Fukushima, Japan news update


This video says about itself:

Atomic mafia: Yakuza cleaning up Fukushima

4 December 2013

Homeless men employed to clean up the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, including those brought in by Japan’s Yakuza gangsters, were not aware of the health risks they were taking and say their bosses treated them like “disposable people.”

Five years on, tsunami debris on ocean floor near Fukushima nuclear plant remains untouched: here.

How Citizen Science Changed the Way Fukushima Radiation is Reported: here.

Sixteen children confirmed to have thyroid cancer in second Fukushima survey — Japan Today: here.

This Chicago Tribune article from the USA is on concerns over Japan’s plutonium stockpile in the light of the expiration of the 1988 Japan-U.S. atomic energy agreement that will either be automatically extended, revised or unilaterally scrapped in July 2018.

Fukushima disaster: Tepco to pay couple in landmark damages case: here.

Higher levels of Fukushima cesium detected offshore: here.

For some Fukushima mothers, protecting children from radiation comes at heavy price — The Asahi Shimbun: here.

The reactor meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant hit by a devastating tsunami in 2011 should have been announced much sooner, the operator admitted this week. In a statement, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) said that a public declaration of the meltdown should have been done within days of the disaster: here.

Japanese government brings back militarism


This video says about itself:

Japan: Thousands Protest Plans To Send Military Overseas To Fight

31 August 2015

Japan hasn’t sent its military to fight overseas since World War Two. Seventy years later the Abe government wants to change that with a new security bill.

By Ben McGrath:

Japanese PM pushes to remove constitutional constraints on military

15 February 2016

In the lead up to this summer’s parliamentary upper house election, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe intends to make constitutional revision a major feature of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) campaign. The proposed changes would formally remove any barriers to Japan’s ability to wage war to further its strategic and economic interests, as well as deepen the attack on democratic rights at home.

Abe has made explicit calls in recent weeks for the revision of the constitution. On February 3, he stated before a parliamentary budget committee: “There is the view that [Japan should] address the situation in which 70 percent of constitutional scholars suspect the SDF (Self-Defense Forces) is in violation of the Constitution.”

Abe was responding to a question from Tomomi Inada, chairwoman of the LDP’s Policy Research Council and supporter of constitutional change, who claimed that Article 9 of the post-World War II constitution “no longer fits reality at all.” Article 9 declares that “the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.”

Successive post-war governments in Japan have tacitly breached Article 9 and built up a large military under the guise of “self defense,” despite the constitution’s declaration that “land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained.” Over the past two decades, the Japanese military has been deployed overseas, including in support of the US-led occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Increasingly, however, the Japanese ruling class wants to cast off the constitutional restraints. Last summer, the LDP-led government, in the face of widespread opposition and protests, rammed through military legislation to allow Tokyo to engage in “collective self-defense,” which in reality means taking part in predatory wars alongside an ally, namely the United States.

The new laws are in clear violation of the constitution, as many constitutional scholars have stated. Far from backtracking from this unconstitutional legislation, Abe is now cynically using the lack of constitutional authority to press forward with the LDP’s long-held plans for a wholesale revision of the constitution.

In the budget committee, Abe continued: “Given the view that we should change this with our own hands, the LDP has announced a draft revised constitution.” The draft, proposed in April 2012, not only alters Article 9, but also makes numerous other changes that limit democratic rights and strengthen the state.

First, the draft would turn the SDF, the official name of Japan’s military, into a “National Defense Force” with the prime minister as commander-in-chief. This force could be deployed abroad under the guise of international peace-keeping operations, as well as domestically to suppress opposition to the government.

The proposal would also impose “duties” on the Japanese population, including to “respect” the national flag, anthem and the new constitution. It further states that “engaging in activities with the purpose of damaging public interest or public order, or associating with others for such purposes, shall not be recognized.” In other words, the freedom to criticize the government would effectively be banned.

The LDP’s draft alters the role of the emperor, making him “head of state,” while removing the emperor’s or a regent’s obligation to respect and uphold the constitution. This would concentrate more power in the anachronistic and backward institution, moving to return the emperor to the position he held before World War II.

The government, however, confronts significant barriers to constitutional revision, which must be approved by two-thirds of both houses of parliament, as well as by a majority of the voting population at a referendum. While the LDP and its ally Komeito hold a two-thirds majority in the Lower House, they have only a simple majority in the Upper House and need 86 additional seats.

Speaking at a New Year’s press conference on January 4, Abe said the LDP “will appeal for [constitutional revision] strongly during the House of Councillors (Upper House) election campaign, just as we have thus far.” Abe claimed there was “unshakeable” support for the SDF in Japan to support his decision.

In reality, there is widespread opposition to remilitarization. Last summer, mass protests took place throughout the country opposing the security legislation to expand the role of the SDF internationally in support of allies like the United States. These protests culminated in an August 30 demonstration of 120,000 people denouncing the bills in front of the parliament building in Tokyo.

In order to obtain the seats needed, the LDP is seeking additional coalition partners. Last month, Abe acknowledged that winning the necessary seats in the upcoming election would be difficult. In response, Nobuyuki Baba, secretary-general of the right-wing Osaka Ishin no Kai, said his party would “cooperate positively” with the LDP and Komeito’s efforts to change the constitution.

Since his February 3 remarks though, Abe has toned down his calls for constitutional revision. While not facing outright opposition, some within the LDP are clearly concerned that anti-war sentiment could result in an unwanted electoral backlash. “An appropriate approach would be to proceed [with the constitutional revision] while winning the understanding of the largest opposition party,” LDP secretary general Sadakazu Tanigaki said.

The main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), however, is attempting to exploit the anti-war sentiment for electoral purposes. DPJ leader Katsuya Okada said last month: “If the prime minister secures a two-thirds majority, he will surely amend the Constitution. As his deepest wish is to revise Article 9, we must block him from achieving the two-thirds majority by all means.”

Fukushima nuclear disaster news


This 1 January 2016 video is called Helen Caldicott M.D. — THE MEDICAL IMPLICATIONS OF FUKUSHIMA AND CHERNOBYL.

How is Fukushima’s cleanup going five years after its meltdown? Not so well; The Washington Post writes.

Fukushima cleanup may take up to 40 years, plant’s operator says, CNN writes.

Over 70 percent of Japanese against nuclear power plants after Fukushima tragedy: here.

Wildlife suffering from Fukushima disaster


This 13 January 2016 video is called Biologist Timothy Mousseau: Impact of Radiation on Wildlife of Fukushima.

From the Yomiuri Shimbun in Japan:

Species decline found in area south of Fukushima N-plant

9:10 pm, February 07, 2016

The National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES) revealed that the total number of sessile species, such as barnacles and snails, has been decreasing significantly along the coast within 10 kilometers south of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant since the accident there in 2011.

Although the exact relevance to the accident is unclear, according to the institute’s analysis there is the possibility that the mass death of sessile species was influenced by radioactive materials released into the sea.

The NIES gathered sessile species attached to tetrapods from seven survey points 50 centimeters square within the limits in Fukushima, Miyagi and Ibaraki prefectures in May and June 2013. Four of the survey points are located in Fukushima Prefecture. The institute then investigated species numbers among other details.

Concerning the survey points in Fukushima, the numbers at the two sites south of the power plant were much lower than the numbers at the two northern sites. Extrapolated into one square meter, 2,864 sessile creatures were confirmed at the survey point in Okuma, which is 1.2 kilometers south from the power plant. At the survey point in Tomioka, which is 9.5 kilometers south of the plant, 2,404 creatures were confirmed. Meanwhile, the average number of sessile creatures in the other five locations reached 18,592, with 31,728 in Minami-Soma and 5,324 in Futaba, both in Fukushima Prefecture and north of the power plant.

New Fukushima disaster discovery


This video from Canada says about itself:

Fukushima Fallout: Cesium-137 in Fish

13 October 2015

Based on research by Alex Roslin that was published in the Georgia Straight, Dr. Edwards describes the measured levels of cesium-137 in fish from the Fukushima Daiichi triple meltdown.

From SimplyInfo:

New Meltdown Byproduct Found Far From Fukushima Daiichi

February 4th, 2016

Another type of material has been found by researchers that is tied to the meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi. We have reported extensively over the years on the finding of “black stuff” around mainland Japan. This is a highly radioactive black sand like material that had gathered in gutters and roads as far away as Tokyo. Analysis of materials of that type has linked them to the meltdowns inside the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi. This new finding is also linked directly to the reactor meltdowns.

From Nature.com about this:

Internal structure of cesium-bearing radioactive microparticles released from Fukushima nuclear power plant

3 February 2016

Abstract

Microparticles containing substantial amounts of radiocesium collected from the ground in Fukushima were investigated mainly by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and X-ray microanalysis with scanning TEM (STEM). Particles of around 2 μm in diameter are basically silicate glass containing Fe and Zn as transition metals, Cs, Rb and K as alkali ions, and Sn as substantial elements. These elements are homogeneously distributed in the glass except Cs which has a concentration gradient, increasing from center to surface.

Nano-sized crystallites such as copper- zinc- and molybdenum sulfide, and silver telluride were found inside the microparticles, which probably resulted from the segregation of the silicate and sulfide (telluride) during molten-stage. An alkali-depleted layer of ca. 0.2 μm thick exists at the outer side of the particle collected from cedar leaves 8 months after the nuclear accident, suggesting gradual leaching of radiocesium from the microparticles in the natural environment.

Defiant to the end, last of Group of Six anti-nuclear scientists about to retire — The Asahi Shimbun: here.

Group to monitor trial of former Tepco executives to clarify truth about Fukushima disaster — The Asahi Shimbun: here.

‘Japanese prime minister, apologize for forced prostitution’


This video says about itself:

Two former South Korean ‘comfort women‘ in Tokyo to condemn sex slavery agreement

26 January 2016

Two South Korean victims of Japan′s wartime sexual enslavement of women held a press conference in Tokyo condemning the agreement reached by the two governments just under a month ago.

Speaking on Tuesday at the Diet,Lee Ok-sun and Kang Il-chul demanded Prime Minister Shinzo Abe apologize to them in person and pay them reparations.

They accused Abe of trying to silence the victims by buying them off with what they said was the ″meager compensation″ outlined in the agreement.

They also said they do not blame the Japanese public, rather it is the fault of the Japanese government and Prime Minister Abe.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Former sex slaves demand personal apology from Abe

Wednesday 27th January 2016

by Our Foreign Desk

TWO Korean women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military in World War II are demanding a personal apology from PM Shinzo Abe.

Lee Ok Sun and Kang Il Chul, both now in their eighties and wheelchair-bound, told reporters in Tokyo yesterday that they rejected the recent settlement negotiated between the South Korean and Japanese governments.

The women said neither government had asked their opinion before reaching the agreement.

They added that Mr Abe’s statement did not address them personally and that his pledge to create a one billion yen (£5.9 million) victims’ fund was not for compensation but for humanitarian work.

“Not only has Abe not apologised but he hasn’t even tried to meet us,” Ms Kang said angrily. “Why doesn’t he come out and apologise? We want him to meet us face to face.”

Ms Lee and Ms Kang are among a handful of survivors from the tens of thousands of so-called “comfort women” kidnapped by the invading Japanese army and forced to have sex with soldiers.

They were sent to Japanese-occupied China when they were teenagers in the early 1940s and did not return to their homes until decades later.

Also yesterday, Japanese Emperor Akihito, the son of wartime leader Hirohito, expressed guarded regret for his country’s brutal occupation of the Philippines at the end of a visit to the country.

He noted that in the 1945 battle to liberate the capital Manila, “a tremendously large number of innocent Filipino civilians were victims.”

Waterbear revives after thirty years frost


This video says about itself:

15 January 2016

Japan’s National Institute of Polar Research said its scientists had succeeded in reviving a microscopic animal known as a tardigrade, collected more than 30 years ago in Antarctica and kept frozen ever since.

From the BBC:

Japan: ‘Water bear‘ reproduces after 30 years on ice

15 January 2016

Scientists in Japan say a microscopic creature called a tardigrade successfully reproduced after being frozen for more than 30 years.

Researchers at the National Institute of Polar Research in Tokyo defrosted and revived two of the tiny animals, which are also known as water bears, from a batch collected in the Antarctic in 1983, The Asahi Shimbun newspaper reports. While one tardigrade died after 20 days, the other began reproducing. It laid 19 eggs, of which 14 hatched successfully.

It marks a new record for the creatures – previously the longest survival rate recorded was nine years, The Mainichi newspaper notes. The study took place in 2014, but the results were published on Thursday.

Scientists are hoping to discover how tardigrades are able to survive hostile conditions for so long. “We want to unravel the mechanism for long-term survival by looking into damage to tardigrades’ DNA and their ability to repair it,” researcher Megumu Tsujimoto tells The Asahi Shimbun.

Tardigrades are often referred to as water bears because of their chunky bodies and bear-like claws. Despite their miniscule size, they are by all accounts one of the hardiest creatures on earth, surviving extreme heat, radiation and even a trip into space. They are able to slow down their metabolism until it practically stops, a process known as cryptobiosis, which enables them to withstand freezing.