Just as I sat down to write this blog we had a minor quake. Unsettling as we haven't had any noticeable ones since Sunday. Subtitles on the TV told us it was force 4 in Miyagi, force 3 here. They didn't stop the programmes so nothing to worry about. Incidentally listening to the radio yesterday I heard that earthquake-sickness is a recognised complaint, some trouble with the ears, and travel sick pills are effective!
The sales results are in for March - 20% down on last March. Presuming that the first 10 days were the same as last year, it means that sales since 11 March were 65% of the same period last year. We face a big cash shortage at the end of the month. We have money in the bank - for now ... We are trying to get the years forecasts together. Our man in Iwaki has put zero forecasts in for many of his customers for the whole year. Surely things can't be that bad? But everytime the sales force come back the forecasts seem to be revised downwards. The Mitsubishi factory is supposed to re-open next Monday but we're not sure. The big companies evacuated their staff early on and are really nervous about the nuclear question.
The results of the big soil survey were due tonight but there's been nothing on TV so they haven't been announced yet. I'm glad. This informaton needs to be properly controlled. We've had too many damaging announcements. It's one thing to try and be open but vague statements (such as recommending voluntary evacuation) or Edano's blanket ban on consuming veg from the whole prefecture have been extremely damaging. One word you hear a lot is 初動 (shodoh) which means the first shock of an earthquake but it seems to be used in the sense of 'knee jerk reaction' to events. Thank you for the comments on yesterday's post. I take on board the fact that nuclear is safe and hardly anyone has died as a direct effect of radiation (the two workers who died were killed by the tsunami) but the real damage is from contamination, doubt about the safety of food, can I even say prejudice, and the huge economic damage we are suffering as a result.
Here's a link to a piece on the BBC website entitled 'Japan Plant - who's in charge?' which voices the opinions of a lot of people here. There's a strong feeling that Prime Minister Kan's anti-bureaucrat mission is misplaced (whatever sins they have committed in the past) and that to get organised we need to get the bureaucrats back in.
One person who has come out of this well is Ishihara, the governor of Tokyo. He's up for election next Sunday. He's been very practical, lending civil servants, crematoria and state of the art fire engines to the disaster areas and has been more statesmanlike than the Prime Minister.
The question I asked in yesterday's blog: what is worst scenario? was answered on TV this morning. Release of radiation, which we all know about, and another hydrogen explosion. The leak from the pit into the sea has been plugged and now they are pumping another chemical into one of the reactors to prevent such an explosion. But since Sarkovy's visit the government top brass have ditched their unfashonable boiler suits and are wearing suits so things must be alright. Nothing to worry about.
Love to you all