Tuesday 28 June 2011

Good News

Dear Friends,
Today was Tokyo Electric's shareholders meeting. 9,300 people and it went on for over six hours. Calls for the management to take responsiblity. A motion calling on the company to pull out of nuclear power (supported by Minami Soma and Shirakawa local authorities - unprecendented) was rejected. A lot of angry people. No wonder as the share price has fallen from ¥2,121 before the accident to ¥316 now and the company has a massive deficit with more, much more, to come.

Relations are at rock bottom and weren't helped by news leaked at the weekend of plans to build steel walls underground in reactor 1 to stop contaminated water seeping into the sea. Tokyo Electric informed the government but in view of the cost (one billion yen) asked that the information be withheld until after the shareholders' meeting. (It seems that the uranium that melted through the inner casing  into the containment vessel has probably now made a hole in that and is sitting on the concrete at the bottom of the building and seeping into the ground.)

But there is good news. As of four o'clock this afternoon the filtration system is working at last. It's a massive circuit - four kilometres of pipework - which will circulate and clean water for all three reactors. No need to add water for cooling (which was about to overflow) and a start made on cleaning the 110,000 tons of contaminated water which has accumulated.

Nearer to home the clean up continues. School yards have had the topmost soil removed and now attention has turned to the routes children take to go to school. Drains and ditches have high radiation and the vegetation is being removed and the areas cleaned with power hoses. No one's quite sure what to do with the weeds and dead leaves that are removed. Probably just pile them up and put a blue sheet over the top like the soil in the schoolyards.

Apparently all two million of us Fukushima citizens are to be surveyed soon and amid much fanfare ten evacuees from Namie-machi now living in Fukushima city were bussed to Chiba today to have thyroid and full body tests for internal exposure (naibu hibaku 内部被爆). The results come out mid July. This is of course the big question, what we all want to know. It's one thing measuring levels outside but we're breathing this stuff in. We want to know how much we've been exposed.

Yesterday I was at a business lunch sitting between two people I've know for a long time but haven't seen since the quake. The man on my right told me he got his two teenage daughters into schools in Kyoto from the new school year in April. So his wife and daughters are now living in Kyoto. The lady on my left has two primary school age sons. She's a mainstay of the family business and can't leave but every Friday night she drives her kids to a place they have in Niigata two hours drive away (160 kms). To get away from the radiation and to have a place to go to - just in case. Also talk of various people having their gardens cleared.

It's certainly stressful living here. But I'm trying to be like the 92 year old man on TV who told us it's important to be positive, and build up our natural resistance. Konbu (seaweed) is a good food and I take sea kelp tablets religiously (thank you again, Heidi) and the guy said apples are good because of their natural pectin. I wonder if jam works?
Love to you all


  1. So relieved to hear that the filtration system is finally working. That is good news. Also, happy to hear that you are keeping your spirits up. All the very best to you and the people of Japan.

  2. Hi Anne,

    It's great to hear that you are doing this important work at Fukushima. I'll follow your blog.