Wednesday, January 30, 2013

(Anything Goes Series-2) Highly Contaminated Fukushima Hills to Be Fully Open for Cherry Blossom Viewers, Harbinger of Explosive Recovery in Fukushima


Or so it is hoped in Fukushima City.

The country was incomprehensible to the outside world for a long time. It has become incomprehensible even to some of its citizens after the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident.

The hills in question, Hanami-yama, are famous for cherry blossom trees, but they are also located in Watari District, the most contaminated district in Fukushima City. Professor Mori of Tokyo University picked up an earthworm in that district whose castings had 1.37 million becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium. That's also where the rice was harvested whose radioactive cesium exceeded 1,500 becquerels/kg.


According to Ministry of Education, as of now, the radiation level in the parking lot at the trail head is 0.528 microsievert/hour at 1 meter from the ground, a drop from about 0.7 microsievert/hour after decontamination done on what looks like January 13 and 14, 2013. However, the level has been creeping up again since.

Anyway, this is what the Fukushima local newspaper Fukushima Minpo (1/30/2013) reports:

花見山、全面開放再開へ 復興の起爆剤に

Hanami-yama to be fully open, hope is that it will trigger explosive recovery

「桃源郷」として名高い福島市の花見山は2月から、全面開放を再開する。29日、同市内で開いた花見山観光振興協議会総会で決定した。昨年は花木の養生のため「花見山公園」内の立ち入りを制限していたが、ファンの熱い要望に対し、園主の阿部一郎さん(93)はじめ、地元住民が応えた。東京電力福島第一原発事故の風評被害に苦しむ観光関係者は地域観光復興の起爆剤になると期待する。

Hanami-yama in Fukushima City is dubbed as "hidden paradise". Starting February, it will be fully open to visitors, as per the decision by the Hanami-yama tourism promotion association at its general meeting held in Fukushima City on January 29. The entry was restricted last year so that the trees could recuperate, but this year the local residents including the owner of the land Mr. Ichiro Abe (age 93) responded to a strong demand from the [cherry blossom tree viewing] enthusiasts. People in the tourism industry which has suffered from the baseless rumors after the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident hope that [opening the hills to the visitors] will trigger an explosive recovery of the local tourism.

花見山は、春の観光名所として人気で、入り込み数は平成22年に32万人を記録。しかし、東日本大震災、原発事故後の23年は9万4千人と減少した。24年は10万1千人。観光客数が増え、花木が弱ってきたため昨年は、立ち入りを制限し周囲のみの散策となった。

Hanami-yama is a popular destination in springtime. In 2010, there were 320,000 visitors. However, after the March 11, 2011 disaster and nuclear accident, only 94,000 visited. In 2012, 101,000 people came. As the number of visitors increased, the trees grew weakened. Last year, the entry was restricted, and walking only around the periphery was allowed.

本来であれば3年ほどの養生が必要だが、市などに再開放を望む声が多く寄せられたことや、震災と原発事故からの復興を成し遂げるため、阿部さんら地元農家が再開を決断したという。

The trees would need about three years to properly recuperate, but the local farmers including Mr. Abe decided to reopen as many people wrote to the city asking for the reopening, and to achieve recovery from the disaster and the nuclear accident.

2月1日から園内を開放。4月6日から29日(予定)までは周辺の道路で交通規制やシャトルバス運行を行う。また、同協議会のホームページで放射線量などの情報を提供する。4月のシーズン本格化までに駐車場の除染などを行い不安解消にもつなげる。

The park will be open on February 1. From April 5 to 29, the traffic control will be in place and shuttle buses will be operated. The tourism promotion association will provide radiation information on its homepage. The parking lot will be decontaminated by the busiest season in April to dispel fear.

同協議会の土田充会長(80)は「全国から励ましの声も受けた。より多くの人をお迎えしたい」と期待。瀬戸孝則市長は「にぎやかな春が戻り、市民の心に力を付けてくれる。地元の皆さんにも感謝したい」とコメントした。市観光コンベンション協会の渡辺和裕会長(62)は「震災後、観光のダメージも大きかった。三春の滝桜、八重の桜ブームの会津など各地と連携も見込める」と期待した。

Mr. Mitsuru [?] Tsuchida (age 80) is hopeful. He said, "We have received encouragement from people all over the country. We would like to welcome as many people as we can." Fukushima City Mayor Takanori Seto said, "Lively spring will be back, cheering the city residents. I would also like to thank the local residents [in Watari District]." Mr. Kazuhiro Watanabe (age 62), chairman of the city's tourism convention association, said expectantly, "Damage to tourism has been severe since the disaster. We are looking forward to collaborate with other areas [with famous cherry blossom trees] such as Minaru's cheery trees and Aizu, now popularized by [NHK's year-long drama titled] "Yae no Sakura (double cherry blossoms)."


So, according to the paper (I'm sure that's the popular and only acceptable meme in Fukushima) the reason why the hills were closed off to visitors last year was to give cherry trees a rest, as the trees suffered stress from too many visitors that went from 320,000 in 2010 to 94,000 in 2011. That makes sense, doesn't it?

I wonder if Mr. Abe, 93, and Mr. Tsuchida, 80 really know how contaminated their hills are.

Again, the meme of "visitors from afar will give cheers to the local residents" is there. Just like elementary school kids in Osaka Prefecture were to cheer the residents in another highly contaminated city in Fukushima (Date City), and just like the Tokyo Municipal government wanting to host the 2020 Olympics so that Tokyo residents and people in Japan can receive cheer and vigor from people around the world visiting Tokyo for the occasion.

Explode away, I say.

Hanami-yama before the nuclear accident (2010), from this blog:

21 comments:

JAnonymous said...

Well well well, more good news for transport companies.

But for the sake of number of visitors arithmetics, they will just shuttle people from Osaka, Nagoya, Tokyo, Nagano, etc... at those people's own expense, to feel like they are helping Tohoku. Of course, said companies will also pocket some nice subsidy from the reconstruction funds (taxpayer funded, ftw) because they are doing something to improve recovery. Who would pass an option to sell a bus ticket twice ?

On the way back, they can even include some disaster debris in the bus trunk.

Oh and really congratulations for such a nice choice of words, those guys sure are good at wording. Explosive recovery lol.

Have a nice day !

Anonymous said...

I lived in Japan for quite some time and have been to plenty of hanami viewings (not in this location.) The Japanese are respectful of their parks and trees. There kids aren't climbing the trees, there is no dumping of things around them, or excessive pollution in beautiful scenic areas. There is absolutely nothing that would "stress the trees" unless tsunami waters made it there and tainted the ground (which is not the case.) It's so disconcerting to see such rubbish fed to the public.

For hanami the airborne radiation level is arguably a less important number than what the level is against the ground. Many people will spend most of their time sitting on blankets, eating and drinking and enjoying the scenery.

I miss hanami dearly, but given the ongoing levels of abject irresponsibility happening in Japan, I'm glad I'm not there.

Anonymous said...

Someone should go on that walk with a Geiger counter.
Should be fun

Anonymous said...

They do not need a Geiger counter, but a brain counter...

Anonymous said...

Hey, no jishuku this spring ?

Skip this if you know about jishuku.

If you don't jishuku means some kind of self-control, modesty. Influent people close to the government called it as a must-behave (very japanese) in march-april 2011 not to go party for the cherry-blossom, the sakura-mi.
Of course there was the 30 OOO people dead by the tsunami. But sakura-mi is also a celebration of life, of the short life cycle. Many went sakura-mi in a sober, discreet way, young ones just pissed of jishuku.
I was so naive as to wonder : maybe it was unhealthy to go out long when lots of contaminated pollen was in the air. Hehe.
It was the first time I composed a Haiku :

Sakurami
Jishuku
Hitomi ka na

(It says : I am not rogue as to go Cherry blossoms, I'm just meeting a friend...)




Anonymous said...

Well, if the *trees* are weakened by contamination what is going to happen to the humans?

Beppe

Anonymous said...

TBS News 23 hinting tonight that Abe govt might just be waiting for the upper house elections to restart the npps. Just in case people did not figure that out by themselves.

Beppe

Anonymous said...

Hatsu-hanami
Seiji no ko mi no wo
Hakanai uso

Anonymous said...

Genpatsu hana
Bakarashi utskushka
Mo ii ya... kanpai

Greyhawk said...

How can people in a cultured and intelligent society completely ignore the proven facts that Radiation Kills People?

Anonymous said...

Grayhawk
radiation also kills the way we used to live, so let's pretend it does not exist.

When someone very close to you dies it may be hard to believe it really happened -- it is human. However going into a state of denial is more dangerous with radiation than with a beloved one's death.

On top of that, like many other things in Japan, denial is a collective behaviour and, guess what, TEPCO sponsored media gladly help fostering it.

Anonymous said...

Weren't these trees "decontaminated" with power washing their barks? No wonder they are weakened when parts of their barks is missing.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Anon at 4:16PM, I think you're thinking about the fruit trees (peach, apple, persimmon) in middle third of Fukushima.

JAnonymous said...

To anon above, talking about TEPCO-sponsored press....

Absolutely right ! The proof is just made by RSF too (reporters without border) where Japan completely crashed in their latest Press Freedom Index 2013, sliding from 22nd nation to 53rd (even below Areva-powered french press at 37th) with the likes of South "let's kill those lazy miners" Africa and Super Mario's Italy (where the press openly belongs to a ex-future-ex-PM who will be on and off the job and the jail). Good news for the Murdox, their countries of influence are 29th and 32nd.

Anonymous said...

How fitting that cherry blossom festivals celebrate the beauty and brevity of life.

Anonymous said...

Off topic: Asahi TV reported about a prominent member of the "new" NRA behaving in the tradition of the "old" agency and leaking internal documents related to the Tsuruga npp to the industry (if I got the Japanese right).
According to several sismologists the Tsuruga plant has been built on an active fault (and therefore should be closed) -- however no agency nor commission has so far had the bElls to officially draw this obvious conclusion.
Beppe

NYUltraBuddha said...

Check out this story about the US shutting down its Fukushima medical registry.

http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/nation/a-lasting-legacy-of-the-fukushima-rescue-mission-part-1-radioactive-contamination-of-americ

Anonymous said...

We have to accept that we have a new enemy, our goverments...

Anonymous said...

I wanted to say, that I read most of your posts, and I am shocked everytime so see what terrible crimes the government & greedy companies comit.


Also I wanted to tell you that I linked your blog as a ressource of a drawing. I hope that I can reach at least some people with that.

http://morisatomegumi.deviantart.com/art/This-year-again-they-will-fall-352909475?ga_submit_new=10%253A1360245975&ga_type=edit&ga_changes=1&ga_recent=1

Bureau said...

How this could be tolerated by the people. Who supports these things ?
Market Research Reports

Ross Taylor said...

Well festivals will give some moments to relax from these disasters memories.
That was the bad Nuclear accident.
Country Research Report

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