Fukushima, Greenpeace report

This 28 February 2018 video shows a Greenpeace report about the Fukushima nuclear disaster area in Japan.


Jumping spider in Japan

This video says about itself:

Jumping spider (Menemerus brachygnathus (Thorell)) filmed in Toshima-ku, Tokyo, Japan on 11 June 2017. This specimen was about 1 cm in length.

Fukushima radioactive water update

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Thai authorities face criticism for importing fish from Fukushima

6 March 2018

Authorities have defended Thailand‘s importation of fish from Fukushima, the scene of a major nuclear accident and radioactive leak in 2011.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Thursday, March 8, 2018

£250m ‘ice wall’ doesn’t fully cut off radioactive water at Fukushima, say experts

NUCLEAR experts concluded today that a £250 million ice wall meant to contain radioactive water at the destroyed Fukushima Daiichi power station is only partially effective and that other measures were urgently needed.

The plant’s private operator Tepco says the ice wall has helped reduce the ever-growing amount of radioactive water by half. The plant also pumps out several times as much groundwater before it reaches the tsunami-damaged reactors.

The groundwater mixes with radioactive water leaking from the damaged reactors. Contaminated water also results from rainwater that comes in contact with tainted soil and structures at the plant.

Fukushima Daiichi suffered meltdowns of three reactors after an earthquake and tsunami on March 11 2011 in the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. Investigators found that Tepco had not met basic safety requirements before the disaster.

The government-commissioned panel said additional measures need to be taken to minimise the inflow of rainwater and groundwater, such as repairing roofs and other damaged parts of buildings.

“We recognise that the ice wall has had an effect, but more work is needed to mitigate rainfall ahead of the typhoon season”, said panel chairman Yuzo Onishi, a Kansai University civil engineering professor.

The mile-long, coolant-filled underground structure was installed around the wrecked reactor buildings to create a frozen soil barrier to keep groundwater from flowing into the heavily radioactive area.

Tepco said today the amount of contaminated water that collects inside the reactor buildings was reduced to 95 tons per day with the ice wall, compared to nearly 200 tons without.

That is part of the 500 tons of contaminated water created every day at the plant, with the other 300 tons pumped out via wells, treated and stored in tanks.

In addition to the £250m construction cost paid by the government, the ice wall needs about £7m a year to be spent on maintenance and operation.

The plant has been struggling with the ever-growing amounts of water — only slightly contaminated after treatment — now totalling 1 million tons and stored in 1,000 tanks, taking up significant space at the complex, where a decades-long decommissioning effort continues.

Officials aim to minimise the contaminated water in the reactor before starting to remove melted fuel in 2021.


Fukushima disaster, Japan update

This 2016 video is called Fukushima Uncensored – BBC Documentary.

Seven Years After: Radioactive debris piling up at Fukushima interim facility — The Asahi Shimbun: here.

Workers are concerned about those matters that all blue-collar laborers worry about — pay and benefits — which isn’t to suggest they don’t think about the possible health risks of radiation exposure. Last October, Ikeda talked to the comedy duo-cum-nuclear power reporters Oshidori Mako & Ken on the web channel Jiyu-na Radio about potential false reports on radiation levels around Fukushima, although also touching on health issues that have not been reported by the mainstream media. His main point was that serious illnesses may not manifest themselves until years after workers quit the site and thus no longer qualify for worker’s compensation: here.


Japanese sex slavery not settled, Korean president says

This video says about itself:


Jan Ruff-O’Herne told her shocking story on Australian Story in 2001 – a secret that took her 50 years to come to terms with before finally, she revealed it in a letter to her two daughters.

An idyllic childhood in Java was brought to an abrupt end by the Japanese occupation during Word War Two. Aged 21, she was taken from her family and repeatedly abused, beaten and raped – forced to be a sex slave for the Japanese military.

The term coined for this brutal sex slavery was ‘comfort woman‘. But since revealing her ‘uncomfortable truth’ Jan Ruff-O’Herne’s suffering has been transformed into something affirmative.

In February this year, this 84-year-old Adelaide grandmother made the long journey to testify before Congress in Washington DC. The Congressional hearing was the pinnacle in her 15-year global campaign to seek justice for ‘comfort women‘. Now six years since Australian Story first aired her story, Jan Ruff-O’Herne feels she is one step closer to finally achieving her ultimate goal.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Friday, March 2, 2018

South Korean President insists sex slave issue is not over

SOUTH KOREAN President Moon Jae In assured citizens today that, whatever Japan may say, the wartime sex slave issue is not over.

In a speech marking a national holiday commemorating Korean resistance to Japanese occupation, President Moon said that Japan cannot declare the issue to have been relegated to history, insisting that Tokyo must apologise and confront its wrongdoings.

“As the perpetrator, the Japanese government shouldn’t say: ‘It’s over’,” he insisted.

“Wartime crimes against humanity can’t be swept under the rug by saying: ‘it’s over’.”

The scandal of what Tokyo refers to euphemistically as “comfort women”, those forced into sexual slavery for Japanese troops, is a sensitive issue for all Koreans.

Park Geun Hye, President Moon’s ousted [impeached] predecessor, negotiated a deal in 2015 under which Seoul promised not to raise the issue again, while Japan paid 1 billion yen (£6.8 million) to a foundation supporting the victims.

Tokyo fell short of taking legal responsibility for Japan’s actions and Mr Moon condemned the deal as “wrongful” and urged Japan to make a “heartfelt apology”.

“The true way of resolving a tragic history is to remember that history and to learn from it”, he said.

He also expressed hopes for strong future relations “with the closest neighbour on the backdrop of a sincere apology”.

Tokyo government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said this “goes against the Japan-South Korea agreement.

“We cannot accept it at all and feel it is extremely regrettable. We immediately conveyed our stance and made a strong protest to the South Korean side through diplomatic channels”.


New tardigrade species discovered in Japan

This video says about itself:

Here’s the real poop on tardigrades | Science News

28 February 2018

The tardigrade species newly named Macrobiotus shonaicus (after the Shonai region of Japan where it was discovered) has a talent for growing under lab conditions. That allowed genome biologist and tardigrade fan Kazuharu Arakawa to capture water bear home movies. Here, M. shonaicus trundles along with its almost bearlike gait. In an event rarely shown on film, it excretes waste almost its body size.

Read more here.

Credit: Kazuharu Arakawa

From PLOS:

New tardigrade species Macrobiotus shonaicus sp. nov. identified in Japan

Researchers characterize new species using microscopy, genetic analysis

February 28, 2018

A new tardigrade species has been identified in Japan, according to a study published February 28, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Daniel Stec from the Jagiellonian University, Poland, and colleagues.

Tardigrades are microscopic metazoans that are found all over the world, and there were 167 known species from Japan. For decades, the globally distributed Macrobiotus hufelandi complex has been represented only by the nominal taxon M. hufelandi, but currently numerous species within the complex are recognised.

In this study, Stec and colleagues describe a new tardigrade species of the hufelandi group, Macrobiotus shonaicus sp. nov., from East Asia. The researchers collected a sample of moss from a car park in Japan and examined it for tardigrades, extracting 10 individuals from the sample, which were used to start a laboratory culture to obtain more individuals required for the range of analyses. They then used phase contrast light microscopy (PCM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) as well as analyzed the DNA for four molecular markers to characterize the new species and determine where it fit in the phylogenetic tree.

To distinguish between different tardigrade species, the researchers paid special attention to their eggs. This new tardigrade species has a solid egg surface, placing it in the persimilis subgroup within the hufelandi complex. The eggs also have flexible filaments attached, resembling those of two other recently described species, Macrobiotus paulinae from Africa and Macrobiotus polypiformis from South America.

The researchers’ phylogenetic and morphological analysis identifies M. shonaicus sp. nov. as a new species within the M. hufelandi complex, increasing the number of known tardigrade species from Japan to 168.

Co-author Kazuharu Arakawa says: “We revisit the large and long-standing Macrobiotus hufelandi group of tardigrades, originally described by Schultze in 1834 and where M. shonaicus also belongs, and suggest that the group contains two clades with different egg morphology.”


Fukushima disaster in Japan update

This video says about itself:

A New Source of Fukushima Radiation Was Just Found, Now What?

21 October 2017

Researchers found radioactive particles from Fukushima on beaches miles away, but how did it get there?

Japan wants Fukushima evacuees to go home. They’re not so sure. — The Christian Science Monitor: here.

Tokyo court orders Tepco to pay $10 million in damages over 2011 disaster — Reuters: here.

TOKYO — The decision Jan. 16 to automatically extend a nuclear agreement with the U.S. came as a relief to a Japanese government worried about the prospect of renegotiating the basis for a cornerstone of its energy policy. But friction remains over a massive store of plutonium that highlights the problems with the nation’s ambitious nuclear energy plans: here.