Christmas cakes (yes, it’s already time to start thinking about the holidays) come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s not surprising at all to see our favorite feline character and international celebrity Hello Kitty turn herself into one. But this “Hello Kitty Face Cake” requires just a little bit more artistic creativity from you than the average cake. You see, the cake doesn’t come looking like the picture above — you actually have to make it into its Hello Kitty form!
Two years after Japan’s great earthquake and the Daiichi nuclear diaster comes a documentary that tells of the citizens who still can’t return home to Iitate Village in Fukushima due to the high levels of radiation.
Over at our sister site, Pouch, film critic Kaori Saito was given the opportunity to check out the film production of “Iitate Village, the Problem of Radiation and Returning Home” (in Japanese “Iitate-mura hoshano to kison”) before it was released to the Japanese public on May 4. Kaori comments that the work deserves particular credit for its delicate treatment of the continuing problem of radiation and the depiction of the struggles of the inhabitants affected.
For the readers who are unfamiliar with Iitate, it is a village that is located 30 kilometers from Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant within the prefecture of Fukushima. While it is reasonable to believe that the level of radioactive contamination would be comparatively low for an area this far from the power plant, due to the strong winds, snow and rain that occurred directly following the disaster, the actual levels of contamination far exceeded original estimates. For Japan and Iitate Village, unprecedented levels of radiation poured down, making the land uninhabitable and thus leaving the former residents no alternative but to abandon their village and seek refuge elsewhere.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) announced that while transferring contaminated water containing radioactive material from leaking underground storage tank No. 3 to tank No. 6 at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant on April 11 this year, water was discovered leaking from a joint connecting the piping being used for the transfer.
About 22 liters of water containing 6.4 billion becquerels of radioactive material leaked from the joint before the problem was chanced upon. TEPCO said the water leaked on top of the berm covering the storage tank and that there was no possibility of it seeping into the soil surrounding it.
A dinner of boiled vegetables and 3.3 square meters of floor space for sleeping, those are the harsh conditions awaiting laborers who undertake government-mandated decontamination work necessitated by the nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric’s Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima Prefecture. In some cases workers are basically laboring for free when taxpayer-funded danger pay is excluded from their pay packets.
The Tokyo Shimbun has discovered that workers involved with national government controlled cleanup projects resulting from the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant are being ripped off by subcontractors.
Despite being able to rent lodging facilities from the government and others for free or for very little money, contractors forcibly deduct inflated accommodation and meal charges from workers’ pay. When the 10,000 yen (US$111) a day “danger pay” provided to contractors by the government (read: taxpayers) is taken into consideration, it means the contractors themselves end up forking out a measly 1,000 yen (US$11) a day per worker.
Recent tapes released have sent ripples across Japan’s news programs showing first-hand Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) handling of the Fukushima Disaster. Many were outraged over TEPCO management’s muddled communications with plant director, an increasingly frustrated Masao Yoshida.
Among the hours and hours of footage there’s one particularly odd incident in which one of the largest electric companies in Japan couldn’t seem to get their hands on a battery. In fact, it took about a 24 hours and trip to the hardware store to buy it while on the brink of meltdown.