There was an accident today in the factory. A young man caught his hand in a printing machine. There are no bones broken and the nerves are intact but it's a bad wound and he'll be in hospital for 10 days. We haven't had a serious accident like this for more than 15 years. Safety is something I've put a lot of effort into and we've had awards so it comes as a shock. Accidents happen in manufacturing but I'll never get used to them and find them intensely upsetting. Once again, I am so glad that the company is sold and I only have an honorary position and the whole responsibility is not mine.
And the price of paper, our main material, will probably be going up again. Rengo (Paper division) have announced a 20% rise. It remains to be seen whether the other paper firms will follow suit. The price rises started ten years ago and every rise was a turn of the screw making it harder and harder for us to keep going. In the end I sold. Again, I am so thankful the sale went through. If it hadn't, what with the disaster, subsequent drop in sales, and this price rise we would have been facing closure - or worse. (Incidentally, the reason for the price rise is China. Over 95% of corrugated cartons in Japan are made from recycled paper and there is a good recycling system. It's a treasure trove for Chinese boxmakers and that pushes the price up.)
The schools are back. A colleague whose children go to Takase Primary School, where my children went, told me that the playground hasn't been scraped (only 0.3 μSv/hr there as opposed to 0.9 μSv/hr here in the centre of town) but parents went in over the holidays and cleaned up, hosing down the buildings and gutters, weeding, and wiping down the classrooms and corridors.
Figures just out about population. 27,000 people have left since March and the population of the prefecture is under 2 million for the first time in 33 years. Population of Koriyama down 4,000 to 334,749 people.
Planning another weekend in Ura Bandai but there's a typhoon on the way with heavy rain forecast. Might be spending a lot of time in the hot spring baths.