• Fukushima’s governor touts his prefecture in Washington, D.C.  On Tuesday, Governor Masao Uchibori announced he will publicize specialties and attractions of Fukushima, such as sake and hot springs, in the United States. He wants as many Americans as possible to visit the prefecture and look at the current situation first-hand. Uchibori believes that person-to-person dissemination of information will boost the prefecture’s rehabilitation. He pointed out that contrary to popular notion, the prefecture is not a disaster zone. http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2016101900394
  • On Wednesday, Gov. Uchibori shared Fukushima’s “regeneration” story to the United Nations. He said, “The clocks in Fukushima have not stopped, the clocks are moving forward to accomplish Fukushima’s revitalization. When I am travelling overseas there are still a lot of people who think that nobody is living in Fukushima” which is “not true.” He stressed that evacuees are only about 5% of Fukushima’s population, and the remaining 95% are living normal lives. Uchibori explained what has actually happened over the past five years, “The Great East Earthquake and tsunami really helped to change our thinking, particularly in our understanding of how natural and technological hazards interplay, in the way we listen to and engage with our local communities and our local people in reconstruction efforts.” For example, new industry that has emerged in Fukushima since 2011 includes solar and wind power production, and especially robotics. The governor projected that Fukushima could well-become the world’s leader in an industrial robot revolution. https://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/fukushima-governor-showcases-post-2011-recovery-efforts-at-u-n?utm_campaign=jt_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_source=jt_newsletter_2016-10-20_PM
  • Fukushima Saki is promoted in New York City. Nine Fukushima Saki brewers held a “tasting” in a city hotel on Wednesday, allowing local restaurants and shops offering rice wine a chance to enjoy their product. During the event, Governor Uchibori arrived and told attendees that Fukushima’s residents are smiling again. However, he noted that Fukushima Saki sales have been severely damaged by unfounded rumors about food safety that proliferate around the world. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20161020_27/
  • JAIF President Takahashi says Japan’s radiation education needs upgrading. After WWII, it was taught in junior high schools, but was discontinued in 1980. The Ministry of Education (MEXT) resurrected the subject in 2008 and was brought to the classroom in 2012. MEXT’s published a “side reader” for students in elementary, junior high and high schools. Other groups involved since 2012 have been All Japan Junior-High School Science Education Research Group, the Fukushima Prefectural Board of Education, and the Atomic Energy Society of Japan’s Education Committee. However, young teachers were never taught the facts about radiation when they were going through school, so their knowledge is limited. They often do not cover the subject because it is not easy for schools to obtain radiation monitors and experimental materials for classroom demonstrations. Takahashi called for seminars held by the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum to provide teacher education and classroom supporty. http://www.jaif.or.jp/en/message-from-jaif-president-takahashi-current-state-of-radiation-education-in-japan/
  • Japan’s no. 2 newspaper runs another poll showing the public continues to have an antinuclear bias. The Asahi Shimbun (circulation ~ 8 million) has run polls regularly since 2011 to find the public’s opinion on nuclear issues. The current one shows that 57% do not support restarts, while nearly 30% are in favor of it. 14% want nuclear energy abolished immediately, nearly 60% want it ended in the near future, and only 22% do not want it terminated at all. However, the Asahi ruled out the “other answers” and “do not know” responses, thus skewing the results. However, the survey revealed that younger people and males were more likely to support restarts than women and elderly. Specifically, 60% of males were in favor of restarts. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201610180076.html
  • A Kansai Electric Co. employee committed suicide over work related to the NRA screening of Takahama units #1 & #2. According to un-named sources, the person was a section chief dealing with the NRA’s screening of detailed designs for facilities and equipment for Tsuruga station needed to get a licensing extension. His work load began to grow in January, and peaked at 200 hours overtime in February. He killed himself in a Tokyo hotel in mid-April, during a business visit to the city. The suicide was judged to be work-related by the labor standards inspection office in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, on October 20th. Aside – Overwork-related suicides are in no way uncommon in Japan. In fact, it is so common that a Japanese word was created for it; karoshi. Last year alone, there were 1,456 legal claims of karoshi. – End aside. http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2016102000666http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/04/death-from-overworking-claims-hit-record-high-in-japan/
  • Ex-PM Koizumi uses Niigata’s gubernatorial election to try and pump up his antinuclear agenda. At a Press conference he arranged for himself in Nagano Prefecture, former-PM Junichiro Koizumi wanted to know why Tokyo doesn’t just give up on nuclear energy. Niigata governor-to-be Ryuichi Yoneyama was narrowly elected into office over this past weekend. Almost immediately, antinuclear fanatic Koizumi goes to the Press and makes it seem that this singular political event should convince the national government to abandon its plans to restart nukes and make them at least 20% of Japan’s electrical source. He stressed that just a week before the Niigata election, all opposition parties united to support Yoneyama. Koizumi believes that if such a coalition occurred nationally “There’s no telling how the LDP [PM Abe’s party] will end up. They (the government) can eliminate nuclear power, so why don’t they?”  http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20161019/p2a/00m/0na/019000c