Japan has a history of pretending to be a democratic country and has regularly disregarded petitions by its citizens even when numbered by the hundreds of thousands. Tokyo governor Ishihara recently announced that the city would go on burning radioactive waste and line the concentrated radioactive ashes in bags on landfills in Tokyo Bay, ready to be swept away by the next typhoon, and he stated that the more than 250,000 signatures presented to have a referendum to decide together about the future of nuclear power amounted to nothing to him. He calls anti-nuclear activists “monkeys”, is famous for his racial slurs in speeches and is a disgrace to the Akutagawa literary prize that was awarded to him years ago. He actually deemed the latest nominees to be “a parade of rubbish” as reported by Mainichi Daily News and we can at least thank him for resigning from the panel of judges. Ishihara also declared in the press that the earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 20,000 of his compatriots was a form of “divine punishment” : “The identity of the Japanese people is selfishness. The Japanese people must take advantage of this tsunami as means of washing away their selfish greed. I really do think this is divine punishment.” Yet he is very popular and that tells us something about the real, “modern” Japan. Ishihara personnally reminds me of Asahara, the founder of the terrorist Aum cult who had recruited among the Japanese elite – maybe he is a member of the cult which survives under the name Aleph? Tokyo is a large shareholder in TEPCO.

Hopefully, Osaka Mayor Hashimoto, also a populist albeit younger, will show more concern for his people and more cleverness when he will receive petitions today. Japan has slipped behind China and in some respect North Korea as well thanks to elders like Ishihara who make sure that retired bureaucrats end up in indecent overpaid sinecures and that the construction sector blanket Japan in concrete: these elder men are directly responsible for the 200% of GDP national debt which went into absurd concrete projects and of the fall of Japan on all fronts: environmental, economic, social, cultural etc. If the younger generation impersonated by Hashimoto just follows in their corrupted schemes, in spite of populist claims for a change, Japan is finished as a developed country. Osaka is a major shareholder in KEPCO and a bankrupt city. Read the rest of this entry »

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In All 3 Nuclear Reactors In Shikoku Suspended post, I warned about excessive optimism regarding the non-restart of idled nuclear power plants that we may feel when we consider that most are off-line and so will shortly be the remaining few. The post also digresses on the will of corporations such as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Toshiba and Hitachi (actually joint ventures with American General Electric, Westinghouse where the Japanese counterpart are often on the subcontractor / order receiving side) to wait out the fickle public opposition.

Currently, Japanese citizen groups remain strong, well-informed and connected so there is little that any foreigner can do to help out except to show their sympathy and support. If about 0.05% of the Japanese population actively opposes nuclear power while the rest sleeps or support passively, it represents a 60 thousands people crowd – the same that protested in Tokyo. Yet, 0.05% of foreign English readers who resides in the Monitored Land amounts to a handful of individuals, most of whom I am acquainted with.

In a stressful situation, it is helpful to try and take control over one’s environment and act in favor of improving the situation, no matter the real leverage one might have. So it useful, if only for our own psychological balance, to keep on being active together with Japanese citizens – but it is also a self-deluding strategy. Arguably, every voice should count and participate in making a difference, yet the reality is that foreigners are not empowered – we cannot vote, except with our feet. This, many have done already and many more are getting prepared to do.

Time will only tell if Japanese citizens sustain their stand against nuclear power and if democracy may be briefly expressed by recognizing their voices and acting accordingly. It would be a big first in Japan and would imply that the country grew a spine against the US domination. Germany is another country with two cumbersome and belligerent neighbors; like Japan, it had to put up with a foreign army occupation and made it without developing weapons of mass destructions: Japan can go on surviving without nuclear technology and join the path of Germany, a much more successful exporting country and financially sound. Another prerequisite for ending nuclear power in Japan is kicking the yakuza out of this lucrative business and reducing the level of corruption – a tall order.

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Last night, I listened to the soothing sound of rain on the roofs in my futon – but I couldn’t get off my mind the thought that winds have been blowing from north-east of Japan all day and would be until Saturday and the night rain was ladden with radioactivity from Fukushima to a certain extent: black rain indeed.

Black rain was the expression used to describe the radioactive fallout after American nuclear bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, before they forced Japan to accept nuclear power. It was later on used as a title for a silly and inaccurate gangster American movie by Ridley Scott. Black refers to the harmful particles in rain drops and is doubly chilling by night time.

Anyway, I slept well but I would like to warn everyone not to stand in the rain until the week-end and especially keep your children dry. Watch out for leaky rubber boots where feet soak for hours, have them wash their hands when coming back home as usual, etc. especially if you are in Aichi (Nagoya) and Kansai (Osaka, Kyoto) areas. Of course, the whole Kanto region (Tokyo, Chiba, Yokohama) is directly under, but nobody should live there anymore.

Contrarily to my post on Shikoku, Fukushima winds avoid it this time, as well as Wakayama according to the Meteocentrale simulation. However, it is only a simulation and daily updates change significantly (usually the last of the 3 days forecast is wrong), so the real situation might change on an hourly basis. Even if this was not the case, there would still be a gap between the simulation and reality. A slight difference means that Shikoku could be swept instead of Osaka since it is after all a small territory. The wind direction has been consistently reported and the higher probability is that the whole Honshu region from Fukushima down to Kansai will get a share of it. Read the rest of this entry »

Nuclear power plant reactors in both Shikoku and Kyushu islands are currently off-line. Hopefully the public opinion will hamper their restart after their inspection is done, although this is not a certainty as the government is already self-defeating its new law and allowed a loop-hole for extending nuclear power plant operations well past their designed lifespan.

The nuclear village is bracing until the public dissent fades to resume business as usual, with the extra gift to be allowed to participate in weapon development together with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (the Japanese equivalent of NASA now has operational rockets ready for ICBM usage). Besides, Japan just enacted a law which allows joint weapon development with other countries, i.e. US, so it is only a matter of time until the screw-driver nuclear nation is up-and-ready for war with China.

In other news, Japan is still pushing for nuclear technology export in countries such as Vietnam and India, so we should not be too wishful and naive about the plans to restart domestic nuclear plants, especially with less access to alternative electricity producing-resources such as Iranian oil.

Until nuclear power plants are fully decommissioned (and the question of hazardous waste and materials remains even then), they represent a hazard in case of earthquake, tsunami and the usual lack of professional ethic that leads to all sorts of nuclear incidents in Japan.

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A petition to get a referendum on the use of nuclear power in Kansai got 50,000 signatures in Osaka. Although a similar petition against Kobe airport was ignored by the city, this could be a first step towards a Kansai nuclear-free region. The future of civil nuclear power in Japan is however strongly dependent on US imposed export restrictions upon Iran. Currently, Japan imports extra crude oil to produce electricity, since most of its nuclear power plants are off-line, and has opposed the US sanctions. As for everything related to defense, and the question of civil nuclear power is directly linked to the ability of Japan to rapidly build ICBM in case of a serious conflict with China, Japan will likely give way. In fact, it is now preparing for alternative supply sources and asked Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to help it make up any shortfall (read articles below). Read the rest of this entry »

The last nuclear power plant reactor in Kyushu was taken off-line towards the end of December 2011, leaving the Japanese southern island free of nuclear produced-electricity. Off-line reactors are not necessarily safe in case of earthquake, tsunami or human error, all of which are far too common in Japan to allow such utilities to be but ticking bombs.

It is however a first step towards a nuclear-free island, which produces most of the domestic food, including beef (the famous so-called “Kobe beef” is raised in Miyazaki, Kyushu) now that Hokkaido is contaminated. Besides nuclear fallout, the town of Tomakomai in Hokkaido decided to incinerate nuclear waste against the will of citizens, as reported in Tomakomai Minpo on 2011 December 8. The translated and commented article is available on Ex-SKF blog here. Tomakomai is located on the southern shore, about 50 km / 30 miles away from Sapporo, with a mostly residential / industrial plain between these cities (agricultural products come mainly from Tokachi plain on the east coast which has been under nuclear fallout most of spring and summer 2011).

Politicians and executives will likely get away with public opinion manipulation and other scandals in Kyushu as articles below show: a mere salary cut whereas in some more democratic countries, they might have been jailed. Besides, the Nishinippon Shimbun newspaper cancelled the publication of an anti-nuclear book due to pression from the same utility, which shows that public opinion manipulation is deeply rooted in Kyushu Electric Power Co. and Kyushu political institutions. Indeed, Saga Gov. Yasushi Furukawa is assured to get a highly paid sinecure in Kyushu Electric Power Co. after he “retires”.

Kyushu is the last large clean food producer in Japan and it has not accepted any nuclear waste for incineration yet: it may as well become the future of Japan.

Hereafter are reproduced several articles found in Japanese news in December 2011, as original articles might become unavailable soon: Read the rest of this entry »

Safe food is getting scarcer in Japan, even out of the no man’s land, in what I call the monitored land. Surviving in Japan supposes boycotting any food from areas northeastern of Nagoya included and of course any sea product from the North Pacific Ocean. This strict rule makes shopping complicated but nowhere as eating out. The end of the year brings a new threat in traditional food gifts that Japanese offer, i.e. “oseibo” (in Japanese 「お歳暮」. It is hard to be always on one’s guard and make rational choices as to what to eat and it is socially a burden when one constantly has to ask for the source of ingredients of any food in shops and restaurants. Furthermore, when the temptation is from one’s relatives and friends, it is almost impossible for anyone to resist and discard the gift, like Snow White could not decline the shiny red apple for the gentle old, poor woman who actually was intent on killing her.

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