to socialize.

Abukuma Shinkin Bank, based in Minamisoma, reopened its Odaka branch there in March 2013 and the branch in the town of Namie on July 12.

The evacuation order for the central part of Namie is expected to be lifted by the end of next March, but there are still structures that collapsed from the March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake.

We’ll put the light on in the town where people do not live,” said Yoshihiro Ota, president of Abukuma Shinkin, stressing the significance of reopening the Namie branch.

Abukuma Shinkin became the first financial institution to reopen a branch in Namie, which sits next to the town of Futaba, one of the two municipalities that host the crippled Fukushima No. 1 plant, which lost all power after being swamped by tsunami spawned by the temblor. The plant is run by Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc.

We hope our branch, where local people can stop by freely and enjoy chatting, will become a place that can console them,” said Takahiro Abe, chief of the Namie branch.

Being the first to reopen a branch in the town will hopefully allow us to attract people and see rises in deposits and loans,” Abe added.

In April, Toho Bank, based in the city of Fukushima, restarted its branch in Naraha, another town close to the Fukushima No. 1 plant.

Although the evacuation order for Naraha was lifted last September, only 8.1 percent of its residents had returned as of July 4.

Financial institutions are indispensable regional infrastructure,” said Hiroshi Yamaka, chief of Toho Bank’s Naraha branch. “Regional banks have a major role to play in helping residents return home.”

But it is not easy to achieve industrial revival in contaminated areas neglected by the long evacuation.

A male business owner who visited Abukuma Shinkin’s Namie branch on the day it reopened said, “The bank told me that they will lend me money, but I can’t decide on new investment because I’m old and there’s no one I can hand over my business to.”

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/07/24/business/fukushima-banks-hope-to-lure-nuclear-evacuees-back-by-reopening-branches/

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