Fukushima Daiichi

Haruki Murakami’s solution to the nuclear power debate in Japan: Actually call it “nuclear power”

You may have heard that legendary Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami runs a blog where he answers questions sent in by readers. He’s tackled subjects ranging from the meaning of life to how to become a writer to what animal ability he’d like to have.

In one of his most recent questions, Murakami gives his opinion on a very touchy subject in Japan: nuclear power. Instead of calling out for reform or regulations though, he suggests one very simple change: that Japanese people refer to what they currently call “atomic energy power plants” as “nuclear power plants” instead.

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First nuclear power plant set to restart in Japan after 2011 meltdown

Against much public backlash, two reactors at a nuclear power plant in Sendai are scheduled to be restarted. These will be the first to restart operations after all the country’s nuclear plants were shut down indefinitely following the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in 2011. 

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The planned “Great Ice Wall” to contain Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant isn’t freezing

More than three years after the earthquake and tsunami devastated northeast Japan and left a major nuclear plant in Fukushima paralyzed, efforts to contain the nuclear disaster are still facing major hurdles as the area around it remains a ghost town. Last week, Tokyo Electric Power Co., better known as TEPCO, revealed that an ice wall that was designed to stem the flow of radioactive water seeping from the crippled reactors at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant isn’t freezing as fast as they hoped.

In the three months since construction began, temperatures in the ground around the barrier meant to contain the contaminated water in underground trenches have only fallen to around 15 degrees (59 degrees Fahrenheit) and TEPCO announced a new plan to accelerate the freezing process—dumping 10 tons of ice every day until the wall forms.

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Scaremongers strike again: “mutant” vegetables wrongly attributed to Fukushima

“Attack of the mutant vegetables!! Are these our new tomato overlords?? Let’s all boycott the struggling Fukushima farmers for, oh, say 100 years or so.”

Actually, despite the attention they’re receiving and hits they’re no doubt generating online, the following photos don’t seem to originate from Fukushima at all…

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Incidences of thyroid cancer on the rise among Fukushima children

According to Kolnet, an online media source focused on the Tohoku region of Japan, the number of under-18s in Fukushima Prefecture diagnosed with thyroid cancer has increased to 12, while the number of possible cases has reached 15.

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More Than Half of Cleanup Staff at Fukushima Nuclear Plant on Counterfeit Contracts

It has come to light that the Japanese government’s Fukushima Daiichi cleanup plan is failing due to problems concerning counterfeit contracts. The government is now left reassessing its human resource strategy and considering how to effectively secure the number of employees required to carry out the work. As it presently stands, more than half of the laborers employed at the nuclear site are suspected of being involved in counterfeit contract work.

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Tokyo Clinic to Test Internal Radiation Exposure

On January 16th, a clinic was opened in Tokyo’s Shinagawa Ward to check the levels of internal radiation exposure. The clinic, loosely translated as Radioactivity Premium Dock, offers a complete body scan for radiation levels, among other services, which the general public can access for a fee. The company hopes to reduce anxiety resulting from the Fukushima Daiichi disaster and to help the public manage their health.
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According to a book recently published by Tomohiko Suzuki, a freelance journalist who went undercover as a laborer at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant for two months this year, people who were unable to repay loans from yakuza gangs were forced to work at the site as a means of repaying their debts. Tokyo Electric issued a refutal, calling the claim that organized crime would be allowed to influence the recruitment process “groundless”.
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