Seiji Maehara, who lost his bid to become the party leader and the prime minister of Japan, has nonetheless landed on a very powerful party position as the chairman of the DPJ's policy bureau.
He went to Fukushima, and after visiting with the evacuees from Iitate-mura, he disclosed his party's plan to use the "eco-point" system for residential housing to promote timber from the disaster-affected area.
What is the "eco-point" for houses? Well, if you build or renovate your house with energy saving features and alternative energy features (eg. solar panels) the government will give you "eco-points". Then you can use the points at participating stores and buy whatever you want to buy with the points.
Maehara is saying the government may entice builders to use the lumber from the disaster-affected area with "eco-points", even if the potentially radioactive lumber has nothing to do with energy saving.
Iitate-mura's major industry is forestry. Iitate-mura's mountains and forests have been contaminated with whatever fell on them - radioactive cesium, plutonium, strontium. No one has tested them (if someone did, he's not saying anything), but the contamination should be an order of magnitude bigger than the radioactive firewood from Rikuzen Takata City in Iwate Prefecture.
If Mr. Maehara has his way, the contaminated trees are to be cut from the contaminated mountains and hauled out of the mountains, disturbing the contaminated soil and dead leaves, and made into lumber in a village with high air radiation level and sold all over Japan with "eco-points", in order for the rest of the Japanese to help the villagers.
This is "socializing the cost" to the extreme.
From Sankei Shinbun (9/17/2011):
Seiji Maehara, chairman of the policy bureau of the Democratic Party of Japan, visited Fukushima City in the morning of September 17, and visited with the residents of Iitate-mura in their temporary houses. They evacuated to Fukushima City after the Fukushima I Nuclear Plant accident. In the dialog with the residents, Maehara apologized to them about Yoshio Hachiro, who resigned the post of Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry after his inappropriate remarks concerning the nuclear accident. Maehara said, "His words trampled down your feelings. As a member of the ruling party I would like to apologize from the bottom of my heart".
The purpose of his visit was to incorporate the demands from the disaster-affected area into the 3rd supplementary budget plan for the fiscal 2011, which will be the budget for the recovery in earnest from the March 11 earthquake/tsunami disaster. Maehara responded to the decontamination request from the residents, by saying "We want to appropriate a large sum for the effort".
He also disclosed that he [or his party] is discussing the possibility of utilizing "residential eco-point system" if residential houses are built with lumber from the disaster-affected area. After the dialog with the Iitate-mura residents, he met with Governor Yuhei Sato. Governor Sato pointed out the slow response by the national government, and urged the creation of the recovery fund.
Mr. Maehara will go to Miyagi Prefecture in the afternoon to have a talk with Governor Yoshihiro Murai. He is also scheduled to survey the debris clearing operation.
To the right-leaning and the US-favoring (and nuke-favoring) Sankei, Maehara is a darling, WikiLeaks or not.
"Oh it's just outside of the trees that is radioactive. In lumber, there will be no radiation, it's safe" will be the mantra. "Don't you want to help the victims of the accident?" will be another.
My answer: so what? and no. Not through buying their radioactive goods.
Iitate-mura's so-called "decontamination" of farmland and houses is expected to cost 200 billion yen, or US$2.6 billion. Part of the "decon" bubble, as Iitate-mura's "decontamination" is to be done by the national government and its researchers (as if they know anything about radiation decontamination on a massive scale), with the help of large general contractors.