Posts Tagged ‘Mainichi Shimbun’

On 2012 March 19, The Asahi Shimbun reported that the “city of Osaka, the largest shareholder of Kansai Electric Power Co., will call on the utility to abolish all of its reactors “at the earliest possible time” and today, Mainichi Daily News commented that Osaka had “stirred ripples”. Articles are reproduced below. Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto’s suggestion to phase out of nuclear power, surely surprised KEPCO investors but also citizens for its unusual thoughtfulness.

Kansai is the western region of Japan where Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto, Nara cities lie and, depending on definition, the nuclear power plant shore-lined prefecture of Fukui, where a 7.3 magnitude earthquake killed 1% of population and completely damaged 79% of buildings in 1948. Besides, prevalent winds blow from Fukui towards the huge drinking water Biwako reservoir and aforementioned Kansai cities. Under the radioactive fallout in case of such an earthquake would also be prefectures of Gifu and Aichi, an industrial heartland centered on Nagoya city, where Toyota, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Toray Industries (worldwide leader in the carbon fiber industry that should make Boeing Dreamliner fly someday) are based. A new powerful earthquake in Fukui would probably relegate Japan a few ladders down the economic rankings. Kansai is already under severe economic stress – it always was but for a brief decade of national euphoria called the “bubble”.

Since about 30 years ago, poor Japanese regions exchanged time and again their votes and security against subventions and nuclear power plants. Whenever subventions would dry up, they would agree for a new reactor building. Nowadays that these are idled and that subventions have run out, poor regions cannot start a new cycle and are pushing and being pulled to ramp up their radioactive waste “management” business. In the same vote buyout scheme as for nuclear power plants, over-sized incinerator plants have been built and left unused due to their capacity threshold being over the actual amount of waste. Poor prefectures now plan to upgrade these little used, dioxin-spitting facilities so that they could operate at a wider range of waste quantities and include some kind of filtering for radiation. This scheme represents a large economic boost promise in terms of construction work, which is the main employment outside large cities – and under the control of yakuza gangs, who request some sustained business to replace the drop in their recruiting services for nuclear plant workers.

Radioactive waste are largely above what is considered as “low-level waste” worldwide and its incineration in current facilities turn their prefecture into secondary radioactive sources, the primary being Fukushima, still emitting as of 2012 March 22, a year after. Current secondary radioactive sources include 23 wards in Tokyo, Tomakomai (Hokkaido) and Shimada (Shizuoka, where Japanese green tea comes from).

Many prefectures have requested to become secondary radioactive sources, including places where the transportation hazard, time and cost had prevented the Japanese government to push for it such as Okinawa. However, Okinawa is surviving only by the presence of the US army and its underlying economy is threatened by a possible redeployment in Japan, in Guam or elsewhere. Tourism has been declining since about 5 years ago in Okinawa and will not pick up when it will effectively become a secondary radioactive source. Food in supermarkets in Okinawa come from all over Japan as it does not produce much besides beef which become labeled “Kobe” beef after spending 1 year in that heavily industrialized city. Okinawa cows are rather skinny so it must be quite a terrible feeding process that turn them into extra-fatty meat one year later in Kobe warehouses. There have been some scandals of radioactive wood used to bake pizzas in Okinawa, schools have been forced by parents to cancel radioactive snowball gifts, some vegetation like mosses from irradiated areas have been planted in Okinawa, etc. Okinawa is not a nuclear-free land anymore: this concept does not apply to any Japanese territory anymore one year after the disaster. As an advice to nuclear refugees from the no man’s land, if you cannot leave Japan, it is safer to settle down in cities where you can work to sustain a healthier lifestyle, not necessarily to the far end of the archipelago where they have no job; no sense about radio-protection; no clean food choice – and where you will be stuck when they start incinerating radioactive waste.

How does the new denuclearization scheme fit in with the irradiated waste incineration plan and is it for real? Kansai is searching for ways to revitalize its broken economy and incineration is one leg. The other leg is nuclear decommissioning, a potentially profitable business. It takes 5 years for nuclear combustible to cool down, under active controlled systems (or not so controlled systems). Then the proper decommissioning operations begin (and probably never really end). As an actual example, if we look at Sellafield in the UK, a mere 2 square mile facility, the official planning states that decommissioning and closure of the site is planned for 2120 (right: 108 years from now). After this stage, management of radioactive materials is forever. Therefore, decommissioning of the 3 reactors in Mihama, 4 in Oi and 4 in Takahama – and maybe Monju / Tsuruga – all in Fukui prefecture and globally called the Nuclear Ginza, could create a 300 years business, not including the storage and monitoring of million-year long radioactive waste. It could easily give a job to anyone and sustain the local economy. Additional benefits would come from the development of health care – did we mention that Osaka was a biotech center ?

Japanese pharmaceutical companies had trouble to compete globally because their drugs are not properly tested and have resulted in accidents and because they lack innovation. However, in the grand Osaka renewal scheme of joint radioactive waste incineration and nuclear decommissioning, there would be plenty of test subjects and Japan would have an incomparable lead in radiation-induced diseases, even though they would not be marketed as such: auto-immune diseases such as the Kawasaki syndrome, pneumonia, heart attacks, leukemia and all sorts of cancers, or any other kinds of affections described by Pr. Bandazhevsky, even in children (sic).

How is it that decommissioning would make the population sick? Nuclear reactor decommissioning is a task forecast to take over 1 century in the case of Sellafield but nuclear projects always get behind schedule (Areva EPR project in Finland as a relevant example). As a rule of thumb, you can at least double the time (in the case for Olkiluoto, Finland, Areva started in 2005, due to be completed in 4 years – now maybe in 9 years, probably 12) and since it is impossible to rule out wars, economic depressions, natural disasters and social unrest over the period of a century, it could take 4 to 500 years to carry out. The probability of the job being properly done to the end is marginal and our grandchildren, if they ever live, will most likely have to deal with no man’s lands in every place there used to be a nuclear power plant in the 20th century. Working in a nuclear power plant make people sick, they have in Japan, as well documented, not only in Fukushima. Work ethics are shoddy here and tasks are carried out by the 6th level of untrained sub-contractors aka yakuza firms. Nuclear Ginza and other locations in Japan like Tokaimura and Genkai accumulate accidents and are regularly leaking radioactive material, not surprisingly. Now let us project this over the next 500 years for a large segment of society busy cleaning a mess and adding to it at the same time: everyone would get sick, even if Hosono, Noda and Edano, the devilish Trinity as it were, were not working so hard to distribute contaminated food over all the territory – which they are. Mutations get transmitted to people who are not involved in the multi-generational task, weakening the whole society. As a side-note, it is of course impossible to decommission Fukushima nuclear plant within 40 years: it will never be really clean, no matter the official whitewash.

Recently 2 Japanese researchers apologized because they had taken some bone-marrow samples from cancer patients during surgical operations without anybody knowing: with radiation-induced diseases, all Japanese medical researchers would be able to experiment, publish their results and test new drugs on unsuspecting patients. When the Japanese war criminal in charge for human live dissection and experimentation during the war became the head of the top medical institute in Tokyo and was never bothered except for a moment by the Chinese woman who recognized him, anything can happen. Unit 731, Masaji Kitano and Green Cross all over again. Kansai, with Nuclear Ginza, you invested in a future treasure trove for your biotech and pharmaceutical industry (sic) ! Just as some people do not get black humor, let us note here that we are being sarcastic and we do not wish this nightmarish scenario to happen, quite the contrary but we are at a loss as to how prevent it. Japan has yet to come to term with its dark past and its present shows that it is never far behind – humor is a way to get some relief in the terrible situation we are now, and black humor can be offensive. Current Japanese politics are just as offensive.

So it could be for real and it would be the least damaging, as the alternative would be to wait until the next great Fukui earthquake and a fireworks over Nuclear Ginza.

Another possibility is that Hashimoto does not really intend to denuclearize Kansai, but is only trying to gain more KEPCO shares, some financial compensation or a special investor status from KEPCO for Osaka city in exchange for a time extension, a percentage increase in nuclear-produced electricity or such compromise.

Whichever, the pain only begins.

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A march of citizens against nuclear power and incineration of radioactive waste takes place today, 2012 March 10, in Kyoto. Japanese and foreign residents remain highly motivated as the Japanese government is renewing their efforts to promote the widespread burning and dumping of hazardous debris which contains, besides radioactive elements from the fallout, chemicals such asbestos from buildings swept away by the tsunami. It was revealed last week that plutonium was among the radionuclides found at mid-distance between Fukushima melted reactors and Tokyo.

Bye Bye "Gembatsu" (Nuclear Power) Kyoto - 2012 March 10

Renowned Professor Hiroaki Koide (小出裕章) gave a kick-off speech at 14 h. For those who, like me, missed it, or who read his name for the first time, please check him out on the Internet. On YouTube, for instance, we can see him testifying in the Diet, with this introduction :

“Koide Hiroaki:
[An assistant professor of “Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute”, a famous scholar of nuclear engineering. Graduated from Tohoku University, school of engineering in 1972 ]

Mr. Koide Hiroaki is a “Samurai” in the nuclear world. He has been struggling with gigantic nuclear conglomerate, for 40 years. Because of his anti nuclear activities, he has been ignored by government, scholars of nuclear, and industries. But after Fukushima, he became a symbol of Japanese conscience.
This video is an official document of his testimony at the Diet, concerning nuclear policies of Japan. He criticized national policies from the viewpoint of scientist. I attached English subtitles for announcing this to whole world.
Miki Shunji / Chief executive of MCRC “

In the following Asahi TV interview aired two days ago in “Morning Bird” programme, he explains with scientific authority to reporter Toru Tamakawa nothing less but the end of Tokyo in case a slight tremor shakes again reactor 4 in Fukushima nuclear plant, one time too many.

Protesters gathered in Maruyama park are good-natured citizens who dress up for the occasion. A majority of union members are there, together with professors, artists, concerned parents with their children and some odd Raelians cultists dressed in cosplay. It is not clear why the latter are against nuclear power, but there is a lot of human misery and anxiety in Japan in the wake of the political crisis of the government bent on mass murder with nuclear waste and 1933 Germany reminiscent tactics, and dangerous cults prey on lost souls.

Friendly dressed up protesters in Maruyama Koen

Stop Nuclear Power ("Genpatsu") in Maruyama Park

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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. (more…)

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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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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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: (more…)

Butter in Japan mainly comes from its northern island Hokkaido, along with many dairy products such as milk, which is at the center of the latest radioactive food scandal.

The east coast of Hokkaido was visited by radioactive fallout from Fukushima most Spring and Summer days. Fishermen bring in their catch from radioactive Pacific Ocean close to Fukushima so that fish can be sold nationwide as products “from Hokkaido”. It is rumored to arrive at night in Nagoya for distribution throughout Japan. Domestic fish has become a major public health hazard in Japan and is exported worldwide.

There might be some safe areas left in Hokkaido but the prefecture lost all my trust for allowing various food scams to support contaminated regions. Besides it’s impossible to tell where in Hokkaido butter comes from, much less which milk and cream were used as ingredients.

A popular butter in Japan is the Snow Brand Hokkaido Butter, from the company that poisoned 15000 Japanese in 2000 and secretly recycled old milk to make other products – not to be trusted in these trying times. (more…)