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Radioactive soil spilled over into roads, rivers, during Typhoon Hagibis, report says

A 2017 image of a building in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
Novembre 19, 2019
Japanese media has reported that soil with relatively high concentrations of radioactive contaminants spilled over from forested regions in Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture onto neighboring roads, rivers, and residential areas amid the destruction of Typhoon Hagibis last month. The report is prompting fears of spreading contamination.
Reporting on a study conducted jointly with Shinzo Kimura, an associate professor of radiation hygiene at Dokkyo Medical University, in which soil samples were gathered on Oct. 24-29 from 15 sites in the cities of Minamisoma, Iwaki, Nihonmatsu, and Motomiya in Fukushima Prefecture, the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper said on Nov. 18 that radioactive cesium was detected at levels as high as 5,063 becquerels (Bq, representing the quantity of radioactive material undergoing one disintegration per second) per kilogram. Radioactively contaminated soil in forested regions of Fukushima appeared to have spread to residential areas and roads when Typhoon Hagibis swept through Japan.
The highest concentrations of contaminated soil were found on the roads of Minamisoma’s Odaka District, with testing of soil from the nearby hills showing a reading of 5,063 Bq. The amount is lower than the 8,000 Bq threshold designated by the Japanese government as permissible for radioactive waste. But with a permissible threshold of 100 Bq having been in place before the 2011 nuclear power plant disaster, it may be considered a relatively high concentration in view of the criticisms the Japanese government has faced for “unreasonably” increasing the threshold by 80 times in the wake of the incident in order to encourage residents to return to their homes. Indeed, Odaka District was previously subject to an evacuation order due to damage from the leakage of radioactivity from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in 2011. In 2016, the classification “uninhabitable region” was lifted for all but a few areas.
The Japanese government has undertaken decontamination through the removal of soil and fallen leaves in contaminated parts of Fukushima Prefecture, with a policy approach of encouraging residents to return home once the efforts are completed. But the decontamination has been focused chiefly on areas with a large human presence, including stations, residential areas, and farmland — while many locations within the hills have yet to undergo decontamination efforts. It’s this situation that appears to account for the highest concentrations of contaminated soil being detected in Odaka. Commenting on the contamination levels they had measured, an Odaka resident surnamed Shirahige told the newspaper, “I wouldn’t be surprised if it were 10,000 Bq, given how serious the contamination in the hills has been. What worries me is the possibility of contamination spreading as large volumes of contaminated soil travel into the living zone.”
The Fukushima Preference radioactivity monitoring office told the newspaper, “Decontamination has not been carried out deep in the mountains. Spillage of highly concentrated [radioactive] soil is a concern.”
Levels of 1,470 Bq and 753 Bq were respectively detected in soil from a garden in a Nihonmatsu residential district and in dust in a parking facility. In a downstream area of Haramachi District in Minamisoma, a level of 819 Bq was detected.
Meanwhile, Kyodo News reported the publication of a report by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) on Nov. 18 stating that few effects would result from the full dumping of “treated water” stored at Fukushima Dai-ichi into the ocean and atmosphere over a period of one year. The Japanese government uses the term “treated water” to refer to contaminated water from which all radioactive material apart from tritium has been eliminated with multi-nuclide removal equipment.
Speaking at a Japanese government subcommittee meeting that day to discuss the disposal of treated water from Fukushima Daiichi, METI estimated the additional annual radioactivity emissions from the full release of treated water into the ocean and atmosphere over a one-year period at between 1/1600 and 1/40,000 the daily radiation exposure of 2,100 microsieverts for an average person. This suggests that Tokyo continues moving ever closer to releasing contaminated water from the disabled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the ocean.
By Cho Ki-weon, Tokyo correspondent

November 19, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | 1 Comment

Experts warn against fires from disaster waste after Typhoon Hagibis

Firefighters try to extinguish a fire that broke out in disaster waste piled up at a temporary garbage collection site in Sukagawa, Fukushima Prefecture, on Oct. 20, 2019. (Photo courtesy of the Sukagawa Municipal
November 18, 2019
TOKYO — Two fires broke out in Fukushima Prefecture at temporary collection sites for disaster waste generated by flooding of houses due to Typhoon Hagibis, which lashed eastern Japan in mid-October, prompting experts to urge caution against similar possible incidents.
In both fires in the northeastern Japan prefecture, it is believed that hazardous material among the disaster waste caught fire. As blazes of a different kind also took place several months after disaster waste was generated in the past, one expert warned, “It is necessary to be on the alert against possible fires even several months after a disaster hit.”
One of the two Fukushima Prefecture fires occurred at a temporary collection site for disaster refuse in the prefectural city of Motomiya on the morning of Oct. 17, five days after Typhoon Hagibis made landfall in parts of eastern Japan. After the fire broke out at a site for collecting household appliances, it consumed a total of approximately 4 square meters.
The Ministry of the Environment issued a warning against similar potential blazes the following day. In spite of this, another fire started in a pile of flammable trash at a temporary waste collection site in the prefectural city of Sukagawa on the evening of Oct. 20.
“There is a possibility that hazardous material left among flammable garbage ignited,” said Toshiaki Yanai, head of the city government’s environment division.
Apart from these common flames, there are fires caused by heat accumulation several months after a disaster. Kazuto Endo, a senior official at the Fukushima branch of the National Institute for Environmental Studies, said, “In areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunamis (in 2011), there were at least 30 fires caused by a buildup of heat.”
In the wake of the 2011 disaster, a total of some 31 million metric tons of disaster waste was generated. As there were not enough land lots for temporarily storing the litter, piles of waste soared high in affected regions. In the hardest-hit prefectures of Fukushima, Iwate and Miyagi, a total of 38 fires occurred due to heat accumulation between May 2011 and June 2013.
According to guidelines compiled by a group of experts including Endo immediately after the 2011 quake disaster and other sources, heat accumulation fires are triggered by the following mechanisms:
— Combustible trash put out in the early period of waste collection generates heat as microbes using oxygen actively move around it.
— When the waste is further piled up, it gets compressed by the weight of the trash and heavy machinery such as shovel loaders operated on mountains of rubbish, preventing the heat from being released outside.
— When the piles of garbage soar more than 5 meters high, the speed of heat generation inside the trash overtakes that of the heat released from the surface of the piles, accelerating heat accumulation.
— When a pile of waste stores heat with temperatures of over 80-90 degrees Celsius, oils contained in plants and trees get oxidized and produce heat.
— The higher the temperatures rise, the faster those oils get oxidized and generate heat, eventually catching fire spontaneously.
The guidelines call for keeping a pile of burnable trash no more than 5 meters high and each mountain of waste no more than 200 square meters as part of measures to prevent heat accumulation blazes. The guidelines also urge authorities to maintain the height of perishable trash such as tatami mats at a maximum of 2 meters and allow it to reach no more than 100 square meters in size.
Endo has patrolled areas affected by Typhoon Hagibis and noted, “Some local bodies that had not previously experienced major flooding damage are leaving disaster waste piling up high.” He has thus given guidance to those municipalities to keep their mountains of rubbish lower.
(Japanese original by Takashi Yamashita, Integrated Digital News Center)

November 19, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Dozens of bags of radioactive waste still missing in Fukushima three weeks after intense typhoon

Bags containing radioactive waste are seen in Tamura, Fukushima Prefecture, in this photo taken Oct. 14 after Typhoon Hagibis struck the region earlier in the month.
Nov 4, 2019
TAMURA, FUKUSHIMA PREF. – Dozens of bags containing waste polluted with radioactive substances are still missing in Fukushima Prefecture, three weeks after they were swept away from storage areas in floods triggered by Typhoon Hagibis.
Of the 90 bags originally lost, 36 remain missing. The Environment Ministry, prefectural officials and others are conducting extensive searches but so far they have not had much luck.
In many municipalities in the prefecture, a lot of radioactive waste, including soil, was generated through decontamination work after the 2011 nuclear disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 power plant. Numerous bags containing the waste are kept outdoors in temporary storage areas around the prefecture.
Heavy rains from the 19th typhoon of the year flooded storage space in many locations, sweeping away 44 bags in Kawauchi, 30 in Tamura, 15 in Nihonmatsu and one in Iitate.
By the end of October, 50 bags had been recovered. The contents had leaked from half of them. “We had far heavier rains than we expected. We did not cover bags of radioactive waste,” said an official of the Tamura Municipal Government.
The ministry and other organizations have mobilized 20 to 30 workers to look for the missing bags, wading into rivers when necessary and using drones to search areas that cannot physically be entered.
An aerial survey was conducted by helicopter on Oct. 23. On Friday, 29 workers searched the Furumichi River and areas along it in Tamura. Four bags were collected, but their contents had been lost.
“There has been no confirmation of any environmental impact due to the loss of the bags,” a ministry official said.
“We’ll continue searching in cooperation with local municipalities.”

November 19, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

‘Only’ 91 bags of radioactive waste swept into rivers

To try making us believe that only 91 bags were swept into rivers during the typhoon Hagibis floodings, out of  Fukushima prefecture’s 17 million tons,  is just ludicrous, totally unbelievable.
Nov. 2, 2019
Japan’s Environment Ministry says dozens of bags containing radioactive soil were swept into rivers following a powerful typhoon last month. The dangerous waste was produced as a result of the 2011 nuclear disaster.
The waste has been stockpiled at temporary storage sites in Fukushima and neighboring prefectures.
Officials say they have confirmed that 90 bags in Fukushima and one in Tochigi Prefecture were swept away by Typhoon Hagibis after inspecting all the storage sites.
They say at least 25 of the bags were found empty, meaning that the tainted soil was carried away in floodwaters.
But the officials add that radiation levels around the sites remain unchanged.
They plan to install barriers around the storage sites to prevent further such incidents in addition to looking into what caused the problem.

November 4, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

9 Japan water purification plants flooded by Typhoon Hagibis lacked watertight doors

A worker at a hotel in the Fukushima Prefecture city of Iwaki releases water from a tap on Oct. 24, 2019, after water supplies were resumed on that day following cutoffs caused by Typhoon Hagibis.
October 30, 2019
TOKYO — No watertight doors were installed at nine water purification plants for tap water that were submerged by floods triggered by Typhoon Hagibis in mid-October, although they are situated in areas that local governments assumed could be inundated, the Mainichi Shimbun has learned.
There are at least 578 water purification plants across the country where no flood countermeasures have been taken even though they are situated in areas prone to immersion when flooding occurs. About two weeks after Typhoon Hagibis, a water purification plant in the Chiba Prefecture city of Kamogawa, eastern Japan, was submerged at the time of torrential rain on Oct. 25. It is therefore an urgent task to take countermeasures.
The typhoon, this year’s 19th, cut off water supplies to 163,243 households in 14 prefectures including Tokyo. Of those, some 40% — 63,698 in six cities and towns in the northeastern Japan prefecture of Fukushima and the eastern Japan prefectures of Ibaraki and Tochigi — were left without tap water because a total of 10 local water purification plants were submerged. The 10 facilities include one each in the Fukushima Prefecture cities of Iwaki and Tamura, one in the Ibaraki Prefecture city of Hitachiota, two in the Ibaraki Prefecture town of Daigo, three in the Tochigi Prefecture city of Nasukarasuyama and two in the city of Tochigi.
Nine of the 10 plants, excluding the one in Tamura, are located in areas that prefectural governments have designated as zones that could be inundated under the Flood Control Act, but no watertight doors were installed at any of the facilities.
In Iwaki, where a levee of the Natsui River burst during the typhoon, water supplies were cut off to some 45,000 households at one point. An official of the municipal government’s waterworks bureau admitted that it had not assumed that the city’s water purification plant would be flooded as a result of the river dike bursting.
“We had believed we should prioritize the renovation of our aging water purification equipment and make the facility quake-resistant, and didn’t take any particular measures against typhoons,” said the official. “We thought if muddy water flowed into the facility, we would need to adjust the amount of disinfectant, but never assumed that it would end up under water as a result of the dike bursting.”
When torrential rains hit western Japan in July 2018, some 264,000 households in 80 municipalities in 18 prefectures were left without water because local waterworks facilities including purification plants sustained damage.
This prompted the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry to examine 3,521 major water purification plants across the country. The ministry then found that 758 of such facilities, or 22% of the total, are situated in areas designated as zones prone to floods, and that no anti-flooding measures, such as the installation of watertight doors and floodgates, had been taken at 578, or over 70%, of the 758 facilities. The huge cost of installing watertight doors poses a challenge.
In fiscal 2018, the ministry deemed 147 of these facilities, which could trigger particularly large-scale water supply cuts, in need of emergency countermeasures and began to subsidize one-third the cost of anti-flooding measures to waterworks bodies that lack financial resources.
However, the 10 water purification plants that were inundated in mid-October are not covered by the project.
Masakatsu Miyajima, professor of construction engineering at Kanazawa University, says, “Water purification plants are prone to flooding because they are situated near rivers, and need countermeasures. However, as the finances of waterworks operators are worsening due to the aging of society and depopulation, the national government needs to expand budgets for such programs. Residents should also stockpile water and local bodies should make arrangements for cooperation between themselves over water supplies in emergency cases,” he said.
(Japanese original by Haruna Okuyama and Mei Nanmo, City News Department)
A worker at a hotel in the Fukushima Prefecture city of Iwaki releases water from a tap on Oct. 24, 2019, after water supplies were resumed on that day following cutoffs caused by Typhoon Hagibis. (Mainichi/Mei Nanmo)

November 4, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Area of Fukushima Nuclear Power Station Disaster Badly Impacted By Flooding, High Waves, Landslides

The area of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station is being impacted by high waves, flooding and landslides. Who knows how many more bags of nuclear waste, and more tons of radioactive water will now be at sea, i.e. in the Pacific Ocean.
“Death toll climbs to 10 as heavy rains hit typhoon-ravaged eastern Japan Posted:Sat, 26 Oct 2019 00:34:31 -0400 The death toll from torrential rains that caused flooding and mudslides in eastern Japan reached 10 on Saturday, with three others missing, public broadcaster NHK reported, just two weeks after the region was hit hard by a powerful typhoon“.

November 4, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Heavy rains leave at least 10 dead in Chiba and Fukushima prefectures as rescue efforts continue

Oct 26, 2019
Search and rescue operations continued in eastern Japan on Saturday after torrential rains spurred landslides and flooding in areas still reeling from damage caused by typhoons, authorities said.
At least 10 people were confirmed dead and several others were missing in Chiba and Fukushima prefectures, police and other sources said.
In the city of Chiba, mudslides crushed three houses, killing three people who were buried underneath them. Another mudslide hit a house in the nearby city of Ichihara, killing a woman. Some other bodies were found in submerged cars.
In Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, the body of a woman was found near a beach.
Rescue workers using helicopters continued to search for survivors and winched people to safety after rivers overflowed and submerged vast swaths of land, including roads and railway tracks.
Ichihara saw more than 280 millimeters of rain over a 12-hour period Friday — more than the average monthly total for October — according to the Meteorological Agency.
While rains passed and floodwater subsided, parts of Chiba were still inundated. About 4,700 homes were out of running water and some train services were delayed or suspended. Power was restored Saturday at most of the 6,000 Chiba households that had lost electricity.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held an emergency task force meeting Saturday morning and called for “the utmost effort in rescue and relief operations.” He also urged quick repairs of electricity, water and other essential services to help restore the lives of the disaster-hit residents.
Some flights to Narita Airport were canceled Friday due to the rain, affecting travelers using one of the country’s largest international airports. Around 3,000 people spent the night at the airport as the downpours also disrupted train and bus connections to nearby cities.
A total of 15 rivers have flooded in Chiba Prefecture due to the rains, forcing more than 1,800 people to evacuate, the prefectural government said.
About 1,200 children were stranded at schools and other facilities and stayed overnight there. No children were injured or fell ill, and parents were able to pick them up Saturday, the prefecture said.
The downpour came as a result of a low-pressure system above the main island of Honshu that moved northward later Friday.
Two weeks ago, Typhoon Hagibis caused widespread flooding and left more than 80 people dead across Japan.
Yoshiki Takeuchi, an office worker who lives in a riverside house in the city of Sodegaura, Chiba Prefecture, said he had just finished temporary repairs to his roof after tiles were blown off by Typhoon Faxai in September when Friday’s rain hit.
“I wasn’t ready for another disaster like this. I’ve had enough of this, and I need a break,” he said.

November 4, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

At Least 14 levees broke in Fukushima Prefecture

October 16, 2019
News outlets worldwide are reporting that at least 66 residents of Japan have died as a result of Typhoon Hagibis. Our hearts reach out to the people of Japan and the families of the deceased.
The news coverage from Reuters caught our attention due to its research that Fukushima Prefecture was apparently the region hardest hit by the typhoon. According to the Reuters story entitled: Rescuers slog through mud as Japan typhoon death toll rises to 66:
“The highest toll was in Fukushima prefecture north of Tokyo, where levees burst in at least 14 places along the Abukuma River, which meanders through a number of cities in the largely agricultural prefecture. At least 25 people died in Fukushima, including a mother and child who were caught in flood waters, NHK said…. Residents in Koriyama, one of Fukushima’s larger cities, said they were taken by surprise by the flooding. Police were searching house-to-house to make sure nobody had been left behind or was in need of help.
“The river has never flooded like this before, and some houses have been completely swept away. I think it might be time to redraw hazard maps or reconsider evacuation plans,” said Masaharu Ishizawa, a 26-year-old high school teacher …”
Fukushima prefecture is very mountainous and largely remote. The radioactive fallout, which spread throughout Japan after the three Fukushima nuclear meltdowns in 2011, is impossible to clean up in these inaccessible mountainous areas that lie throughout Fukushima Prefecture. Even in populous Tokyo, more than one-year after the meltdowns, Fairewinds’ research identified randomly selected Soil Samples Would Be Considered Nuclear Waste in the US, which we discussed in the video on Fairewinds’ website.
It is our belief from our ongoing research that the ensuing flooding induced by Typhoon Hagibis is moving significant amounts of radiation from high in the mountains down to cities, towns, and farmland in Japan. Our analysis on several radiation sampling trips to the prefecture proves that there are huge amounts of residual radiation that were previously trapped in the soil.
Now, due to the heavy rain, subsequent river flooding, and burst levees (dams) this radioactive soil is moving and being pushed from the mountains down into more populous areas where people live and crops are grown. Once again it appears that government authorities and rescue organizations are ignoring this new, long-term threat, or have not been apprised by the JAEA (Japan Atomic Energy Agency) and nuclear power industry of the monumental health risks involved.

October 20, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Lies dominates typhoon Hagibis Diet debate response

For bags made to resist only 3 years, they fared incredibly well in this powerful typhoon, that after 8 years, more than double their resistance expectancy….
The lies and cover-up continue:
 Koizumi (Environment Minister) insists that “there won’t be any impact on the environment” regarding radioactive bags swept away by the typhoon.
Koizumi said, “I’ve received reports that large bags that have already been collected were not damaged, so there won’t be any impact on the environment.”

Anyway, the radioactive bags are not the main problem. The main problem is the accumulated radionuclides in the forested hills of Fukushima prefecture, 80% of its land surface. Which have never been decomtaminated. that powerful typhoon has redistributed a lot of those forested hills radiation everywhere…. To be inhaled by people….

The plan is to bring the 17 million tons of radiactive bags scattered allover the Fukushima prefecture to the intermediary storage location build between Okume and Futaba, to separate the debris from the soil, to incinerate the debris, so as to reduce the volume of incinerated debris by 50. To store the resulting high radiation waste for the 30 years before to find somewhere a final storage site, and to recycle the low radiation waste into roads and building construction….

17 million radioactive bags resulting from multiple partial decontamination of the residence areas and some of the agricultural fields, from less than 20% of the Fukushima prefecture land surface. 80%, the forested parts, hills and mountains have never been decontaminated. And from those the accumulated radionuclides are ruisseling down to the previously decontaminated places, recontaminating them, during the raining season, the typhoon redistributing thos radionuclides all over Fukushima and even outside Fukushima to other prefectures. A never ending story.

Typhoon response dominates diet debate
October 15, 2019
The government’s response to Typhoon Hagibis dominated Tuesday’s debate in the Diet.
Opposition lawmakers grilled the government on its handling of the storm, including why radioactive waste produced after the 2011 nuclear disaster was not properly protected.
Multiple bags of waste produced from decontamination efforts flooded into a river in Fukushima.
Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi says local officials found 10 bags that had been swept away by the storm and are investigating whether there are any more.
Koizumi said, “I’ve received reports that large bags that have already been collected were not damaged, so there won’t be any impact on the environment.”
Another issue debated was the management of emergency shelters.
Opposition members pointed out that a municipality in Tokyo did not accept homeless people at some evacuation centers.
Yuko Mori of Democratic Party for the People said, “We should respect the basic human rights of disaster victims and provide necessary facilities for them. That’s a basic principle.”
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe replied, “I think it would be desirable for each evacuation center to properly accept all people. We will examine what really happened with the local governments and take appropriate measures.”

October 20, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima, Beaten Down by Nuclear Disaster, Takes Big Typhoon Hit

Some facilities that had been damaged in 2011 were hit again over the weekend in a region of Japan that can never seem to catch a break.
A woman cleaning out her home in Koriyama, in Fukushima Prefecture, on Sunday. Typhoon Hagibis struck as the Japanese government was eager to declare the region recovered from the 2011 nuclear crisis.
Oct. 15, 2019
KORIYAMA, Japan — For Hiroyoshi Yaginuma, the typhoon may well be the straw that breaks his back.
On Monday, Mr. Yaginuma, 49, a third-generation owner of an auto body shop in Fukushima Prefecture, was cleaning out the wreckage from Typhoon Hagibis, which battered Japan over the weekend and killed more than 70 people. The typhoon had brought record-setting rains that caused a levee to break on a nearby river, unleashing floodwaters that filled the first floor of his building, destroying everything.
It was only two years ago that Mr. Yaginuma finally finished paying off a $185,000 loan he had taken out to rebuild his shop in Koriyama, an industrial city in Fukushima, after it was badly damaged by a devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011.
Fukushima is the name that everyone remembers from that disaster eight years ago. It was in this prefecture that waves from the tsunami overpowered a nuclear power plant’s protective sea walls, setting off a catastrophic meltdown. Tens of thousands of people were evacuated; many have still not returned.
An aerial view of Koriyama on Sunday.
On Monday, as Mr. Yaginuma surveyed the garage floor where demolished equipment and heaps of tires, hubcaps and oil cans were drowning in a mess of mud, he said he wasn’t sure he could summon the energy to rebuild his business all over again.
“I am thinking maybe now this is the end,” he said. “I think there is a possibility that this will be a place where not many people can live anymore.”
Typhoon Hagibis struck as the Japanese government and many municipal leaders were eager to declare Fukushima recovered from the 2011 crisis.
“I am thinking maybe now this is the end,” said Hiroyoshi Yaginuma, the owner of an auto body shop in Koriyama.
Critics have said that narrative was already too rosy. The cleanup at the Daiichi nuclear plant is far from complete. The government has yet to decide what to do with more than one million tons of contaminated water stored in close to 1,000 tanks on the site.
Soil scraped from land that was exposed to radiation in the days after the nuclear accident is still stored in millions of industrial-strength plastic bags all over the prefecture. In the city of Tamura, the floodwaters displaced an unknown number of these bags from a temporary storage area, although 10 bags were later recovered undamaged.
Now the region will have to undergo a more intensive cleanup to recover from the typhoon, especially as a stadium 55 miles west of the Daiichi plant prepares to host baseball during the Tokyo Summer Olympics next year.
Storage tanks holding contaminated water at the Daiichi nuclear power plant last year.
The storm inundated several communities throughout Fukushima with floodwaters from the Abukuma River. According to NHK, the public broadcaster, 25 people died in Fukushima because of the typhoon.
Some facilities that had been damaged in 2011 in Koriyama, less than 45 miles from the nuclear plant, were hit again over the weekend. A hospital that was knocked out for two months by the earthquake, for example, flooded this time around.
On Monday, many neighborhoods were still underwater. Where the waters had receded, residents and business owners went back to retrieve what little was salvageable.
In an industrial park off the banks of the Abukuma, couches, bookshelves, desks and office chairs sat along roadsides, awaiting garbage pickup. As rain fell again, workers hosed down walls and mopped up floors.
Workers checking a power line in Koriyama
At Sanko Mokuzai, a company that sells wood stoves and lumber, the chief executive, Toshiyuki Iwasaki, 63, joined several workers to load water-damaged wood panels onto a flatbed truck.
The Fukushima nuclear disaster had already forced him to find another source of timber after the government forbade sales of lumber harvested from the prefecture over radiation fears.
Yet even with the pileup of natural and man-made disasters, he said he could not afford to move because of local connections built over the company’s 50-year history.
“If I have to move,” Mr. Iwasaki said, “I will have to abandon my business.”
Still, he said he had little appetite for some of the government cheerleading for Fukushima’s recovery.
“I don’t really have any ambitions for Fukushima,” he said. “We just have to do what we need for ourselves. We are not really thinking, Let’s do this for Fukushima.”
Although the region’s population overall has dropped and those over 65 now account for close to a third of the population, Fukushima’s plight has attracted a few new residents who hope it might still be revived.
Naohisa Fujita, 46, and his wife, Yumi, 34, said they had moved to Koriyama from Nagano in 2013 because they wanted to help the people of the region.
Yasuko Kokubun found her daughter’s wedding album intact as she cleaned her house after the typhoon.
Early Monday morning, Mr. Fujita, who works in home maintenance and renovation, got a chance to help someone directly. When he and two other residents took a boat to inspect the damage from the typhoon’s floods in their neighborhood, they rescued an older man and his son who were stranded inside their home.
The Fujitas said they were anxious about how soon they could move back to their flooded first-floor rental apartment after cleaning it out. They acknowledged they might have to find a new place to live.
Still, Ms. Fujita was determined that they stay in Koriyama. “We have to work to make this place livable,” she said.
In 2011, about 9,100 people who had lived in villages elsewhere in Fukushima evacuated to Koriyama. Many of them put down roots and stayed.
But about 10,000 Koriyama residents decided to leave in the aftermath of the nuclear meltdown.
Those who remained have built up a resilience in the face of repeated setbacks.
“There is the disaster fatigue of these people who have been hit by all these disasters,” said Kyle Cleveland, a professor of sociology at the Tokyo campus of Temple University, who has written extensively about the response of Fukushima communities to the 2011 nuclear crisis.
“But I think it tends to breed a sense of fatalism,” he added.
That sense of resignation could be felt at Takase Elementary School in Koriyama, where about 400 people sought shelter from the typhoon and more than 230 remained on Monday.
Yukari Yoshinari, 22, who was there with her husband and 2-month-old son, as well as her older sister and her family, was overwhelmed but stoic about the flooding of her home.
Members of the Yoshinari and Yamanobe families were evacuated to an elementary school.
Sitting on the floor of the gym on cardboard mats covered with thin foam pads, Ms. Yoshinari, who is on maternity leave from her job as a caregiver at a nursing home, and her sister, Satomi Yamanobe, 24, folded clothes they had taken to a local laundromat.
Two nights as evacuees had been taxing. The baby had trouble sleeping with bright lights on all night. There were no diapers and only minimal food. When the Yoshinaris went to inspect their home, the floodwaters still came to their hips and they could see that their electronic appliances, tatami straw floor mats and furniture had been destroyed.
But there was no question of moving out of Koriyama. “I have grown up here,” said Ms. Yoshinari, as she rocked her son, Ayuto, to sleep on her shoulder. “It would take too much courage to leave.”
“But,” she added, “I would not recommend anyone else to move into Koriyama.”

October 20, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment