June 17, Friday

Posted by Chika On 2:51 PM
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Taste Japan! Charity for Tohoku!

[Date] 17th June, 6pm to 9pm
[Venue] The Japan Foundation, London

Tasiting Japanese Sake, Food and Sweets
There would be a variety of sake including ‘Ginjo’ (premium sake; e.g. Uragasumi Junmai Ginjo) and foods including teriyaki chicken & salmon, ebi-furai (Fried prawn), gyoza(Fried Dumplings), kara-age, coroquette, edamame(parboiled immature soybeans), onigiri(rice ball), salmon-maki(sushi roll), kappa-maki(sushi roll)!
source : actionforjapan-uk.net


Bulletins from NHK Online
source : www3.nhk.or.jp

Friday, June 17, 2011 04:55
Leaking water may delay decontamination
At the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant leaking water is threatening to delay full operation of a system to decontaminate highly radioactive water.
The operator of the plant, Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, had been planning to start full operation of the water treatment system on Friday. It has been carrying out a final test runs.

But a US-made device to remove radioactive materials -- such as cesium -- automatically stopped running on Thursday evening due to leaking water.
The utility company says it is examining the cause of the trouble and trying to fix the problem, but that the suspension may delay full-scale operation of the water treatment system.
Treatment of the contaminated water is key to controlling the nuclear crisis.
The highly radioactive water is building up at a rate of 500 tons a day as fresh water is being poured onto the reactors to cool them down.
The main facility to store radioactive water reached capacity on Thursday, and any delay in launching the treatment system could cause contaminated water to overflow in 10 days.
Full operation of the water treatment system is a precondition of the company's plan to use the water to continuously cool down the reactors.
TEPCO announced its road map 2 months ago to solve the nuclear crisis, and it is to review progress and the timetable on Friday.
. . . at 12:48
Leak source identified at Fukushima Daiichi pant
Tokyo Electric Power Company says that a damaged valve caused a water leak in a system to decontaminate the highly radioactive water accumulating in the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The utility is making efforts to restore the newly installed water treatment system.
The system's final test run was suspended on Thursday night after water was found leaking from a US-made device that removes radioactive cesium. The device is one of the major components of the system.
Company officials found that an air ventilation valve in one of the containers comprising the device had been damaged. They also discovered that a water valve in another container was closed. They concluded that contaminated water inside the cesium removal device had escaped through the air valve, resulting in the leak.
The company is now replacing the damaged valve.
It plans to resume the test run as soon as possible and start full-scale operation of the decontamination system within Friday as initially planned.
Tokyo Electric says the system is essential to its efforts to reduce the amount of highly radioactive water accumulating in the plant. It is feared that the water could overflow in around 10 days.

Friday, June 17, 2011 08:26
Govt to upgrade economic assessment
The government is set to upgrade its basic assessment of the Japanese economy for the first time in 4 months. It is citing a recovery in corporate production and exports from the effects of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami for the upturn.
The government is scheduled to release its monthly economic report for June after reporting its assessment to the Cabinet on Monday.
In its monthly economic report for April, the government revised downward its economic evaluation for the first time in 6 months due to the negative impact of the disaster. It kept the assessment unchanged for May.
Sources say the government's upcoming monthly report reflects its assessment that the domestic economy has recovered somewhat from the slump following the disaster.
Improvement in the supply chains for parts, which were disrupted by the disaster, has led to the recovery in output and exports. Also, the drop in personal consumption is slowing.
At the same time, the government continues to assert that the Japanese economy remains in a difficult state due to rising corporate bankruptcies and unemployment as a result of the disaster.

Friday, June 17, 2011 10:05
TEPCO account of first 5 days
Tokyo Electric Power Company has compiled a document on what happened at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant during the first 5 days after the March 11th earthquake and tsunami trigged the nuclear accident.
The approximately 50-page document chronicles in detail the events that took place at the plant, centering on reactors 1, 2 and 3, as well as TEPCO's responses.
The document includes photos taken inside the nuclear complex and testimony by workers dealing with the accident.
It shows workers in a central control room on the night of March 11th amid a total power outage trying to secure power for their gauges using vehicle-mounted batteries.
The document describes how the need for workers to wear air cylinders and masks lengthened the task of checking the pumps in the No.2 reactor building to nearly one hour, although it normally takes about 10 minutes.
It also shows the state of the reactor buildings after hydrogen explosions and damage inside the buildings caused by the earthquake and tsunami.
The document will soon be made public.

Friday, June 17, 2011 13:13
New road map focuses on worker health
A revised road map for stabilizing the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant will feature new measures to ensure the health of personnel working amid high radioactivity.
Tokyo Electric Power Company will release a revised version of its road map later on Friday, 2 months after the first one.
New sections on radiation management and worker health will be added to measures aimed at cooling down and stabilizing the reactors and dealing with the massive amount of radioactive water flooding the facilities.
The introduction of the new measures follows revelations that workers may have been exposed to radiation at levels beyond government-set emergency limits.
The move imposes stricter controls on working hours and creates a system that will automatically record workers' exposure to radiation. It will also increase the number of devices used to check possible internal exposure.
More medical doctors will be on duty round the clock at the site, and new rest facilities for workers will be added.

Friday, June 17, 2011 13:13
Govt to help debtors, lenders for reconstruction
The government has approved a plan to help debtors and lenders making efforts to rebuild in areas affected by the March 11th disaster.
The plan approved on Friday aims to ease the growing concerns of people in serious debt in the disaster-hit areas. Many small-business owners and individuals are finding it necessary to borrow money on top of their existing loans.
Under the plan, financial institutions and independent administrative agencies will set up a new fund, which will purchase the debts of small businesses owned by financial institutions.
The plan is expected to include tax breaks for financial institutions that exempt the repayment of housing loans for individuals. The government will set up new guidelines to help lenders do this.
The government hopes to include the cost of implementing the plan in this year's second supplementary budget.

Friday, June 17, 2011 13:58
Parents search for mementos of their children
Parents of kindergarten children killed in the March 11th earthquake and tsunami are searching for mementos of their loved ones in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture.
Airi Sato and 4 other children were in a kindergarten bus that was swept away by the tsunami.
On Friday, Airi's mother, Mika, visited the site where her daughter's body was discovered. Police and Self-Defense Force troops are conducting an extensive operation to search for the missing and remove the debris. Saturday will mark the 100th day since the disaster.
Mika and the other parents removed the plastic sheets that covered the site to search for their children's belongings.
Mika said it is very difficult for her to accept her daughter's death, but she realizes she will have to do this to keep moving forward.

Friday, June 17, 2011 16:49
Fukushima City expands radiation checks
Fukushima City has begun monitoring radiation levels at more than 1,000 additional sites to respond to its residents' concerns about possible contamination after the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The capital of Fukushima Prefecture is about 50 kilometers northwest of the crippled plant.
The city has been monitoring radiation levels at around 160 places, including parks and schools, and released the results on its website.
On Friday, 1,045 locations, including roads in residential areas, were added to the check list, to respond to residents' demands for more information about radiation levels.
At a road near a park, 2 officials checked radiation levels one centimeter, 50 centimeters and one meter above the ground.
They said the levels were below the official limits.
The head of the city's environment division said he hopes the intensified monitoring will help to ease residents' concerns.
Fukushima City will check radiation levels again on Monday and will release the results next Thursday.
福島市が放射線量の一斉調査 / 福島市:放射線量

Friday, June 17, 2011 18:28
Power Fed. chief wants nuke plants restarted soon
The head of the Federation of Electric Power Companies in Japan says he will seek the understanding of regional municipalities for an early restart of nuclear plant operations.
Many prefectures, cities and towns that host nuclear plants are reluctant to accept the resumption of facilities that were suspended for routine inspections before the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Federation Chairman Makoto Yagi 八木誠 also addressed moves by regional utilities to ask businesses and households to reduce energy consumption during the summer due to expected power shortages.
He apologized for the utilities' failure to fulfill their biggest duty of ensuring stable supplies.
Yagi said the power federation is critically aware of the need to avert mass blackouts, and will do its best to achieve the restart of nuclear plants that are now offline.
Yagi also referred to recent calls to separate power generation and transmission services, so that new businesses can enter the market now dominated by regional utilities.
The Federation chairman said the existing setup was created to meet the nation's needs at the time of its introduction. He said the good and bad points of splitting the 2 services should be considered after studying how a similar system works in the US and Europe.

Friday, June 17, 2011 19:48
TEPCO announces revised reactor cooling plan
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has released a revised plan that sets a one-month target for cooling down the reactors. Measures to control workers' exposure to radiation were also added for the first time.
Officials of Tokyo Electric Power Company briefed reporters on Friday. It was the utility's 2nd monthly review of a roadmap that was originally released in mid-April.
Under the revised plan, TEPCO says it hopes to cool the disabled reactors by decontaminating radioactive water and reusing it as coolant. The utility says pools of spent fuel will also be cooled to stable levels during the same timeframe.
The revised roadmap features a new section on radiation control and improving working conditions at the plant ahead of the summer season. This follows recent revelations of workers being exposed to radiation levels above the government-mandated safety limit.
The new section calls for stricter controls on working hours, automatic recording of workers' exposure levels, and installing more equipment to measure internal exposure. TEPCO says it will also employ more doctors around the clock and increase the number of rest facilities.
The revised plan calls for further study on ways to prevent groundwater contamination at the plant. The utility says it will attempt to safely store radioactive waste that is produced during the processing of contaminated water.

Friday, June 17, 2011 20:51
Water decontamination system goes online
A system to decontaminate highly radioactive water has gone into service at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The system is considered key to dealing with the build-up of contaminated water that is hampering work to bring the reactors under control.
Tokyo Electric Power Company activated the system on Friday evening after conducting final test-runs. The utility earlier found water leaking from one of the system's 4 components -- a US-made cesium absorption device -- forcing the test-runs to be called off on Thursday.
... Stable operations of the decontaminators will now be important, as the system has suffered glitches both before and during the test-runs.


Voices from around

. Daily Radiation Levels .  

. . . . .

Japan Times :

Evacuation urged for radioactive hot spots
The government says it will recommend the evacuation of residents living in radioactive hot spots outside the no-entry zone around the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

Disaster volunteer injury insurance claims soar
Insurance claims filed by volunteers who were injured while helping people in areas hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami have reached about 260 and are climbing, insurers say.

Panel evaluates Tepco assets to assure redress footing
The government launches a panel to streamline the operations of beleaguered Tokyo Electric Power Co. and evaluate its financial assets as it prepares to pay massive compensation for the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

Spent-fuel pool never dried up, U.S. admits
Water used to cool spent fuel at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant did not dry up, as earlier feared, U.S. regulators said Wednesday, in a reversal of a claim that pitted U.S. officials against Japan in the days after the March 11 calamity.
. U.S. officials, most notably Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko, had warned that all the water was gone from the spent-fuel pool at unit 4 of the troubled complex, which would have raised the possibility of widespread nuclear fallout. Loss of cooling water in the reactor core could have also exposed highly radioactive fuel rods, increasing the threat of a complete fuel meltdown and a catastrophic release of radiation.
. Japanese officials had denied the pool was dry and said that the plant's condition was stable.
... U.S. officials never have fully explained why Jaczko made the claim but said it was based on information from NRC staff and other experts who went to Japan after the quake and tsunami.

Kepco under fire for power threat
Kansai Electric Power Co. is still drawing fire for asking local governments and businesses to cut power use 15 percent this summer to help it cope with the shutdown of four nuclear reactors for inspections.
... "Kepco needs to provide more information about how it arrived at its decision that a 15 percent cut is necessary. But Kyoto Prefecture will institute energy-saving measures that will reduce electricity consumption by up to 17 percent during the peak August period," Kyoto Gov. Keiji Yamada said Tuesday.

Kansai mulls own nuke nightmare vulnerability

Ishinomaki can't tally March 11 missing

2,770 remain listed as missing in Ishinomaki.
Although some 500 corpses have been found in the city, municipal officials said they stopped updating the tally after April 4, as they determined that duplications and omissions of some of the missing rendered it inaccurate.

Foreign visitors in May dipped 50%

Parties divided over specific steps to ease tsunami victims' debts

Don't count Ozawa out until he is

Shareholders get down to Cool Biz

Quake-proof building makers prepare for bigger shock

Hitachi cuts power-system sales goal

Debt problem for survivors
As people in northeastern Japan devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami are struggling to start their life anew, they are facing a big financial problem — that is — their debts. They are obligated to repay loans taken out in the past on what are now destroyed or damaged residences or business facilities; now they must take out new loans to build new residences or business facilities.
..... Local financial institutions have an estimated outstanding balance of loans worth some ¥2.8 trillion. Many people have to pay back their loans even though they have lost property they had acquired after taking out the loans.

Triple disaster proves need for an industrial revolution

Some three months since the colossal earthquake and tsunami in eastern Japan, stricken areas are getting on track for recovery with local industrial production capacity having been restored to as much as 90 percent of pre-disaster levels.
... The triple calamity of a massive quake, tsunami and a nuclear power plant crisis inflicted enormous damage along the northeastern coast of Japan, while providing a number of precious lessons. The foremost lesson is that the disasters have brought home to us the urgent need to make changes in our industrial civilization.
... Our industrial civilization should be aimed at promoting the recycling of resources, an orientation toward nature, public safety and the enrichment of human values.


Result of the second Japan-EU English Haiku Contest
under the theme of "KIZUNA-bonds of friendship" 
June 8, 2011

after the earthquake
looking for a lesson in
how to make a crane

(Grzegorz Sionkowski, Poland)

A thawing road
It extends to Tohoku
Iris bonds

(Yui Maeda, Kagoshima, Japan)

Golden Week–
tourists head for stricken area–

(Yasumasa Koiwai, Kagoshima, Japan)

Japan's darkest hours
rescue teams and dogs
from Heidi's countries

(Yuji Hayashi, Fukuoka, Japan)

source : www.mofa.go.jp



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