• Japan’s Press focuses on Niigata’s antinuclear governor-elect. Niigata Prefecture is home to the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa (K-K) nuclear station, owned by Tepco. Restart of units #6 & #7 is key to reversing the company’s downward financial spiral since the nuke accident. The former governor of Niigata, Hirohiko Izumida, said he would not consider restarts while Tepco remained as operator. He also criticized the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s new safety standards for not adequately reflecting Fukushima lessons-learned. Governor-elect Ryuchi Yoneyama also opposes restarts, saying that the units “can’t be started without clarifying the cause of the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant. We can’t approve a restart as long as the lives and livelihoods of prefectural residents can’t be protected.” He seemingly ignores the fact that the nuke accident has been exhaustively studied. It is important to note that Yoneyama has ran for political office four times in the past, never coming close to winning. Clearly, the antinuclear issue won the day. Most news outlets feel the election of Yoneyama is a severe set-back to PM Shinzo Abe’s national energy policy. The Asahi Shimbun says the election should compel Abe’s party, the LDP, to rethink its energy outlook. In addition, Tepco’s stock value on the Nikkei has dropped more than 7%, which indicates that Tepco’s financial recovery could be in jeopardy. The Yomiuri Shimbun and Mainichi Shimbun countered the journalistic onslaught. The Yomiuri urges Yoneyama to “calmly consider” his stance, while pointing out that the governor-elect was not taken seriously as a candidate until he waxed antinuclear. Both Press outlets indicate that Yoneyama’s position against restarts is less fanatic than his predecessor. The governor-elect is in favor of a compromise on the restarts, saying, “We can’t have discussions with each other unless there is room for compromise with each other. We’ve agreed to place priority on dialogue over confrontation, and on bringing benefits to prefectural residents.” The Yomiuri says the K-K restarts are “indispensable” to both Tepco and Tokyo, and adds that Yoneyama should respect the NRA’s decision on the safety of the two units. http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20161017/p2a/00m/0na/005000chttp://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20161017/p2a/00m/0na/008000chttp://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201610170029.htmlhttp://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003288105http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2016101700236
  • Restart of Kashiwazaki-Kariwa units #6 & #7 could also be delayed by new tsunami data. On October 13th, Tepco informed the NRA that the company needs to review its earthquake soil liquification analyses for the station’s tidal levees. The worst-case tsunami is projected at 7.6 meters, and the levees stand at 15 meters. However, severe soil liquification could possibly collapse the levees. Units #1 through #4 are built at 5 meters above sea level, and the other three units at a 12 meter elevation. If the levees collapse during a worst-case quake, the tsunami could engulf all of the lower four units. There are currently no plans to restart any of the four, but unit #3 is designated as the staff’s “emergency response location”. Tepco now wants the NRA to approve shifting the emergency hub to unit #5. But, unit #5 worst-case estimates of staff radiation exposures are for 70 millisieverts per week during a Fukushima-like crisis with units #6 & #7, which the NRA might not be happy with. http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20161014/p2a/00m/0na/012000c
  • The World Cocktail Championships will use only Fukushima-grown apples. The competition begins in Tokyo on Tuesday. Several other types of fruit will be used, but apples will be only those grown in Fukushima. Tokyo bartender Yoshikazu Suda, director of the Bartender’s Association that is hosting the event, comes from Date City, which borders the Tokyo-mandated evacuation zone. He has been doing his best to promote produce from Fukushima Prefecture, but has not been successful in overcoming unfounded rumors. He feels the cocktail competition might help his former home. The apples will come from the Fukushima City farm of Chusaku Anzai. He says, “I want to convey the greatness of Fukushima fruit to bartenders from around the world.” Roughly 500 bartenders from 53 countries are expected to attend the competition. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/10/16/national/fukushima-apples-used-world-cocktail-championships-bid-repair-tarnished-reputation/#.WAN4fNK7odU
  • 20% of Fukushima municipalities have formalized disaster relief support for welfare centers. There are now municipal 51 welfare facilities for elderly and handicapped citizens, up from eleven before the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011. The push to increase the number of such centers stemmed from reports of deaths of elderly evacuees after the quake, tsunami, and nuke accident. Only a dozen the municipalities have formal emergency human support schemes in place and have made firm plans for acquisition of relief supplies should another extreme natural disaster take place. The low percentage is attributed to residential outflow and rural depopulation caused by both the mandated and voluntary nuke evacuations. Not knowing what the eventual municipal populations will be is the main roadblock. Population projections determine support necessities, like the number designated social workers, welfare specialists, and care-support providers to be dispatched in times of disasters. The PM’s Cabinet guideline calls for welfare shelters to designate one social worker for every 10 elderly evacuees, but many communities simply don’t have the numbers needed to comply. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=737