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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged the third anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake by remembering Japan's courage through the devastation and recovery.
Kerry reflected on the impact of the 8.9 magnitude earthquake that shook Japan on March 11, 2011, and the "gut-wrenching" images of destroyed homes and whole cities. He also recalled the courage demonstrated by Japanese citizens and volunteers who responded to the natural disaster.
"Today, we remember the courage of the citizens of the Tohoku region and all of Japan. We remember the volunteers from nations around the world who dug deep and pitched in. And we remember the outpouring of emotion, from public condolences to those who shared their grief in private ways -- and still do."
The earthquake also triggered a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2014/03/11/On-3rd-anniversary-of-devastating-Japanese-earthquake-Secretary-Kerry-recalls-Japans-courage/4191394550785/
Posted by bananas | Tue Mar 11, 2014, 01:41 PM (1 replies)
Noam Chomsky: From Hiroshima to Fukushima, Vietnam to Fallujah, State Power Ignores Its Massive Harm
Noam Chomsky: From Hiroshima to Fukushima, Vietnam to Fallujah, State Power Ignores Its Massive Harm
Tuesday, 11 March 2014 11:23 By Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! | Video Report
World-renowned political dissident, linguist, author and MIT Professor Noam Chomsky traveled to Japan last week ahead of the three-year anniversary of the Fukushima crisis. Chomsky, now 85 years old, met with Fukushima survivors, including families who evacuated the area after the meltdown. "(It’s) particularly horrifying that this is happening in Japan with its unique, horrendous experiences with the impact of nuclear explosions, which we don’t have to discuss," Chomsky says. "And it’s particularly horrifying when happening to children — but unfortunately, this is what happens all the time."
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: We end our Fukushima anniversary special with the words of world-renowned political dissident, linguist, author, MITProfessor Noam Chomsky, who also traveled to Tokyo last week. Noam Chomsky is now 85 years old. He met with survivors from Fukushima, including families who evacuated the area. Their meeting was filmed by the independent online media channel, OurPlanet-TV. This is Professor Chomsky speaking in Japan.
NOAM CHOMSKY: Particularly horrifying that this is happening in Japan, with its unique, horrendous experiences with the effect of the nuclear explosions, which we don’t have to discuss. And, of course, it’s particularly horrifying when it’s happening to children, who are defenseless and innocent. But, unfortunately, this is what happens all the time. I mean, I had two daughters about—when they were about the age of your daughter, they would come home from school telling us how in school they were taught to hide under desks in case there was a nuclear war. This was right after the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the world came very close to nuclear war. And children were very upset. I mean, I knew children who were friends of families who were sure they were never going to survive because the world was going to be destroyed by a nuclear war. But the official line was: "Don’t worry; everything is under control." The same was true—again, my daughters, when they were about her age, we stopped feeding them milk, because the scientists, who were concerned, recognized that there was a very high level of strontium-90 in the milk that was coming from atomic explosions the U.S. was carrying out, many open-air explosions. And the government assured everyone that there was no problem, but we just—a lot of people, like us, just stopped feeding the children, gave them only powdered milk, which came from before the explosions.
AMY GOODMAN: Author and MIT Professor Noam Chomsky, speaking during his visit to Tokyo last week. Special thanks to OurPlanet-TV. You can visit our website to see our three days of coverage from Tokyo, Japan, at democracynow.org.
Posted by bananas | Tue Mar 11, 2014, 01:26 PM (0 replies)
Japanese jingoism won’t help Fukushima’s refugees
by William Pesek
Bloomberg Mar 11, 2014
Does Shinzo Abe love soldiers who died during World War II more than Japanese living today?
The question might sound disrespectful. But I can’t help asking it as I survey the placards at anti-government rallies commemorating the third anniversary of the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami, which left almost 20,000 people dead or missing and erased entire towns. “Abe is AWOL,” says one. Another: “Nationalism Doesn’t Create Jobs!” The one that moved me most was carried by a 30-something mother wearing a “No Nukes” T-shirt: “My Kids Still Can’t Play Outside.”
After 1,095 days, untold billions of dollars of public expenditures and countless pledges to accelerate rebuilding efforts, radiation is still leaking at Fukushima. Only 3.4 percent of planned public-housing projects are close to being completed.
A whole generation of kids in the northeast Tohoku region are tested regularly for thyroid cancer. They can barely remember anything but temporary housing, and must wonder if outdoor playgrounds really exist.
If Prime Minister Abe spent even a fraction of his time helping tsunami-devastated towns and Fukushima’s nuclear refugees instead of fighting with Japan’s neighbors over history, Tohoku citizens would he much better off. Unfair criticism? Abe’s image-makers certainly think so; they play up his 13 visits to Tohoku since December 2012.
But the government’s inability to handle its crisis at home belies its global ambitions. Time that should be allotted to sorting out Tohoku is squandered debating World War II atrocities, teaching “patriotism” to school kids, staffing national broadcaster NHK with like-minded conservatives and defending a prime ministerial visit to Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine, where the souls of 14 Class-A war criminals are enshrined among the war dead. Abe seems to believe Japan has been victimized by history. So why is he ignoring Japan’s current victims?
Posted by bananas | Tue Mar 11, 2014, 12:36 PM (0 replies)
COSMOS Then and Now
Source: Keith Cowing
Posted March 10, 2014 10:57 PM
I have lived with the original COSMOS in my head for more than 30 years. It is not going to go away and I am incapable of not comparing the new and the old versions. Both series are boundary-pushing creatures of their respective times - and hosts. Yet millions have never seen the original.
When COSMOS first aired in 1980 I was helping to close down Jerry Brown's 1980 Presidential campaign in Los Angeles. I did not have a TV at home so every Sunday I'd head over to the office to watch COSMOS on the largest Sony Trinitron there was - the widescreen TV of the day. It was mesmerizing. Working for Jerry Brown I had a lot of interesting opportunities which included the Voyager Saturn encounters at JPL which overlapped the first run of COSMOS on TV. For me this was rather exciting to day the least - I'd see things on TV and then be in the same room with the people making things happen the next day. Heady stuff.
Posted by bananas | Tue Mar 11, 2014, 02:23 AM (0 replies)
Researchers Confirm “Black Substance” Is Fukushima Reactor Fuel
March 8th, 2014
In a peer reviewed paper released this week by the journal Environmental Science & Technology, a Japanese team of researchers has concluded that portions of the “black substance” found in Japan is nuclear fuel fragments from Fukushima Daiichi.
Discoveries of the black residue along roadsides in and near the evacuation zone have been going on since at least 2011. Most were initially found by local citizens doing radiation monitoring. Some of these black substance sightings have been as far away as parts of Tokyo, The paper only studied those found in the evacuation zones.
Marco Kaltofan made a similar conclusion in their research of a sample of the black substance, that it was at least in part containing reactor fuel.
The new peer reviewed paper from the Japanese research team also concludes the black substance is from the reactors. They make a number of calculations to rule out existing uranium and plutonium isotopes in the environment. The ratios and concentrations confirm that the high radioactivity in the black stuff is from Fukushima Daiichi and includes enough uranium and plutonium to confirm it to be from the fuel itself.
Posted by bananas | Mon Mar 10, 2014, 05:40 PM (12 replies)
The complex known here as J-Village was once Japan’s largest soccer training facility. A statue in the building’s foyer depicts three soccer players battling for a ball. The logo of the Tepco Mareeze, a women’s soccer team that was disbanded in 2011, still is part of the decor. The sliding glass doors that open automatically when visitors approach are emblazoned with an image of soccer players.
But no one plays soccer here anymore. Instead, J-Village has become the command center in the effort to clean up the nuclear catastrophe that began when a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck off the coast of Honshu, Japan, at 2:46 p.m. on March 11, 2011, sending a 45-foot wall of water over the 19-foot protective seawall at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and triggering the worst nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl power plant in Ukraine exploded in 1986.
The resulting nightmare continues three years later. It may take decades to get it fully under control.
Today, J-Village’s locker rooms serve decontamination workers, not athletes. Its meeting rooms, where coaches and trainers used to work with rising stars, are reserved now for stern men in uniforms who warn visitors about the danger of exposure to heightened radiation levels.
Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/03/10/3986172/three-years-after-fukushima-daiichi.html
Posted by bananas | Mon Mar 10, 2014, 05:37 PM (1 replies)
Source: Agence France-Presse
In complete darkness, a group of men tried everything they could to save the Fukushima nuclear plant from catastrophe. Their struggle was in vain.
Three years later, the control room at the site of the worst atomic crisis in a generation -- which forced a hard look at Japan's energy policy -- sits as a grim time capsule.
Helmets, masks, several pairs of gloves and overalls remain as reporters are taken on a tour of the inner sanctum, a first since the accident.
Notes are scribbled awkwardly on walls in rooms with levers, dials, and buttons, reminders of March 11, 2011, when a towering wall of water plunged the site into darkness and sent reactors into meltdown.
Read more: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gqDLLNaXISGSse1ER3z3-bFNFGCQ?docId=b0118fb7-6824-42e7-9921-00d8c557d85b&hl=en
Posted by bananas | Mon Mar 10, 2014, 05:34 PM (1 replies)
A senior adviser to the operator of the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has told the firm that it may have no choice but to eventually dump hundreds of thousands of tonnes of contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean.
Speaking to reporters who were on a rare visit to the plant on the eve of the third anniversary of the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, Dale Klein said Tokyo Electric Power had yet to reassure the public over the handling of water leaks that continue to frustrate efforts to clean up the site.
"The one issue that keeps me awake at night is Tepco's long-term strategy for water management," said Klein, a former chairman of the US nuclear regulatory commission who now leads Tepco's nuclear reform committee.
But Tepco, the government and nuclear regulators would have to win the support of local fishermen, and the release of even treated water would almost certainly draw a furious response from China and South Korea.
"It's a very emotional issue," Klein said. "But Tepco and the government will have to articulate their position to other people. For me, the water issue is more about policy than science."
Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/mar/10/fukushima-operator-dump-contaminated-water-pacific
Dale Klein is a former head of the US NRC.
He was appointed by Bush.
Posted by bananas | Mon Mar 10, 2014, 05:28 PM (8 replies)
Japan's economic recovery suffered a blow at the end of last year and the current account deficit ballooned to a record in January, raising fears of a stumble in the world's third-largest economy as activity wilts ahead of a sales tax increase in April.
In the fourth quarter of last year, Japan's economy grew at an annual rate of just 0.7 percent, revised figures show, slower than the initial estimate of 1.0 percent on weaker business investment and consumption. The slowdown from a revised 0.9 percent pace in the previous three months bolsters expectations that the Bank of Japan may ease monetary policy further in coming months to safeguard a fragile recovery.
In a further negative sign for the export-reliant economy, the current account deficit widened to a record 1.589 trillion yen ($15.38 billion), easily exceeding a median estimate for a 1.4 trillion yen deficit as shipments failed to substantially pick up despite a weaker yen.
The disappointing data join a recent run of soft indicators that have raised doubts about Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's strategy to spark sustainable growth through massive monetary and fiscal stimulus, as well as structural reforms.
Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/10/us-japan-economy-current-idUSBREA2901320140310
Posted by bananas | Mon Mar 10, 2014, 05:04 PM (2 replies)
Source: Japan Daily Press
Just a day before the 3rd anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accident, national broadcaster NHK released the results of a survey about nuclear power in Japan. The results show that 80% of the respondents are in favor of scrapping some or all of the existing nuclear reactors in the country.
The survey, which was conducted from November to December of 2013, also asked respondents if they were concerned that another accident like Fukushima will happen and 37% said they are very concerned, 50% are slightly concerned while only 14% said they are not. When asked if the nuclear reactors, all 50 of which are currently offline, should be restarted, 44% said they should remain that way, while 11% believe they should go online soon. But 44% of those who responded were still undecided as to what fate should befall the idle atomic plants. The poll also asked what should be done with the existing reactors, 30% said all of them should be decommissioned while 46% believe they should just be reduced. 22% think the number should just be maintained while only 1% said that the government and utilities should add more plants.
An overwhelming 95% of respondents believe that the current situation at Fukushima, with its slow decontamination process and almost regular irradiated water leaks, is worrisome, while just 5% said they are not that concerned. NHK researchers think that the ongoing problems at Fukushima may have influenced their opinion about nuclear power.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe paid a visit to some towns in the Fukushima Prefecture on Saturday to check on the living conditions of residents, most of whom are still displaced. By April 1, residents of Miyakoji District will be able to return home, as the evacuation order is expected to be lifted, the first since the nuclear accident. Abe said to reporters afterwards that he thinks the Fukushima rehabilitation is underway but also vowed to do his best to rebuild the prefecture as soon as possible. He said that until Fukushima is restored, there will be no economic revival for the country.
Read more: http://japandailypress.com/survey-says-80-of-japanese-dont-want-nuclear-plants-anymore-1045537/
Posted by bananas | Mon Mar 10, 2014, 07:41 AM (17 replies)