Friday, November 23, 2012

#Radioactive Japan with No Money Part 1: Chiba's Kashiwa City Mayor to Have Residents Decontaminate, Says "It's a Great Learning Opportunity"

It all boils down to the governments of all sizes in Japan not having the rainy-day funds they could spend. They don't have any savings (budget surplus) at all, and the borrowed money they are willing to spend is on "decontamination" and "sharing the pain" by spreading disaster debris, both of which have been contracted out to the largest general contractors in the nation.

First, the mayor of Kashiwa City in Chiba Prefecture in the high-radiation Tokatsu area where over 650,000 Bq/kg of radioactive cesium was found in the soil (dry) in the city-owned land in the storm drain in October last year has decided that the "decontamination" effort in his city is to be done by the residents themselves. Yes, the city will help, by providing promotional videos.

Mayor Akimoto, 44-year-old ex-Bain management consultant, says, "In order to eradicate the fear of radiation, it's best that the residents themselves do the decontamination and experience firsthand what radiation is about." According to the mayor, it is a learning opportunity for the residents, and decontaminating one's own home is just a light work.

Talk about a spin by a management consultant. What Kashiwa City has is "contamination from radiation", not "fear of radiation".

From Tokyo Shinbun Chiba Local Version (11/23/2012):

民有地除染「市民で」 柏市長方針 来月に支援強化

Kashiwa City Mayor's policy is for the city residents to decontaminate privately-owned properties, extra support starting next month


In the press conference on November 22, Mayor Hiroyasu Akiyama of Kashiwa City said about the decontamination of privately-owned properties such as houses, "In order to eradicate the fear of radiation, it is important for the residents to have firsthand experience", stressing again his policy to proceed with the decontamination by the residents instead of using contractors.


In Chiba Prefecture, 9 cities have been designated as "areas that need special attention to the contamination", and 6 of them, Matsudo, Nagareyama, Noda, Abiko, Inzai, Shiroi, are employing businesses to do the decontamination. There were people who asked for the same approach in Kashiwa City, but [the mayor] said his intention was to have the city residents to do the decontamination, because the financial support from the national government would not be enough.


In the press conference, Mayor Akiyama pointed out that the decontamination of one's home is a light work that residents can do themselves, and asked for cooperation. "Doing the decontamination is a great opportunity to deepen one's knowledge of radiation. I would like [the city residents] to fully understand [by experience], instead of understanding as a concept."


The video of how to decontaminate will be available in the city's homepage starting December 1st.

What neither the mayor nor the residents acknowledge is that Kashiwa City has no money. Only 60% of the city budget is funded by tax revenue (still better than the national government budget, 50% of which is funded by tax revenue), and the rest comes from government subsidies and municipal bonds.

If a favorite refrain of many in Japan, "National debt? We owe it to ourselves, not a problem", is true, well, print away. Debt does not matter, right?


Anonymous said...

No only do they ask you clean up "your own mess" but they wait for almost 2 years to ask. Is the lag time in asking people to clean up part of the opportunity to deepen one's knowledge of radiation? This is how the nuclear industry lowers the expense of an accident they shove off their clean up responsibilities onto the ratepayer. This usually happens after the government takes over and starts paying the bills. If TEPCO had told the victims to get stuffed the day after the accident people would have rioted but now everyone is so used to getting screwed over they'll just grin and bear it.

If it were me I would have got together with my friends and started collecting hot debris as soon as I had a survey meter to detect it. Then I would have been dumping it at the mayors office and home to deepen his knowledge of radiation. He also might like some mushroom soup made with locally grown mushrooms.

Anonymous said...

You know, I could almost get behind the public's pitching in to help clean up Japan. Afterall, whether it's labor or money, Japan's public will end up footing the bill. But such public participation only makes sense if the idiots who caused this problem (the nuclear industry) actually start decomissioning all of the other nuclear plants in the country. The industry has clearly demonstrated that they are unwilling to pay for their externalities. Why in hell (why in Kashiwa) should the public be expected to allow the nuclear operators another chance to destroy another large section of Japan? If the industry is structured so they don't have to pay, or cannot pay, for the damage they can cause, the industry should be shut down.

Anonymous said...

While the citizens fail to rise up over this issue, many are dismayed that the anime character Doraemon has got a nuclear-free makeover...

Anonymous said...

"Debt does not matter, right?"

there are many other important things. No need to panic about debt.
If we think that humanity will live another 1000 year and more and become much more productive over time, 300% of debt is just a dust in wind.
Debt is relative. Most countries have debts and it can grow a lot more if we become more efficient.
Now if we regress, can't find ways to produce energy or as much food for example, than debt will be a problem. Chances are it will not be a problem because we know very little, which lead to think that much more is ahead.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 5:28PM, you are incomprehensible. Brush up on your English. Google Translate doesn't quite work.

m a x l i said...

Everyone who still says nuclear power is cheap, clean and safe should grab a shovel, a broom, a bucket, paper towels and start decontaminating! >>>It's a great learning opportunity.<<< Indeed!

>>>Doing the decontamination is a great opportunity to deepen one's knowledge of radiation.<<< Indeed, some years later, when you lie in a hospital and your hair is falling out, you will have deep knowledge of radiation.

By the way... Decontamination is nonsense. It doesn't work. The people who caused this mess, are only trying to blindfold the population, to keep them busy and give them false hope as long as possible, because they know where they will end up after everyone finds out we are screwed.

Why can't decontamination work? Because on our planet you can only take something from point A and put it to point B, but it will not stay on point B for long. Everything on earth goes around in circles. Decontamination is hopeless like trying to remove all water from an area. You can take a bucket and a mop and try to remove all water from your area, next day it is raining...

Atomfritz said...

"In order to eradicate the fear of radiation, it is important for the residents to have firsthand experience"

To get "firsthand experience" with radiation, they should send some volunteers into the reactor buildings to clean up there and look what happens to them.

Anonymous said...

"If we think that humanity will live another 1000 year and more and become much more productive over time, 300% of debt is just a dust in wind."

That's all well and good if your society isn't aging at the fastest rate in the developed world while your birth rate is steadily decreasing. Japanese baby boomers are just starting to retire and they have already taken more in benefits than the government has collected in taxes. The pool of tax payers is shrinking while the group collecting government benefits is growing. Japan used to be the second largest economy in the world but they dropped to third and are still sliding. Even the Nippon Keidanren sees the writing on the wall that is why they supported tripling the consumption tax instead of just doubling it to 10%.

"The International Monetary Fund has just reported that India has overtaken Japan as the world's third biggest economy in purchasing power parity (PPP) — the measure of the amount of money needed to purchase the same goods and services.

Now it is at least semi-official: Japan's economy is on the skids. A report just released by a think tank of the Nippon Keidanren, the country's most powerful business organization, says that by 2050, Japan will no longer be a developed country, predicting years of negative growth from 2030 onward."

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Don't worry. Japan will be thriving on more adult diapers than baby diapers produced and purchased.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

... and increasing number of people (probably all of them under the age of 25) want "free education", because it is a basic human right and that's what other democracies in the world have been offering. Print money to pay for it, I suppose. Economic ignorance is bliss.

Anonymous said...

One of the few Amercian in Nankin, December 1938, wrote during the Nanking massacre: ” Victory for the Japanese army but judging it from the moral law it is a defeat and a national disgrace – which will hinder cooperation and friendship with China for years to come"
All Chinese girls and women were taken by the Japanese soldiers, were crying “Gin ming”, “save us”. They would be raped many times and murdered after.

In 3 years, the Japanese girls and women, which are more sensitive to radiations, might also be, in their turn, crying “tasukete”, “help”.

As if history was repeating itself but with a twist to balance an equation to balance both side.

But let it finish here, no need to provoc another was with China and its attrocities, no need to pursue the possibilities of another reactor explosion. Japan will miss an rendez-vous with history by not taking care of its young girls and women while their is still time to. Japan can cure its wounds, or history will do it its own way.


Anonymous said...

DKA, people who will suffer from Fukushima most certainly didn't vote for war with China. For you to insinuate somehow they are deserving the fate because of the country's past is not much different from the likes of Shintaro Ishihara who said the disaster was the god's punishment.

Anonymous said...

they don't deserve this faith. But I have no power over faith. It is not because this seems like a twist of history that it is a deserved one.

And I will continue to try to prevent innocent to be the victims of Fukushima reactor explosions contamination. Including protecting my own family, I hope everyone will be fine even if, in Japan, I could not prevent some contamination to happen.

So don't missread me. It can't be more clear that what I hope is that Japan does takes care of its wounds.


Anonymous said...

"....and increasing number of people (probably all of them under the age of 25) want "free education..."

get a life man. There are more important things now than to comlain about people asking for free education.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Anon above, I think I'm entitled to my own opinion in my own blog.

Anonymous said...

The mayor should just ask for a printing press so he can print money whenever he needs it. As a matter of fact why doesn't the government just allow everybody in the country to start printing up their own money? It would sure save the Bank of Japan a lot of "money" if they offset printing costs onto the consumer.

Maybe the locals could charge an admission fee to people from other parts of Japan for the privilege of eradicating their fear of radiation? It could become a new matsuri with the proper marketing the organizers could use the "support the victims" meme the government has been hawking. They could offer prizes for people who show the greatest disregard for their personal safety while cleaning up. I think everybody in Japan needs firsthand experience with contamination so when the next NPP pops off nobody will be scared or surprised by the aftermath.

Anonymous said...

"so when the next NPP pops off nobody will be scared or surprised by the aftermath"

If indead there is anyone left, they will have become better zombies than Japanese are today. Some still try to dare to rebel against governmement order.

Anonymous said...

I live in Kashiwa. It's a shitty place that just gets shittier and shittier. In the days after the accident, when it was obvious to all but the most deluded that the fallout was raining down on us, I saw plenty of kids playing outside and people going about their business as usual. The government said there was no problem and these idiots believed them. Like sheep to the slaughter....
It's been two years since the accident and only now has the local government done anything to clean this mess up. There have been no protests, just a sense of denial of the obvious. The one lady who spoke out publicly about the high levels of radiation was chased out of town by her angry neighbors who claimed she was a hysteric. They didn't want to believe that there was any real danger. "The food is safe, the water is safe, there is no problem. Don't make trouble." I've heard it a million times....

Evan Marcus said...

its really nice post. i apprentice for your post. thanks for shearing it with us. keep it up.
Steering Rack

Anonymous said...

some level of education is required to squeeze out any GDP, especially in countries that have no natural resources, like Japan. Proper education also helps democracy.
Higher education needs to be accessible to those who can make good use of it, as opposed to just those who can afford it. This kind of subsidy to national industry is more likely to be productive than the useless spending spree on public works that the LDP wants to resume, as if it did any good in the past 20 years.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Higher education (these days I doubt the "higher" part) is already accessible. As to who can make good use of it, "good use" by whose definition? Since the national government would be footing the bill, it would be the national government.

I wouldn't trust the Japanese government to define what's "good" for the rest of us. Would you?

I personally think South Korea has the right idea. If you want a job, don't go to college. That's what the South Korean president has been saying. He will probably be replaced in the next election, though.

Anonymous said...

Those who received good marks in high school are more likely to learn something in university, what other criteria could be used?
India was able to send its engineers all over the world because of its education program.
The quality of each individual university is another story of course, both in Japan and the US.

Anonymous said...

Beppe, Indian engineers went all over the world, yes, but the primary reason is not their excellence in education. It's the cost arbitrage. It was much cheaper to hire Indian engineers as opposed to the US engineers for the same work.

Post a Comment