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Posted in: Japan sharply revises down quake missing to 120; death toll 202 See in context

Under normal circumstances, the Noto Peninsula is easily accessed by highways that go up to the Oku-Noto region which was devastated by these quakes and tsunamis, but even under normal conditions it takes hours to drive up the peninsula from Kanazawa or other bigger cities in good weather, and many of the smaller roads there are windy narrow roads through mountainous areas. From what contacts in the area have told me, those roads have all suffered severe damage and drop off into sinkholes or big fractures in the clay-like soil of that region in many places, plus there are traffic jams everywhere. Ports are also severely damaged, and helicopters can’t just land anywhere. With severe snows all of this becomes far more dangerous, and so part of the delay in reaching stranded people seems to have to do with all these logistics. Still, even given these circumstances, it’s surprising and disappointing that the current government hadn’t learned from 3-11 and prepared better means of getting much-needed aid and supplies to people wherever they are in this country, no matter how “remote,” as well as stockpiling more emergency rations, supplies, and better-equipped shelters everywhere in the event of severe emergencies like this— especially since there was so much seismic activity in that area over the past months and years. I worry this is more a case of regional, aging Japan being marginalized by the central government.

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Posted in: Pacific island nations express concern over Japan's tainted water release See in context

Which leaders other than of Solomon Islands has expressed “strong concerns?”

yes this article is vague but it’s referring to the current summit of the Pacific Island Forum gathering in the Cook Islands. Previously in September the forum released a unanimous communique on behalf of all member foreign ministers expressing concern over the Fukushima wastewater release, viewable here: https://pina.com.fj/2023/09/19/pacific-islands-forum-foreign-ministers-issue-statement-on-fukushima/

and there are also active lawsuits by Pacific nations toward Japan. It is not only the Solomons but multiple nations reacting quite strongly to this issue, and even in countries where the government has taken a stance in favor of Japan/TEPCO, local groups and opposing politicians are speaking out about this.

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Posted in: Pacific island nations express concern over Japan's tainted water release See in context

It’s important to keep in mind that Pacific Islanders are no strangers to nuclear issues. The United States tested 67 massive nuclear weapons in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, some equal to over 1000 times that of the yield of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. France tested nearly 200 nuclear weapons. Britain tested many as well. The nuclear free and independent Pacific movement was a massive and passionate democratic response by Pacific Islanders in response to these abuses and the threat of Japan literally dumping radioactive waste in the Marianas trench, which it had actually planned to do in the 1980s. These are not foolish and ignorant voices speaking up to confront Japan about the release of Fukushima tritium-laced water; this is an understandable response given Japan’s poor track record in Oceania on nuclear issues, as well as its military alliances with the United States that also encroach upon Pacific lives with militarism and pollution near bases and at sea. Indeed, most of these islands are thousands of km from Japan, but they’re keenly aware of what all nations are doing in their waters. This includes China— aside from some of the more China-sympathizing governments like the Solomons, most Pacific nations have a critical view and healthy distrust of what China is up to, too— they aren’t just passive lapdogs biased by propaganda, as some commenters suggest.

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Posted in: Blood found on clothing owned by suspect in deaths of 3 family members See in context

If the victim was a reasonably public figure involved in health policy in Japan and the suspect has had a deep interest in HIV in Japan, as evidenced by his scrapped film project, perhaps that has something to do with the alleged “grudge” here, though unfortunately there are a few too many mentally ill, reclusive, and xenophobic folks in this country who bear irrational grudges against their gaikokujin neighbors without even knowing a thing about them. This is a tragic, sick, and avoidable incident, and one that I wish might compel police to be more vigilant about the protection non-Japanese need against this kind of misdirected anger and the potential for fatal violence. May the victims rest in peace.

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