Wednesday 23 March 2011

Day Thirteen

Hi Folks
The call came just after four. Petrol was available. About ten of us dashed to the carpark. We got to the designated garage just as the tanker lorry was leaving. Queued up. Emergency vehicles only, I was told but when I mentioned the name of the company I was waved in. 3,000 yen, 19.93 litres. That was it. My allocation. I feel relieved, human again - headed straight for the supermarket to buy fresh food, the first time in thirteen days. Photos below. 

The company was not so lucky. Our planned deliveries of heavy oil hit problems. Both companies delivered this morning but in small lorries and the hoses wouldn't fit. One company came back with an adaptor so by noon we had 2,000 litres. The other company has decided to deliver instead with the usual 10,000 litre lorry but it will be tomorrow. To make up for the delay they will bring 4,000 litres. With another 2,000 litres due tomorrow from a third company we will have a full tank. A miracle.

Had a brief conversation with the boss of our haulage company this morning. He says the truck companies have diesel and are ready to travel. The relief goods are in distribution centres in Koriyama. But there is confusion as there are no instructions coming in as to where the stuff is to go. Commercial goods and relief goods are all mixed up, he added. Sounds chaotic. The key to the relief effort is distribution and it's not working properly yet.

At 11 am Edano, the government spokesman, announced that in addition to spinach and milk, there was to be a ban on eating cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, turnips and all leafy greens grown in Fukushima. Oh, and parsley grown in neigbouring Ibaragi which apparently supplies 19% of the nation's parsley. At that point this threat to the nation's parsley supplies seemed to be the main concern. But soon there was a much more serious turn of events. Radioactive iodine was found in water in Tokyo and instructions issued that infants should not drink tap water or have it made up into bottled milk. The same warning has been issued in Ibaragi and in Koriyama too. The safe limit for adults is 300 bq/litre, and for infants 100 bq/litre. In Tokyo the level was 210 and in one Koriyama resevoir 150. Sakuragaoka where I'm staying is not supplied by that resevoir so I'm taking water in from here tomorrow. I left a note on the coffee machine telling Toshiaki to wait for his coffee. 

Supplying cardboard boxes to the agricultural sector is an important part of our business and sales will be down. We have just about written off meeting sales targets for March and April and are praying that the situation will have improved by June when the season gets into full swing. In addition we have a shiitake mushroom packing business at another site (when things have settled down I'll tell you how to choose the perfect shiitake ...). At the moment our 26 part time ladies are packing the mushrooms that are coming in from the producers but who knows how long this will go on? I spent part of the day trawling through employment law literature to see how we deal with prolonged loss of business. Impossible to lay anyone off in this country, anyway I don't want to: they're skilled. There are grants available. So many new situations to deal with.

All of us here just want one thing: for the reactor to be made safe as soon as possible. Covered up in concrete and forgotten. And our lives back. But things are not looking good today. Black smoke this time. And we have had two force 5 aftershocks today.

But at least I've got petrol now and can escape if I need to.
Love to you all

The local supermarket. Peppers from Korea, tomatoes from Kyushu. Looks good.

But further in ... empty shelves


Sign:  'Next Delivery of Water Unknown'

Cleaning the milk shelf - no milk available

Convenience store. One bottle of water per person. Four, no, two canned drinks.


  1. Dear Anne , You must be such a heroine to your employees, I admire your fortitude so much and feel honoured to have you as a friend.

  2. I wanted to share this article - from a Japanese scholar who studied at an American university. He criticises western media reports for their damaging sensationalism in what was already an awful situation. It reflected some of my gripes with the coverage I was reading. In this case, I think NHK was definitely the best source of news.

    They say that the internet is an unreliable source of news, but compared to the main stream media, I'm not convinced. This blog, for instance, is a pretty credible source of information if I ever saw one!


  3. Interesting blog, giving real info. I shall follow it.