The push for disaster debris that has been contaminated with radioactive fallout from Fukushima I Nuke Plant has reached an almost hysterical level with TV commercials, huge ads in the paper, and newspaper editorials calling anyone who doesn't want the debris burned in their neighborhood as "unpatriotic". Even a foreigner living in Japan, former Washington Post reporter, chimes in, rebuking the Japanese for refusing to "help" people in the disaster affected area.
Several cities in Okinawa Prefecture arefor accepting the debris. Kitakyushu City, who was once known for heavy pollution and now wants to be the environmental capital of the world, wants to accept and burn the debris. Governor of Kyoto wants it, as long as the government compensates for the damage from "baseless rumors" (such as the number of foreign tourists dropping to zero...). Cities in Shizuoka and Niigata want it, even if Governor of Niigata is dead set against it. Mayor of Yokohama, who is personally responsible in my opinion for feeding Yokohama's school children with radioactive beef, and ex-TV personality Governor of Kanagawa want to join Governor of Tokyo in merrily burning the debris and dump it in the Tokyo Bay. Wakkanai City in Hokkaido, the northern most part of Hokkaido right across from Russia's Sakhalin Island, wants to burn it. (Links are in Japanese.)
Money speaks. But that's not enough for PM Noda and his ministers. They want ALL prefectures to burn the debris which is contaminated with radioactive materials.
So, the Noda administration has decided to use the clause in the newly established special law for disaster debris processing and issue a formal written request to all prefectures in Japan except for Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate, asking them to accept disaster debris.
At the same time, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has just started a program to convince private businesses to take on the disaster debris for recycle - a sneaky backdoor approach, as often these businesses are large corporations that employ people in municipalities where the residents are often against accepting the debris contaminated with radioactive materials.
First, about the formal written request from the Noda administration, from Jiji Tsushin (3/13/2012):
The Noda administration held the first meeting of ministers involved in the wide-area disposal of disaster debris from the March 11, 2011 disaster (Prime Minister Noda as chairman). Minister of the Environment Goshi Hosono reported that he will send a formal written request based on the "Disaster Debris Disposal Special Measures" to all 44 prefectures excluding the 3 prefectures affected by the disaster [Fukushima, Miyagi, Iwate] that they accept the disaster debris. In the meeting, they confirmed the government policy to recycle the debris and use it to tend the disaster prevention forest and parks.
In the opening statement, Prime Minister Noda said "I ask all of you to increase your effort so that the wide-area disposal of the debris and recycling will be accepted and expanded."
And here's the effort by the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yukio Edano of the "no immediate effect on health" fame, also from Jiji Tsushin (3/13/2012):
Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yukio Edano announced the Ministry's policy at the press conference after the cabinet meeting on March 13 to issue a written request for cooperation to the industries to promote the wide-area disposal of the disaster debris. The document, dated March 13, 2012, will be sent to the industry groups such as cement, paper, steel, chemicals, and electric power. The purpose is to request cooperation through corporate activities.
The Ministry of Economy has made oral requests for cooperation to the local businesses in the disaster-affected areas since last year. Already, a cement company in Ofunato City in Iwate Prefecture uses the debris as part of the [cement] ingredients, and a paper company in Ishinomaki City in Miyagi Prefecture uses the debris as fuel for the boiler.
What a deceptive writing. If you get the feeling reading the last paragraph that the Ministry has been asking small local businesses affected by the disaster to use the debris for their small operations, like I did for a moment, you are conned. I immediately remembered who these companies are.
A cement company in Iwate Prefecture who's been mixing the radioactive ashes in the cement is the largest cement company in Japan, Taiheiyo Cement, who happens to have a factory in Iwate. A paper company who's been burning the debris in the boiler in its Miyagi factory is Nippon Paper Industries, the second largest paper company in Japan and the 10th largest in the world.
The same Taiheiyo Cement will burn the debris in its 2 factories in Saitama Prefecture, and use the ashes in the cement. Mitsubishi Materials will do the same.
Edano is lining up more big corporations, almost all of whom will be more than happy to oblige.
That silly commercial by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says "Japan, a country of perseverance". The government seems determined to test the "perseverance" of the citizens.