Everyday I get up in the morning hoping that people in Japan will wake up to the dire situation they are in and start doing something. Anything. Everyday I am disappointed. When they do something, it is almost always "WTF....?" Yesterday was no exception.
Here's a collection of small news in Japan from yesterday that made me recite the haiku by the master Matsuo Basho - "When I say something, as soon as the word leaves my lips, it's blowing in the cold autumnal wind" - there's no use in saying.
City in Fukushima Prefecture to send persimmons to the Imperial Household:
Aizu Wakamatsu City in Fukushima Prefecture is preparing its annual gift to the imperial family: persimmons harvested this year. They city has been giving the gift ever since 1928, when a granddaughter of the last lord of the Aizu (who sided with the Tokugawa Shogun regime in the civil war that toppled the Shogunate and ushered in the Meiji era) married a younger brother of Emperor Showa (the father of the current emperor). (Yomiuri Shinbun 11/17/2011)
Persimmon is one of the fruits that have been constantly found with elevated levels of radioactive cesium. The particular persimmons in Aizu are free of radioactive materials, according to the testing by Fukushima Prefecture. (Yes that's very trustworthy.)
I suppose it's their way of getting back, in a way. The Mayor of the city, when he visited a city in Kyushu, couldn't help commenting on the bitterly-fought civil war of almost 150 years ago in which his city under Lord Katamori Matsudaira lost to the forces that included the lord of that city in Kyushu.
The emperor is still hospitalized. All the imperial duties are delegated to the crown prince, who performs them without his wife accompanying him as she should. (In her case, it is nothing to do with radiation. She's been absent from almost all official duties for years because of her sensitive psychological problems.)
Government to send Self Defense Force soldiers to "decontaminate" within 20-kilometer radius:
The Kan administration sent SDF soldiers to Fukushima I Nuclear Power plant right after Reactor 1 blew up. They were taking up positions for the watering operation on March 14, when Reactor 3 blew up. Some warm feelings between the government and the SDF.
Now, the Noda administration will be sending the soldiers within 20-kilometer radius of the plant, to Namie-machi, Naraha-machi (where Fuku-II is located) and Tomioka-machi, to "decontaminate". The administration wants to accelerate the pace of decontamination in the no-entry zone so that people can return, and has decided to send in the Self Defense Force to the more contaminated area inside the no-entry zone starting early December. The SDF soldiers are expected to finish their "decontamination" work of the town halls in the above-mentioned towns by the end of December. (Mainichi Shinbun 11/17/2011, via Asyura so that the original article does not disappear)
It's not even the decontamination of people's houses or farmland. The SDF soldiers will be made to decon the municipal buildings that even the town's politicians are not very keen to return to.
There are some criticisms voiced to this government's move, but they are not about sending young soldiers in the high-radiation areas for useless work. They are about the government taking away the work of the private contractors. Three joint ventures headed by three major general contractors have been selected to carry out the "decontamination" in the no-entry zone and the planned evacuation zone, and they are not very happy about the SDF doing the work they are supposed to be doing and be paid for. (Also from the same Mainichi Shinbun article linked above.)
Who are these general contractors heading these JVs? Kajima, Taisei, Obayashi (Asahi Shinbun 11/15/2011). In other words, the same ones that have profited from building nuclear power plants and other big government infra projects, and some of the same ones who are getting disaster debris burning jobs in Miyagi Prefecture in a blatant case of collusion "dango".
People within 3 kilometer radius return temporarily to retrieve their stuff by car:
Fukushima Minyu (11/17/2011) tells us that the residents in the 3-kilometer radius from the plant in Okuma-machi started to return temporarily to retrieve their belongings. They are allowed to use their cars.
I am sure the cars will be decontaminated at the check point or at J-Village. The problem is that since the background radiation is high, the cars may test perfectly fine there.
Fukushima Prefecture to hold another Ekiden road race featuring underage boys and girls, on November 20:
Fukushima is doing the Ekiden road race again, in the high radiation Naka-dori, from Shirakawa City to Fukushima City, 96.5 kilometers. Participants are Fukushima resident athletes in cities, towns and villages in Fukushima Prefecture. Again, half the members are underage boys and girls, as young as 13, again. (The official cite of the event at Fukushima Minpo: http://www.minpo.jp/pub/ekiden2011/)
Why do they do this? Because 1) they did it last year about the same time; 2) to show to the rest of Japan what a wonderful place Fukushima is, how people are coping wonderfully, how it is safe to hold an event like this. To do the Number 2, what better way than to use 13, 14 year olds?
2 boxes full of contaminated soil sent to the Ministry of the Environment, and a worker at the Ministry dumps the soil in an empty lot:
Someone in Fukushima City send two boxes filled with contaminated soil to the Ministry of the Environment. A General Affairs section manager expressed his feeling that it could be buried in his backyard, so the worker under him took his meaning and took the boxes home, dumped the content in an empty lot in the neighboring city.
Goshi Hosono, Minister of the Environment and Minister in charge of the nuclear accident, said "I understand the person's feeling, but we will do our best to decontaminate so please refrain from sending the contaminated soil to us." (Sankei Shinbun 11/17/2011)
As usual, he lies. Fukushima City's decontamination is to be done by the city, who is busy rounding up volunteers. The city is not designated as any type of evacuation zone, and it is 60 kilometers away. So it's outside the government responsibility to decontaminate.
As the country slowly descends into lunacy, winter comes, and cold, north wind will blow from Fukushima's direction to Kanto and Tokyo.