Tuesday 14 May 2013

Steady as she goes

Lovely, lovely day. Slight breeze here in Koriyama, the windy city. Perfect.

From the press accounts hitherto I thought it was a foregone conclusion that Tepco would be releasing groundwater into the sea from today but the fishing industry haven't agreed. They say their rank and file members don't fully understand the situation and have asked Tepco to hold meetings to explain. They also want the government or an outside organisation to be more involved. They're calling for an outside organisation to monitor the water going into the sea and for the figures to be made public. They have a point. What with the recent problems - the power outage, the leaking pools - they don't trust Tepco.

And this is the crux of the problem. They're worried about this being the catalyst for a fresh round of 'rumours' (fuhyo). This is the trouble with this whole radiation thing. You can't see it or feel it so it's a breeding ground for all kind of rumours, speculation, playing on people's fears. It's a psychological war. 

Farm produce is still not selling, or selling at well below market prices. Fukushima JA, the powerful agricultural cooperative has just enlisted the help of some 'Hula Girls' from the Hawaiian Centre in Iwaki to promote Fukushima produce nationwide. I had to laugh when I saw some of the staid executives lined up with the girls. And yesterday two girls were filmed dressed in cowboy boots and red stetsons planting rice by hand in the mud! But it's no laughing matter. These are desperate times. 

As for the fishermen (are there any women?), fishing for a few types of fish started last year but it's not back to normal by any means. For the past two years they've been living on compensation, and payments for retrieving debris and test fishing. Just when it's looking like they might be able to fish again, this happens. However safe it is on paper, they're worried it might start a new set of rumours. And it's not just in Fukushima; it could affect fishing up and down the coast.

Whilst this is going on, our Prime Minister, Mr Abe, on a roll from the success of his monetary easing Abenomics, is pushing sales of nuclear plants abroad. During the Golden Week holiday he signed agreements with Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, and in June he's to visit Poland to push sales to Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. Meanwhile in his own backyard, the Nuclear Regulation Authority has uncovered 10,000 (yes, ten thousand) omissions in routine checks of equipment at the Monju fast breeder reactor in Fukui and a 'lack of awareness of safety in the organisation'. Hmm. I wonder if the people in Poland or Turkey are aware of this? It certainly doesn't make sense to us.

This weather's too nice for working. The wysteria is in full bloom and smells gorgeous (there's even some near the station where I work), then there are azaleas and peonies. Roll on the weekend.
Love to you all


  1. Not very reassuring news.
    Anyway, thank you again for writing this blog. I read every single post.
    Céline, Tokyo

    1. Thank you for your comment and for your support.
      In writing this blog, it's hard for me to get the right balance. After all, life goes on here as normal and if you visited you wouldn't think anything was amiss. I'd like to post more good news, and there are plenty of good things happening here thanks to the tremendous efforts of people here. But when it comes to central government, our experiences don't seem to count.