Thursday 17 March 2011

Day Six

Dear Friends
Thank you for all your messages. They remind me at the end of the day that there is a world out there.

Water back on at Sakuragaoka so I had my first bath for a week, The hot water was delicious,  Sublime.

I had a funny e-mail from Takeshi. What's the 'lifeline' they're all talking about? Some kind of expressway? No, this is another made up word that the Japanese think is English. It refers to essential services; gas, water, electricity. Rather a good word really. Also, why is the prime minister wearing overalls? Are you? The answer is yes, although the uniform has changed today. We're now going round like hoodies: mask, peak cap, hood, glasses. The situation at the reactor is not good, the evening TV shows us how to dress to go out and avoid breathing the stuff in. I wonder how many people will turn up for work tomorrow?

The staff have divided into two camps: those who came in today and those who took the day off or even scarpered altogether. We were a good team today, true grit. All of production came in. Plain boxes being made and stacked all day. No printing, not even a recycle mark. The noodle manufacturer came in having organised trucks to take the boxes away. His factory is in an industrial estate for food producers and they have oil, back up oil and the necessary permissions to be supplied in an emergency. We are low on oil and have decided that tomorrow will be our last day. Friday everyone is to stay home. We'll phone everyone on Monday night (it's a bank holiday) and let them know the plans for next week.

The main problem here is fuel. The petrol stations are all shut and cars are running low. There is no heavy fuel for the boiler nor kerosene for home heaters. I can't understand why they can't bring more from other parts of the country. There doesn't seem to be fuel for emergency vehicles and on top of that one hears shocking stories of drivers bringing emergency supplies refusing to drive north, refusing to enter even safe areas.

Toshiaki (my nephew and the brain behind the ongoing sale of the company) who went back to Tokyo on Monday to check on his family tried to get back here today. He got the shinkansen to Nasu (south of the prefecture) but  couldn't find any way to get to Koriyama so returned to Tokyo to try and get a plane. Things were not looking good with the reactor and for I think the first time ever he did as I said. I told him to stay in Tokyo and do what he does best: think. It's impossible to think up here. We are due to split the box-making side of the business to a subsidiary on 1 April. The contract with Rengo is supposed to be signed on 31 March and the sale of the shares in the subsidiary sold mid-April. But we now live in a different world. Will Rengo cough up the money when they have suffered such damage?

We watch the television with trepidation, It's too technical. It's like an outsider talking. We're not hearing what we want to hear. Are we safe? What should we do? People are leaving. Factories are evacuating staff. But if you leave you're a burden on someone else.The scenes in the evacuation centres are awful.  It's hard to know what's for the best.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring?
Love to you all

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