If I thought Yokohama City was so slow in responding to citizens' concern on radiation contamination, I certainly didn't know what the Tokyo Metropolitan government could do.
It doesn't even tell the citizens.
First, the Tokyo government didn't tell anyone that they started dumping the radioactive ashes in the landfill in the Tokyo Bay in May. And now, without bothering asking the citizens, again, it will start bringing the disaster debris from Tohoku that are likely to be radioactive and burn in Tokyo.
NHK News (9/29/2011):
The Tokyo Metropolitan government has decided to bring in the disaster debris from Iwate prefecture to Tokyo and burn them, and will sign an agreement with the Iwate prefectural government on September 30.
In the disaster-affected areas in Tohoku, the amount of debris from tsunami is simply too huge for the affected municipalities to process by themselves. The national government has requested the prefectures and municipalities not affected by the disaster to take the debris and process. Responding to the request, the Tokyo Metropolitan government has decided to accept the debris from Iwate Prefecture for 2 and a half years till March 2014, and will sign an agreement with the Iwate prefectural government on September 30.
The Tokyo Metropolitan government will conduct public bidding to decide which contractors will get to process (incinerate) the disaster debris before starting to accept debris from Miyako City in Iwate Prefecture starting next month. The debris will arrive in Tokyo in containers by rail. Radioactive materials will be measured when the debris are shipped, and when they are burned. After incineration, the ashes will be buried in the landfill beyond Aomi in Koto-ku.
According to the government, the density of radioactive materials measured on the debris and in the ashes from burning the debris in Miyako City was lower than the national standard to allow burying. Outside Tohoku, Tokyo will be the first to accept the disaster debris from Tohoku. The Tokyo government plans to accept the total of about 500,000 tonnes of debris. The Metropolitan bureau of environment says "We want to contribute to the recovery and rebuilding of the disaster-affected areas".
The landfill beyond Aomi, Koto-ku is the same one in the Tokyo Bay that the Tokyo Metropolitan government has been dumping the radioactive ashes since May. (See my 9/13/2011 post.)
As to the "safe" level of burying the radioactive ashes and debris, that's totally meaningless now that the Ministry of Environment has allowed the burial of just about anything, even the ashes that measures over 100,000 becquerels/kg of cesium, as long as there are measures in place at the processing facilities that will prevent the leakage. Uh huh.
Apparently, when the Tokyo Metropolitan government answered questions from the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly on September 28, it was already a done deal. Assemblyman Hirofumi Yanagase, who has been active in alerting the citizens about dangerous radiation levels at sludge plants and waste incinerators in his district in Tokyo, fumes (link is in Japanese):
"The government said during the question and answer session in the Assembly on September 28 that the details were still being worked out. But then less than half a day later they announced a concrete plan of accepting 1,000 tonnes of debris from Iwate Prefecture by the middle of November."
Yanagase also wonders if his colleagues in the Assembly are even aware of radiation and radiation contamination in Tokyo at all. Probably not, Mr. Yanagase, from what I read and hear.
NHK also reports that the Tokyo will launch the campaign to invite the 2020 Summer Olympics to Tokyo but with the reduced budget, after the lavish and unsuccessful campaign by Governor Ishihara the last time (for 2016) was heavily criticized. Now Isihara says he will only use 7 billion yen (US$91.5 million) of taxpayers' money instead of 14 billion yen he spent the last time.
Oh and the national government now wants Tokyo and 7 other Prefectures in Kanto and Tohoku (Fukushima, Miyagi, Iwate, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Chiba) to build intermediate storage facilities of highly contaminated soil in their own prefectures, according to Yomiuri Shinbun (9/28/2011). Half of Tohoku and most of Kanto are to have a nuclear waste dump, and Tokyo wants to invite Olympics.
Tokyo looks set to become the most radioactive capital in the world. I bet the governor of Tokyo likes that: "Ichiban (Number One)!" I doubt that it will win the Olympics bid, ever again.