Monday 21 November 2011

Budget Passed

Dear Friends,
Hurrah! The 3rd Supplementary Budget that will provide the money to reconstruct the tsunami hit region was passed today. Only two months late. That's 12 trillion yen, half of the 5 year budget for the recovery. That means that all those plans, for example, for moving people to higher ground, can start at last. Let's hope the  money gets to the regions quickly.

There's money for shifting debris, building roads and infastructure; finance for small businesses; and money to start the Clean Up here in Fukushima. Not before time. Winter's setting in which will hamper work.

Endo-san came round the other day complaining. He's got a friend who works in some official capacity and got him to come to his house with his 'proper', 'official' geiger counter (dosimeters are one a penny but a lot are unreliable). Anyway, the readings were high at 0.8μSv/hr and he's creating. The city have told him to scrape the topsoil, collect it in a corner and cover it with a plastic sheet. He's not happy. Kept saying he thought levels were low round here (sendo ga hikui 線度が低い). This must be a new word. People don't say hoshasen (radiation) any more, it's contracted to sendo (literally, wave levels). Six months ago we didn't know a sievert from a sausage, now we're so used to talking about radiation we shortcut the language.

While on the topic of the Clean Up, the other day a leaflet dropped through my door from the City, the Do's and Don'ts of Clean Up activities. Don't attempt to clean areas over 10 μSv/hr (contact City Hall). Leaves and weeds are to be put in bin bags and will be collected but soil has to be piled up, higher radioactive stuff in the middle, covered over and the city notified. There are grants of up to 500,000 yen for organisations volunteering to do the work. There's a fuller version of the manual here: Koriyama City Clean Up Manual
Sorry to be mean spirited but I'm in no rush to volunteer.

And here's an article I came across which suggests that since the radiation here is low dose and since cancer is such a major cause of death, the effects on statistics may be so slight that we'll probably never know whether radiation here in Fukushima led to more cancers. Is that reassuring or not?

BTW I've corrected an earlier post (Bonfire Night) where I said 2,000 workers were working at Fukushima Daiichi. The correct figure is 3,000.
And a very goodnight to you all

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