Friday 20 May 2011

Tokyo Electric

Hi there!
Working hard, working late. Less to report as life settles into normal routines. We're even getting some foreign news on the telly again. The drama might be over, but we're living in difficult times. April's appalling sales figures (not one single box for fruit and veg sold!) have resulted in a massive loss. On top of that, our main sub-contractor, a sweet man in his 80's, has announced he's shutting shop (18 staff). It's been hard for a long time but the earthquake and the nuclear accident were the final straw and he's had enough. It's going to hit us hard. We're trying to think of a way to keep his business going but it's not looking good.

Somebody must be profiting from this. Certainly all the hotels in Koriyama are full. The town is being used as a base for the technical people and civil servants working for the recovery. But nothing is coming our way. One manufacturer we supply makes insulation material for housing but sales are not peaking as they should. The government announced that everyone who'd been made homeless by the disaster would be in a  prefab by the O-bon holiday (mid-August) so I hear that prefabs are coming from China to meet the deadline! Ironcially, that's not going to help us recover.

There was some film on television tonight that Tokyo Electric had found when it put out an inhouse call for information. Dramatic footage of the tsunami racing over the 10 metre high breakwater and flooding the power plant up to a height of 14 - 15 metres. They've always said that they hadn't planned for an accident on this scale (soteigai 想定外)but people might have been more sympathetic if they'd produced this compelling evidence earlier.

Tokyo Electric revised their schedule a couple of days ago. They're still keeping to the original plan to stabilise cooling by July and cold meltdown by January. But when we've had continous revelations of things being worse than expected people here are pretty sceptical. Will they really get all the reactors under control? As more people are moved away in 'planned evacuations', people wonder whether they will ever be able to return to their land. One of the items in the schedule refers to replacing the soil: not just the soil in the schoolyards but agricultural land too. A huge task and one that will take years.

I was in the local JA (Agricultural Coop) last week and picked up some forms for claiming compensation. Those farmers who got their claims in by the end of April will get a preliminary payment by the end of May. For the next round of payments farmers have to get their claim forms in by end of June. You can claim for produce that was banned, produce you sent to market but didn't sell, crops that had to be destroyed and crops you were unable to plant because of the nuclear accident. An organisation has been set up to fund compensation It will be financed by the sale of land and other Tokyo Electric assets with the shortfall provided by the government (us, the taxpayer) . No ceiling for payments.  How much will it cost?

Here's a black 'recruitment' video for Tokyo Electric (Toden). It's all in Japanese but the refrain is 'Join Tokyo Electric and be a man. Die in glory!' With thanks to Masami Bornoff and apologies to my friend whose daughter, in the current climate, had to postpone her wedding to a man who works for Tokyo Electric.

Bye for now

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