politics

Gov't to support municipalities that accept tsunami debris

50 Comments

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said Sunday the government will offer financial support to local municipalities that accept tsunami rubble from the Tohoku area.

Speaking on NTV's "Bankisha" program, Noda said the government will financially help local governments that agree to accept tsunami debris by subsidizing the construction of incineration and other disposal facilities and by paying for radiation checks of the debris.

The government aims to clear up all the disaster rubble by March 2014, but Environment Minister Goshi Hosono, who is also the minister in charge of dealing with the nuclear crisis, said last month that so far, only a little more than 5% of the estimated 23 million tons of rubble from Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures had been disposed of.

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Translation: Make a little smoke, and we'll make it worth your while.

If there's money to build incineration plants wherever anyone's prepared to accept the brown envelopes, why do we need to ship the debris round the country at all? Just build the plants near the debris.

Or is that too much like common sense?

And where is this money coming from? I can't imagine many people being pleased to learn that the money they donated to help is being spent on creating caesium-flavoured clouds in their backyards.

-3 ( +10 / -13 )

what about Hawaii and west coast of america ? No help ???

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Since politicians seldom do anything without a brib...er, 'donation', it's not surprising their only solution to burning possibly radioactive debris somewhere other than near the melted down nuclear power plant is to offer 'assistance' to towns. Okay, sarcasm off.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Exchange Radioactive Debris for Donation, is like exchanging 'pachinko' balls for money though gambling is illegal in Japan.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Noda says, "...financial support to local municipalities..." My question: How local is local? Is he saying the gov't will support building incinerators located NEAR the mountains of debris? I hope so.

Or does he consider Tokyo to be "local". There are already several incinerators throwing the radioactive smoke up into the Tokyo skies, all located too "locally" to me (and everyone else).

1 ( +3 / -2 )

This plan of spreading radiated debris all over japan sucks big time. Now here come the bribes!

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Imagine that! The government bribing people.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

utterly useless leadership in Japan. Willing to build plants somewhere other than where the debris is located. Japan is doomed if people don't wake up soon and demand that their leaders have some common sense.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

tkoind2: "Japan is doomed if people don't wake up soon and demand that their leaders have some common sense."

The problem is, the government realizes this to an extent. Hence, they want to form a 'grand coalition' so you have no choice as to whom to elect.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

With those millions of tons of debris, I am quite sure a large portion are recyclable. Instead of donations, why not make incenerators and recycling plants near the devastated areas as part of the rehabilitaion? On top of my head, I can think of the following reasons:

Recycling plants and incenerators create jobs locally Recycled items can be sold off to other prefectures Manufacturing plants can be built around the recycling plants Less money needed to move the debris Isolated cases of accidents Easier disposal of irradiated items

Uless, of course, the cash that they plan to dole out are being laundered, but the government's not related to the mafia in any way ... right?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

So to make it more appealing and an easier sell they call radioactive debris, tsunami debris.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Smith, you and I are on the same page with this topic. I am sure that is a big part of their vision.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@zichi

Prudent comments as usual. I wish you could be the Governor of Tokyo.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Why even call it support? It is a bribe.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

This is what they did to push nuclear power on people in the first place. The bribe offer just started so I wonder how long it will be before the local Poobahs start bending over and saying "once more if you please, sir." They're taking my tax money to bribe crooks to poison the air my children breathe.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Kanagawa was one of the first to raise hands in accepting the debris, but the idea was thrown out due to the opposition of the local people. The situation is very sad, and I feel sorry for the Tsunami hit areas, but I can't blame them since the incinerating facilities are right in the middle of a densly populated area, and also because as a fact, there is over 2500Bq/kg in the ashes (not the main ashes but collected ones in the duct) as is.

On the other hand, they can't shut down Fukushima for 50 years. People are too attached to their home land.

I don't see any way this can be resolved...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The biggest mistake here is the presumption the debris here is contaminated. Most of the most devastated cities, still covered in rubble with no place to put it, were further from the nuclear accident than Tokyo.

Just reflects the prejudice inspired by the propaganda in the western media mixing the idea that it was the nuclear plant that caused the 23,000 dead and the tsunami.

Zichi, why would you truck unconaminated debris into the nuclear accident redzone hundreds of kilometers away? You want to contaminate the debris? Put the drivers at risk?

Your solution is based on the presumption that the waste in Miyagi is as contaminated as the redzone around Fukushima, which is exactly the misinformed prejudice that is preventing people in the cities up there being unable to rebuild, because everyone thinks they are somehow covered in cooties.

The issue is a simple waste processing issue - those prefectures lack the processing capacity. This is not an issue about radiation.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Why move the debris round the country in the first place, just build incineration plants where the debris is piled up and burn it on the spot, or move it to within the 20 k exclusion zone round the nuclear plant and burn it there, the lack of a brain by those in charge here is absolutely incredible sometimes. Concentrate the debris in the worst possible place for crying out loud, dont spread it all over the country.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I have the flu there everyone needs to catch it and share the suffering mentality is ridiculous.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

ExportExpert - why stop rebuilding when processing facilities exist elsewhere.

And other than still being homeless and unable to rebuild, and mourning their dead loved ones, what "flu" do people in Miyagi and Iwate have, exactly?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Zichi - while Fukushima suffered a lot also, the vast majority of debris is in Miyagi and Iwate. All the waste transported to Tokyo and Yamagata has been tested both on departure and arrival to confirm (and alleviate) radioactivity concerns. I believe that only one truck has actually shown levels that warranted turning back to date.

Removal of debris is a huge issue affecting reconstruction plans (sure, planning is part of that too, but Miyagi and Iwate cities have been begging for help moving debris because it is such a hindrance - it isn't a non issue like you imply, and the vast majority of the debris we are talking about has no levels of detectable radiation.

It looks like the Japanese tradition of shunning and ostracising victims is well embedded in the foreign community here too.

1 ( +2 / -2 )

Hikozaemon,

Dude the waste created by the tsunami is nasty stuff, & wud still be nasty EVEN if we never had nuke issues in Fukushima, in case you dont know tsunami dont create nice sorted piles of garbage, quite the opposite in fact it mixes it all up so you have building materials, gas, oil, chemicals, soils etc etc etc all mashed up, pretty guaranteeing whatever is burnt is going to produce some nasty waste products they go into ther air & remain as ash etc.

I wish it were different but CLEARLY the single best way to deal with all this is as close as possible to source, simple fact

4 ( +4 / -0 )

So Japan has these islands up north called the Kuril Islands. They want to make that political statement that they blong to Japan and not Russia.

I bet Russia wont want them if all that waste is "stored" there.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

In other words, politicians who accept burning rubble will get their pockets lined handsomely. The general public won't see a yen of benefit from this.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

GW, nearer is better of course, but the whole issue is that on their own it would take a decade for these prefectures to clear the debris on their own, and hence slow reconstruction. The whole nation should be helping to rebuild after this disaster. The debris needs to be cleared for reconstruction ASAP, and it has been a year already. They need help, and aren't getting it because of ignorant prejudice.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

There are a few simple reasons why the disposal of the waste should be mostly done where the rubble is.

First, transportation is not necessary. Transportation carries potentially contaminated stuff to places which still have rather low amounts of cesium hot particles floating around in the air. It should better stay like that.

Second, carrying around the stuff needs a lot of transportation. This requires unnecessary CO2 emissions, sicne the same amount of material could be gradually handled locally as well.

Third, building the facilities in Tohoku creates infrastructure and jobs. Both are in short supply since the tsunami. It creates jobs for blue collar workers, which have been lost in large amount due to the breakdown of agriculture and fisheries. While these might be restarted in a few years (once the fears about contamination of foodstuffs have subsided somewhat), these jobs would be very nice for many people to bridge the gap.

Fourth, such incinerators might serve a greater purpose by improving the flexibility of the local power grid in Tohoku. They are new power plants which can reduce the need for NPPs. They could be the trigger to wrest control of the grid from the giant electricity companies. Thereby, they could be key in establish renewable energy plants in Tohoku. The necessary construction work for renewable energy can be done by those workers who first constructed the incinerators.

Fifth, stepwise removal of the waste will make the land accessible for construction. In the best case, construction of things which are not very endangered by further earthquakes and tsunamis. Construct wind-driven power plants there in large numbers, because they easily withstood the eqrthquake and tsunami last year. The construction workers have safe and stable jobs for a long time and these plants can be designed such that they are unaffected by earthquakes and tsunamis (of the scale from last March).

If one is capable of thinking on a longer timescale - on a timescale where the nuclear plants have gone offline - Tohoku must invest into new paths of electricity generation for the Kanto area. Otherwise, Tokyo will have quite a problem. They must develop their infrastructure. This is a chance to develop an industrial branch in a large area not by chance, but with an efficient system.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

It's called bribery.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Gov't to support municipalities that accept tsunami debris

Support? C'mon! This is Japan! Use the correct English! "Gov't to bribe municipalities to accept tsunami debris"

0 ( +1 / -1 )

this is where the bribes + siphoning of taxpayer $ will occur.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Zichi, sure, if you can process it all.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Instead of supporting those who do, why don't they just punish those who don't.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Johannes Weber, I think a lot of people know what you are saying is a great way to go. But let me give you a few reasons why they want other parts of Japan doing the job.

-There are too much debris. It will take a long time to get it finished, which during that time, a lot of the land storing the debris will be useless and people who need the land will not be able to get a life.

-They do not have enough facilities to get it done. New facilities aimed for this cause will mean heavy burden on the local economy and all of Japan if run by the government. After the cleanup is complete, they will no longer need such a huge facility so it will be a waste of valuable money.

-People may have a job, but since this is a very limited one, it will not do any good for the people who need permanent jobs. It will not boost the local economy, it will be like another bubble. Blue collar workers are already getting a lot of places they can work within construction sites since whole cities and villages need to be re-built. I saw one article saying hotels and restaurants are benefitting from these "construction rushes" as they say in Japan, but they are very worried about their future when all this will end.

As I mentioned, I'm no politician so I can't see how this can be resolved quickly and without further harm.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hiko,

Transporting this stuff long distances is simply a COLLOSAL waste of $$$$$$$$$ & its bad enough we will be ripped off blind no matter how this is taken care of but if you start transporting long distance can you say double, triple or more the costs I sure as hell can, I use trucks all the time I know how much they cost & it wud be insanely expensive.

Its coming on a year since 3/11 now, Japan needs to start making SMART hard decisions more than stupid emotional ones, we aint got the YEN for either but the later will bury us all.

If the govt & those affected cant start making the hard/smart decisions we only have to look a Futenma to see whats likely to result, ie decades of infighting & bickering, we are already seeing it. I DO NOT enjoy watching those affected having to uproot & make dratsic changes but we had huge multi disasters the country has no choice but to make these.

I certainly have my doubts, had them long before 3/11, to me it seems the govt is more likely to flub this than get it right, for once I REALLY REALLY want to be proven wrong, but sadly..........

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

GW - this is a practical issue. There are still a number of towns buried in debris.

Waste processing capacity in all the prefectures affected is based on producing normal household and industrial waste - a big rubbish bag a week per household. Not a whole household. The waste needs to be cleared, and sorted. Given that there is almost no landfill space left in Japan, everything that can be burned must be burned, but sorted from recyclables, toxics, and unburnables first. Then processed waste can be used for reclamation, infilling, recycling or whatever.

The key is, abandoning the worst hit prefectures - Miyagi and Iwate - is going to leave them buried in their own debris for decades as their waste processing tries to gather and process it all, leaving victims in temporary housing unable to rebuild and start their lives in the meantime.

The priority here is to clear the rubble and allow people to rebuild as soon as possible. This "not on my dollar or in my backyard" attitude is just as bad as the "Tohoku people all have radiation cooties" attitude visible here, and loudly prevalent in Kansai and Kyushu.

I'll agree, I don't think it is practical to divide the waste into 2% lots and distribute evenly to all prefectures - closer is of course better. But point is, whether the truck drives it for one hour to a Miyagi based processing site, three hours to a Yamagata processing site, or eight hours to a Tokyo processing site, the only way to help the earthquake victims rebuild is to share the burden of processing the debris wherever the extra capacity to do so exists.

You don't want to be paying for the fuel of trucks carrying rubble from destroyed homes in Miyagi? I don't think we are talking in practical terms about sending this furhter than Kanto and Hokkaido, but bear in mind that your concern about fuel cost of garbage trucks is going to condemn quake victims that have already lost everything to ten more years unable to rebuild because their own prefectures are overwhelmed.

This isn't an emotional issue. It is purely one of human decency - which is apallingly lacking for the tsunami vicims.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hiko,

I hear, I do, however as Zichi above correctly points out there desperately needs to be a WHOLESALE re-think on a WHOLE lot of things, to just blindly start re-constructing is imo a HUGE mistake. I am sorry if I come off as a super cold SOB, maybe I am, but I truly think those areas that were destroyed need a total re-think & that its extremely foolish to just try to re-create most of what was lost.

Affected areas need to be assesed, some cleaned up & simply left, or made into parks, industrial use, and sadly there are going to be some places that will never be re-built & will become dumps, believ me I get NO JOY typing that but we cant sugar coat this stuff

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Zichi,

I wonder if its even worth the bother to try to re-build break waters etc, I mean most were shown to be utterly useless so why through good money after bad. Those that DID help shud be repaired etc, but those that did little or nothing shud NOT be re-built imo, those areas need to move residential areas to higher grounds & look to non-residential uses in lower lying areas.

As you well know this is all going to be hard to impossible to sell but I really think that many areas hopefully come to realize they shudnt simply re-build.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Zichi,

yr right a total rethink as far as architecture etc concerned is in order, and design even with the expectation that water WILL invade at times is likely a good idea, "island" design, raised living etc, more open space, how about use the concept of zoning wud be nice.

I really feel for those affected & I hope those that need to relocate are able to accept & move on, carry on, heres to that!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

GW, Zichi. So where do the people in temporary housing go. The government should relocate them and given them civil service jobs?

Also, considering disaster prevention oriented rebuilding, consider that Tohoku is effectively pre-disastered for decades now. Surely if anyone should be forcibly relocated, it isn't the refugees still in temporary housing in Tohoku, but the people living all along the coast from Chiba to Shikoku who are in the firing line for the next tsunami?

In any case - this "your tsunami is your problem, don't expect anyone else to help you" attitude is just sickening to me.

Not the way I was raised.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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