Saturday, December 28, 2013

#Fukushima Reactor 4 SFP Fuel Assembly Removal: Cracked Channel Box from 1982

Back in November right before they started removing fuel assemblies from the Spent Fuel Pool of Reactor 4, TEPCO announced (again) that there were three spent fuel assemblies in the pool that had been deformed.

The company released the photos of one of the assemblies on December 27, 2013, whose protective case (channel box) is cracked in several locations. According to the incident report filed with Nucia (Nuclear Information Archive maintained by Japan Nuclear Safety Institute), the incident happened in 1982 when workers not thoroughly familiar with the fuel removal procedure made a series of mistakes.

From TEPCO's photos and videos library (12/27/2013):

A fuel assembly is about 4.5 meters long; of that, the channel box is about 4.2 meters long.

If you care to know what TEPCO has to say about the fuel assembly removal operation in Reactor 4, here's their PDF presentation in English.

One of several workers who have been tweeting from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, "Sunny", says:


It's not that TEPCO hid the fuel assembly damage. It's been reported on official sites like Nucia. It just shows how uninterested people were in nuclear power [until the Fukushima accident].


I didn't even know there were 54 nuclear reactors dotting the scenic coastlines in Japan.

(OT) Abe's Visit to Yasukuni Shrine Was Timed With Progress on Okinawa Base

Japan's Prime Minister Abe visited Yasukuni Shrine on December 26 to the resulting loud condemnation of the world's governments and entities.

It was exactly when the prospect of a breakthrough in the construction (or prep thereof) a new US military base in Okinawa was greater than ever (and sure enough on the next day the governor of Okinawa gave his approval of the project, to the loud condemnation from Okinawans who felt betrayed by the governor).

I thought these two events were related, and were presented as a "package", so to speak, to the US government. It is as if to say:

"I visited the shrine. So? I also won the approval from the Okinawa governor of a long-standing issue of a new base in Okinawa. Add two together. Is it net positive or negative for the US interest?"

Abe was confident, clearly, that the it was net positive for the US, and went to the shrine.

The Wall Street Journal's article (12/28/2013) seems to agree with me, though all I can read, as a non-subscriber, is the headline and the first paragraph (emphasis is mine):

Abe's Style Presents U.S. With Dilemma

Japanese Prime Minister Timed Shrine Visit Around Progress on Okinawa Base, Aides Say

TOKYO—In just a matter of days, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has drawn both praise and censure from the U.S., underlining how his assertive style presents a dilemma for Washington policy makers needing his help to counter China's influence in the region.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Japanese Agricultural Export in 2013 to Surpass 500 Billion Yen for the First Time in 5 Years

(UPDATE) Wait a minute.... Japanese yen has depreciated by 30 percent against the US dollar compared to one year ago. Of course the amount of export would "increase", because of the exchange rate difference.


and may come very close to, if not pass, the all-time high of 532.8 billion yen (US$5.328 dollars) in 1984.

40% of all agricultural export is fish and marine products.

Buyers are Hong Kong and other Asian countries, and the United States.

Jiji Tsushin (12/27/2013) reports:


Agricultural export in 2013 is set to surpass 500 billion yen for the first time in 5 years


It has been revealed that the food and agricultural export in 2013 is set to surpass 500 billion yen [US$5 billion] for the first time in 5 years. The agricultural export dipped temporarily due to baseless rumors after the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident, but in 2013 it has rebounded markedly, growing by more than 20% compared to last year because of the [superior] taste and safety of the Japanese products and the worldwide popularity of the Japanese cuisine. It may approach the all-time high of 532.8 billion yen in 1984.


According to the data collected by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the amount of export from January to October in 2013 grew 23% compared to the same period last year to 443.1 billion yen [US$4.431 billion]. Fish and marine products make up 40% of the export, and they grew by 32.4% in 2013. The growth came from brisk sales of Japanese scallops and mackerels. Export of processed foods also grew by double digit.


Main export destinations include Hong Kong and other Asian countries and the United States. When the November result, to be announced in the first half of January next year, is added, the cumulative amount of agricultural export from January to November 2013 is expected to reach 490 billion yen [US$4.9 billion]. When the December result is added, it may make a new all-time high.

Jiji reports as if the drop in agricultural export were caused by "baseless rumors". If I remember correctly, many countries in the world banned or severely restricted the import of agricultural products from Japan because of radioactive materials (radioactive iodine and cesium for the most part) found in them after the nuclear accident.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

(OT) Meanwhile at the Japan Society of Coloproctology...

It's even wilder than the Japanese Society for Artificial Intelligence, I think.

Coloproctology is a branch of medicine dealing with pathology of the colon, rectum, and anus and colorectal surgery.

The poster of the 68th Annual Meeting of the Japan Society of Coloproctology:

People sure find strange things and post them on Twitter...

15-Nation Study on Low Dose Radiation Cancer Risks for Nuclear Workers May Have Been Skewed by Canadian Data

Particularly after the Fukushima nuclear accident, one of the often cited pieces of evidence that even the low dose radiation exposure (less than 100 millisieverts) can increase the risk of (solid) cancer is the study published in 2005 of more than 400,000 nuclear workers in 15 countries.

In looking for the study, I found instead an editorial in British Journal of Cancer (11/14/2013) that suggests the seminal 2005 study of nuclear workers may have been flawed due to the Canadian data that significantly skewed the result because of 3,088 Atomic Energy of Canada Limited workers who were employed between 1956 and 1964 and whose dose information may be incomplete.

For what it's worth. (Emphasis is mine.)

Nuclear worker studies: promise and pitfalls

R Wakeford1

1Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health, Institute of Population Health, The University of Manchester, Ellen Wilkinson Building, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK

Correspondence: Professor R Wakeford, E-mail:

The publication in this issue of BJC of the findings of an updated study of Canadian nuclear industry workers by Zablotska et al (2013) invites enquiry into the background of this and similar studies. Nearly 40 years ago, the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (1976) opined that it would be desirable to conduct epidemiological studies of nuclear workers to directly assess risks to health from protracted occupational exposure to ionising radiation, to test the appropriateness of the assumptions made in setting radiation protection standards based largely on the experience of the acutely exposed Japanese survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The next year, the study by Mancuso et al (1977) on nuclear workers at Hanford, WA, appeared to show that cancer risks among these workers were greater than expected; the methodology of this study was heavily criticised (Hutchison et al, 1979), but it received much publicity.

In the United Kingdom, the National Registry for Radiation Workers (NRRW) was established in 1976 (Kendall et al, 1992), and nuclear worker studies were initiated in other countries, notably the United States of America (Gilbert et al, 1989) and Canada (Gribbin et al, 1993). However, it was recognised that international collaboration was highly desirable to increase the statistical power of the worker studies, and in 1988 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) agreed to coordinate such a collaboration, the first fruits of which appeared in 1995 and involved three countries and seven groups of workers, three from the United States of America (including Hanford), three from the United Kingdom (including Sellafield) and one from Canada (the workers of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, AECL) (Cardis et al, 1995). The combined data showed a positive association between the risk of mortality from leukaemia (excluding chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, CLL) and the cumulative recorded dose of radiation from external sources, which was of marginal statistical significance, and a (non-significantly) negative association for the risk of all other cancers combined, results that were compatible with conventional risk estimates (Cardis et al, 1995). For AECL workers, the estimates of the excess relative risk (ERR) per sievert were as follows: leukaemia excluding CLL (5 deaths), 48.40 (95% confidence interval (CI): 2.8, >100); all other cancers (324 deaths), 0.13 (95% CI: <0, 2.1) (Cardis et al, 1995).

The IARC-coordinated collaborative study was later extended to 15 countries, and the first report from this study was published in 2005 (Cardis et al, 2005). Although the trend of risk with cumulative external dose was positive for mortality from leukaemia excluding CLL, somewhat surprisingly given the findings of the three-country study it was not statistically significant; but the association with dose for all other cancers was both positive and significant – the ERR/Sv was 0.97 (95% CI: 0.14, 1.97). Moreover, the risk estimate for the group of all other cancers was only just compatible with the prediction of standard risk models, leading to controversial suggestions that the risk of cancer resulting from protracted exposure to radiation in the workplace has been underestimated.

The interpretation of the 15-country study was not, however, straightforward, and one aspect of the findings that troubled both me (Wakeford, 2005, 2009a) and others (United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, 2008; Boice, 2010) was the surprisingly large influence of the Canadian workers on the risk estimate for all other cancers – although the Canadian workers contributed around 4% of the deaths, the exclusion of these workers caused a ~40% reduction in the risk estimate (Wakeford, 2005). In fact, the ERR/Sv for the Canadian workers, 6.65 (90% CI: 2.56, 13.0), was notably and significantly larger than the ERR/Sv estimate for the combined workers from the other 14 countries, 0.58 (90% CI: −0.10, 1.39) (Cardis et al, 2007). Of course, this does not mean that the Canadian data are necessarily wrong, but scrutiny of previous findings of studies of Canadian workers, including the three-country study (Cardis et al, 1995), reveals an apparent upward step-change in risk estimates for the group of all other cancers that coincides with the start of the use of Canadian National Dose Registry (NDR) data in the analyses (Wakeford, 2009a).

Ashmore et al (2010) examined the NDR data for the AECL workers, the group of workers who seemed to be the primary reason for the upward change in the Canadian risk estimates. They identified a number of possible deficiencies in the AECL worker data used in the 15-country study, in particular those relating to the data before 1971. They called for a thorough examination of the Canadian worker data, and if appropriate, a new analysis of Canadian worker risks based on revised NDR data.

The Canadian worker data contributing to the 15-country study were those used in the study of Zablotska et al (2004) of workers from AECL and three Canadian electricity-generating companies. Now, Zablotska et al (2013) report the findings of an updated study of 45656 Canadian nuclear industry workers, following a detailed check of dosimetry and employment records, which resulted in a number of changes in the AECL data in the NDR. These revisions led to a reduction in the ERR/Sv for mortality from all solid cancers from 2.80 (95% CI: −0.04, 7.13) to 1.77 (95% CI: −0.42, 5.30), the latter risk estimate being driven by the AECL workers, 3.25 (95% CI: 0.11, 8.85). However, also revealed was a notable difference in the solid cancers ERR/Sv for 3088 (19%) of the AECL workers first employed during 1956–1964, 7.87 (95% CI: 1.88, 19.5), and those first employed after 1964, −1.03 (95% CI: <−1.66, 5.76). Zablotska et al (2013) conclude that the finding for the early AECL workers is likely to be due to remaining data inaccuracies, probably missing dose information, rather than a real effect of radiation exposure, and they believe that use of the pre-1965 AECL worker data cannot be justified until further investigation is undertaken.

So, it would appear that the most reliable results from the 15-country study are for the combined 14 countries excluding Canada, which are not exceptional (see above). For Canada, Zablotska et al (2013) propose that until the findings of further investigations of the AECL data are available, the ERR/Sv estimates should be taken to be those using the post-1964 AECL worker data combined with the data for the workers of the three generating companies: leukaemia excluding CLL (12 deaths), 14.4 (95% CI: <−1.49, 146), and all other cancers (347 deaths), −1.36 (95% CI: <−1.47, 1.98).

Zablotska et al (2013) have indicated that it is intended to further investigate the data for pre-1965 AECL workers with the intention of eventually including them in future studies. Hopefully, this investigation will prove fruitful as the earlier studies of all AECL workers based on an AECL dosimetry database rather than the NDR suggested that these early workers could contribute valuable data – for example, it was pointed out above that a statistically significant positive trend with dose for mortality from leukaemia excluding CLL, was previously reported for all AECL workers (Cardis et al, 1995). It is generally the case that early nuclear workers will have accumulated larger radiation doses than later workers, not only because they have worked longer, but also and importantly because doses received in the early years of the industry were greater (sometimes much greater) than those received in recent years. Consequently, the inclusion of such early workers will considerably improve statistical power, and this is especially the case for workforces in countries with nuclear programmes starting in the 1940s and 1950s, such as Canada. By way of illustration, the recently published third analysis of the NRRW included greater than 10000 workers with cumulative external radiation doses exceeding 100mSv (i.e., moderate doses), but at the time of the analysis only about one-quarter of these workers had died (Muirhead et al, 2009), suggesting that substantial information is still to come.

Studies on radiation workers have the potential to provide valuable evidence on the risks from protracted exposure to low-level radiation. International collaboration remains the obvious way of extracting as much information out of the available data as possible, and these collaborations should certainly continue (Wakeford, 2009b), but the difficulties in conducting such studies and interpreting the results should not be underestimated. The latest Canadian worker study by Zablotska et al (2013) illustrates the care that must be exercised in collating worker data, and the problems that can arise, especially when using data that may have been collected for purposes other than epidemiology.


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The 2005 study is part of the BEIR VII report (2006) as Appendix E.

From the 2005 report (Risk of cancer after low doses of ionising radiation: retrospective cohort study in 15 countries):

Fig 1 Distribution of cumulative radiation doses among workers included in the analyses

Fig 2 Excess relative risks per Sv for all cancer excluding leukaemia in cohorts with more than 100 deaths (NPP=nuclear power plants, ORNL=Oak Ridge National Laboratory)

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) issued a report in June 2011 after they scrutinized the Canadian data.

From the executive summary of the CNSC report (emphasis is mine):

Reanalysis Main Findings

The main findings and recommendations from this reanalysis are:
• Approximately 42,200 NEWs [nuclear energy workers] from Hydro-Québec, New Brunswick Power Corporation, Ontario
Hydro, and Atomic Energy of Canada limited (AECl), first employed since 1965, had no increase in
risk of solid cancer mortality in relation to radiation exposure.
A group of 3,088 AECl NEWs first employed before 1965 (1956-1964) was the only group of workers
with a consistent radiation-associated increase in risk of solid cancer mortality.
The risk estimate was
statistically significant and was nine times higher than the risk estimates for workers with zero dose.
This group of AECl NEWs had a profound impact on the Canadian and 15-country study findings.
It is very likely that these early AECl NEWs have incomplete dose information (i.e., their doses are
Despite this apparent increase in cancer risk among early AECl NEWs, a comparison using the
Canadian Mortality Database showed statistically significant lower rates of all causes of death and
cancer mortality for this group than for the general Canadian population
. This fact reinforces CNSC
concerns that there remains a data problem as opposed to a true increase in their risk of solid cancer
• Further investigation of this group of early AECl NEWs is necessary to ensure the accuracy and
completeness of radiation dose records in the National Dose Registry (NDR).

Conclusions and Path Forward

• The CNSC’s reanalysis confirms that there is no increased cancer risk among any Canadian nuclear
power plant workers for any time period or for AECl NEWs first employed since 1965.
• While the data suggests an increased solid cancer mortality risk for AECl NEWs first employed
before 1965 (1956-1964), a comparison using the Canadian Mortality Database shows lower rates of
all causes of death and cancer mortality for this group than for the general Canadian population.
The CNSC does not have confidence in the historical AECl dose data (1956-1964). The apparent
increase in the risk of solid cancer mortality for these early AECl NEWs deserves further
• The CNSC, Health Canada and AECl are further assessing the dose data of early AECl NEWs to
resolve the existing outstanding issues. Health Canada has agreed not to share the Canadian cohort
for any further epidemiological research until the quality of the data file has been confirmed.

Effort, often systematic, to underestimate radiation exposure of the Fukushima I NPP workers would mean the dose data of the workers cannot be used in epidemiological studies in the future.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

(UPDATED with US Embassy Statement) Japan's Prime Minister Goes to Yasukuni Shrine, Defying the Stern Warning from the US Administration, Says a Japanese TV Station

In the morning of December 26, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe went to Yasukuni Shrine where the war-dead, including those found guilty by the Tokyo tribunal and executed after the World War II, are enshrined.

Nikkei Shinbun says Abe's decision was in part based on the urging from the politicians from LDP's conservative wing (Mr. Abe's base) who concluded that it was impossible to placate China no matter what, as China unilaterally declared the air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over Senkaku Islands.

Then, FNN (Fuji News Network), one of Japanese TV network, reports (12/26/2013) that Abe's visit was in defiance of the strong US objection:

安倍首相靖国参拝 アメリカ側は事前に「日米関係害する」と反対

Prime Minister Abe to visit Yasukuni Shrine, the US objected as "harming the US-Japan relationship"


Prime Minister Abe visits Yasukuni Shrine in Kudan Kita in Tokyo on December 26, one year anniversary of his administration. FNN has found that the US strongly objected to the visit, telling prime minister's advisor Eto that the visit would "harm the US-Japan relationship" when Eto visited the US for consultation in November.


Mr. Eto went to the US in mid November to meet with key officials including Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs [Daniel] Russel over the prime minister's visit to Yasukuni.


At that time, [FNN learned that] the US strongly opposed the visit, saying "President Obama will not be positive about it", "It will harm Japan's reputation, resulting in lessening the influence of Japan in Asia."


There were worries that the visit would worsen the relationship with Korea. It would also give China an excuse to insist that Japan is causing the tension to rise, putting China in a better position.


Since [PM Abe] visited the shrine despite the objection from the US, there are worries that this may negatively affect the US-Japan relationship even as Japan has important issues including TPP (Transpacific Partnership) and revising the guidelines [for defense cooperation] between Japan and the US.

When they visited Japan in October, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and State Secretary John Kerry went to Chidorigafuchi instead, a strong hint that the US would expect the Abe administration to start de-emphasizing the controversial Yasukuni.

AFP has Abe's comment:

Tokyo (AFP) - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday his visit to the controversial Yasukuni war shrine was a pledge that Japan would not go to war again and was not intended to hurt Chinese or South Koreans.

"I chose this day to report (to enshrined spirits) what we have done in the year since the administration launched and to pledge and determine that never again will people suffer in war," he told reporters at the shrine.

"I am aware that, because of misunderstandings, some people criticise a visit to Yasukuni shrine as an act of worshipping war criminals, but I made my visit to pledge to create an era where people will never suffer from catastrophe in war," Abe said.

"I have no intention at all to hurt the feelings of Chinese or South Korean people."

A Chinese foreign ministry official condemned his visit as "absolutely unacceptable to the Chinese people".

By the way, how many "war criminals" are enshrined in Yasukuni?

14, out of 2,466,532 war dead since the Boshin War (1868-69) that toppled the Tokugawa Shogunate and ushered in the Meiji era of imperial Japan supported by the winners of the war (Choshu, Satsuma).

Kyodo News reports that the US Embassy in Japan issued a statement saying the US is disappointed. There's nothing on the US Embassy website, but the tweet by the Embassy Press Office has a link to the statement:

December 26, 2013

Japan is a valued ally and friend. Nevertheless, the United States is disappointed that Japan's leadership has taken an action that will exacerbate tensions with Japan's neighbors.

The United States hopes that both Japan and its neighbors will find constructive ways to deal with sensitive issues from the past, to improve their relations, and to promote cooperation in advancing our shared goals of regional peace and stability.

We take note of the Prime Minister’s expression of remorse for the past and his reaffirmation of Japan's commitment to peace.

The US Embassy has the provisional Japanese translation of the statement, which seems, to me, overly harsh by selecting the particular ending pattern for the sentences.

(OT) Japan's Obsession with Humanoid Robot Goes Creepy

Some call it degrading to women, others call it a male fantasy. Either way, it is creepy. Mechanically, it makes absolutely zero sense.

Who is this entity that came up with this?

It is the Japanese Society for Artificial Intelligence, putting a new front cover for its academic journal:

The best-selling cleaning robot in Japan is a round disk from a US company that is not tethered and which doesn't carry a bloom (or a book):

Rumba's colleagues, albeit in a very different form, are still working hard at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, sometimes alone, sometimes assisting other robots.

Most recently, a Packbot is assisting the decontamination robot "Raccoon" in decontaminating the floor surface of Reactor 2.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

(OT) Merry Christmas

From Edward Snowden, via UK's Channel 4:

and from me, on the third Christmas since the March 11, 2011 accident,

Hallelujah Chorus, from "Messiah" by George Frederick Handel:

#Fukushima Reactor 4 Spent Fuel Pool: 132/1533 As of December 24, 2013

TEPCO has a new page that summarizes the operation of removing fuel assemblies from the Spent Fuel Pool of Reactor 4.

According to TEPCO, 132 fuel assemblies have been removed from the Reactor 4 Spent Fuel Pool into the Common Pool, out of total 1,533 assemblies.

(Nice color scheme... my favorite color combination.)

The tally is updated weekly (on Monday).

Since the removal started on November 18, people's interest in the work, which had been hyped as basically a "disaster that would end the world" if gone wrong by experts, particularly in North America, has dropped off significantly to an almost non-existent level. I don't see any reporting by the Japanese media, I don't even see tweets by people in Japan who were screaming the end of the world if TEPCO proceeded to remove the fuel assemblies from the "toppling" Reactor 4.

I guess they've moved on.

#Fukushima I NPP: Another Day, Another Leak (of 225 Tonnes, Maybe)

The huge storage tanks riveted together in haste at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant in mid 2011 to hold highly contaminated waste water after cesium absorption and reverse osmosis treatment continue to be a headache for TEPCO, though not a big one as in August this year when supposedly 300 tonnes of this waste water were suspected to have leaked from one such tank into the surrounding soil (for more, see posts on "RO waste water leak of August 2013").

Leaks found on December 21 and 22 was not the waste water but rainwater accumulated inside the concrete/steel plate barrier that surrounds the concrete pad on which these tanks stand.

How did 225 tonnes of rainwater contaminated with up to 440 Bq/L of strontium leak? From cracks in the concrete barrier and the concrete pad. Looking at the photos from TEPCO, I think I can almost tell which brand of sealants at neighborhood DIY stores that absolutely do not work as promised.

Well, let's just say TEPCO's ingenuity in emergency in April 2011 of using bath salts and saw dusts and shredded newspaper and baby diaper polymer to trace and stop the extremely radioactive water (with more than 1 Sievert/hour radiation) continues to this day.

The legal density limit for strontium in discharge water is 50 Bq/L, and TEPCO's internal standard is 10 Bq/L.

From TEPCO's photos and videos library, 12/22/2013:


and solution (note the two-level metal barriers installed this year to prevent the overflow):

More solutions using waterproof sealant, from TEPCO's 12/24/2013 photos:

Sealant along the crack:

and sandbags:

and waterproof paint:

The Asahi article (12/24/2013) says strontium is most likely from the concrete surface. TEPCO says cesium was below detection level.

Still, I'm more optimistic about the plant these days compared to, say the first week of the accident in March 2011 when the reactor buildings were blowing up one after another with no power supply to the plant (which wasn't restored until April 4, 2011) and to the central control rooms to figure out what was going on.

Almost by sheer luck, the Spent Fuel Pool of Reactor 4 was "refilled" when the gate that separated the Spent Fuel Pool and the Reactor Well/DSP partially broke after the explosive event on March 15, 2011 that wrecked the operating floor; the water that was in the Reactor Well/DSP flooded the SFP, restoring the water level in the pool.

Despite numerous declarations and predictions by mostly overseas experts for the past two years, the Reactor 4 building is still standing, and from all measurements done so far, not even tilting or bulging or cracking beyond the design standard. (You are always free to exercise the freedom of speech and declare TEPCO is lying.)

Instead, the disaster that continues to unfold at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant has been of slow, whack-a-mole type since the initial explosions in March 2011. No scary enough headlines that would allow experts and bloggers to scream "disaster" and declare the world's end, but it is disheartening (partly because they seem so trivial and made worse by TEPCO's incompetence and lack of hands-on knowledge - or I should say lack of workers with hands-on knowledge and experience) nonetheless and demoralizing.

So much so that it almost makes one want an actual, huge disaster to happen at the plant.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Decontamination in #Fukushima Prefecture Is About Mowing and Delimbing

So says a flyer advertising the position, as tweeted by an independent journalist. Little more than general cleaning.

There is no mention of radiation or radioactive materials.

Looking for Decontamination Workers!!
Easy job of mostly mowing, delimbing, and removing the top soil.

Age: 18 to 60

Job locations:
1) Koriyama City, Nishigo-mura, and other locations in Fukushima Prefecture
2) Hamadori [ocean third of the prefecture];
3) Minamisoma City

Work hours: 8AM to 5PM, with breaks

12,000 yen and up for locations in 1)
15,500 yen and up for 2), with dormitory
11,500 yen and up for 3)

Benefits: 5,000 to 25,500 yen

Possible to earn more than 300,000 yen per month. Call us now. Please bring your resume.

Minamisoma City is in Hamadori - ocean-third - too, but the pay is lower than in Nakadori - middle-third - where Koriyama City and Nishigo-mura are located. Hmmm.

Hamadori locations with dormitory must be inside the former evacuation zones, where the national government wants the evacuees to return, with a cash incentive of 900,000 yen (US$9,000) per person.

Note that, unlike workers hired by subcontractors 6 or 7th degree removed from the main contractors at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, they will get benefits.

(OT) Japanese Government Gives 10,000 Cartridges for Rifles to South Korean Army Deployed in South Sudan, Citizens Cry Foul

(UPDATE 12/24/2013) Japan's opposition parties are accusing the Abe government of having given 10,000 cartridges to the Korean Army, in violation of Japan's arm export principle (that it does not export arms), according to Kyodo News (12/24/2013).

10,000 cartridges to fight the rebels? Good luck.


Japan's Self Defense Force is part of the UN peacekeeping operation (it's a Newspeak, now I think about it) in South Sudan, where the US government is sending the Marines.

The South Korean troops ran out of ammunition in the volatile country, and Japan's SDF is the only one who uses the same 5.56-millimeter rifles.

The Abe administration used the newly created National Security Council to rapidly approve the UN request, and from what comes to my Twitter, net citizens are very upset that Japan has broken the self-imposed ban of arms exports, though this is not strictly an "export".

From Jiji Press English (12/24/2013):

(Update 3) Japan Provides Ammunition to S. Korean PKO Force in S. Sudan

Tokyo, Dec. 23 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese government, in an unprecedented move Monday, provided rifle ammunition to South Korean troops participating in U.N. peacekeeping operations in South Sudan through the Unites Nations.

The decision to give for free the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force's 10,000 cartridges for 5.56-millimeter rifles was made at emergency four- and nine-minister meetings of the Japanese National Security Council and given the round-robin cabinet go-ahead earlier in the day, in response to a joint request on Sunday from the South Korean peacekeeping force and the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, or UNMISS.

Among peacekeeping troops in South Sudan, only Japanese and South Korean peacekeepers use 5.56-millimeter rifles, government officials said, adding the ammunition assistance is an exception to Japan's rules effectively banning arms exports because it is a matter of "high urgency and humane concern."

On late Monday night, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga issued a comment saying the ammunition supplies are not subject to the rules because the rounds will be used only to protect the South Korean peacekeepers and evacuees and their transfer to parties other than the UNMISS is strictly limited.

This is the first time for Japan to supply ammunition to a foreign force via the United Nations under the country's PKO cooperation law.

Tom Lehrer: Send the Marines

When someone makes a move
Of which we don't approve,
Who is it that always intervenes?
UN and OAS, they have their place I guess
But first, send the Marines!

We'll send them all we've got,
John Wayne and Randolph Scott.
Remember those exciting fighting scenes?
To the shores of Tripoli,
But not to Mississipoli,
What do we do?
We send the Marines!

For might makes right,
And till they've seen the light,
They've got to be protected,
All their rights respected,
Till somebody we like
Can be elected

Members of the corps,
All they hate the thought of war
They'd rather kill them all by peaceful means
Stop calling it aggression,
Ooo we hate that expression

We only want the world to know
That we support status quo
They love us everywhere we go,
So when in doubt,

Send the Marines!

(OT) 100th Birthday of the US Federal Reserve (or "Worst Legislative Crime of the Ages", according to Lindbergh)

So many unhappy returns...

The inflation calculator at a federal government's site (real "federal", not Federal Reserve "federal" which is the same as Federal Express; and real "government" as evidenced by the domain extension ".gov" instead of Federal Reserve banks' websites that end in ".org") shows the value of US dollar has dropped by 96% in 100 years since the Federal Reserve was created.

Quotes from Charles August Lindbergh Sr., the father of the famous aviator and who voted no to the Federal Reserve Act and later voted no to the US entry to the World War I:

"This [Federal Reserve Act] establishes the most gigantic trust on earth. When the President Woodrow Wilson signs this bill, the invisible government of the monetary power will be legalized....the worst legislative crime of the ages is perpetrated by this banking and currency bill."

"The Aldrich Plan is the Wall Street Plan. It means another panic, if necessary, to intimidate the people. Aldrich, paid by the government to represent the people, proposes a plan for the trusts instead."

"To cause high prices, all the Federal Reserve Board will do will be to lower the rediscount rate..., producing an expansion of credit and a rising stock market; then when ... business men are adjusted to these conditions, it can check ... prosperity in mid career by arbitrarily raising the rate of interest. It can cause the pendulum of a rising and falling market to swing gently back and forth by slight changes in the discount rate, or cause violent fluctuations by a greater rate variation and in either case it will possess inside information as to financial conditions and advance knowledge of the coming change, either up or down. This is the strangest, most dangerous advantage ever placed in the hands of a special privilege class by any Government that ever existed. The system is private, conducted for the sole purpose of obtaining the greatest possible profits from the use of other people's money. They know in advance when to create panics to their advantage, They also know when to stop panic. Inflation and deflation work equally well for them when they control finance."

Well, we'll see about their ability to "stop panic" going forward, after their balance sheet exceeds $4 trillion dollars.