Friday, May 9, 2014

May 2 - 8, 2014



Nationalists In Japan Become Internet Savvy

On 18 September 2009, a person using the online name of ‘xegnojw’ posted a four-minute video on YouTube entitled ‘Japanese Racists Hoot Down Korean Tourists in Tsushima’. It depicted members of a Japanese nationalist group harassing Korean tourists on Tsushima, a Japanese island 138 km from Fukuoka and 50km from Busan.  
This island has been attracting attention from Japanese nationalists because of the increasing presence of Korean tourists and Korean investment since the 2002 opening of high-speed ferry service between Busan and Tsushima. Nationalist campaigns over the island intensified when Korea’s Masan City adopted the ‘Tsushima Day’ bill in 2005, claiming that Tsushima should be a Korean territory, thereby countering Shimane prefecture’s ‘Takeshima Day’, establishing Japanese claim to Korea’s Dokdo island. 
The YouTube video in question captured several flag-holding Japanese men and women yelling: ‘Go home, Koreans!’ and ‘We won’t allow a Korean invasion!’ at tourists fresh off the ferry from Busan. Though not physically violent, the atmosphere was tense and disturbing.

Full Story from Asian Pacific Journal

Japanese Navy To Conduct Island Defense Drills

Japanese Maritime Self Defense Forces will conduct a military exercise this month to practice defending an island, the Defense Ministry said, underscoring concern about East China Sea islands controlled by Japan but claimed by China.
The dispute over the islands, called the Senkaku are Japanese but are claimed by China, has raised fears of a clash between the Asian neighbors which could even drag in the United States.
The Defense Ministry said the island defense exercise would run from May 10 to May 27 on a small uninhabited island in the Ryukyu chain, some 600 km northeast of the disputed isles.
Some parts of the exercise will be held in southwestern Japan’s Nagasaki prefecture and waters off Okinawa Island’s east coast. Okinawa is home is a major U.S. military base and Japan also bases forces there.
It will be the first time that the Naval Self-Defense Forces will use an actual island for island defense training involving its ground, air, sea and marine divisions.
About 1,300 troops, as well as several fighter jets and destroyers, will practice landing on and retaking an island, the ministry said.
But it said the exercise was not a response to the tension with China.
“Boosting island defense is something that has been mentioned in the defense white paper in recent years. This is not a drill that is responding to the current security situation surrounding Japan,” a ministry spokesman said.
U.S. President Barack Obama said last week while on a visit to Japan that the disputed islands were covered by a U.S.-Japan security treaty, angering China.
Last month, Japan announced it would break ground on a radar base in the area, on a tropical Japanese island close to Taiwan.
The radar station on Yonaguni Island, just 150 km from the disputed islands in the East China Sea, marks Japan’s first military expansion at the western end of its island chain in more than 40 years. 
Reuters
Abe Lied About Fukushima Dangers To Win Tokyo 2020 Olympics
On September 7, 2013 Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the International Olympic Committee (IOC): "Some may have concerns about Fukushima. Let me assure you, the situation is under control. It has never done and will never do any damage to Tokyo." After hearing him, the IOC awarded the 2020 Olympic bid to Tokyo.

But on October 6, 2013, the Associated Press (AP) reported that Mr. Abe, speaking in English, told an international science conference hosted by the city and Kyoto Prefecture: "Our country needs your knowledge and expertise in coping with the aftermath of the triple meltdown triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. We are wide open to receive the most advanced knowledge from overseas to contain the problem." AP noted that Mr. Abe requested more foreign assistance in cleaning up the Fukushima No. 1 power plant where work "has been plagued by the radioactive water crisis."

Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, the BBC’s correspondent in Japan, reported the "devastating" conclusions of Professor Kiyoshi Kurokawa who chaired the Japanese parliamentary inquiry into the Fukushima disaster. "It was, he told me: ‘Man-made, and made in Japan’."

Tatsujiro Suzuki, the deputy head of Japan’s Atomic Energy Commission, had also been damning, wrote Wingfield-Hayes: "There were studies which showed a one-in-1,000-year probability of the Fukushima coast being hit by a 10m tsunami," he said. "Unfortunately, those studies were dismissed. The nuclear industry didn’t think it would happen, so they didn’t prepare for it."

"For me, this is the most revealing and shocking part of the Fukushima story," added Wingfield-Hayes. "There was no plan for how to deal with such a large and complex disaster. How was this allowed to happen?"

The answer was provided by Prof. Kurokawa, who called it ‘regulatory capture’, a process by which the nuclear power industry ‘captured’ the bureaucracy that was supposed to regulate it. [That’s a universal fact/phenomenon, including in our own little hideaway in the Indian Ocean where the bureaucracy has already been suitably ‘conditioned’ well ahead of nuclear’s possible arrival!]

Wrote Wingfield-Hayes: "Put crudely, the ‘poachers’ and the ‘gamekeepers’ were far too close. Many senior bureaucrats from Japan’s Nuclear Industry Safety Agency would take lucrative jobs in the nuclear industry after leaving government. The result was a nuclear industry imbued with a culture of arrogance, secrecy and complacency. Lessons learned after Chernobyl and Three-Mile Island in the US were not implemented here. When disaster struck, Japan was woefully ill-prepared.

"An investigation by Japan’s NHK broadcaster last year found that simple equipment, things like mobile generators and battery packs that could have helped prevent the meltdowns, were sitting at a depot just 25 miles from the Fukushima plant. After the tsunami knocked out the plant’s electrical system there was still time to bring in the back-up equipment. Army helicopters were on standby. But there was no plan. Chaos ensued. "A senior company official in charge of logistics was asked by the NHK team why he had not dispatched the equipment. "We had a very long list of things they needed. We had no way to prioritize which should go first," he said.

"And so the back-up equipment stayed in the depot, and the reactor cores melted down."

Concluded Wingfield-Hayes: "Finally let me end by quoting again Tatsujiro Suzuki, the deputy head of Japan’s Atomic Energy Commission. I asked him why, if the nuclear industry knows there is a possibility of a disaster, does it continue to tell the public nuclear power is safe?

"We need to be prepared for the worst case. We need to tell the public this is the worst case. But if we tell the worst case, the public says, ‘Don’t build the reactor near here.’ So that was the dilemma. And if you want to continue building nuclear power plants you have to keep telling people the reactors should be safe. But now that myth is gone," said Suzuki.

Takashi Hirose, author of Fukushima Meltdown: The World’s First Earthquake-Tsunami Nuclear Meltdown, in an open letter addressed to ‘All young athletes dreaming of coming to Tokyo in 2020’ reminded them that two weeks after Mr. Abe had held out a total and unqualified guarantee to the IOC about Tokyo being damage-free, post-Fukushima, Tokyo’s Governor Naoki Inose told a press conference that what Abe expressed to the IOC was his intention to get the situation under control. "It is not," Inose said, "under control now."

Among the points Hirose reminded likely participants at the 2020 Olympics:

* In a residential area park in Tokyo, 230 km from Fukushima, the soil was found to have a radiation level of 92,335 Becquerels per square meter. This is a dangerous level, comparable to what is found around Chernobyl (at the site of a nuclear catastrophe in 1986). One reason for this level of pollution is that between Tokyo and Fukushima there are no mountains high enough to block radioactive clouds.

* The water being poured into the reactor (to keep it cool) is now considered the big problem in Japan. Newspapers and TV stations that previously strove to conceal the danger of nuclear power, are now reporting on this danger every day. The issue is that the highly irradiated water is entering and mixing with the ground water, and this leakage can’t be stopped, so it is spilling into the Pacific Ocean. It is a situation impossible to control.

* In August, 2013 (the month prior to Abe’s IOC speech) within the site of Fukushima Daiichi Reactor, radiation was measured at 8500 micro Sieverts per hour. That is enough to kill anyone who stayed there for a month. This makes it a very hard place for the workers to get anything done.

* Vegetables and fish from around the Tokyo area, even if they are irradiated, are not thrown away . . . which is to say that, in Japan today, as the entire country has been contaminated, we have no choice but to put irradiated garbage on the dinner table. In particular, food distributed by the major food companies, and food served in expensive restaurants, is almost never tested for radiation.

Given Japan’s persistent denials of danger, and that radiation in the Pacific Ocean "has not yet exceeded safety standards", Hiroshe recalled the old joke of the man who jumped off a ten-storey building and, as he passed each floor, was heard whispering: so far, so good."

If that’s not living in a fool’s paradise, what is?

By Selvam Canagaratna

Former Worker At Fukushima To Sue TEPCO

A 48-year-old former contract employee at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has filed a damages suit against plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), claiming the company exposed him and other workers to dangerously high levels of radiation.
The man was among hundreds of contract employees sent in to work at the plant, following the catastrophic events of March 11, 2011.
The man told a news conference in Tokyo that he was sent to work at the plant only two weeks after the earthquake and tsunami, and came into contact with large amounts of accumulated radioactive water, which according to reports, was measured at over 20 millisieverts per hour, TBS reported Thursday.
He filed the lawsuit against TEPCO on the grounds that although TEPCO knew that a large amount of dangerously high radioactive water was present on site, they did not divulge that information to workers.
The man is seeking a settlement of 11 million yen in the Fukushima District Court.
Japan Today

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