Tsunami debris from Miyagi arrives in Tokyo for disposal


Tsunami debris from Onagawa in Miyagi Prefecture arrived in Tokyo on Friday morning. The first batch of 36 tons of mainly wood and metal arrived on a special train at a cargo terminal at Tokyo station at around 2 a.m.

Both the Miyagi and Tokyo governments tested the debris for cesium and other other radioactive elements this week before it left Onagawa. A small amount was incinerated and the ashes were measured for radiation. Having got the all-clear, the Tokyo government approved the transport on Thursday night.

As the first step toward disposal, the debris will be divided into burnable and non-burnable before being taken to incineration plants in the 23 wards. The debris will be constantly monitored for radiation, officials said, according to TBS. Non-combustible debris will be buried in landfill areas in Tokyo Bay.

Onagawa is only the second town to send debris to Tokyo for disposal. In November and December, the city accepted 11,000 tons of debris from Miyako in Iwate Prefecture. In all, Tokyo plans to receive a total of 500,000 tons from Iwate and Miyagi prefectures by the end of March.

Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima prefectures have massive mountains of rubble, said to weigh more than 23 million tons. However, prefectural government officials say that all storage areas are now full and that they need to ask other prefectures to help with disposal.

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Why won't they just make incenerators and recycling plants right there, making job opportunities as well as possible business prospects for the future?

As for the landfill, dump them all around the Fukushima NPP ... TEPCO will bury the area with 60 cms of concrete anyway.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

How about testing the smoke? I don't care about the ashes

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This is LONG overdue!

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

gyouza: I agree wholeheartedly. Why aren't more people willing to help Tohoku recover?

Arigato Tokyo and Shizuoka!

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

It isn't about willingness to help. It is about a desire to help sensibily. I think that they should be finding solutions in the area that create jobs. Plain and simple opportunities to put people in Tohoku to work while not wasting energy moving debris all over the country and having to spend extra energy testing and reassuring the population.

Create jobs and look for new solutions.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

"Why aren't more people willing to help Tohoku recover?"

I think that is pretty obvious but I'll spell it out for you: Fear of possible radiation.

Something is fishy about this. I mean, i this were to be 100% safe, where is the transparency about this? If you'd want people to wholeheartedly support this incineration idea, why not explain to people that it is safe and how much radiation this stuff will actually spew out?

But nooo, keep it hush-hush.

This is big business, I suppose.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Time to dig into my closet for my gas mask...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This is a business deal. It has nothing to do with helping Tohoku to recover. If you can read Japanese, read this article. A local mayor in a disaster zone in Iwate says there is enough room to store the debris locally and disposing of it locally is preferable because it will create jobs in the disaster zone.

All of the debris after the Hanshin earthquake was disposed of locally. This disaster produced only a bit more rubbish than the Kobe quake and it is distributed around a much wider area than in the Hanshin quake. There is absolutely no urgent need to haul rubbish across the country in lorries and trains and burn it in large cities. The only people who urgently need this are those who will profit thereby.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I might add that you should take a look at fallout maps and note that Onagawa received a great quantity of radioactive material. But even if not, this material will bring other toxic substances to Tokyo, such as dioxin and asbestos. And if this poses no threats from radiation, why is the government not posting radiation readings from the gaseous emissions of the incinerators in real time? There are construction and transportation companies that will make big profits from this endeavour. What other nation would intentionally contaminate its urban areas this way?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

yes, but it is mostly just a fear. I have spent a great deal of time in Tohoku volunteering and reviewing the radiation maps, if it is from beyond the mountain range in Fukushima there is hardly any radiation

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Several mayors from Miyagi have questioned why is there even a need to remove the debris from the prefecture and have claimed it can be dealt with by the prefecture, unless its something to do with money?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

someone is getting paid to move / separate / burn the garbage unnecessarily, EVERYONE knows this, WHY is this being allowed ? (it's Japan, that's why)

total waste of money, money that we don't have, why not raise taxes and waste more and more, this country never ceases to amaze me...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

gyouza, uzneko

yes, cleanup is needed, but send garbage across the country is not the way, do it locally - support the local community

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Zichi - how long and how much would it cost to build the facilities in-region? Should the people wait? Or should they start getting on with rebuilding, and rebuilding on the spaces occupied by the gareki?

I haven't seen any mayors saying there is no need to move gareki (but I will research tonight!), only ones who seem desparate to get the process started, which if people stopped getting over sensitive about radiation levels, the process would be well underway by now.

Even if they build the facilities there, they would only have a limited life unless they intend to have tsunami's on a regular basis. Is there really a need to waste money when it could be used more wisely? I don't think Japan's debt rating would be done any favours by that approach.

Lets just get it done?

0 ( +2 / -3 )

Gyouza san, that debris is not going anywhere. Better to build several/many state of the art local incineration plants. Could be built pretty quickly with government support, I suspect. Then, local jobs and Tokyo is saved yet more freaking contamination.

0 ( +1 / -1 )


Those mayors also stated dealing with the debris in the prefecture would create jobs for local people. It would not prevent the reconstruction from starting.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Well this sure is a relief, as I'm certain the information released relating to radioactivity of debris tested will be done in the same transparent, honest and open manner that the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown was reported by TEPCO and the govt following the events of March 11th last year. I feel secure knowing that our forthright & candid Tokyo govt has the best interests of its people in mind as it starts incinerating & releasing the fumes into our local atmosphere...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

i think it meaningful that it is Tokyo that accepted such a large amount of debris...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@zichi "Gouache" - spelling bad or trying to insult somehow?

Hmmmm, whatever you want to call me, I'm not against you as generally you have a very balanced approach to the mountain of issues that face us all in Japan right now.

I believe, that whilst it sounds very positive on paper to support local economies by recycling the gareki in-region, that the time (and money) wasted in building the facilities to do so is counter productive in regenerating the regions most affected. What I believe is going to be most beneficial is not a one off effort to get things moving, but something that is sustainable for the region. I sincerely hope that in our lifetimes we don't see another tsunami, which means that building a local economy around facilities that depend on disposal are not in the long term interests of the community, especially when it CAN be handled elsewhere (if people would just let it happen).

We need to clear the junk in the regions asap, and let them return to the skills that they excelled in before 3.11. We MUST consider that some arts were dying - and be brave (callous enough??) enough to admit that they have to die so that we can move on.

Life will NEVER return to normal in thise regions, it will be completely different. I want to give it my full support for rebuilding, not try to hide behind any one of a million bogus reasons to beat up whoever happens to be in power.

Gambarou tohoku, Gambarou nihon!

0 ( +1 / -1 )


I feel secure knowing that our forthright & candid Tokyo govt has the best interests of its people in mind as it starts incinerating & releasing the fumes into our local atmosphere...

Point taken, but would it make you feel any better to know that the Tokyo government, and the larger Japan government are all operating from the same places they were from last year? I see ministers every day - they aren't running from this - wouldn't they bolt at the first sign of danger?

0 ( +0 / -0 )


oh! I7m deeply sorry, I didn't notice that? I made the comment from my iPad while also watching TV. Must have been the spell check thing. Sorry again!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Bad decision. Where is the outrage?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It isn't about willingness to help. It is about a desire to help sensibily. I think that they should be finding solutions in the area that create jobs. Plain and simple opportunities to put people in Tohoku to work while not wasting energy moving debris all over the country and having to spend extra energy testing and reassuring the population.

Miyagi alone has approximately 18 million metric tons which is 23 TIMES the prefecture's annual disposal amount. Iwate alone has approximately 5.8 million metric tons which is 12 TIMEs the prefecture's annual disposal amount. Combined with Fukushima, we're talking about roughly 1/2 the amount of annual disposal amount of all of Japan. (Tokyo Shinbun)

The "sensible" solution is to not build 10 or so additional disposal facility in each of the affected prefectures for that in of itself is a "waste" for these facilities will no longer be operating few years down the line.

The "sensible" solution is out there already. What the other prefecture/city officials need is to not cave into those few "no nukes" citizens that complain day in and day out to those said officials.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@nigelboy - Exactly. Most of these complainers and know it all folks don't understand the scope and scale or even the environmental conditions all this is happening in. They can't imagine or they forget that they had a tsunami devastate the entire region. They need to imagine hurricane Katrina damage ( or google the pics ), multiply that damage by 20, add a 7.1 earthquake, and then add on top a nuclear meltdown. That is what kind of damage and mess is there. People can't move in because all the roads are damaged, power destroyed. All the debris from the tsunami is a huge amount. There is debris moving toward California. It is that huge - think of enough to cover the entire state of Vermont in 3 ft of debris.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

add a 7.1 earthquake,

correction 9.0

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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