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Mayor of village near Fukushima plant urges residents to return to homes

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“I encourage you to go home,” Endo told a televised news conference from the Fukushima government office. “Those of you who can return now, please do so. If you are still worried, you can wait a little until you feel comfortable.”

what kind of appeal is this? "do as you like"..isn't it?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

understandable and emotive call from local people traumatized by these events, however it is the duty of officials to protect the people and this is a total failure to do that. The risks of further large earthquakes are very high. The reality of total melt throughs, steam explosions, continued releases of radioactivity and hot particles, secondary contamination from burning or pollen and ground water pollution have not been assessed yet or have only been assessed with less than 10 months of data.

Local officials do not have the capacity or training to make these decisions, even in consultation with central govt as they can't grasp the full picture or access and understand independent sourced information. My wife and I know our local nuclear incident 'expert', he was put in place by our local govt to serve our local area of 16,000 residents many wirthin 40-50kms of the plants and some within 10km of IItate mura, a farmer with no knowledge of the science or incident - in fact we have been consulted and asked to provide information for them, rather than the other way round - this also true of all of the areas that were evacuated.

Tepco and the govt have admitted they have no model for forecasting the effects of the disaster, until they do local officials are simply leading their people back into harms way, but then the trauma that has been caused by the criminal acts of the major players here is clear for all to see.

I fear for the future of my friends here.

12 ( +15 / -4 )

The town is located southwest of the plant. And while the majority of the radioactive particles traveled northwest, I think the town is still within the plume of the worst contaminated areas, or perhaps one third of it as the article suggests.

I do not believe for a second that what they did to the town can properly be called decontamination. There should be another term to use. Sure, powerhosing rooves will wash the particles away and they can be collected at the drain pipe. Topsoil can be hauled away. But you cannot deconaminate the trees, the surrounding land etc. There will always be places you missed. You can't clean the groundwater.

There is no way in hell I would go back there. At best its now an island of moderate contamination in the middle of a sea of contamination. But wind and rain could well ruin all the decontamination they did, or even another problem at the still troubled disaster site.

11 ( +11 / -1 )

It's obvious that the government doesn't want to support the people who clearly know they should not return that radiated area. Once again, it's always about money.

Yuko Endo: I'mma tell you, like Wu told me.....Cash Rules Everything Around Me!! So come home.

No doubt Endo has been paid to tell you this. She's supposed to tell you to stay right where you are....no where near the radiation. If the radiated area is 20km exclusion zone do you really believe you are safe at 20.1?? Nah. Stay safe.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

If I were 70 years old, I might go home, but I would advise my younger family members to just visit once in a while. I wouldn't want them to risk health problems. If there is a choice between 20 milliseiverts a year and almost no milliseiverts a year, why take the chance?

12 ( +11 / -1 )

Thats exactly what I was thinking netninja - what makes 20.1kms ok, as opposed to 19.9kms?

They may have done extensive decontamination but it would take much more than the word of the mayor to convince me it is safe from now on. How would they prevent all the radiation surrounding them from just blowing right back on in again?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Where does the mayor himself (and his family) live? Does anyone know?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Even thousands of SDF troops using every manner of tool and water pressure spray failed to lower the radioactive contamination of the area they were given to decontaminate, so I would be amazed to hear how this locality has done what they couldn't. I have yet to see one article on decon that shows a lasting and significant and independently verified drop using any of the decon methods currently being touted by these officials. Decon as it stands still only amounts to high pressure spraying, scraping, and physically removing topsoil, foliage, leaf matter and debris. It doesn't work.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

About one-third of Kawauchi village lies within the 20-kilometer exclusion zone and remains off-limits.

Will the wind, rain, snow and dust not blow from the off-limits side. Life is more precious than the towns economy.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I think there are about 160 houses inside the no-go zone. If those families return they'll have to be provided with temporary homes. Population 3200.

Radiation measuring equipment should be installed around the village. Farm land needs to be measured for contamination and any food grown tested before being released to market.

The problem with radiation is that it isn't laid out in some kind of pattern.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Wonder where the Mayor lives?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Irresponsible. Though not shocking. Indeed, all about the money...

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I guess if I was real old, and had been born there I would say something like what the heck I am old and rather live where I have always lived and if I am going to die, as we all will one day, might as well be where I love the most, so I would not be surprised if older people do go back their homes as opposed to younger folk.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The village will need an emergency evacuation plan in case another major event happens at the power plant. Farming is probably the main occupation and its unlikely that will be allowed to resume so how will people earn their living?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

The main industry of Kawauchi-mura is agriculture and forestry; cold upland vegetables, rice, Tabaco, silk cultivation, shiitake mushrooms, livestock raising, and planting trees. One villager said he will grow vegetables in a plastic greenhouse so that products can be sold safe.Many people are truly sympathetic to those people of Kawauchi-mura and wish we could be supportive, but most of the people would not buy products from there because we cannot trust the government. I don't think they will be able make a living there with agriculture and forestry industry.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

“Those of you who can return now, please do so. If you are still worried, you can wait a little until you feel comfortable.”

Awww... how kind of him not to FORCE the people home... yet. If the people are smart they'll stay away, for GOOD! Anyone who returns home that closely to the plant will in 20 years time hear a "Doh! I guess it wasn't so decontaminated at all. Don't blame us, blame the government of 20 years ago. Moushiwake arimasen!"

6 ( +8 / -2 )

where can you get those tags that discolor when the radiation becomes to high, they should hand those out to the returning people.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This smells like another government/TEPCO propaganda to me.

The Fukushima NPPs have just had another problem (leaky cooling system), on top of the still-unknown status inside the reactor chamber. When they inserted the endoscope, the "experts" admitted that they could not find the water level, the melted fuel, leaks and other current problems.

The area may have been decontaminated, but how about the plants, the soil, the air? The mayor seems willing to risk the town's health and future just so that he can start collecting taxes in his area again.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Only 15% of elementary and 20% of junior-high students want to return. So far about 200 residents returned since last September.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I sincerely hope that the town office and all public servants, which include teachers, fire, police, everyone who is employed and paid by the government move back first, establish that things are safe to live there, THEN make the call for everyone else to please come home.

Maybe after a year or so.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

NetNinja,

No doubt Endo has been paid to tell you this.

I don't see anything in the article indicating she's been paid to say this. Do you have some outside information or is this just made up?

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

The mayors of Kawauchi-mura and Futaba-machi (both in Futaba county) are very different. While Kawauchi-mura mayor is asking residents to go back, Futaba-machi mayor has been asking Kan and Noda to find the place for the whole town of Futaba to move somewhere else and make new Futaba-machi. He doesn't believe 20 microSV/h is safe for the people, not to mention for children, Fukushima nuclear plants are still unstable, especially No.4. Besides, the central government is planning to build a nuke waste storage depot. 560 school children of Futaba-machi have fled to 32 different prefectures. Futaba-machi mayor wants all children to get back together in New Futaba-machi somewhere safer. The mayor has been asking the central government to find the place for the new Futaba-machi for nearly 10 months now, but still no answer.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Sounds like an exasperated emotional plea rather than based on scientific evidence that reveals the relative safety of the area.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The lucky ones might be those owning property inside the no-go zone. They might be able to claim compensation for their loss. If the village depends on farming then its going to die a natural or atomic death, With no work, people won't be able to stay. Even if they can farm who'll buy the produce?

Yubaru, I doubt there are many public servants, this is just a small farming village? Probably even just one policeman. I lived in a similar village for 8 years. In the end only the old will remain.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

No doubt Endo has been paid to tell you this. She's supposed to tell you to stay right where you are

I don't think the poster did much google search or anything to post accurate information here.

Yuko Endo is not SHE, but HE, just for your information.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Blair Herron,

must be a mistake with 20 microsieverts per hour. I read the level was less than 20 millisierverts per year. Above that people won't be able to return since that is the limit.

The No4 reactor at the time of 3/11 was empty of fuel rods but the spent fuel pool remains a concern.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I understand their desire to move back to their homes and try to "restart" the town. That being said, I cannot understand how anyone can believe that decontamination has had a major effect on improving safety. Fallout continues to this moment in huge amounts.

It is like saying in the middle of a snowstorm that the roads have been plowed so drivers can resume driving at posted speed limits.

6 ( +6 / -1 )

It is strange that the Russians never made the request of their citizens to return, even when the reactors were covered in concrete! How can an unresolved nuclear accident be 'safe'?

Where is the proof that such levels ie below 20 milisieverts are safe?

Would anyone knowingly place a child in such an environment?

There is no need to endanger lives by returning to contaminated areas!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I'm going to have pass on that....

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is great news. Hopefully it is a sign that things are getting improvement and soon everyone can go home. I am sure that there are many with a cheered heart this morning in Fukushima.

-16 ( +2 / -16 )

Most of these towns were dying anyway even before 3/11, this disaster just sped the process up a bit. Rural Japan sucks.

-7 ( +2 / -8 )

Unfortunately this is a case of no news as the level of contamination is not referenced in the article.

Similarly,even as the government was promoting food integrity in Japan, it was found that consumers were eating dangerously contaminated food!

With the plant debris still emitting massive amounts of radiation how can it be safe?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Another case of the blind leading the blind.

6 ( +5 / -0 )

must be a mistake with 20 microsieverts per hour. I read the level was less than 20 millisierverts per year. Above that people won't be able to return since that is the limit.

Thanks, zichi. I was watching Futaba mayor's interview and that's what he said there.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98sudW4C4m8

The No4 reactor at the time of 3/11 was empty of fuel rods but the spent fuel pool remains a concern.

That's also the mayor said at the interview about reactor No.4

There are some speculations that there were fuel rods in the reactor No.4. (Was he talking about it? Not sure)

http://hyper-nomad.blogspot.com/2012/01/fukushima-dai-ichi-nuclear-plant.html

http://phnetwork.blogspot.com/2011/11/blog-post_23.html

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Blair Herron,

The No4 reactor was shut down in Dec.2010 for refueling. On the TEPCO site there are photo's showing the empty reactor vessel. Also the problem with the spent fuel pool was greater than the others because it contains more fuel following the shut down.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

the problem with the spent fuel pool was greater than the others because it contains more fuel following the shut down

Thanks again, zichi. And thanks for the link (TEPCO investigation). It is removed buy I kept it to my PC :)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

sounds like criminal negligence to me!

If I had lived that close I wud be long long gone, this guy is insane. Other than older people no one shud be returning, clearly MORE need to be getting further away for christs sake!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Kawauchi area is lower radioactive level than evacuation area(Koriyama).So they should go home for only thinking about radioactive disease.But now only 7% of residents return home.Why? One point of reason , if they will go home,they can not obtain damages from TEPCO about 100000yen a month . This problem is not so simple but it is true that they cannot believe Japanese gov. and TEPCO.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Believe, just believe in this, and the truth shall be found.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

ElvanSilvan: "The area may have been decontaminated, but how about the plants, the soil, the air? The mayor seems willing to risk the town's health and future just so that he can start collecting taxes in his area again."

Exactly, and there's definitely money at stake more than anything else. For starters, these people returning home would mean less payouts that have to be made by TEPCO and the government, and I've no doubt for this reason alone the government is pushing local governments to call their people home. Local governments in the are probably being threatened by budget cuts if they don't retain a certain population. And while I'm pretty sure the government wouldn't cut their residence tax, there's the possibility that the people evacuated will complain about having to pay it.

Safety is never a priority for these guys above profit... NEVER. Just look at all the incidents of "oops... guess we shouldn't have allowed that gravel to be shipped out of the (later made) exclusion zone (but we had to because we should all feel sorry for the rubble company). Oops! Guess maybe we shouldn't have allowed so-and-so to sell crops from the contaminated areas... sorry for putting it in your kids' school lunches!" And lest we forget all the money being spent on personal interests, unrelated programs, and public works' projects that could go towards free health care for the kids (which they can't afford!) or finally getting people out of shelters.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

What a travesty. When your public officials even on the municipal level preach propaganda just to save their own jobs. This town and any within the Fukushima border are a waste of tax money. Southwest, 20Kms, 50kms, Northeast ... these are all irrelevant. The prefecture is dead. Move on people and save yourselves.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Idiots in government, such as this mayor, need to be dragged into the streets and unceremoniously shot dead.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The problem with radiation is that it isn't laid out in some kind of pattern.

As Zichi said, the radiation isn't in a pattern and there are parts of the 20km exclusion zone with substantially less contamination than places outside of it. Should the people move back to the village? Based on the information that I have here it's impossible to answer that as I simply have no idea what the current radiation levels are.

But to suggest that someone should be dragged through the streets and unceremoniously shot dead is one of the most disturbing things I've ever read. I can't believe that the moderators have allowed it. And I would suggest that the author have a look at themselves in the mirror. Shocking.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

That mayor is walking around in a fantasy coma with wanting to repopulate the area when it's not anywhere near safe. 72 million bq per hour blowing around in the wind and such all over. how far is it traveling and where is it landing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

jforce: you do realize that saying that whole prefecture is dead from the disaster is like saying the entire state of MD died, right? I volunteer there, I eat food there, just 30km from the zone, where I often help residents, the levels are usually around .004.

This town may not be safe (I can't say either way without seeing proper studies and facts), but the entire prefure not being safe? No. Incredibly not true.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Show the proof, where are the numbers. Talk is cheap.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Daiichi is still spewing radiation, isn't it???? The winds move all over the place every day, not just one direction out to sea. This mayor is showing quite an irresponsible and dangerous wish-fantasy. And, yeah, where does he and his family live? Sorry, but Kawauchi is a Death Zone for a few hundred years. Time to start dealing with the new reality, don't you think? And yes, it is just so hard, but it must be done.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@ j4p4nFTW

NetNinja,

No doubt Endo has been paid to tell you this.

I don't see anything in the article indicating she's been paid to say this. Do you have some outside information or is this just made up?

Perhaps English is not your native language so let me help interpret the point NetNinja was trying to make. This mayor is making a statement/request which is contrary to the thoughts and feelings of a significant portion of the population - so why would she make it? The job which she does, and for which she gets paid for, is as the mayor of the town in question. So one point is that perhaps she will be out of a job and therefore pay if she no longer has a town over which to be mayor. But the more significant point is that there is great likely hood that this mayor has been paid by TEPCO to encourage repopulation of the town. One case of "outside information" which we have as background to this situation and for which you ask is the following: The nuclear power industry in Japan has been caught in recent history (even after Fukushima happened) using advertising which uses what appears to be local citizens saying they support nuclear power, when in fact these 'local citizens' are actually employees of the nuclear power industry. So actually the likes of TEPCO in this country have paid people to do their bidding in public. Here, read up on it:

http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2011/s3341024.htm

Amaterasu help this country. Only she can be trusted to control nuclear power.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Maybe it would be wise to wait until the reactors are contained before asking people to return. The reactors are still emmiting radiation.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Bingo Mr. Burns Bingo!! They should wait.....Lets say a half-life perhaps.

I was watching Se7en the other day at a friends house (I don't have NHK ;-) I just love the tirade by John Doe at the end. It some ways it summed up everything I was feeling about TEPCO and Japan's government PLUS.....this mayor trying to get people to return to a radiated area. Here it is. It makes sense when you apply it to this situation.

John Doe: Only in a world this shitty could you even try to say these were innocent people and keep a straight face. But that's the point. We see a deadly sin on every street corner, in every home, and we tolerate it. We tolerate it because it's common, it's trivial. We tolerate it morning, noon, and night. Well, not anymore. I'm setting the example. What I've done is going to be puzzled over and studied and followed... forever.

He could be talking about TEPCO. Japanese people tolerate a lot don't they/

Now I know he wasn't playing with a full deck but you had to hand it to him. It made sense. It was true. This mayor and these deep pocket lawyers will tell you anything to keep the cash flowing. They wish to manipulate courts and future cases before the people even have a chance to chime in . If lil Miss Mayor had any decency she'd be against TEPCO and seeking damages for the residents. Instead she's made a deal with the devil.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

There are an estimated 600,000 spent fuel rods, 40-years worth, at the Fukushima NPP. The No3 spent fuel pool was badly damaged by the explosions and the No4 is still of serious concern. Today TEPCO a value on the cooling system was damaged and leaking.

The NPP is far from what could be called stable.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Kawauchi-mura mayor stated why now. He has basically 3 reasons.

[new school year starts in April]

According to the survey done in December, only 17% (30 students out of 210) of parent(s) want to have their children return to the school in Kawauchi-mura.

The main reasons they do not want to return:

Even though the radiation level in school is 0.06~0.16 microSv/h, they don't feel safe enough.

Fukushima plants are still unstable.

Children have already made new friends where they are now.

[The villagers are getting used to the life where they are now (70% are living in Koriyama now) and their desire to return to Kawauchi-mura is declining]

The mayor is worried about losing the village since people are losing desire to return.

Among the population of 3,000, only 220 people returned after no-go zone regulation was lifted in September, and 20 of them have come back to Koriyama.

People do not want to return because:

There are no hospitals, no jobs, not allowed to grow rice.

They can no longer get 100,000yen/m from TEPCO when they return.

Some people have found job in Koriyama already.

One woman (72) said, "It's hard to lose our village. But it would be a part of history to teach our offspring that once there was a village named Kawauchi but it's gone because of radiation leak from nuclear plants. It would be a good lesson to teach people how awful nuclear plants can be."

[The mayor wants to push the central government to hurry decontamination work]

Hoikuen and schools are decontaminated, but not the whole village yet. The mayor wants the central government to hurry the decontamination work.

Some villagers are skeptical about decontamination. Kawauchi-mura is surrounded by mountains and forests. Even if the schools, houses, stores, and farm lands are decontaminated, they don't feel safe until the whole mountains and forests are decontaminated, and they say it's impossible to decontaminate those mountains and forests.

I thought more and more people are longing to return, but it seems like it's just opposite. Only the mayor and a few people want to return.

(source: TV Asahi)

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@ BlairHerron - cheers for the info and translations. It was sad to watch the old ladies on TV cleaning the schools that kids are likely not going to come back to. As you mention, a lot of those families will stay in Koriyama and other areas in Fukushima now - and Kawauchi mura will become a ghost village along with several other towns and villages, in spite of the Mayor's pleas.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Blair Herron,

the line that jumps out at me is,

"They can no longer get 100,000yen/m from TEPCO when they return."

Also, I think there's little possibility for people to earn a living if they do return. But once the government declares the village to be "safe" they probably will also loss the TEPCO payment?

The government needs a plan to buy out these kind of villages and towns which are close to the NPP.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Wonders where these people get their information. The dose for flight crews over the Pacific is 9 milliservants a year, plus the 6.2 background. Smoking 30 cigarettes a year is 60 to 80 a year. Oh parts of Europe and India have a background of 50 or 2.5 times the contaminated zone? As I said a lot of the information provided by the press is fear mongering. They have managed to scare the people stupid to sell papers and air time.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

zichi,

The man was talking about TEPCO's compensation of 100,000 yen per month for causing psychological damage to residents forced to evacuate under the government's order. So technically speaking, if they return, they are no longer forced to evacuate. The detail must be written in that 156-page manual.

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T110831004982.htm

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/tepco-compensation-hotline-overwhelmed-by-complaints

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Blair Herron,

Thank you. What I was saying was if the village is declared "safe" and people choose not to return they will probably loss that TEPCO payment.

There are 2,600 people from the village, hard to know how many families that would be, but if its 1,000 then ¥100,000 x 1000 = ¥100,000,000 per month. Good reason for TEPCO to get it declared safe?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

According to the article on Yomiuri from last Sept. TEPCO is paying out ¥50,000 per month per person for psychological damage. So for the 2600 people of Kawauchi Village that would be about 130 million yen per month, plus other payments.

For the people from the exclusion/no-go zone that would be ¥4 billion/month.

TEPCO in a recent letter to its shareholders, stated that no former executive, director or ex-president is responsible in any part for the nuclear disaster.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

zichi, the amount of radiation is very very small. Oh not much more than background and not even background in a lot of places on earth. I think northeast Oklahoma is higher than that number due to drilling for oil.

About the money, I would rather be living in my own home. However TEPCO still would owe money to people that can not work if the exclusion zone is the reason. Really the government is making the people scared STUPID. What about the other pollution problem in Japan from dioxgens, mercury, lead and others. Am sure living in an industrial area of Japan is the cause of a drastic increase in cancer and death rates. However nobody is addressing these issues.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The pertinent issue is whether it's really safe for people to return now or, well, ever.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

FullM3taL, the radiation is low, very very low. Research background radiation and tell me what you find. Under 20 milliservants a year is not a lot. 6.2 milliservants a year is what most Americans get from background radiation. So they are getting 3 times nothing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

According to the article on Yomiuri from last Sept. TEPCO is paying out ¥50,000 per month per person for psychological damage.

It has been revised.

According to the interim compensation guidelines formulated by a government panel of experts, each evacuee will receive 100,000 yen per month for psychological suffering, or 120,000 yen per month for any period they spent in an evacuation center, for the first six months and 50,000 yen for each subsequent month.

The panel said the amount is reduced because the inconveniences evacuees have to endure in their daily lives are lessened as they move to temporary housing.

However, many evacuees say the emotional strain on them becomes greater the longer they have to stay away from home. After leaving evacuation centers, victims have to pay all their daily expenses out of their own pockets.

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/views/editorial/AJ2011092211613

Tepco withdrew an earlier plan to halve such payments from Sept. 1. The compensation guidelines are revised as follows.

[Before]

Period: 9/1/2011-2/29/2012

Amount: 50,000 yen/month. Person

[After]

Period: 9/1/2011-2/29/2012

Amount: 100,000 of 120,000 yen/month. Person

http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/11112413-e.html

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Blair Herron,

Thank you for the info and updates. TEPCO to date, have paid out more than ¥100 billion in compensation payments. I think it would have a vested interest for towns and villages, like Kawauchi to be declared "safe" for residents to return.

TEPCO will have to pay out more than ¥1 trillion.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

These days, decontamination work is big business. We have a new industry, "Big Decon!"

Minami Soma City has decided to ward a single contract worth ¥40 billion to decontaminate the entire city's living space to one "Big Decon". It will take 2 years. It will be warded to one of the largest construction companies in Japan by the city's decon committee headed by Professor Tatsuhiko Kodama of Tokyo University.

The cost will be borne by the national government, who will bill TEPCO, who then will bill the national government, who will then tax the citizens.

The decon work will be for 46,000 buildings including single-family residences, apartments, hospitals, factories and shops will be decontaminated in the areas of 1,433 hectares. Also included in the project will be 1,000 kilometers of roads, and forests within 20 meters from residences and buildings.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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