Archive for July, 2016

Mass killing sparks debate: Why didn’t the system prevent it?

July 28, 2016

Mass killing sparks debate: Why didn't the system prevent it?A woman prays Wednesday at the entrance of a facility for the disabled, where a deadly attack by a knife-wielding man took place, in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture.REUTERS/Issei Kato


A day after the mass murder of 19 people at a facility for the disabled, many shocked Japanese were questioning why the only suspect was discharged after just two weeks from a hospital to which he’d been forcibly committed under mental health laws.

Some are also wondering why the suspect, who had written letters in February saying he would kill hundreds of handicapped people, was not kept under surveillance after he left hospital.

“Involuntary commitment is done forcefully by the authorities…If the time period drags on longer than necessary, it becomes a serious violation of human rights,” Asahi newspaper said in an editorial on Tuesday.

“However, there were warning signs before the incident,” said the Asahi, one of Japan’s two biggest newspapers. “Was the treatment and monitoring of the man sufficient”?

The suspect, 26-year-old Satoshi Uematsu, gave himself up to police just an hour after the frenzied attack at the Tsukui Yamayuri-En facility in the sleepy town of Sagamihara, early on Tuesday. The victims were stabbed to death and at least 25 other residents of the facility were wounded.

On Wednesday, he was sent from a regional jail in Sagamihara to the Yokohama District Public Prosecutors Office in Kanagawa prefecture.

Uematsu had said in the letters to a top politician that he could “kill 470 disabled people”. He gave detailed plans of how he would do so, including breaking into the facility at night and targeting the severely disabled, media reported.

After questioning by police, to whom he repeated his extreme comments, Uematsu was sent to a hospital on Feb 19. He was discharged on March 2 after a doctor deemed he had improved and was no longer a threat to himself or others.

Given the warning signs, mainstream media raised the question of whether Uematsu had been discharged too soon from hospital, where he had tested positive for marijuana use and exhibited signs of paranoia.

Experts said there were no legal limits on the length of involuntary hospitalisation but a discharge was required once the patient was no longer deemed a danger to himself or others. The decision is up to the doctors, so it’s difficult to second guess.

“The general public might think, ‘Why was such a person let loose?’ but forcible commitment is against the person’s will so the conditions should be strict,” said Fumie Kyo, a lawyer specialising in mental health patients’ rights.

Nevertheless, Kyo added, it might have been possible to keep Uematsu in hospital longer under protective care even if he was no longer judged a threat to others.

The goal of Japan’s hospital commitment system, however, is to provide medical treatment, not prevent crime, experts said.

“If medical treatment is deemed no longer necessary, then the doctor must discharge the patient,” said Seijo University professor Teruyuki Yamamoto.

“The law is for the purpose of medical treatment, not for the prevention of crime, so there are limits.”

Authorities have not disclosed the hospital where Uematsu was treated or identified the doctor who approved his discharge.

The experts said there was no legal requirement to keep a discharged mental patient under surveillance and indeed, doing so without permission would risk violating his rights unless the patient had previously committed a serious crime.

Still, most agreed the incident had exposed weaknesses in Japan’s community support system for discharged mental patients.

“Japan’s regional support system for the mentally ill is weak,” Kyo, the lawyer, said. “All we have been doing is institutionalise the mentally ill.”

What sort of system should be put in place could be a delicate problem in a society where mental illness carries a stigma.

“What is needed from now on is to create a soft system where officials from the department of health ask how the patient is doing,” said Toshihiko Matsumoto, a physician who specialises in drug dependence at the National Institute of Mental Health.

“Most mentally ill patients do not do such a thing,” Matsumoto added, referring to the killings. “It’s an extremely exceptional case. I’m worried that because of such an exceptional case, the rights of people who are trying to get better will be restricted.”

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2016.


Comment: The murderer wrote to the House of Representative Chairman, Oshima, to tell PM Abe, whom he followed to gain inspiration and reward ($5 mil.), but chaiman reported to the Municipal Police, who reported to Kanagawa Police, who reported to Tsukui Police, who reported to the facility. No one took responsibility as the system (just like someone).



Business lobby says Abe gov’t can’t rely on nuclear energy

July 24, 2016

Business lobby says Abe gov't can't rely on nuclear energyPolice officers and security personnel stand guard at an entrance of Kyushu Electric Power’s Sendai nuclear power plant, during a protest against the plant’s restart, in Satsumasendai, Kagoshima Prefecture, last August.Reuters photo


Japan’s use of nuclear power is unlikely to meet a government target of returning to near pre-Fukushima levels and the world’s No. 3 economy needs to get serious about boosting renewables, a senior executive at a top business lobby said.

Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s energy policies, nuclear is supposed to supply a fifth of energy generation by 2030, but Teruo Asada, vice chairman of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives, said Japan was unlikely to get anywhere near this.

The influential business lobby has issued a proposal urging Tokyo to remove hurdles for renewable power amid the shaky outlook for nuclear power after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

The move shows how business attitudes are now shifting as reactor restarts get held up by legal challenges, safety issues and public skepticism.

“We have a sense of crisis that Japan will become a laughing stock if we do not encourage renewable power,” said Asada, who is also chairman of trading house Marubeni Corp.

Long dependent on imported fossil fuels, Japan’s government and big business actively promoted nuclear energy despite widespread public opposition.

The government wants nuclear to make up 20-22% of electricity supply by 2030, down from 30% before Fukushima. So far, however, only two out of 42 operable reactors have started and the newly elected governor of the prefecture where they are located has pledged to shut them.

Renewables supplied 14.3% of power in the year to March 2016 and the government’s 2030 target is 22-24%.

“In the very long term, we have to lower our dependence on nuclear. Based on current progress, nuclear power reliance may not reach even 10%,” said Asada, adding the association wanted measures to encourage private investment in renewables and for public funding of infrastructure such as transmission lines.

The influential business lobby has a membership of about 1,400 executives from around 950 companies.

Andrew DeWit, a professor at Rikkyo University in Tokyo focusing on energy issues, said the push signaled “a profound change in thinking among blue-chip business executives.”

“Many business leaders have clearly thrown in the towel on nuclear and are instead openly lobbying for Japan to vault to global leadership in renewables, efficiency and smart infrastructure.”

When asked about the association’s proposals, an industry ministry official said the government was maintaining its nuclear target.

“The Japanese government will aim for the maximum introduction of renewable energy but renewable energy has a cost issue,” said Yohei Ogino, a deputy director for energy policy.

But three sources familiar with official thinking told Reuters in May that Japan will cut reliance on nuclear power when it releases an updated energy plan as early as next year.

Following the nuclear reactor meltdowns at Fukushima in 2011, Japan has had some success in overcoming one of the world’s worst peacetime energy crises, partly due to lower oil prices and liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices.

Japan has also promoted renewables but most investment has been in solar and in recent years it has cut incentives.

“There are too many hurdles for other sources of renewable power,” Asada said.

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2016.

The Absurd US Stance on Israel’s Nukes: A Video Sampling of Denial

July 22, 2016
by , May 24, 2011


On Tuesday, at a rare joint session of Congress for a foreign leader, members of Congress will clap hands raw for Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel—a nation many members of Congress are incapable of speaking simple truths about.

The upshot of the professional wrestling “fight” between Obama and Netanyahu the last several days is that they both want the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be decided by “negotiations between the parties.” These “negotiations” are between a nuclear armed Goliath Israel and largely defenseless Palestinians. It’s like “negotiations” between the Corleone family and a bandleader—except we’re not even supposed to notice the Corleone family comes to the table with huge guns drawn.

Sunday at AIPAC Obama spoke of the “existential fear of Israelis when a modern dictator seeks nuclear weapons and threatens to wipe Israel off the face of the map—face of the Earth.” He spoke of “our commitment to our shared security in our determination to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.” Obama said to applause from the attendees at the pro-Israel group: “So let me be absolutely clear—we remain committed to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. … Its illicit nuclear program is just one challenge that Iran poses.” Of course, Netanyahu is ever more vociferous in his accusations regarding Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program.

But at his first news conference at the White House in February 2009, Obama was asked by Helen Thomas if he knew of any country in the Middle East that has nuclear weapons. Obama replied that he didn’t want to “speculate.”

It’s simply not a credible position to have.

Obama is accusing Iran of having an “illicit nuclear program” (which seems to exaggerate the National Intelligence Estimate findings) while refusing to acknowledge the Israeli nuclear weapons arsenal. Mordechai Vanunu definitively exposed Israel’s nuclear weapons program in 1986 and was tossed into prison for 18 years, most of it in solitary confinement, for doing so. The Federation of American Scientists estimates that Israel has between 70 and 400 nuclear weapons. These weapons pose a real—not a potential or an imagined—threat to millions upon millions of people in and beyond the region. So do nuclear weapons held by other countries, but at least they are acknowledged.

But the U.S. and Israeli governments have maintained a stance of “deliberate nuclear ambiguity” since Richard Nixon and Golda Meir made a deal on the matter and stopped nuclear inspections in Israel in 1970.

The U.S. government’s stance is particularly absurd given that the main pretext for invading Iraq was false claims about that country’s alleged possession of WMDs.

As part of Washington Stakeout, where I ask tough questions of politicians as they leave the Sunday morning chat shows, I’ve asked a host of politicians about Israel’s nuclear arsenal. Though they’ve varied somewhat in their answers, none has actually been straightforward.

John Negroponte, who when I questioned him was director of national intelligence, outright refused to engage on the issue: “I don’t want to get into a discussion about Israel’s nuclear powers.” While they were in office, Cheney and Rice wouldn’t stop for Stakeout questions at all.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told me that “there is no comparison between Israel and Iran, and those who would draw a comparison ignore the fact that Israel is our ally,” virtually defining what hypocrisy is. Similarly, I asked John Edwards, “Doesn’t Israel have nuclear weapons?” and he responded by voicing his concern about “Iran having a nuclear weapon” and the proliferation that would allegedly cause: “odds are high that if Iran goes nuclear that the Saudis will go nuclear, the Egyptians will go nuclear, the Jordanians may go nuclear”—all without acknowledging that Israel has nuclear weapons.

Which raises a central question: If Iran is going nuclear, why would that be? One possible answer is because Israel has nuclear weapons. Contrary to conventional wisdom, that seems to have been the case with Iraq. Imad Khadduri, who worked on the Iraq nuclear weapons program beginning in 1981—after Israel bombed an Iraqi nuclear reactor— told me that the Israeli attack actually drove him and others to work on a weapons program: “I worked on the pre-1981 nuclear program and I was certain it would not be used for military purposes. But after the 1981 bombing, we were so angry that we were ready to work on a military program.” (Before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Khadduri argued that, contrary to what the Bush administration was claiming, the Iraqi nuclear weapons program had been dismantled.)

Another reason that regimes might get weapons of mass destruction is self-preservation. That is certainly a lesson one could draw looking at Iraq and Libya over the last 10 years: Both disarmed and both were attacked. Viewing U.S. policy in that light, it would seem rather suicidal for the Iranian government to not develop nuclear weapons. Of course, we don’t know that they are, but if anything, militarized U.S. policy seems to be pushing them in that direction.

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), who is vice-chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, paused when I asked him if he knew that Israel had nuclear weapons, then said, “I’m aware that Israel is our most cherished ally…” I followed up: “Do you think it increases or decreases U.S. credibility around the world when U.S. government officials can’t even acknowledge that Israel has a massive nuclear arsenal?” Pence stuck to his line: “The American people support Israel. I call Israel our most cherished ally…” He was utterly incapable of engaging on the issue.

Somewhat similarly, former ambassador Martin Indyk replied: “What does that got to do with it, sir?”

Newt Gingrich, initially when asked if he knew Israel had nuclear weapons, said “of course,” but then backtracked, saying it was a “guess” since the Israeli nuclear weapons program could be a “Potemkin village.” A friend retorted that perhaps Gingrich would be inclined to question the reality of the moon landings. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), when I questioned him, was chair of the House Armed Services Committee. He similarly said he “thought” Israel had nuclear weapons, but didn’t “know,” because “I’m not the government.”

I questioned Russ Feingold in 2010, shortly before he lost his seat, and he initially said, “I’m not free to comment on that.” I asked: “Why can you not say that Israel is a nuclear power, Senator?” Feingold replied: “I basically think it is, but I’m not somebody who is privy to all the details on that.” But Feingold was on the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the time of this exchange. In any case, the necessary information on Israel’s nuclear weapons is public.

This year, I questioned John Kerry: “Do you know that Israel has a nuclear weapons program?” Kerry: “Sure. Everybody—it’s common knowledge and commonly understood.” Question: “Why won’t the administration acknowledge that?” Kerry: “I don’t know what the administration policy is on that.” It was good to get a “sure,” but it’s rather remarkable that Kerry states he doesn’t know what the administration policy is given that he is chair of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee.

Former Minnesota governor—and current presidential aspirant—Tim Pawlenty: “It’s a determination for Israel. … If it’s been established as a matter of fact, it speaks for itself.” Thomas Pickering, former U.S. ambassador to the UN: “It’s a decision for Israel to make.”

In April 2007 I asked former president Jimmy Carter at the National Press Club about why no administration would acknowledge Israel’s nuclear weapons. He responded: “When I was president, I did not comment on Israel’s nuclear arsenal. But it’s generally known throughout the diplomatic and scientific world that Israel does have [a] substantial arsenal. … It’s [Israel’s nuclear power] well known anyway to every diplomat, scientist involved in nuclear affairs, it doesn’t make it incumbent or important that the president of the United States announces that another nation does have nuclear arsenal. … I don’t think it’s up to the U.S. government, president or officials to announce that another country does indeed have or have not nuclear arsenal if they themselves don’t acknowledge it. I don’t think it’s helpful to do that, but … it’s not harmful either because everybody knows it” (The Press Trust of India, April 5, 2007).

Finally, in 2008 Carter acknowledged the obvious truth somewhat more forthrightly: “The U.S. has more than 12,000 nuclear weapons; the Soviet Union [sic] has about the same; Great Britain and France have several hundred, and Israel has 150 or more.” Perhaps, when he is years out of office, Obama will tell the truth about things like Israel’s nukes.

In 2006, in what were described as “slips,” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and then-incoming Secretary of Defense Robert Gates referred to Israel’s nuclear arsenal.

As with anticipated moves at getting the Palestinian issue seriously before the United Nations in September of this year (a move Obama is denouncing), in 2009, the U.S., Canada, and other Western nations attacked and tried to block a vote by the International Atomic Energy Agency calling on Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. After 18 years of trying, the measure was finally passed.

In his widely heralded 2009 speech in Cairo, Obama emphasized the need for truth. It’s long past time to stop the games, get real about the Mideast, and have a fact-based discussion. A good place to start is an acknowledgment of the threatening elephant in the room that is Israel’s nuclear weapons arsenal.

Many thanks to Chris Belcher of Alchymedia for camera and video work.

Read more by Sam Husseini

Greenpeace: ‘Extremely High’ Jump in Post-Fukushima Radioactive Chemicals

July 22, 2016
Published on

Concerns are ‘both ongoing and future threats, principally the continued releases from the Fukushima No. 1 plant itself and translocation of land-based contamination’

Waterways in the Fukushima district have hundreds of times more radiation now than before 2011, Greenpeace reports. (Photo: Matthias Lambrecht/flickr/cc)

Greenpeace Japan reported Thursday that waterways in the Fukushima district have hundreds of times more radiation now than before 2011, when the nuclear disaster that forced the evacuation of at least 160,000 people occurred.

Looking back at the past five years, the environmental group’s new report, Atomic Depths: An assessment of freshwater and marine sediment  contamination: The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster—Five years later (pdf), finds that the hazardous chemical cesium-137 was present in the soil on the banks of the Abukuma, Niida, and Ota rivers.

“The extremely high levels of radioactivity we found along the river systems highlights the enormity and longevity of both the environmental contamination and the public health risks resulting from the Fukushima disaster,” said Ai Kashiwagi, energy campaigner at Greenpeace Japan. “These river samples were taken in areas where the Abe government is stating it is safe for people to live. But the results show there is no return to normal after this nuclear catastrophe.”

The report states:

Fukushima prefecture and neighboring prefectures have a number of major and minor river systems that flow from contaminated upland forests to coastal plains, and ultimately empty into the Pacific Ocean. These river systems, in particular the Abukuma, Naruse, Nanakita, Natori, Kuji, and Naka, as  well other smaller river systems including the Mano, Nitta, Ota, and Ukedo, have catchments of thousands of square kilometers.

“The radiological impacts of the Fukushima nuclear disaster on the marine environment, with consequences for both human and nonhuman health, are not only the first years. They are both ongoing and future threats, principally the continued releases from the Fukushima No. 1 plant itself and translocation of land-based contamination throughout Fukushima Prefecture, including upland forests, rivers, lakes and coastal estuaries,” the report continues.
“The results show there is no return to normal after this nuclear catastrophe.”
—Greenpeace Japan

Lake Biwa is a particularly contentious site, as it provides drinking water for about 14 million people in the Kansai region, the Japan Times reports.

Kansai Electric Power Co. wants to restart nuclear reactors in the nearby Fukui Prefecture, while residents in the area have been fighting to keep them shut down, the Times says.

Greenpeace states:

The lifting of evacuation orders in March 2017 for areas that remain highly contaminated is a looming human rights crisis and cannot be permitted to stand. The vast expanses of contaminated forests and freshwater systems will remain a perennial source of radioactivity for the foreseeable future, as these ecosystems cannot simply be decontaminated.

“The radiation levels in the sediment off the coast of Fukushima are low compared to land contamination, which is what we expected and consistent with other research,” said Kendra Ulrich, senior global energy campaigner at Greenpeace Japan. “The sheer size of the Pacific Ocean combined with powerful complex currents means the largest single release of radioactivity into the marine environment has led to the widespread dispersal of contamination.”

The report comes as the “much-hyped ice wall,” an underground refrigeration systemcreated to build a barrier to contaminated groundwater, is said to have “failed to stop groundwater from flowing in and mixing with highly radioactive water inside the wrecked reactor buildings.”

“The scientific community must receive all necessary support to continue their research into the impacts of this disaster,” said Ulrich. “In addition to the ongoing contamination from forests and rivers, the vast amount of radioactivity onsite at the destroyed nuclear plant remains one of the greatest nuclear threats to Fukushima coastal communities and the Pacific Ocean.”

“The hundreds of thousands of tonnes of highly contaminated water, the apparent failure of the ice wall to reduce groundwater contamination, and the unprecedented challenge of three molten reactor cores all add up to a nuclear crisis that is far from over,” she said.

The Indian Point Nukes: a Disaster Waiting to Happen

July 22, 2016

Meanwhile, both plants, located in Buchanan, New York along the Hudson River, are now essentially running without licenses. The federal government’s 40-year operating license for Indian Point 2 expired in 2013 and Indian Point 3’s license expired last year. Their owner, Entergy, is seeking to have them run for another 20 years—although nuclear plants were never seen as running for more than 40 years because of radioactivity embrittling metal parts and otherwise causing safety problems. (Indian Point 1 was opened in 1962 and closed in 1974, its emergency core cooling system deemed impossible to fix.)

At Indian Point 2 and 3 there have been frequent accidents and issues involving releases of radioactivity through the years. The discharges of tritium or irradiated water, H30, which cannot be filtered out of good water, into the aquifer below the Westinghouse nuclear plants and also the Hudson River have been a major concern.

But it’s not just Indian Point that “Indian Point” is about. The film emphasizes: “With so much attention focused on Indian Point, the future of nuclear plants in the United States might depend on what happens here.”

“I would give the film an ‘A.’ I wholeheartedly recommend it for wide release throughout the United States,” says Priscilla Star, founder of the Coalition Against Nukes: “It is a stellar learning tool. It depicts the David-versus-Goliath struggle involving those trying to close these decrepit nuclear plants and the profit-hungry nuclear industry. It shows grassroots activists fighting the time bombs in their community.”

The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last year. For the past two weeks it has been showing five-times-a-day at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, also in Manhattan. That run will go until Thursday, July 21. On Friday, July 22, it is to open in Los Angeles. After its theatrical release, it will air on the Epix cable TV channel.

Among those in the film are anti-Indian Point activist Marilyn Elie and long-time environmental journalist Roger Witherspoon who has written extensively about Indian Point. And also Entergy employees appear. Meeropol and her crew were given full access to the nuclear plants.

The documentary provides a special focus on Dr. Gregory Jaczko. He was chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) when the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in Japan began in March 2011. As notes Meeropol, Jaczko sought to have “lessons learned” from the Fukushima catastrophe—which involved General Electric nuclear plants—applied to nuclear power plants in the U.S. And he was given “a really tough time.” Pressure by the nuclear industry caused Jaczko, with a doctorate in physics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, to be “pushed out” as NRC chairman and member. Meeropol tells of how “this guy, a decent person trying to do his job, was completely abused.”

Meeropol, in an interview, said the NRC “is too closely linked to the nuclear industry. It’s not going to do anything that the nuclear industry regards as too costly or onerous. I want that to be one of the biggest takeaways from the film—how a regulatory body cares more about the industry it is supposed to regulate than the public. And of all industries that should be regulated, it’s the nuclear power industry.” She said she found the nuclear industry and nuclear energy officials in the U.S. government “one and the same.”

Meeropol began the “Indian Point” film project in January 2011. She had moved from Brooklyn up to the Hudson Valley “a decade ago when our son was born. Commuting in and out of the city on the Metro-North train, I went right past the plants. They looked so foreboding and odd there in that beautiful landscape.”

Also, until she, her husband and son moved upstate, “having lived in New York City, I had no idea how close they were to the city.”

Further, in the community where they went to live, Cold Spring, 15 miles from the plants. “we could hear the [emergency] sirens” from the plants and she was unsettled receiving in the mail an “emergency preparedness booklet titled: ‘Are You Ready?’”

So the experienced filmmaker started doing research on the “dangerous endeavor of making nuclear energy.” With the Fukushima disaster beginning just a few months after she started on the film, that “broadened” its perspective.

She said the films she has made have always been “character-driven” and she was attracted to feature in “Indian Point” Marilyn Elie—“she knows her stuff”—and Roger Witherspoon. “I liked his dynamic. He is a journalist. She is an activist.” She stressed to Entergy officials that she would be even-handed “and quite amazingly was given access” to the plants. Her connecting with Jaczko was crucial. It “became my crusade to redeem Greg Jaczko before the world.”

She started making the film on a shoe string. “I ran out of money numerous times.” But she was able to get financial support from the Sundance Institute, the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Catapult Fund, and individual contributions. And “partnering” with Julie Goldman, founder of Motto Films, was extremely important. Goldman is also producer of “Indian Point.” A “very generous grant” was received from the MacArthur Foundation which also “opened up other doors.”

The avidly pro-nuclear New York Times (its pro-Indian Point editorials never cease and its last reporter who long covered the plants and the nuclear industry has now gone on to a job with the PR arm of the industry) said in its review: “’Indian Point’ is a good overview of the issues, with insights into the problems of regulating the industry.” It complained about Meeropol’s being “steadfast in providing both sides.”

Meanwhile, Indian Point sits there on the Hudson, continuing with accidents and in emitting what the NRC says are “permissible” levels of radioactivity. They are highly likely candidates for a Chernobyl or Fukushima-level catastrophe in the most highly populated area of the United States. And the NRC, steadfastly ignoring Jaczko’s warnings, in league with Entergy, seeks to let the decrepit time bombs run for another 20 years—just asking for disaster.

The good news is that New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has been endeavoring to have the Indian Point nuclear plants closed and safe-energy activists and an array of environmental and safe-energy organizations are working hard to shut them down—and the film “Indian Point” is out.

Karl Grossman, professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College of New York, is the author of the book, The Wrong Stuff: The Space’s Program’s Nuclear Threat to Our Planet. Grossman is an associate of the media watch group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion.

RNC War Party, DNC War Makers

July 21, 2016

Photographer Sneaks into Fukushima

July 16, 2016


Photographer Sneaks into Fukushima: “I can feel a burning sensation in my eyes and thick chemical smell”… We drove straight out — An “almost entirely lifeless” post-apocalyptic world… “IT WAS AMAZING!!!!!” — “Radiation leakage is damaging environment and life in Pacific” (PICS & VIDEO)

Posted: 15 Jul 2016 04:49 AM PDT

Court upholds Takahama reactor shutdown order in new blow to nuclear industry

July 13, 2016


A Japanese court on Tuesday upheld an order to keep two reactors operated by Kansai Electric Power closed, the utility said, helping keep efforts to get the country’s struggling nuclear industry up and running in limbo.

The decision, which backs a petition from residents living near the Takahama nuclear station in Fukui Prefecture, means Kansai Electric must go to a higher court to try and win permission to get the reactors back online

The move marks the latest judicial impediment to utilities’ attempts to restore atomic power after the Fukushima disaster five years ago. Two out of Japan’s 42 operable reactors are running, but a local governor who won election on Sunday has vowed to shut those units down.

While Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is keen to restore a power source that provided about a third of electricity supply before the meltdowns at Fukushima, the public remains deeply skeptical over industry assurances on safety.

Residents have lodged injunctions against nearby nuclear plants across Japan and lower courts have been increasingly siding with them on safety concerns.

Contentious verdicts are usually overturned by higher courts, where judges tend to be more attuned to government policy, judicial experts say.

But with courts and local politicians providing obstacles there may be further impetus for the government to scale back nuclear targets. Japan will cut the emphasis on nuclear in its next energy plan, sources told Reuters in May.

The government has boosted renewable energy output and the population has responded to requests for more energy efficiency. The government is also strongly pushing for higher use of coal, which has soared to record levels.

Japanese utilities have benefited from a plunge in oil and gas prices that have kept costs down after higher imports of fossil fuels helped drive Japan into a record trade deficit in the years after Fukushima.

The Otsu District Court on March 9 ordered Kansai Electric, Japan’s second-biggest utility, to shut down the Takahama reactors in the country’s first injunction to halt an operating nuclear plant.

“Today’s decision … is very regrettable and we cannot accept it,” Kansai Electric said in a statement, adding that it would file an appeal with the Osaka High Court.

An appeal may take about a year and means continued extra purchases of oil, gas or coal to replace nuclear power generation.

A Kansai Electric spokesman said the shutdown of the two Takahama reactors reduces recurring profit by 10 billion yen ($97 million) per month because of higher fossil fuel use and other factors.

Shares in Kansai Electric had ended trading before the court decision. They closed 0.5 percent higher at 977.1 yen, while the broader market rose over 2 percent.

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2016.




Sickness of the world leadership andTokyo Olympic Games

July 9, 2016

Christine Lagarde IMF専務理事によるギリシャを毎回オリンピックの
Dear Friends,

The Brexit seems to allow us to diagnose the same sickness of Japan
I made public in a book 15 years ago to the whole world.
It is the absence of three senses,namely those of ethics, responsibility and justice.
The Brexit has unexpectedly shown that the elite and the estalishment of the world are suffering from the same sickness.
The main stream of the world managed by this leadership,allowing the existence of 440 nuclear reactors,has increasingly been
required to change course.The Brexit has sawn a seed for this change.

The attached official criticism by China concerning the irresponsible coping by Japan with the consequenses of the Fukushima
nuclear accident decisively sums up the voice of the international community. The fate of the Tokyo OLympic Games 2020,
with the approaching conclusion of the French investigation of the relevent bribery issue,will soon be known.

In this connection, it is quite noteworthy that Managing Director of International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, has suggested Greece to permanently host the Olympic Games,arguing that this will boost the country’s economy.
The future of the Olympic Games seems to be at stake.

Please allow me to count on your understanding and support.

With warmest regards,
Misuhei Murata
Former Japanese Ambassador to Switzerland

Attachments area

All along Canada’s Pacific coast, mussels are dying

July 8, 2016


“Like the plot of a summer horror flick”: All along Canada’s Pacific coast, mussels are dying… Bodies are swollen by cancerous tumors — Unprecedented mutations allowing cancer to spread from one species to another like a virus — Scientists: “It’s beyond surprising” (VIDEO)

Posted: 07 Jul 2016 11:13 AM PDT