In an April survey, 572 cities and villages from 11 prefectures answered that they could accept nuclear waste. On November 2nd, that figure had dropped to 48 municipalities, i.e. 92% less, according an article from mainstream Sankei news (Japanese only).The Ministry of Environment chose not to reveal the names of these thoughtless cities and villages until they decide to actually transfer the nuclear waste. This lack of transparency does not improve trust ratings in M. Hosono and his ministry.

Besides Yamagata prefecture (north-west of Fukushima), currently only 6 municipalities have officially started to import nuclear waste, all based in Tokyo Metropolis. The Ministry of Environment decided that irradiated ashes will be dumped in Tokyo Bay, therefore also adversely affecting Yokohama and Chiba cities where hotspots have been reported. As the radiation flows out of Tokyo Bay, it will also contaminate the eastern side of the Ogasawara archipelago, registered as a World Natural Heritage site in late June, which led to a 50% increase from July to September this year compared with the same period last year according to a mainstream Asahi news article. This registration is likely to be overturned as the environment damages from both radiation and mass-tourism sink in. Revenue from tourism in Izu Peninsula and Islands are bound to decrease as a result of this reckless policy. Autumn and winter northerly winds are already blowing from Fukushima onto Greater Tokyo and the Ogasawara archipelago.

Censorship about radiation when the convoy arrived in Tokyo, reportedly leaking high levels of radiation, as well as massive public backlash put down by police force with the help of ultra-nationalist militia as reported by Fukushima Diary, supposedly played a part in the reversal of municipalities. Officially, decisions were made following the continuous complaints from residents about the national plan to spread radiation all over Japan.

The Sankei news article is reproduced below with a Google automated translation (read also hereafter the Asahi article):

がれきの受け入れ、48市町村検討 住民「放射能ばらまくつもりか」と苦情

2011.11.2 11:04

東京都に搬出するため、トラックのコンテナに積み込まれるがれき=2日午前、岩手県宮古市

東日本大震災で発生した災害廃棄物(がれき)の広域処理について、環境省は2日、11都道府県で48市町村が受け入れを検討していることを明らか にした。震災直後の4月に調査した際には572市町村から受け入れ可能との回答を得ていたが、放射性物Gへの懸念などから激減した。

同省は10月、被災地を除く自治体の受け入れ意向調査を行ったが、説明不足のため問い合わせが相次ぎ、回答期限を1週間延ばし10月末まで延期。すでに東京都と山形県の6市町村は受け入れを実施している。

同省によると、37都道府県から回答があったが、住民から反発が出るとして、実際に手続きが進むまで自治体名は公表しない。ただ、今回受け入れを検討・実施している54市町村だけでは、平成25年末までを目標としているがれきの処理完了は達成できないという。

広域処理は宮城県と岩手県にあるがれきで、福島県は県内での処理が基本。がれきは放射性物質がごく微量で通常の廃棄物と同様に処理できるとしている。

しかし、住民への説明不足で、環境省や各自治体には「放射能をばらまくつもりか」などといった苦情が相次いでいる。

Google translation:

Acceptance of the rubble, municipal residents consider 48 “I’ll scatter radiation,” and complaints

2011.11.2 11:04 [radiation leaks]

Earthquake disaster waste generated in the East (debris) for processing a wide area, the Ministry two days made ​​it clear that municipalities are considering accepting 11 of 48 prefectures. When examined in April, immediately after the earthquake was acceptable and get an answer from the city 572, plunged from fears of radioactive material.

The ministry in October, the government conducted an investigation, except the acceptance of desire disaster area because of lack of explanation queries one after another, postponed until late October reply deadline extended one week. Six municipalities in Yamagata Prefecture and Tokyo already has implemented accepted.

According to the ministry, there were responses from 37 prefectures, as the opposition comes from residents, municipal name is not actually the procedure before going public. However, only 54 municipalities have been conducted this study to be accepted, processing of the rubble has been completed and that the goal was not achieved until the end of 2013.

Global processing in the rubble in Iwate and Miyagi, Fukushima Prefecture, treatment with base. And debris that can be processed like a normal waste a very small amount of radioactive material.

However, the lack of explanation to residents, the Ministry and local governments, “I’ll spread the radioactivity,” such as complaints have been continuous.

Picture caption : “Carried out to Tokyo for the morning of April = 2 rubble is loaded into a container truck, Miyako, Iwate Prefecture”

The Asahi article is reproduced below:

Tourism up, common sense down, on Ogasawara islands

November 12, 2011

OGASAWARA ISLANDS–With its listing as a World Natural Heritage site, the Ogasawara island chain has faced an inevitable surge in tourists–and among them visitors lacking basic common sense.

The number of tourists to the islands, about 1,000 kilometers south of central Tokyo, jumped 50 percent from July to September this year compared with the same period last year. The islands were registered as a World Natural Heritage site in late June.

Although various restrictions are imposed to protect the nature and environment of the islands, rule-breakers and other inconsiderate travelers continue to arrive, negating the elation of islanders over the tourist money flowing into the area.

Ogasawara Kaiun Co. operates a passenger ferry between Takeshiba pier in central Tokyo and the Ogasawara islands once a week. A one-way trip takes 25 hours and 30 minutes.

Company officials say passengers repeatedly ask such inane questions as: “Why don’t airplanes fly to the Ogasawara islands?” “How many times do ships leave for the islands per day?” and “Is there a (high-class) Prince Hotel there?”

Some tourists whine that the ship’s second-class rooms where people sleep together provide no privacy.

“Our company is facing difficulties in dealing with a new type of customers. We are now considering new measures to improve the situation,” said an employee in charge of sales promotion.

According to the Ogasawara village office, about 8,300 people visited the islands on the regular service of the ferry from July to September, a 30-percent increase from the same period last year. Including those who arrived on two cruise ships in August, the total number of visitors was about 9,400, 50 percent larger than last year.

The number of tourists on Ogasawara Kaiun’s ferry who were older than 60 doubled in September from the same month last year.

On Chichijima island, one of the main islands of Ogasawara, many tourists, wearing name tags of travel companies, can be seen in the main street where supermarkets and souvenir shops are located.

A married couple in their 70s from Kobe said they applied for a package tour after watching a television program that introduced Ogasawara.

“Because we are old, we thought we could not go to Ogasawara unless we apply now. We waited for cancellations by other applicants and were finally able to take part in this tour,” one of them said.

Souvenir shop operator Toshihiko Kikuchi, 64, said the number of rich tourists has risen.

“They buy such products as local salt. My shop’s sales have increased by 20 percent,” Kikuchi said.

Ogasawara is promoting eco-tourism. People are prohibited from bringing animals or plants to the islands, and they are required to stay on the designated walkways.

Particularly strict rules are imposed on visitors to the small island of Minamijima, the most popular spot in the Ogasawara chain. Tourists take small boats from Chichijima, but only 100 are allowed to visit Minamijima per day, and they can only stay for two hours.

They must be accompanied by guides, and they have to wash off the mud and soil from their shoes in advance.

Previously, most of the visitors to Minamijima knew about those rules before coming to Ogasawara. But after the islands were registered as a World Natural Heritage site, many new tourists were found to be quite ignorant of the regulations. Some of them have even called for taxis in Chichijima asking for drivers to take them to Minamijima.

Hidenori Tsutsui, 61, who operates an inn in Ogasawara, is critical of the new-type visitors.

“People who think that World Heritage sites are sightseeing spots have started to come to Ogasawara. Some go out but leave the air conditioners on in their rooms. Others pay no regard to the amount of water they use for their baths even though the islands are facing water shortages,” he said.

Takashi Kaneko, 43, director of the guide division at the Ogasawara Village Tourist Association, received the following message from a person who had repeatedly visited the islands over the past 10 years: “I will refrain from visiting the islands until the tourism boom there calms down.”

Kaneko says: “There are some media reports that islanders are full of joy about the registration (as a World Natural Heritage site). But if we are too jubilant, we will lose the important things.”

The village office and the Tokyo metropolitan government, which has jurisdiction over the islands, plan to maintain regulations to protect nature despite the growing number of tourists.

Japan has three other areas that have been designated as World Natural Heritage sites: Yakushima island in Kagoshima Prefecture (designated in 1993); the Shirakami Sanchi mountains spanning Aomori and Akita prefectures (also in 1993); and the Shiretoko region in eastern Hokkaido (in 2005).

All three sites have had problems protecting nature while receiving more tourists.

In fiscal 1993, about 200,000 people visited Yakushima. But in fiscal 2007, the figure was 400,000. And the number of tourists who climb the mountain to see the centuries-old “jomonsugi” cedars has tripled to about 90,000 in 10 years.

Messes have been created because there are not enough toilets to accommodate the rising tourist numbers. And some people have strayed off the mountain-climbing routes and trampled the delicate mosses.

This year, the Yakushima town office submitted to the town assembly an ordinance to limit the number of people who enter the mountain. But the assembly rejected the ordinance, fearing an adverse effect on the tourism industry.

In Shirakami Sanchi, the number of visitors to the neighboring Akaishi mountain streams and the Anmon-no-Taki waterfalls on the Aomori Prefecture side increased from 212,000 in 1993 to 540,000 in 2009. Garbage and charred holes where bonfires were burned have been found in the no-entry zones.

Shiretoko, which spans the towns of Shari and Rausu, was a popular sightseeing spot even before the designation as a World Natural Heritage site.

About 2.45 million people visited the two towns in the registration year of 2005, up 160,000 from the previous year. But the number declined to 2.38 million in 2006 and further to 2.13 million in 2007.

Despite the decrease, limits were imposed this year on the number of people who can enter the walking paths around five lakes there from early summer to autumn.

By YUSUKE FUKUI / Staff Writer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s