June 6, Monday

Posted by Chika On 2:49 PM
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Haiku Jam -
one of a limited edition series of six haiku jams each featuring haiku by Alan Summers with Japanese translations by Hidenori Hiruta.
The haiku jam can be eaten or just placed on a mantlepiece or shelf as a work of art made by cultural forager and artist poet Paul Conneally.

Haiku Jam
To Raise Money For Japan Earthquake Charity
source : www.allvoices.com

Gabi - we are with you in spirit

this hedgerow
strung with stars
elderflower wine

. Paul .
Haiku Jam - Six Labels

haiku jam
for Fukushima -
blackberries in bloom


Gabi reports:

Okada proposes grand coalition for disaster relief
Kan determined to pass important bills
dairenritsu 大連立 great coalition
Opposition tells Kan to step down in June
Edano seeks cooperative deal with opposition
and more
. The Political Situation .


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

Monday, June 06, 2011 05:13
Cesium in seawater near No. 3 reactor falling
The operator of the crippled nuclear power plant in Fukushima says the levels of radioactive materials in seawater near the Number 3 reactor are at their lowest since the accident.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says it detected 1.2 becquerels of radioactive cesium-134 per cubic centimeters in seawater samples taken on Saturday.
The level is 20 times the national legal limit. TEPCO also found 1.3 becquerels of cesium-137, 14 times the limit. Both substances were found to be at their lowest levels since the accident.
At the same location near the water intake of the Number 3 reactor, cesium at 32,000 times the legal limit was detected on May 11th.
In seawater samples taken near the water intake of the Number 2 reactor, the concentration of radioactive iodine rose to 160 times the limit on Saturday, up from 43 times the limit on Friday.
TEPCO says it detected radioactive cesium twice to 3 times higher than the national limit at 2 of the 4 survey points, including the one near the water drainage gate of the Number 5 and Number 6 reactors.
Surveys far out to sea were cancelled due to bad weather conditions.
TEPCO says levels of radioactive materials are on a downward trend at all survey locations. But the company will continue to carefully monitor levels in coastal waters.

Monday, June 06, 2011 05:13
Workers at Fukushima plant treated for dehydration
Two workers at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have been treated for dehydration at a hospital.
With 9 workers getting heatstroke, Tokyo Electric Power Company says it will take more measures to ensure the health of workers at the plant.
TEPCO said the 2 workers were installing cables near a nuclear waste disposal facility. Both are contract workers in their 40s. They were sent to a clinic inside the plant on Sunday morning after they said they felt unwell. TEPCO said they were later sent to a hospital in Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture, where they were treated for dehydration.
TEPCO said no radioactivity was detected, but one worker was advised to stay in hospital for about a week, and the other to stay home for 3 days.
The company said it is advising workers to wear vests containing cooling gels underneath the gear that protects against radiation, but that one of the 2 workers was not wearing a vest.
As the weather becomes hotter, the working environment at the plant will become tougher for workers wearing protective suits.
TEPCO plans to improve working conditions by setting up new rest areas and securing 2,500 cooling vests.

Monday, June 06, 2011 05:13
Disposal of radioactive debris to go ahead
A panel on nuclear waste disposal has decided to allow municipalities to burn highly radioactive debris if they have incinerators that can remove radioactive substances.
The panel was set up by the environment ministry. Members of the expert panel made the decision on Sunday.
The ministry measured radioactive substances on debris inside Fukushima Prefecture at collection posts, excluding areas such as those in a 20-kilometer radius no-entry zone. It had already decided to allow 10 municipalities where radiation levels are relatively low to resume usual methods of disposal, such as burning and burying.
On Sunday the panel discussed ways to dispose of highly radioactive debris in the areas.
The participants agreed, in principle, to allow municipalities to burn debris highly contaminated with radioactive substances if their incinerators have filters or electric dust cleaners to remove the substances.
The environment ministry will inform these municipalities of the decision by the end of June, after checking the capabilities of each facility.
The panel also agreed that the ministry and the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency should measure the radioactivity of debris inside the 20-kilometer radius no-entry-zone and evacuation zones where monitoring has not been conducted.

Monday, June 06, 2011 05:13
TEPCO mulls ways to cut humidity in No.2 reactor
The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says it will try to reduce humidity inside the Number 2 reactor building.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says humidity and high radiation levels mean workers can work only for short periods of time even if they wear protective gear.
TEPCO says it plans to reduce the amount of radioactive materials inside the reactor building and then open the doors to lower humidity, now at 99.9 percent. The decision came after the failure of its initial attempt to bring down the humidity level. The company initially thought vapor from a storage pool of spent nuclear fuel was responsible for the high humidity. It installed a device to cool down the water. The device cooled down the water but failed to reduce the humidity.
At the Number 1 reactor, a device to reduce radioactive substances was installed in May. But TEPCO says the device needs to be adjusted for the Number 2 reactor since it has low resistance to humidity.
It is possible that radioactive substances will leak out of the Number 2 reactor building once the doors are open. TEPCO says it will make a final decision after carefully assessing the levels of radioactivity.
Work to fix a water level gauge was supposed to begin as early as mid-June, to help ensure stable cooling. But there may be a delay if the company cannot reduce the humidity.

Monday, June 06, 2011 07:53
Memorial for quake victims at Westminster Abbey
A memorial service for the victims of the March 11th natural disaster in northeastern Japan was held at Westminster Abbey in London on Sunday.
About 2,000 Londoners and Japanese who live in Britain gathered to pray for the victims.
The Dean of Westminster Abbey, Reverend John Hall, led the prayer for those who lost their loved ones, homes or jobs.
Then there was a reading of a poem by Kenji Miyazawa called " Ame ni mo Makezu" or "Be not defeated by the rain". The poet was from Iwate prefecture, where the damage is extensive.
British musicians performed on Japanese drums.
Japanese ambassador to Britain Keiichi Hayashi said the number of participants shows how deeply people grieve for the dead and want to encourage those affected by the disaster.

Monday, June 06, 2011 10:51
Temporary housing construction lagging in Iwate
Most of the property in Iwate Prefecture on which temporary housing for survivors of the March 11th tsunami will be built has been secured.
More than 25,000 people are still living in evacuation centers in the prefecture. The prefectural government says it still needs to build 14,000 units but it has been having difficulty in procuring land.
Under the existing law, any new construction is not allowed in areas hit by tsunami. As a result, there is not enough public land on high ground to build all the temporary houses.
The local government recently decided to rent land from the private sector so that it could complete enough temporary houses by early July.
So far, it has completed 7,000 temporary houses.
The construction of temporary housing is also underway in neighboring Miyagi and Fukushima Prefectures.

Monday, June 06, 2011 12:04
Tokyo city office begins daylight saving time
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has introduced daylight saving time ahead of expected power shortages this summer.
The city office began the staggered work hours on Monday morning with the first shift starting at 7:30 and ending at 4:15.
The government aims to cut power consumption by 25 percent at its headquarters in central Tokyo with 9,500 employees.
It will expand the measure to other workplaces with a total of 25,000 employees including branch offices.
One woman on the morning shift said the commuter train was less crowded and that she was more alert as a result.
Another employee said he was able to take his child to nursery school thanks to the early shift and that they will be able to spend more time together after he returns home.
Several employees have been assigned to go around the office in the early evening to make sure no one is working overtime. Employees are being asked to work more efficiently within their regular hours.

Monday, June 06, 2011 12:36
TEPCO tests filtering system at Fukushima plant
Tokyo Electric Power Company is testing a filtering system to decontaminate highly radioactive water that continues flooding outside the reactors of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
TEPCO is checking to ensure the system works properly ahead of putting it into use on June 15th.
Decontamination of the water is necessary before TEPCO moves it elsewhere and achieves its ultimate goal of stabilizing the reactors.
More than 105,000 tons of highly radioactive water is estimated to be flooding the basements of reactor- and turbine buildings of the plant.
The volume continues to grow at a pace of 500 tons a day. It is thought that water injected into the reactors to keep them cool is leaking through cracks in the reactor containment vessels.
TEPCO warns that the contaminated water may overflow the tunnel outside the No. 2 reactor as early as June 20th.
Starting on June 15th, the utility hopes to decontaminate the water and transfer it to temporarily-installed tanks before returning it to reactors as a coolant.
Two tanks arrived near the plant on Monday. A total of 270 tanks, which have a combined capacity of 30,000 tons, will be installed at the plant.

Monday, June 06, 2011 13:51
Soil sampling begins in Fukushima
Japan's science ministry has begun a prefecture-wide examination in Fukushima to check for radioactive contamination in the soil from the disabled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The ministry began taking soil samples on Monday as part of efforts to produce a map outlining radiation contamination in the prefecture. The study involves direct sampling of soil for the first time. Until now, the ministry has been measuring soil contamination from airplanes.
About 80 experts from 35 universities and laboratories across the country are taking part.
Three experts visited a district in Nihonmatsu City on Monday morning and took soil samples from more than 6 centimeters deep.
Samples will be taken every 4 square kilometers in areas within 80 kilometers of the nuclear plant and every 100 square kilometers in areas further away.
The radiation levels in more than 2,200 sections of the prefecture will appear in the map.
The ministry plans to complete the study by the end of this month and release the results in August.

Monday, June 06, 2011 13:51
Beauty salon opens in tsunami-hit town
A beauty salon has opened in a devastated northeastern Japanese town with equipment donated by beauticians from across the country.
The new salon in a hotel in Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture, is named "Kizuna," meaning "bond". Mirrors, chairs and other items were donated by beauticians through a support organization of beauty salons.
Seven hairdressers from Ofunato and neighboring Rikuzentakata resumed work for the first time since losing their shops in the disaster 3 months ago.
Manager Akiko Hirasaka said that thanks to their fellow beauticians, they were able to open the salon as their first step toward reconstruction. She said she will work toward the goal of re-opening her own shop one day.
The March 11th earthquake and tsunami affected more than 120 beauty salons in Iwate Prefecture. The support organization intends to open another beauty salon in the prefecture.

Monday, June 06, 2011 14:51
TEPCO chairman resigns as BOJ Counsellor
The chairman of the operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has resigned as a Counsellor of the Bank of Japan.
Japan's central bank says Tokyo Electric Power Company Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata stepped down on Saturday. Katsumata assumed the post in 2008. 勝俣恒久
BOJ counsellors advise on the bank's operations.They are typically scholars or business people with expertise in certain fields.
They offer counseling about once a month and are paid hundreds of dollars per session.

Monday, June 06, 2011 16:30
Economic assessment lower for 2nd straight quarter
Japan's Finance Ministry has downgraded its assessment of the country's economy for the 2nd quarter in a row, citing the aftereffects of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
The ministry convened the chiefs of its 11 regional bureaus on Monday to hear reports on economic conditions in their areas between January and March.
The meeting was scheduled for April but was postponed due to the disaster.
The bureau chiefs said production of automobiles and other items plunged in Tohoku and Kanto because the disaster has disrupted supply chains.
They also reported declines in personal spending, such as slower sales at department stores and growing cancellations of trips.
The ministry concluded that the nationwide economy is showing signs of weakness. It also downgraded the economic assessment for 7 of the 11 regions.
It forecasts that the disaster will continue to pose a negative impact for the time being, but expects that the economy will recover once supply chains are restored and consumer sentiment improves.

Monday, June 06, 2011 16:30
Fukushima students enjoy indoor swimming
While concerns remain over the disabled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, students from elementary schools in the region enjoyed swimming at an indoor pool to avoid possible radiation.
Two elementary schools in Tamura City started swimming classes on Monday using a city-run indoor pool located 20 kilometers from the school.
More than 50 students were taken by bus. They first sprayed water on each other, and then practiced swimming for about 30 minutes.
The city is located within the expanded 30-kilometer zone where residents have been asked to prepare for an emergency evacuation.
After the nuclear accident, 29 local municipalities have banned outdoor swimming classes at elementary and junior high schools to minimize the effects of radiation on children.

Monday, June 06, 2011 17:15
Emergency measures urged for Fukushima students
The opposition New Komeito Party has urged the government to put into practice emergency measures to protect children in Fukushima prefecture from exposure to radiation.
A party official submitted a series of proposals to the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Tetsuro Fukuyama on Monday. 福山哲郎
It criticized the government for its poor judgment and failure to alleviate problems in the prefecture even 3 months after the March 11 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
They also urged the government to take steps that would allow all children in the prefecture to carry radiation monitors.
In addition, the party called on the government to carry out periodic health checks on the children.
It says the government should be responsible for promptly removing contaminated surface soil in school playgrounds and also removing radioactive substances in parks and streets.

Monday, June 06, 2011 18:15
Naraha town residents make short home visit
The last group of evacuees from the no-entry zone around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant briefly returned home on Monday.
Residents of Naraha town became the last of the 9 municipalities within the government-designated no-entry zone to return to their homes since the program began on May 10th. Their home visit was postponed, due to rain from last week's typhoon.
59 residents from 36 households living about 15 kilometers from the crippled nuclear power plant gathered at a gymnasium to put on protective clothing before boarding buses to enter the zone.
Following a 2-hour stay at their homes, residents returned to the gymnasium carrying their summer clothes and other personal belongings.
The remaining 300 town residents from about 170 households will make similar visits to their homes till Thursday.

Monday, June 06, 2011 18:46
Furukawa hopes to speak to quake-hit area
A Japanese astronaut preparing for his first mission to the International Space Station says he wants to communicate with people in the devastated areas in northeastern Japan.
On Monday, 2 days before the launch of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft that will take him into space, Satoshi Furukawa 古川聡 attended a news conference near the Russian space center in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. He was accompanied by an American astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut.
Furukawa said he hopes those suffering from the 3/11 disaster in northeastern Japan will achieve the earliest possible recovery.
He said it would be good to speak to people in the disaster areas from the International Space Station.
Furukawa said he will do all he can to complete his 5-month mission aboard the International Space Station.
The Soyuz is scheduled to blast off at 5:12 AM on Wednesday, Japan time.

Monday, June 06, 2011 19:56
Highly radioactive debris found at Fukushima plant
Highly radioactive debris is still hampering the operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant from bringing its reactors under control, almost 3 months after the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
On Monday, a piece of debris about 5 centimeters in diameter with radiation levels of 950 millisieverts per hour was removed from the west side of the Number 3 reactor building. It had been found on Saturday.
In May, debris with a radiation dose of 1,000 millisieverts per hour was discovered in the area, while rubble contaminated with 900 millisieverts per hour was found in April.
Tokyo Electric Power Company has so far removed about 280 containers of radioactive debris, but radiation levels still remain high near the reactor building that was badly damaged by a hydrogen explosion.
TEPCO is also struggling to handle highly radioactive water. More than 100,000 tons of contaminated water is believed to have accumulated in the basements of the reactor and turbine buildings.
TEPCO plans to begin a decontamination process on June 15th. Preparations are under way. The utility tested a device on Monday that will filter radioactive sediment from the water.

Monday, June 06, 2011 21:03
No.1 reactor vessel damaged 5 hours after quake
Japan's nuclear regulator says the meltdown at one of the Fukushima reactors came about 5 hours after the March 11th earthquake, 10 hours earlier than initially estimated by the plant's operator.
The government's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency on Monday issued the results of its analysis of data given to it by Tokyo Electric Power Company.
The report says the fuel rods in the Number 1 reactor began to be exposed 2 hours after the earthquake due to the loss of the reactor's cooling system in the tsunami. Its fuel rods may have melted down 3 hours later, causing the damage to the reactor. This means the meltdown occurred about 10 hours earlier than TEPCO estimated last month.
The nuclear agency also says a meltdown damaged the Number 2 reactor about 80 hours after the quake, and the Number 3 reactor 79 hours after the quake.
The agency's analysis shows that the Number 2 reactor damage came 29 hours earlier than the TEPCO estimate, and the Number 3 reactor damage came 13 hours later than in the utility's assessment.
The agency says the total amount of radioactive iodine 131 and cesium 137 released from the Numbers 1, 2 and 3 reactors for the 6 days from March 11th is estimated at 770,000 terabecquerels.
That is about twice the figure mentioned in April when the agency upgraded the severity of the accident to the highest level of 7 on an international scale.
The agency attributes the discrepancies to the assumption that radioactive substances might have been released from the Number 2 reactor containment vessel as well as from its suppression chamber.

Monday, June 06, 2011 22:00
Govt. document shows offsite center dysfunctional
An internal document from Japan's nuclear safety agency reveals that an emergency response office was nearly dysfunctional at the time of the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant on March 11th.
NHK has obtained a document from the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency that shows how the office, called an "off-site center" failed to function properly due to a rise in radiation levels in the wake of a power outage.
Off-site centers were established at 22 locations near nuclear power plants throughout the country after a criticality accident in 1999 at a nuclear fuel processing plant in Tokai Village in Ibaraki Prefecture.
Officials of the national and local governments, police and Self-Defense Forces were to gather at these offices in the event of nuclear power plant accidents to formulate plans to evacuate residents.
A Nuclear Safety and Industrial Agency log shows that an off-site center 5 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi plant was barely functional after the March 11th earthquake.
It reveals that after the power outage, an emergency diesel generator did not work at all, communications were down, and other critical functions were lost.
The document reveals that officials from only 3 out of more than 20 organizations assembled at the off-site center at around 10:00 PM on March 11th, 7 hours after the earthquake.
On the following day, the document shows that radiation levels were rising inside the center after an explosion occurred at the Number One Reactor building. It is believed that the off-site center was poorly equipped and unable to prevent radioactive materials from getting in.
Later, as radiation levels continued to rise, the authorities decided to relocate the functions of the off-site center to the Fukushima Prefectural Government office, 60 kilometers from the nuclear plant, on March 16th.

Monday, June 06, 2011 22:31
Scientists call for radiation exposure reduction
A group of scientists at Fukushima University is urging the prefectural government to take stronger precautions in reducing radiation exposure to citizens.
The croup comprises 12 associate professors at the university, including Hazuki Ishida 石田葉月, an environmental engineering specialist. On Monday they presented the Fukushima Governor with a 7-point request in connection with the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
A health risk management expert for the prefecture said that radiation exposure of up to 10 microsieverts per hour causes no health problems.
But for those remaining outdoors in such conditions for only 5 days, the total radiation exposure will exceed 1 millisievert, the annual limit for ordinary people, as recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection.
The professors called for reducing exposure to radioactivity as much as possible and urged the prefecture to establish guidelines toward this purpose.
They also asked that prefectural government radiation experts who say that even relatively low levels of radioactivity are harmful be included as health risk management advisors.
They also requested that the prefectural government draw up and make public a concrete plan to remove contaminated topsoil.
Ishida says the prefectural government should take measures to protect its residents, on the premise that even low levels of radiation exposure are dangerous.


Voices from around

. Daily Radiation Levels .  

. . . . .

Japan Times :

Relief donations languishing
More than \169 billion in relief money donated to the Japanese Red Cross Society and the Central Community Chest of Japan has not been distributed because damage was overestimated.

Local governments cutting off welfare benefits to some survivors
The local governments have told the recipients in question that they did not need housing expenses because they were living at evacuation centers and received donated money.

Water treatment system tested
Workers on Sunday began checking devices that will help decontaminate the radioactive water that is flooding the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, officials said.

Several factors driving plan to double sales tax

What will Japan learn from the Fukushima meltdowns?
Can Japan afford nuclear power? Can Japan afford to dispense with nuclear power? If the answer to both questions is no — as, in the wake of the Fukushima reactor meltdowns, it appears it may be — we are at a fukurokōji (袋小路, impasse).
What to do?


A Japan culture day to raise money to support the rebuilding of schools and other children's facilities will take place in Derby on Sunday 5 June.
It will be held in the historic Derby Roundhouse.

Haiku poet Paul Conneally, who will be running haiku intervention workshops throughout the day, said:
"I'm so happy to be taking part in this event. It will be a true celebration of Japanese Culture and also raise money for and awareness of the work being done to rebuild communities devastated by the recent earthquake and tsunami."

source : www.allvoices.com

Haiku Jam, six lables
Paul Conneally
source : littleonion.posterous.com



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