nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Long-distance transport of radioactive plume by nocturnal local winds

Long-distance transport of radioactive plume by nocturnal local winds

Abstract

Radioactive plumes can spread far and wide depending on wind conditions. The plumes often frequently reached the Tokyo metropolitan area, which is approximately 200 km away from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, under spatially heterogeneous wind fields in March 2011. To reduce exposure to radioactive plumes, the behaviour of the plumes must be known. However, the transport mechanism of radioactive plumes is not fully understood. Using a regional climate model, we show that multiple diurnal cycle processes play a key role in the frequent transport of radioactive plumes to the Tokyo metropolitan area. The observed data and hindcast results indicate that the radioactive plume moves along the local winds, which comprise the northeasterly local wind (NELW) associated with the meso-scale low-pressure system (meso-low) and the northerly sea wind (NSW) during the night. The long-term analysis and sensitivity simulations also show the nocturnal processes that the NELW caused by the meso-low and the NSW are formed east of the Tokyo metropolitan area and from Fukushima offshore east of the Tokyo metropolitan area, respectively, when neither winter monsoons nor extra-tropical cyclones are predominant. These findings indicate that the radioactive plumes could reach faraway places frequently via nocturnal local processes.

Introduction

Radioactive plumes can scatter widely under the strong influence of the weather1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. After the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March 2011, the Japanese government evacuated the area within a 20-km radius of the power plant and advised residents within a 20-km to 30-km radius of the power plant to stay inside their homes9. However, high air doses were observed in faraway places outside the 30-km radius (Fig. 1a,b). In such situations, exposure should be minimized because the released radioactive material (131I) is assumed to have the potential to cause thyroid cancer10. Therefore, when and where radioactive plumes will travel should be known in advance.

 

Figure 1: A common feature of the atmospheric fields when a high air dose was observed in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

srep36584-f1.jpg

(a) The locations of Fukushima, Tokai-mura, and the Tokyo metropolitan area. (b) Time variations of the observed air doses at the observation sites in Tokai-mura. Cases 1, 2, 3, and 4 correspond to the spikes in the air dose. (c) The wind field and geo-potential height of MSM-GPV (975 hPa) at midnight before each of the four cases. Dark areas indicate low pressure. The maps were created by using GrADS 2.0.1 (http://cola.gmu.edu/grads/) (a,c) and Microsoft Excel for Mac 2011 (b).

 

The movement of a radioactive plume is not only influenced by large-scale events, such as monsoons and extra-tropical cyclones, but also by local-scale events4,5. For example, local-scale events, including land/sea breezes, are predominant under calm weather conditions11,12. A land/sea breeze can cause severe atmospheric pollution even in areas that are distant from the emission source13,14,15. A contamination could occur in a specific area because of the local circulation if large amounts of radioactive materials are emitted over a long period.

A large quantity of radioactive 131I, estimated to be between 1.8 × 1012 and 8.9 × 1015 Bq h−1, was released from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant by the end of March 201116,17,18. To represent the transport and deposition distribution of radioactive materials in Japan, several numerical simulations have been performed using the estimated emission data3,4,5,6,7,8,16,17,18. However, simulating the distributions is difficult because many uncertainties affect numerical simulations. One such uncertainty is the chaotic behaviour of the atmosphere19,20, which amplifies prediction errors resulting from imperfections in the model formulation or the sensitive dependence on the initial conditions. Indeed, if chaotic behaviour were predominant, the movement of the radioactive plume would be difficult to predict accurately.

In contrast, predicting the movement of a radioactive plume would be relatively simple if large-scale events, such as monsoons and extra-cyclones, were predominant because the wind field would be expected to be temporally constant and spatially homogeneous. However, radioactive plumes often reached the Tokyo metropolitan area, even under spatially heterogeneous wind fields5. The types of atmospheric events that might have affected the wind field and the mechanisms by which the radioactive plumes travelled over long distances remain poorly understood. The chaotic behaviour of the atmosphere might be associated with the movement of the radioactive plume. Here, we investigate the mechanism of radioactive plume transport from Fukushima to the Tokyo metropolitan area using a regional climate model.

Results

High air doses, indicated by the spike in Fig. 1b, were often observed at Tokai-mura in the eastern coastal region of the Tokyo metropolitan area in the morning. At approximately the same time, the NSW and the NELW commonly occurred near the coastal area of the northeastern region of the Tokyo metropolitan area at 975 hPa (see Supplementary Fig. S1), whereas these winds were not detected at 850 hPa (see Supplementary Fig. S2). Another common feature, the nocturnal meso-low, formed in the Tokyo metropolitan area before the high dose rates were observed east of the Tokyo metropolitan area in the morning (Fig. 1c). We conducted a hindcast (HC run) to confirm the relationship between the observed high air radiation doses and the radioactive plume simulated using a regional climate model21 (see Methods). The simulated radioactive plume occurred from Fukushima to the northeastern part of the Tokyo metropolitan area in all cases (see Supplementary Fig. S3).

We assumed that the NSW, NELW, and nocturnal meso-low strongly influenced the radioactive plume transport when neither winter monsoons nor extra-cyclones were predominant. Some diurnal cycle processes could have formed the NSW, NELW, and nocturnal meso-low if the diurnal variations of those atmospheric fields were confirmed in the long-term composite data during calm weather. To verify this hypothesis, we defined a typical day when diurnal wind was observed as a calm day using station data for the central part of the Tokyo metropolitan area. The four cases shown in Fig. 1 were included in the calm day. The diurnal variations were investigated by using the operational meteorological analysis dataset for March from 2008 to 2014 (see Supplementary Fig. S4 and Methods). Seven-year composite would be sufficient to detect the signal of diurnal cycle significantly.

The results demonstrated that the NSW, NELW, and meso-low were clearly evident in the composite of the calm day (Fig. 2b,c) at 975 hPa at night, whereas these atmospheric fields were unclear at 850 hPa (Fig. 2g–i). The meso-low could strongly influence the formation of the NELW. Additionally, the NSW and NELW could be formed as gravity currents induced by the meridional temperature gradient because no predominant forcing exists except for the temperature gradient at night under calm conditions. In contrast, the onshore wind, which is intensified by the heat-low at the mountains of central Japan14, is clearly evident in the daytime (Fig. 2a,d). Almost 30% of the days in March from 2008 to 2014 were calm days (see Supplementary Fig. S5). Thus, diurnal cycle processes are not rare events but are important contributors to the regional climate in March.

 

Figure 2: Diurnal variation of the wind fields under calm conditions.

srep36584-f2.jpg

Diurnal variation of the composite data of wind fields, geo-potential height, and temperature at 975 hPa and 850 hPa on calm days from 2008 to 2014 according to the MSM-GPV data. The dark areas indicate areas of low geo-potential height (low pressure). The maps were created by using GrADS 2.0.1 (http://cola.gmu.edu/grads/).

 

The nocturnal meso-low forms in various areas worldwide22,23,24,25,26. The topographical heat-low in the daytime could be a trigger of the meso-low23. However, the nocturnal meso-low has been observed to persist until the morning (Fig. 2c). If the convergence caused by the NSW sustains the meso-low, the topographic effect and meridional temperature gradient could be important in the formation of the meso-low.

To elucidate the formation mechanisms of the NSW, NELW, and meso-low, we conducted simple sensitivity tests (see Methods). The effect of the meridional temperature gradient was investigated by adapting a monthly averaged global zonal mean field in March 2011 as the initial and boundary conditions (Ex. 1); the effect of geography, including the land/sea contrast, was investigated by adapting the area-averaged atmospheric field around east Japan (Ex. 2) (see Supplementary Fig. S6). The result shows that Ex. 1 simulates the NSW, NELW, and meso-low but Ex. 2 does not (Fig. 3). This finding indicates that the meridional temperature gradient is essential in the formation of the diurnal cycle of the atmospheric field.

 

Figure 3: Sensitivity test.

srep36584-f3.jpg

The wind fields, geo-potential heights, and temperatures at 975 hPa in the morning (6 JST) of Ex. 1 and Ex. 2. The atmospheric fields of the global zonal mean and area-averaged values in March 2011 were applied as the lateral boundary conditions of Ex. 1 and Ex. 2, respectively. The maps were created by using GrADS 2.0.1 (http://cola.gmu.edu/grads/).

 

Discussion

A schematic of the transport of radioactive materials is presented in Fig. 4. The radioactive materials are transported to an area offshore of Fukushima by the land breeze, and then, the plume moves to the south via the NSW (Fig. 4a). In the morning, the radioactive plume flows into the Tokyo metropolitan area via the NELW, which is formed by the nocturnal meso-low (Fig. 4b). In the afternoon, the plume moves to the mountain area located to the northeast of the Tokyo metropolitan area because of the intensified sea breeze induced by the heat-low over the mountains in central Japan (Fig. 4c).

 

Figure 4: Long-distance transport of the radioactive plume via multiple diurnal processes.

srep36584-f4.jpg

The 3D image of the mixing ratio of 131I in Case 1. The maps were created by using Volume Data Visualizer for Google Earth (VDVGE) 1.1.7 ESC JAMSTEC (https://www.jamstec.go.jp/esc/research/Perception/vdvge.ja.html) and Adobe Illustrator CS5

 

The northeasterly wind accompanied by rain is often observed around the Tokyo metropolitan area during winter mornings27,28,29. The developed nocturnal meso-low is responsible for this precipitation. Consequently, it was reassuring that no rainfall was detected on 15 March 2011, when the highest air doses were observed (case 1 in Fig. 1). If rainfall had occurred, the serious contamination would have also caused in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

In the seven-year simulation with the constant emission of radioactive materials (CE run), a high deposition of 131I was simulated from Fukushima to the Tokyo metropolitan area in the morning, with increased deposition occurring the mountains located east of the Tokyo metropolitan area in the evening (see Supplementary Fig. S7 and Methods). The diurnal variation of the deposition could be explained by the movement of the radioactive plume corresponding to the diurnal wind field shown in Fig. 4. Thus, diurnal processes strongly influence the deposition distribution.

The amounts of radioactive materials deposited, especially 137Cs, depend strongly on the precipitation30. Generally, precipitation is difficult to simulate using a numerical model quantitatively with high accuracy because of the non-linearity of the precipitation process. Therefore, accurately estimating the deposition at a specific point without observations would be difficult. Therefore, using only the simulated deposition (exposure by groundshine), determining whether immediate evacuation should be enforced is problematic. Our new findings will be useful for determining the time to take shelter to avoid exposure to the radioactive plume (by cloudshine and/or intake) when a large-scale event is not predominant. Additionally, by applying the transport mechanism clarified here, we could potentially reduce the uncertainties relating to the deposition of radioactive materials. Therefore, we should continue improving existing numerical models to more accurately represent the local circulation caused by diurnal cycle processes. This finding could also useful to improve the local depositions simulated by a global circulation model31.

Generally, local circulation is not simple because various factors, such as land use, geographical features, and synoptic wind, strongly influence the local wind field12. The findings of this study indicate that when a severe nuclear power plant accident occurs, radioactive plumes could reach faraway places via multiple diurnal cycle processes. Therefore, establishing a detailed mechanism of local circulation in every area is necessary to make any progress in reducing the uncertainties related to exposure.

Yoshikane, T. et al. Long-distance transport of radioactive plume by nocturnal local winds. Sci. Rep. 6, 36584; doi: 10.1038/srep36584 (2016).

http://www.nature.com/articles/srep36584

 

January 20, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Local Winds Brought Radioactive Materials From Fukushima To Tokyo

20170116-nocturnal-local-winds-3323pbdjnqghe44gaila0w.png

 

Nocturnal local winds carried radioactive material from Fukushima to Tokyo following the 2011 Fukushimia Daiichi nuclear accident.

AsianScientist (Jan. 17, 2017) – Nocturnal local winds were responsible for transporting radioactive material over 200km from the Fukushimia Daiichi nuclear accident to the Tokyo metropolitan area.

These findings by researchers from the University of Tokyo have been published in Scientific Reports. A research group led by Project Researcher Takao Yoshikane and Associate Professor Kei Yoshimura analyzed observational data and ran computer simulations to determine whether the radioactive plumes were carried by chance haphazard activity in the air or by a regular mechanism in the atmosphere. They found that the radioactive plume moves along two local wind systems that appear during the night on calm days when the impact of northwesterly seasonal winds and low-pressure systems are low. These nighttime local winds were formed by a difference in temperature between the North and the South, which created an upper layer of warm arm and a lower layer of cold air.

These findings indicate that should radioactive material be released over a long period of time, radioactive plumes could be frequently carried even to faraway places by such nocturnal local systems, and cause serious contamination in those areas.

On the other hand, the data show that it is possible to make a rough prediction of when, where, and how the radioactive plumes will travel by knowing the cycle of the winds. The current results could prove useful in determining when to seek shelter to avoid exposure to radiation.

“Stronger risk management strategies that allow for quick and cool-headed response to unforeseen situations are being sought,” said Yoshikane. “It is necessary to take into account local factors specific to each area, such as geographical features and traffic conditions.” “We hope that by expanding our study we can contribute to the development of risk management strategies through exchanges with people in other fields, government agencies, and local governments.”

The article can be found at: Yoshikane et al. (2016) Long-distance Transport of Radioactive Plume by Nocturnal Local Winds. ——— Source: University of Tokyo;

http://www.asianscientist.com/2017/01/in-the-lab/winds-radioactive-materials-fukushima-tokyo/

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

New Fukushima evacuee bullying case emerges at Tokyo school

gjgkjll.jpg

Garbage taken home by a bullied student in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward (Provided by the student’s mother)

After school bullying cases emerged recently in cities including Yokohama and Niigata, another student who was evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture after the 2011 nuclear disaster has come forward.

The latest case, at a junior high school in the capital’s Chiyoda Ward, involved the victimized student being intimidated into paying for three other students’ sweets, juices and other goods, worth about 10,000 yen ($87).

The case came to light after the student and the student’s mother reported the bullying to the school.

It is regrettable that bullying existed at this school. I will do my utmost to prevent it from happening again,” said the principal of the Chiyoda Ward government-run school.

The victim told The Asahi Shimbun that some students had begun to utter the taunt “hinansha” (evacuee) around summer 2015.

This year, the name-calling escalated, and the bullies started making insulting and threatening remarks such as, “You don’t have money as you came from Fukushima,” “Can’t you pay the bills for us as you are poor?” and “I will reveal that you are an evacuee.”

The bullies then manipulated the victim into paying for their doughnuts, juices and other goods.

The picked-on student was also pressured by the student’s tormenters to take home their trash, which they did by putting it into the student’s school bag.

At school, the student’s textbooks and notebooks went missing. Some of them were found in a corner of the classroom with ripped pages.

Since my elementary school days, I have been bullied on the grounds that I am an evacuee. I was not able to tell that to anybody. It was painful. I thought that if I can silence other students with money, I will do it,” the student said.

In late November, the student’s mother noticed all the garbage in her child’s school bag. Finally the student told the mother what had been happening, and then reported the case to the school, along with the mother.

The school investigated 15 pupils but was not able to confirm that the victim has been bullied on the grounds that the student was an evacuee from Fukushima Prefecture.

However, three of those investigated admitted that the student had paid their bills. The school confirmed that the bills totaled about 10,000 yen.

The school said that it did not investigate the missing books, as it was not clear when they had disappeared.

I had thought that the school would investigate who dumped them,” the mother said of the missing books, adding, “I want the school to deal with the case by paying more consideration to the bullied student.”

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201612130064.html

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

According to a wildlife journalist, even in Tokyo some animals suffer mutations

Already few weeks ago a Japanese friend mentioned to me that he noticed very few insects this summer in Tokyo. This article now corroborates it.

If the wild life around Tokyo is that affected, how about the health of the people living there?

oct-2016

Frog having one eye only (photo by Eiki Sato,  from October 10, 2016)

 

Ravages in Tokyo from the nuclear accident at Fukushima Daiichi 250km away.

The documentary film “Paradise Phantom” just came out. This documentary is about the stationary observations on animals by Eiki Sato, a wildlife journalist. The screening of this film took place at a movie theater in Suginami-ku, Tokyo on September 25, 2016.

Sato filmed for 170 hours various animals in the wild places of Tokyo, for example the banks of the Arakawa river, the fields near sports stadiums and Tokyo plants. These are real paradises for many living creatures, such as kestrels, shrikes, bats, frogs, dragonflies, even the gray beetles, animals that are not on the global red list threatened species.

The documentary shows that since two years animals with abnormalities are being observed . The cause of these abnormalities would be the accumulated radioactivity in the soil of Tokyo, according to Eiki Sato.

During his observations Eiki Sato found many types of deformities, due to mutations: Various insects affected with malformed or missing wing, or with curled wings, or abnormal eyes, unabling them to fly. Mosquito with bent spine, dragonflies with mishaped eyes unable to fly high. Birds with affected eyes, or feathers, unable to fly. Many also cannot reproduce, their population sharply decreasing.

http://www.tokyo-sports.co.jp/entame/entertainment/602104/

 

 

 

October 14, 2016 Posted by | environment, Fukushima 2016 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Radiocontamination of Tokyo

14370301_1095290837214679_69270404666056422_n.jpg

 

Based on the data released by everyone to the Minna-san data website, a map of the soil contamination of Tokyo by radioactivity was put together.

This data is the result of measurements from 2013 to now 2016.

You can see that the radioactive contamination spread over a wide range of Tokyo.

Particularly, Katsushika district, Edogawa district, Shinjuku district, Setagaya district and Bunkyō district.

Radioactive contamination of both radioactive cesium 134 and 137 exceeding 500Bq / kg has been confirmed.

Among other locations: Inagi city/ Katsushi district / Edogawa district / Eto district / Arakawa district / Kokubunji city / Kokuritsu City / Komae City / Mitaka City / Kodaira city/ Shinjuku district / Suginami district/ Setagaya district / Nishitama gun / Ome city / Chiyoda district / Ota District/ Oshima-cho / Machida city / Chofu city / Higashi Kurume City / Higashimurayama city / Hachioji city / Fuchu city / Musashino City / Fukuo city/ Bunkyo district / Toshima district/ Kita district / Tachikawa city.

Read more at: (in Japanese)

https://news.whitefood.co.jp/news/foodmap/7191/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=post&utm_term=%E6%B1%9A%E6%9F%93%E5%9C%B0%E5%9B%B3%E3%81%BE%E3%81%A8%E3%82%81&utm_content=link&utm_campaign=%E6%9D%B1%E4%BA%AC%E5%85%AC%E5%9C%92%E5%9C%9F%E5%A3%8C%E6%B1%9A%E6%9F%93

September 23, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Anti-nuclear power protest tents forcibly removed from outside ministry

Yesterday I wrote a long-ish post about last weekend’s attack on the anti-nuclear power protest tents that have occupied a corner of land outside the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) in Kasumigaseki since 2011. I included some of the history of the tents and resistance against the orders calling for their removal. After the Supreme Court rejected the activists’ final appeal in late July, the end seemed nigh and it seems I jumped the gun.

The post about last week’s incident swiftly became obsolete when around 100 security guards and court officials arrived at the tents in the early hours of today, August 21st. Starting at 3.30 a.m. on the 1,807th day of the sit-in, it took all of 90 minutes for them to remove the tents, placards and other materials that were the signs of a five-year protest movement. There were apparently some five activists staying at the tents overnight but they could do nothing to prevent the removal.

 

The choice of the early morning to enforce the eviction was surely a deliberate one to avoid trouble with protestors. If it had been during the daytime, the activists could have quickly mobilised dozens, maybe even hundreds, of supporters, as we saw at last weekend’s incident. Earlier on August 21st, police and security guards completely barricaded the corner of the street in a show of force in case there was an ugly response from activists.

Today there was also a demonstration by a hate group in Kawaguchi City, on the outskirts of Tokyo, which consumed the manpower of the counter-protest group C.R.A.C., who otherwise may have rallied activists to the ministry.

kazumigaseki-no-nukes-plaza-tents-occupy-protest-removed-1

 

Ironically, I had been planning to go see the tents today, since I knew it might be my last chance. In the end, I missed my opportunity. Nonetheless I went to see the aftermath and found a mood that was muted yet resilient. There were no more tents; the iconic facade of the site was gone, replaced by large fences obstructing any new tents from being erected. But still there were some 15 protestors sitting on chairs, banners unfurled on the pavement and flags stuck into the hedges. A couple of activists were banging a drum. There was a police presence, of course: a few officers and some riot police vans. A random rightist was spewing forth anger at the protestors from the street while being physically held back by police officers. You can just about see him in the right of the photograph below.

 

kazumigaseki-no-nukes-plaza-tents-occupy-protest-removed-2

Earlier an activist had been arrested and was being held at a police station in Marunouchi, and many of others had gone there to call for his or her release. By chance, Masami Yoshizawa from Kibō no Bokujō (Farm of Hope) was also in the area, driving around a car with a fake cow on a trailer. He has previously brought actual diseased cattle to Tokyo in an attempt to remind bureaucrats of the continuing plight of Fukushima.

The activists told me that they would be continuing the protest at the site, only no longer with tents. Alternatively known in English as the Occupy Tents, Anti-Nuclear Occupy Tent, No Nukes Plaza or Tent Plaza, the central structures are now gone but the idea of the “plaza” survives.

However, Japan’s relatively harsh rules on public assembly may make it harder for protestors to gather at the location in greater numbers for events like they used to, since now they will literally just be standing or sitting on the street. In theory, any public demonstration is required to be registered with police in advance.

kazumigaseki-no-nukes-plaza-tents-occupy-protest-removed-3

 

 

kazumigaseki-no-nukes-plaza-tents-occupy-protest-removed-4

 

 

kazumigaseki-no-nukes-plaza-tents-occupy-protest-removed-5

 

 

kazumigaseki-no-nukes-plaza-tents-occupy-protest-removed-6

 

In my post on August 20th, I wrote that “the fury of Fukushima lives on in Kasumigaseki”. Was that too optimistic? We shall see.

WILLIAM ANDREWS

https://throwoutyourbooks.wordpress.com/2016/08/21/anti-nuclear-power-protest-tents-forcibly-removed-ministry/

August 21, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anti-nuclear power protest tents in Tokyo attacked by far-right group

On August 14th, members of Japan’s ultra Right targeted the anti-nuclear power protest tents that have stood for nearly five years outside the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) in Kasumigaseki, the government district in central Tokyo.

The “attack”, as it was swiftly dubbed by those on the Left, happened perhaps deliberately on the day before the annual anniversary of Japan’s surrender in the Pacific War that always turns Yasukuni Shrine into something of a pantomime of militarist cosplay.

anti-nuclear-power-protest-tents-tokyo-attack-right-wing.jpg

It is unclear to me if this was a co-ordinated action between several groups or individuals, but online reports claim that the racist hate group Zaitokukai was the main organiser. The perpetrators of the attack seemed to attempt to surround the tents with flags and banners. The hot summer day then quickly became more heated as supporters rallied to protect the tents, and police struggled to keep the two groups on opposing sides of the street while vehicles decorated with nationalist slogans drove into the fray. The anti-tent demonstrators included at least one man wearing a war-time military costume, just as can always be seen at Yasukuni on August 15th.

Japan’s far Right has diversified in recent years, now encompassing netizens who vent nationalist anger online (the so-called netto uyoku), hate speech groups like Zaitokukai who particularly target Korean communities, and sundry protestors who march against the recent territorial incursions by China and Japan’s other neighhours. The customary black vans of the traditional uyoku are no longer the only icons of rightist groups, nor does this emerging demographic necessarily belong to the New Right or minzoku-ha that developed out of the student movement. (In fact, elements of the New Right and other nationalists also added their voices to the anti-nuclear power movement.) The hate groups and xenophobic activists view any kind of leftist, liberal or anti-government movement as an enemy of Japan, hence they have attacked protests against nuclear power or the state security bills. Shall we call it the New New Right?

The incident comes at time of renewed tensions between the state and citizens due to the ongoing clashes at Takae in Okinawa over helipad construction, which has seen hundreds of riot police despatched from the mainland to maintain order among local and visiting protestors. While the scale of that movement is still relatively small, the situation is not dissimilar to what happened during the construction of Narita Airport in the 1960s and 1970s.

This is far from the first time the tents have attracted far-right attention, including hate activists like Shusei Sakurda. Rightists damaged and attempted to disrupt the tents as earlier as 2011, which has led the anti-nuclear protestors to develop a network of supporters that can be mobilised to guard and protect the tents. As can see from the video, this is very successful as a defence strategy. The attack on August 14th was met by a vigorous counter-protest of self-professed “anti-fascists” from the movement which has also become a prominent feature of protest culture in Japan over the past few years in response to the way the ultra-nationalists have evolved. These counter-protestors strive to outnumber and drown out the noise of right-wing or hate groups’ street actions, and do not shy away from engaging directly in physical confrontations. The activists are at times as aggressive as the hate groups and others they picket, prompting a greater police presence to keep the two sides apart.

This video was made by Rio Akiyama, a freelance photographer and film-maker who spends his days crisscrossing the country to cover counter-protests and other social movements. The work of Akiyama is mirrored by that of Rody Shimazaki, a punk-turned-photographer who has also documented the 2015 security bills protests and the hate speech counter-protests. Both Shimazaki and Akiyama have published photo-books in recent months, adding to the post-Fukushima discourse with (carefully curated) versions of the protest movements.

The protest tents were first erected on September 11th, 2011, shortly after the much-publicised hunger strike at Kasumigaseki, and around the time that the anti-nuclear power movement really began to pick up momentum. The organisers themselves use the name “Tento Hiroba” (Tent Plaza), and in English “Anti-Nuclear Occupy Tent”. It has been called the Occupy Tents, or the “tent village”. The concurrent timing is coincidental, but we might dare to christen it “Occupy Kasumigaseki”, though the contexts and aims of the tents are far removed from what went on at Wall Street in those heady anti-capitalist days of late 2011.

What is the significance of the Occupy Tents? The motley structures function as a listening post; a gathering place for demonstrators, talks, music, video screenings, and information exchange. One of the tents is now a free art museum featuring work by the likes of 281_Anti Nuke. The corner where they stand is one of the symbols of the movement, along with the art of Yoshitomo Nara that was used prolifically on placards at the major rallies.

anti-nuclear-tents-hiroba-meti-tokyo.jpg

The tents have also become a kind of protest commons: a shared place for various stakeholders in the diverse anti-nuclear power protest movement to come together and exchange views. It occupies land that is public yet also government (not mutually exclusive concepts), and forces the issue of Fukushima and nuclear power to stay in the public domain even as the the Friday night vigils in front of the Kantei (prime minister’s official residence) have dwindled. That is not to say they have stopped: they continue resiliently every week, though the numbers of participants are far lower than their remarkable peak in 2012. But Tent Plaza is certainly the most materially resonant site of the movement, since the Friday night vigils are by their nature transient and shifting in scale and exact location.

In this way, the tents form a permanent platform for discourse, a “plaza” in a very real sense — a rare thing in Japan, where public land is often tightly controlled and managed. Kasumigaseki, in particular, is not amenable to assemblies, where demonstrators are not allowed to occupy the roads and are forced to gather on the snaking pavements in the district. Tent Plaza repudiates this topographical restraint and replaces it with a micro Tokyo version of Speakers’ Corner.

In addition to the ongoing crusade against nuclear power, the tents have also served as a locus for other anti-government causes, such as the protests against the state security bills last year. In one memorable episode, Buddhist monks gathered at the tents in 2015 to pray for the so-called “war bills” to be rejected.

If the unquestionably partisan Japan Atomic Industrial Forum is to believed, “members of a shadowy coalition of primarily far-left groups have continuously occupied [the tents], displaying signs criticising national nuclear policy and proclaiming the site a symbol of the anti-nuclear movement”. “Shadowy” or not, the people associated with the tents are not simply drawn from the rank’s of Japan’s far Left. There are indeed activists with long experience in radical groups. (For example, Shinzaburō Iwamoto is one of the people involved and this seems to be the same person who was part of a faction of Chūkaku-ha forced out in 2006.) But the nature of the protest is much more genial than the dogmatic tactics of the far Left, and, as we saw, a lot of its grassroots support now comes from the younger hate speech counter-protestors as opposed to the more established radical Left.

Here is someone explaining how she got involved in helping at the tents, as recorded by the Voices of Protest Japan project.

I wanted to do something as one who lives in metropolitan area. Though I did not participate from the beginning, I participated in Fukushima women’s group and did a sit-in. Also I started to visit here two or three days when I heard that Fukushima women were coming after the hunger strike done by five young people in front of METI. Then Japan’s women group continued the movement for ten more days. I didn’t participate for the whole thing but little bit. After that, the men at the first tent built the second tent when a hundred of Fukushima women were coming to the tent. But because of lack of participants after this movement, the tent was always closed when I came. In the same year, March of 2012, I started to come when I heard that they needed member for Saturday shift. So I started to go to that shift and also began to come for Thursday. Then I came for every other week rotating with another person. And now, I come for Thursday shift.

Just as the Wall Street occupiers were hounded out of Zuccotti Park, so too does the Japanese state want these pesky Kasumigaseki squatters gone. METI has been attempting to have the tents forcibly removed since 2014, though the orders have been challenged by protestors in the courts. Amidst the anti-nuke paraphernalia, the tents are also ostensibly fenced off by railings hung with signs informing the world that this is state land. In late July, the Supreme Court upheld an earlier ruling the the tents must be removed and the occupiers pay a vast sum for “using” public land (around ¥20,000 for every day the tents have been there). The tents are effectively on borrowed (and expensive) time, though the state knows that any clumsy eviction could result in violence.

On September 11th, the tents are celebrating their anniversary with a “9.11 Anger Festival”. The fury of Fukushima lives on in Kasumigaseki.

WILLIAM ANDREWS

https://throwoutyourbooks.wordpress.com/2016/08/20/anti-nuclear-power-meti-protest-tents-tokyo-attack-far-right-group/

August 21, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tokyo jolted by third quake in four days

japan-quake
Tokyo was struck by a third quake in four days on Jul 20, but there were no reports of damage or casualties.
1884361

TOKYO – Tokyo was struck by a third earthquake in four days on Wednesday, but there were no reports of damage or casualties.

The 5.0 magnitude jolt was felt in Tokyo and areas of eastern Japan at 7.25am (5.25am Thailand time), the US Geological Survey said.

It was the third quake to shake the capital’s high-rise buildings in recent days — following a 4.8 magnitude quake on Tuesday and one of 5.0 on Sunday — but an official with the Japan Meteorological Agency said they weren’t a precursor of a major jolt.

“This is an area that sees frequent earthquakes” of a moderate size, Nariaki Ohkawara told AFP, adding that the latest quakes were part of that trend.

The epicentre of Wednesday’s quake was east of the capital in Ibaraki prefecture at a depth of about 44 kilometres, the USGS said.

There was no threat of a tsunami, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

Japan sits at the junction of four tectonic plates and experiences a number of relatively violent quakes every year, but rigid building codes and strict enforcement mean even powerful tremors frequently do little damage.

A massive undersea quake that hit in March 2011 sent a tsunami barrelling into Japan’s northeast coast, leaving more than 18,000 people dead or missing, and sending three reactors into meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

In April, two strong earthquakes hit southern Japan’s Kumamoto prefecture followed by more than 1,700 aftershocks, and left 49 dead and caused widespread damage.

The country routinely holds emergency drills to prepare for a major jolt, and the government stepped up its disaster response in the wake of the 2011 devastation.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/asia/1039805/tokyo-jolted-by-third-quake-in-four-days

July 20, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Arnie Gundersen measured 4,000 Bq/kg on a Tokyo street

 

CiHh24LUYAE9ggy.jpg large.jpg

Arnie Gundersen measured 4,000 Bq/kg on a Tokyo street outside METI, Japan nuclear regulator…Olympics anyone?

https://t.co/TREXYQcEo

May 11, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , , | 1 Comment

Over 0.5 μSv/h detected from mud in Shibuya ward Tokyo

Photo-Over-0.5-μSvh-detected-from-mud-in-Shibuya-ward-Tokyo-800x500_c

On 2/4/2016, a Japanese citizen posted on Twitter that 0.51 μSv/h was detected on accumulated mud in Shibuya ward of Tokyo.
The location is 2-17-5 Jingu-mae, Shibuya ward. The area is used as a coin-parking lot. The area is not blockaded.
Source : http://fukushima-diary.com/2016/02/photo-over-0-5-%CE%BCsvh-detected-from-mud-in-shibuya-ward-tokyo/

February 6, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Still 0.88 MBq/km2 of Cs-134/137 falls in Tokyo monthly

Still-0.88-MBqkm2-of-Cs-134137-falls-in-Tokyo-monthly-800x500_c

According to NRA (Nuclear Regulation Authority), Tokyo still has fallout from Fukushima nuclear plant.

From their report released on 8/31/2015, 0.88 MBq/km2 of Cs-134/137 falls onto Tokyo this July. The sampling location was Shinjuku.

The comparable data on Fukushima prefecture is not listed on the same report for some reason.

However the reading of Tokyo includes Cesium-134 at the significant level to prove this is from Fukushima plant.

In Miyagi prefecture, where is in the North of Fukushima prefecture, the fallout level is 0.55 MBq/km2. The fallout density in Tokyo is higher than Miyagi prefecture.

Other nuclide density is not reported.

http://radioactivity.nsr.go.jp/en/contents/11000/10193/24/195_20150831.pdf

Source: Fukushima Diary

http://fukushima-diary.com/2015/09/still-0-88-mbqkm2-of-cs-134137-falls-in-tokyo-monthly/

September 26, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Cs-134/137 measured from Tokyo tap-water

Cs-134137-measured-from-Tokyo-tap-water-SEPT 22, 2015

According to MHLH (Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare), Cs-134/137 has been detected from tap-water of Tokyo since October of 2014. The data is from October 2014 to March 2015. The newer result hasn’t been announced yet.

The sample was collected from the tap of Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Public Health in Shinjuku.

The density was from 0.00178 to 0.003 Bq/Kg. Cs-134 was detected to prove it is from Fukushima plant.

The analysis was implemented by NRA (Nuclear Regulation Authority).

All the other analyses were carried out by Tokyo Metropolitan Government Bureau of Waterworks or municipal governments and the lowest detectable amount was over 0.5 Bq/kg to show none of the actual readings.

imagebot

Click to access 0000082427.pdf


Source: Fukushima Daiichi
http://fukushima-diary.com/2015/09/cs-134137-measured-from-tokyo-tap-water/

 

September 23, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , , , , | 1 Comment