Saturday, May 4, 2013

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Reactor 3 Operating Floor Debris with 540 Millisieverts/Hr Radiation

I followed the link in the TEPCO (Nuclear) tweet from about an hour ago, and the landing page was the email notice to the media on May 4, 2013.

The notice says TEPCO happened on a piece of debris cleared from the Reactor 3 operating floor as it was being loaded on the special remote-controlled truck that carries highly radioactive debris. The piece was emitting 540 millisieverts/hour radiation.

Also in the notice (my translation),

At 1:45PM today [May 4], access was restricted around the truck that was carrying the debris.
There is no effect on the workers or the debris removal work.
There is no significant change in the monitoring post measurements.

In the most recent notice on the debris, about 30 minutes ago,


The high radiation debris that was in the remote-controlled truck has been moved to the temporary storage areas for highly radioactive debris, which is located on the south side of the Reactor 3 building.


Within 5 days or so, using the remote-controlled truck for the high radiation debris, we will move it to the Solid Waste Storage on the north side of the Anti-Seismic Building. We will pay attention to radiation exposure when we move the debris.

Moving the highly radioactive debris from one temporary storage to another. Then what? No end-state envisioned.

Has TEPCO been mapping the debris as they remove from the Reactor 3 operating floor, and recording the radioactivity of each pieces? Probably not. I wish they did. It might have given some clues on the explosion - how it happened, or what kind of explosion it was.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Bloomberg News: "Japan’s Abenomics Haunted by Ghost of General MacArthur"

The prime minister of Japan who likes to play tank commander wants to change the Article 96 of the Japanese Constitution as the first step to rewrite the entire Constitution which he and his cohort firmly believe was pressed on to unwilling Japan by the US occupation army (known as GHQ in Japan) under General Douglas MacArthur (whose nicknames included "Gaijin Shogun").

What's the Article 96? It's about Constitutional amendment requiring two-thirds of each House of the National Diet. Abe's LDP and two other so-called opposition parties including the boy-wonder's Japan Restoration Party want to make it a simple majority.

From the English version of the Japanese Constitution, from Prime Minister's Office website:

Article 96. Amendments to this Constitution shall be initiated by the Diet, through a concurring vote of two-thirds or more of all the members of each House and shall thereupon be submitted to the people for ratification, which shall require the affirmative vote of a majority of all votes cast thereon, at a special referendum or at such election as the Diet shall specify.

Amendments when so ratified shall immediately be promulgated by the Emperor in the name of the people, as an integral part of this Constitution.

Of course, in order to amend the Article 96, Abe needs two-thirds of both Houses, which he think is totally feasible. There is even a talk of simultaneous elections of the Upper and Lower Houses in July.

Abe's first target after they successfully ditch the two-third requirement in the Article 96 will be the complete rewrite of the Article 9 "Renunciation of War".

As it exists:


Article 9. Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.

In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

According to the LDP's draft, Abe wants to change this into (my translation from the LDP draft and existing Article 9):

Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation, and the threat or use of force won't be used as means of settling international disputes.

and ditch the second half entirely, insert "the right of collective self-defense" instead so that Abe can send Japanese soldiers to fight alongside the "allies" even if Japan is not being attacked, and create a new clause that defines "National Defense Forces"

The bellicose noise, with the photo of Abe saluting (sort of) from the tank, is getting loud enough that even the foreign media has started to write about the worries over Abe's push for changing the Constitution.

From Bloomberg News (5/1/2013; emphasis is mine):

Japan’s Abenomics Haunted by Ghost of General MacArthur

By Isabel Reynolds & Takashi Hirokawa

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s drive to revise Japan’s pacifist constitution for the first time risks alienating voters who support his economic agenda and dividing his coalition government before July elections.

Abe aims to make it easier to amend the constitution, a first step in plans to beef up the military at a time when Japan is mired in territorial disputes with China and South Korea. His Liberal Democratic Party is forecast to win the upper house race, potentially giving him the two-thirds majority in both chambers needed to alter the charter.

Overhauling a document imposed by U.S. General Douglas MacArthur’s occupation force after World War II has been a goal of LDP politicians, including Abe’s grandfather, since the party was founded in 1955. While polls show the public backs Abenomics, his strategy to resuscitate the world’s third-largest economy after more than a decade of deflation, a majority of voters don’t rate constitutional revision as a priority.

“The growth strategy can only be accomplished with sustained attention,” said Koichi Nakano, a political science professor at Sophia University in Tokyo. “It’s a monumental task in its own right. If he takes up more nationalistic causes and Abenomics is not looking good, this could lead to a loss of authority after the election.”


Abe backs an LDP proposal to alter the constitution so it asserts the right to possess armed forces for self-defense. To implement that, he is first seeking to change Article 96 of the charter to allow amendments to be made with a simple majority in each house, rather than the current two-thirds. Any revision must also face a public referendum.

“Constitutional change is coming closer to reality,” Abe told reporters on April 19. “I want to change Article 96 to put the constitution back in the hands of the people.”

While 50 percent of the public approves of Abe’s policies to boost growth, only 6 percent favor his bid to change the constitution, according to an April 16 Asahi newspaper poll. A survey in the Mainichi newspaper six days later found 7 percent of respondents picked the constitution as the most important issue in the upper house election, compared with 35 percent for the economy. None of the newspaper surveys provided a margin of error.

“The constitution is different from any other law,” said Setsu Kobayashi, a law professor at Keio University in Tokyo who favors constitutional change while opposing Abe’s plan. “Every country makes it hard to amend, because a nation’s foundations should not flip over with every passing hysteria.”


The LDP draft would also make it a “duty” not to damage the “public interest” or interfere with “public order.” The clause has sparked concern with junior coalition partner New Komeito, which is backed by a pacifist Buddhist sect. While a Yomiuri survey published today shows almost all LDP lawmakers favor changing Article 96, Komeito wants to keep the existing constitution and add new rights for citizens, according to the party’s policy chief Keiichi Ishii.

Our understanding is that a constitution is intended to allow citizens to limit the powers of the state,” Ishii said. “It seems odd to include duties.”

Komeito has a loyal vote-gathering system that has benefited the LDP, said Steven Reed, a professor of political science at Chuo University in Tokyo. The party, which has supported the LDP for more than a decade, has 31 members in the 480-seat lower house and 19 in the 242-seat upper chamber.

“If Komeito left the coalition, the LDP would be in deep trouble,” Reed said. “That takes a lot of votes away from their pockets.”

(Full article at the link)

I think Abe knows his so-called three-prong economic strategy will end in disaster. What better backup plan than war to deflect the public anger over the economic failure?

If Abe and LDP get their way, there will be no "eternal and inviolable" fundamental human rights in Japan (Article 11). You will have to behave, in order to be allowed such rights by the government.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Was TEPCO Using Used Bottle to Collect Water Samples from the Pond Leak?

As I posted on Monday, TEPCO announced a 10-fold spike in radioactive materials (all-beta) in the water sample collected from soil just outside the thin (6.4 millimeter-thick) bentonite layer of the in-the-ground water storage pond No.1.

In the successive email alert for the press (which they know post on their homepage press release section), TEPCO sort of tell us what they think was the cause for the spike:

A used bottle that previously collected samples.

TEPCO doesn't say it outright, but instead, from their email alert for the press regarding the pond leak (No. 110) on April 28, 2013:


When we collected the water samples from the drain hole (southwest) of the in-the-ground water storage pond No.1 in the morning and in the afternoon today [April 28, 2013], we used brand-new sampling bottles to avoid contamination of the water collected. Then the amount of [radioactive materials in the water] dropped to the same low level as the one on April 26. Therefore, we now assume the possibility that the water collected on April 27 from the southwest drain hole of the pond No.1 got somehow contaminated.

which I take it to mean they were using used bottles to collect highly radioactive water samples until April 28.

It is little wonder why there is no "end-state" vision for the plant.

US Stock Market: "Sell in May and Go Away" Again, Despite the Accommodative Fed?

Dow drops 138 points after Ben and his gangs (aka Federal Reserve) say they could increase or decrease stimulus as they see fit.

From Reuters UK (5/1/2013); the best part of the article is the title:

US STOCKS-Wall St drops as steady Fed can't offset data, earnings

* Fed maintains stimulus measures despite job market improvements

* Merck, MasterCard shares slide after earnings

* U.S. companies hire less, factory growth slows in April

* Dow off 0.7 pct, S&P 500 off 0.6 pct, Nasdaq off 0.7 pct

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, May 1 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell on Wednesday as the Federal Reserve's decision to stand pat on its current monetary stimulus was not able to offset weak economic figures and several lackluster earnings reports.

The U.S. Federal Reserve stood by its plan to stimulate the economy through bond purchases, and while the central bank noted some improvements in the labor market, it said recent budget tightening in Washington could be a risk to growth.

The statement came in largely as expected. While equities have performed well of late, with the S&P 500 hitting both intraday and closing highs on Tuesday, a trend of discouraging data indicated that the Fed wouldn't ease up on its accommodative monetary policy of quantitative easing.

"That the Fed won't end QE any time soon is positive for stocks in the near term, but the data we've seen is creating a lot of angst for investors," said Mike Gibbs, co-head of the equity advisory group at Raymond James in Memphis, Tennessee.

U.S. private employers added 119,000 jobs in April, well below economists' expectations. A separate report showed the U.S. manufacturing sector expanded only modestly in April.


"We're a bit overextended, which is leading to some profit taking," said Gibbs, who helps oversee about $400 billion. "But relative to historical measure, we're not in an expensive market, and we would view declines as buying opportunities."

(Full article at the link)

A "bit overextended"? The two of the major stock indices (Dow, S&P500) are at all-time high, and as far as the "93%" of the US household are concerned who have seen their net worth decrease since 2009 March market bottom, it's been overextended for over 4 years.

And what "data" is creating a "lot of angst" for the investor class? Just about everything on the real economy which is no longer reflected in the stock market thanks largely to the Fed's large-scale money printing for the past four years.

Much more interesting is the talk given by Kevin Warsh, former Fed Governor who resigned the position in March 2011, at Milken Institute on April 29, 2013. He says "There is no plan B", and that the Fed has enabled the federal government to do nothing (other than spending money on companies like Solyndra and Fisker, I may add, among many others). The US growth has been mediocre and will remain so because of the Fed policy, he says.

From Zero Hedge (5/1/2013):

...The entire discussion is worthy of attention but Warsh's comments begin around 18:00:

...but "the ability of a central bank, exclusively, without the rest of Washington doing any bit of the task, to turn an economy from a modest recovery to a robust one is an experiment that is untested - and will not prove to be successful."

...The Fed is taking on the problem of the shortfall in aggregate demand alone. Warsh does not believe that the Fed means to do this alone but their "good intentions" are simply not enough to get the economy to a 3-4% growth rate needed to create sustainable improvements in the labor markets.

... Warsh adds, "over the last several years, [the Fed] has over-promised and under-delivered," and the bank's most important asset - credibility - is under attack.

...The Fed has "enabled" Washington to do nothing, since the politicians expect the same "rabbit out of the hat" rescue that occurred in the darkest days of the financial crisis. This means no growth strategies ("the mix of policies has to be right") will occur - until the Fed draws the line.

...Since the financial crisis, Washington has done its level best to focus on GDP in the next quarter, or perhaps the election, and precious little beyond that short-term horizon. Warsh concludes, "There Is No Plan B." The Fed has fewer degrees of freedom and the rest of Washington is not coming to the rescue.

...In light of our status as reserve currency, the rest of the world's central banks feel empowered to match the Fed's efforts since "we do not act in a vaccuum" which due to economic and competive reasons, means "the US economy will not break out to the upside."

...It is not bad luck that is creating this medicrity, it is bad policy

Zero Hedge seems to leave out the best part of the speech, which you can view in their post.

(From what I watched, first pass)

  • The Fed's monetary policy is nothing but buying time.

  • The Fed shouldn't care about the stock market, instead of continuing to manipulate the financial market to stoke risk appetites of people.

  • Real effect is not trickling down.

I wonder if Mr. Kuroda, governor of Bank of Japan, knows about this video. Probably not. Japanese financial media? Probably not.

Economist and former NHK director Nobuo Ikeda dubbed Kuroda BOJ as "a whale in a small pond", whose slight move will splash all water in the pond. It's the same Mr. Ikeda who said radioactive cesium would disappear once you burned the contaminated wood, but on Bank of Japan, I share his assessment.

Monday, April 29, 2013

April 28 Is Restoration of Sovereignty Day in Japan, and PM Abe Has a Special Message to Okinawans

During the ceremony in Tokyo with the Emperor and Empress on April 28, 2013, Prime Minister Abe said, according to TBS News,


沖縄が経てきた辛苦 Hardships endured by Okinawa

ただ深く思いを寄せる simply deeply sympathize

努力をなすべき should try to, make effort to

訴えようと思う I think I will appeal

I think I will appeal to people that an effort should be made to simply and deeply sympathize with hardships endured by Okinawa.

Got that?

TBS News also captured the awkward moment when "three banzai" for the Emperor occurred, supposedly spontaneously, as the Emperor and Empress were leaving the stage. Totally out of proper protocol, to say the least. The Emperor and Empress look very awkward and almost embarrassed. (At about 1 minute into the news):

Emperor did not utter a word during the ceremony.

Under the current draft constitution by Liberal Democratic Party, the Emperor would be expected to attend events at municipalities, not just on the national level.

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Amount of Radioactive Materials in Water Sample from Outside the In-The-Ground Water Storage Pond No.1 Rose by 10

Cause unknown, according to TEPCO.

No surprise there.

From Jiji Tsushin (4/28/2013):


Fukushima I Nuke Plant: amount of radioactive materials in the soil [outside] the in-the-ground water storage pond No.1 10 times larger, compared to two days ago


Regarding the leak of radioactive waste water from the in-the-ground water storage ponds at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, TEPCO announced on April 28 that the amount of radioactive materials in the water sample taken from the soil outside the Pond No.1 on April 27 was more than 10 times the amount from two days prior. There are two sampling locations outside the pond, and the location that saw the increase this time had had low amount of radioactive materials. TEPCO says "We don't know the cause. We will continue to watch carefully."


According to TEPCO, it was [the water from] the soil on the southwest side of the Pond No.1 that saw the increase in radioactive materials. 1.1 Bq/milliliter (cubic centimeter) of beta nuclides including radioactive strontium was detected from the water taken from there on April 27. From the same location, it was below detection level on April 26, and 0.099 Bq/milliliter on April 25.

TEPCO's handout for the press on 4/27/2013, showing 1.1 Bq/cm3 of beta nuclides (red rectangle):

Measurement on 4/28/2013 of the same location shows the amount dropped down to 0.074 Bq/cm3 and 0.048 Bq/cm3 (they measured twice, the second time only beta nuclides):

In the meantime, Fukushima Prefecture sent in a group of officials and experts to the plant on April 24 to observe the in-the-ground storage ponds firsthand. They said they were appalled at what they saw. One of the experts, Professor Susumu Nakamura of Nippon University (seismic engineering) said, according to Mainichi Shinbun, "Amateurs. If it were at least 50 to 100 centimeter-thick, the leak of highly radioactive waste water may have been prevented."

Oh but that would cost too much, in a nation whose central bank prints 7 trillion yen (about US$70 billion, at least the conversion calculation is getting easier by the day) each month out of thin air to buy up JGBs from financial institutions to create inflation.

And this thin blue hose is what is transporting extremely contaminated waste water from the Pond No.1 to the metal storage tank(s) (TEPCO will use two, one tank meant for filtered water, and another in the H2 area):

(Photo from Mainichi)

Farcical Japan: More LDP Cosplay, and Governor of Tokyo Says "That's Not What I Meant" to NY Times Article

(UPDATE 4/30/2013) Now the governor wants to correct his remarks, according to Nikkei Shinbun. Nikkei quotes him saying "不適切な発言があり、おわびしないといけない。訂正したい Some of my remarks were inappropriate, and I need to apologize. I want to correct my remarks." Governor Inose his supporters spent all day yesterday criticizing New York Times.


It was not just Prime Minister Abe. Shigeru Ishiba, Secretary-General of Liberal Democratic Party, and Junko Mihara, LDP Upper House Councilor and former singer/actress, at "NicoNico Chokaigi 2" (photo uploaded by yunomi at Photozou):

Meanwhile, as the news of what he said in New York on his recent trip, Tokyo Governor Inose defends himself saying New York Times didn't report his true intention.

What was his true intention? According to Sankei Shinbun (4/29/2013),


"Istanbul is one of my favorite cities. I had no intention of criticizing other candidate cities, and it is regrettable that [my intention in] the interview was taken out of context. I remain enthusiastic about inviting [2020 Summer Olympics to Tokyo]."

Right. As if what he says he thinks matters. The New York Times article is totally in line with what I have read of Inose's past remarks about 2020 Olympics.

Hiroko Tabuchi, New York Times reporter who contributed to the article by (she attended the interview) by Ken Belson, tweets additional information in response to readers:

  • She joined the interview at the last moment, and the official interpreter was already there.

  • In order to avoid potential reporters' bias [they were both fully capable of translating Japanese into English] on very controversial remarks by Inose, they decided to use the official interpreter's words.

  • At no point during the interview, Governor Inose requested any part of the interview to be off-record.

  • They both heard what Governor Inose said in Japanese, and they don't think the interpreter said anything different from what Inose said.

Asahi Shinbun reports that the interview was recorded, and the interpreter was hired by Mr. Inose himself.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

40 Chinese Fighter Jets Buzzed Senkaku Islands

And the prime minister of Japan is doing cosplay on a tank.

Sankei Shinbun who reported the news doesn't say whether the Japanese airspace was breached.

From Sankei Shinbun (4/27/2013):


On April 23 when eight Chinese patrol ships entered the Japan's territorial water around Senkaku Islands (Ishigaki City, Okinawa Prefecture), there were more than 40 Chinese military planes including fighter jets flying near Senkaku, it has been revealed. Multiple government officials told [Sankei Shinbun] on April 26. The planes were mostly fighter jets including the latest Su27 and Su30. They came in incessant waves to wear out the Air Self Defense Force pilots. The government officials say "It was an unprecedented intimidation."


The national government thinks the Chinese military planes were in coordination with the patrol ships that violated the territorial water. The military planes may have been collecting information on the security measures by the Maritime Safety Agency and arrangement of the Maritime Self Defense Force's escort vessels and P3C patrol planes, and passing that information to the patrol ship, according to the government sources.


Eight patrol ships entered the territorial water near Senkaku Island from 7:23AM to 8:25AM on April 23. One of the ships came as close as 1 kilometer northwest off the Uotsuri Island. The eight ships departed from the territorial water by 7:30PM.


As the ships started to enter the territorial water, military planes including fighter jets started to arrive in the area near Senkaku. The planes approached the area around Senkaku one after another, and F15 fighter jets from the Air Self Defense Force at Naha Base (in Okinawa) responded each time with scramble. The total number of the Chinese military planes was more than 40.

Sukhoi-30, from Wikipedia:

F-15J Eagle (by Mitsubishi):

Well, what are you going to do now, Mr. Abe? Anything? There is absolutely no point in ramping up the rhetoric when there's no action.

(Oh I forgot. He's not reality-based. He just loves to play a tank commander in Makuhari Messe.)

Cyprus Poll After Deposit Grab: 84% Think "Crisis Is Fault of Country’s Political, Economic and Social Systems"

In other words, congrats, Germany, EU, ECB, IMF. You did it.

From Zero Hedge (4/28/2013; emphasis is mine):

One Month Later: What Cyprus Thinks In The Aftermath Of Its Bank Sector Collapse?

Curious what the Cypriot people think just over a month after the most dramatic European banking sector collapse in years, and subsequent first bank sector bail-in and depositor impairment ever? Courtesy of Bloomberg, which summarizes a poll conducted via Symmetron and posted in Kathimerini Cyprus we now have an idea of what the still stunned Cypriot population thinks.

The Cyprus financial crisis is fault of country’s political, economic and social systems, not foreign institutions such as troika, according to 84% of Cypriots in poll by Symmetron published today in Kathimerini Cyprus. Poll also showed:

  • Of 800 people questioned, 68% said bankers were most responsible for crisis, 63% said politicians next most to blame, 48% said central bank

  • 79% said previous President Demetris Christofias and his govt is more to blame vs 13% for current administration led by President Nicos Anastasiades

  • 54% said it was mistake for parliament to vote against 1st loan deal

  • 68% said they don’t have enough money to meet direct needs, pay financial obligations

  • 70% said personal economic situation to worsen over next 12 months

  • 92% no longer trust central bank

  • 66% said current govt actions to confront crisis not enough

  • 64% against exit from euro area

  • 73% said faithful implementation of loan agreement won’t lead country out of crisis

  • Symmetron conducted poll April 22-26; margin of error +/-3.5 percentage points

So, Cyprus citizens now say everyone's deposit should have been taken away, not just deposits above 100,000 euro. And no exit from euro. And "government is not doing enough!"

The Cyprus Deposit Grab will be a successful template if people elsewhere are like Cyprus citizens. As far as Germany goes (also posted by Zero Hedge), that's what any government should do to the citizens - grab citizens' assets to reduce the government deficit.