Negative information about Fukushima has been relatively low for a few weeks. As a result, some of Japan’s antinuclear Press is recycling old news to fill the void, allegedly in preparation of the accident’s 5th anniversary. Here are two examples…

  • The Mainichi Shimbun ran a rather lengthy article with the misleading headline “Labor shortage sucks underage workers into Fukushima nuclear cleanup”. The article itself re-hashes the sub-contractor hiring of four underage teens more than two years ago, which received heavy Press coverage in Japan. The hirings were in violation of Japan’s Labor Standards Act. The teens worked on a rural decontamination team. Actually, the four teens are the only underage persons reported to have worked in Fukushima. Roughly 30,000 contract employees work there every day. The Mainichi tries to make the issue seem current by saying one of the former teens (now 20 years old) wants to be re-hired since he is no-longer underage and doesn’t fear low level radiation exposure. Also in the article, the Mainichi reports on past rumors of decontamination workers ignoring dosimeter alarms and taking off protective clothing, child labor violations during WWII, and child labor issues in the 19th Century, as being possibly relevant. The Fukushima labor-shortage concept has been common to the Japanese Press for more than three years.
  • The Japan Times revives a December 1st news story from its archives, but makes it seem currently relevant. We covered it here on December 7th. At issue was the discovery of safety and non-safety cabling installed in the same cable trays under the Control room floor at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa units #5 & 6. The Nuclear Regulation Authority said they were going to further investigate into it.

Now for some current news…

  • The European Union will ease food import restrictions on Japan. The constraints were due to concerns over Fukushima accident contamination. All foods from Fukushima and other neighboring prefectures required radiation checks before shipment. On Wednesday, the EU said the radiation testing could be lifted on food products that have stayed below the limits for a long period of time. The changes take effect on Saturday. Almost all foods from Fukushima Prefecture will qualify for the exemption, including vegetables, buckwheat, tea, most meat products, and fruits other than persimmon. The same will be true for imports from Aomori and Saitama. Rice and soybeans from six other prefectures will also be exempted.
  • Fukushima Prefecture wants entire forests decontaminated. The Environment Ministry has set a guideline for decontamination of forests area within 20 meters of adjoining communities. Fukushima’s deputy governor has asked Tokyo to consider decontamination of the entirety of forests because residents fear returning home and having rainwater run-off re-contaminate their properties. Environment Minister Marukawa said all local requests will be considered. (Comment – It has been five years since the nuke accident, and thorough flushing of the forests by rainwater run-off has already happened. The notion of future rainwaters expunging harmful levels of contamination out of the forests comes from foreign antinuclear sources, led by Greenpeace and Arnie Gundersen. As long as these voices of antinuclear propaganda keep being aired by Japan’s antinuclear Press as bona fide experts, unfounded concerns of this sort will continue to bog down repopulation efforts.)
  • The local mayor wants taxes paid on used fuel stored at Genkai station. Genkai Mayor Hideo Kishimoto asked Kyushu Electric Power President Michiaki Uriu to accept the tax plan. Kyushu Electric responded favorably. The company owns the two operating units at Sendai station, and is paying used fuel taxes to the host community, Satsuma-Sendai. They are now pursuing permission from The Nuclear Regulation Agency to restart Genkai units 3 & 4. The Genkai community lost their operating tax money due to the Tokyo-mandated nuclear moratorium, and wants to begin getting $2.5 million per year in spent fuel taxes as soon as possible, or at least as soon as the two pressurized water reactor units are restarted. The issue of when to begin the payments surrounds Kyushu Electric’s profit margin, which has recovered somewhat due to the relatively recent Sendai restarts, but remains tenuous. But, the town needs the money to regain fiscal health. When all four Genkai units operated before 3/11/11, the town’s financial condition was so good that they did not need subsidies from Tokyo.
  • A minor ventilation fire at Hamaoka unit #2 gets some Japanese Press coverage. The fire in an exhaust fan was quickly extinguished. Unit #2 is currently being decommissioned. Chubu Electric Company says they are investigating the cause.