Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Opening of the Jōban Expressway and purchase price to be applied for the land for the interim storage facility

[Resolution of the Fukushima Governor]

UCHIBORI Masao (50 years old) was elected Fukushima Governor on 26 October. Mr. Uchibori appealed to the public that he will:

  • ask the national government and TEPCO to take all necessary measures to bring the nuclear accident to the end and to decommission all ten nuclear power reactors located in the Fukushima Prefecture;
  • gather new industries in the coastal areas designated as evacuation zones, and stimulate employment and economic invigoration; and
  • dispel negative rumors and prejudice towards the food products and revitalize Fukushima’s agriculture, forestry and fisheries industry.

Further, the governor mentioned the following:
  • “I believe that engaging in the rebuilding of life of evacuees and reconstruction and revitalization of the evacuation zones will lead to a more empowered Fukushima Prefecture as a whole. I am determined to implement concrete measures so that I can move forward the reconstruction of Fukushima together with all of you.”
  • “Fukushima is still in the middle of the suffering of the nuclear accident. In order to truly put an end to this accident, we must say what we have to say to the government and to the utilities. I see it as a mission as the governor of Fukushima to appeal for a decommissioning of all nuclear reactors in Fukushima and for a society that does not rely on nuclear power. As a victim prefecture, I must do so both towards people within Japan and beyond.

[Opening of Jōban Expressway and radiation air dose rates]

An article titled “Prime Minister declares the partial opening of Jōban Expressway (Namie Town-Minamisouma) (Souma-Yamamoto) on 6 December” on Fukushima Minyu, issued on 1 November 2014, details the status regarding the Jōban Expressway in a map that also shows different evacuation zones.

Currently, traffic is allowed for only between Minamisoma and Souma among the sections between Tomioka Interchange (IC) and Yamamoto IC on the Jōban Expressway, which includes Jōban tomioka, Namie, Minamisouma, Souma, and Yamamoto. The part between Jōbantomioka and Namie, which was announced to be open by Golden Week Holiday 2015 (end of April to early May), is located in the west of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, and is designated as an Area where it is expected that the residents have difficulties in returning for a long time. The road between Namie and Minamisouma, which will resume traffic on 6 December, belongs to the areas in which the residents are not permitted to live and areas to which evacuation orders are ready to be lifted. There are some parts of this road segment where high radiation dose rates are still recorded. Even for the parts where traffic already resumed, there have been testimonies of aid workers expressing their fear because “the dosimeter beeped repeatedly”. In the area near Ottazawa, Okuma Town, the host town of the Fukushima Daiichi, the radiation dose rate allegedly reached 13.52 μS/h even with the car doors closed and air conditioning set to internal air circulation only (Even within the areas where it is expected that the residents have difficulties in returning for a long time, there are areas where traffic is allowed either freely or under certain conditions).

On 12 October 2014, the Ministry of the Environment released the results of the follow-up study of their model decontamination project. Below are the radiation air dose rates between June and July 2014 published by the Ministry of the Environment. (Measured by Japan Atomic Energy Agency [JAEA]; units used are μS/h)
  • Ottazawa, Okuma Town5.19-45.1 (area average 13.8)
  • Near Okuma Town Hall1.02-5.26 (Id. 2.82)
  • Tsushima, Namie Town1.13-3.90 (Id. 2.21)
  • Gogendo, Namie Town0.69-1.70 (Id. 1.17)
  • Yorunomori park, Tomioka Town1.07-3.16 (Id. 2.20)
  • Daini Junior High School, Tomioka Town0.38-1.50 (Id. 0.71)
  • Kusano, Iitate Village0.45-2.06 (Id. 0.90)
  • Special Nursing Home Iitate Home, Building No.10.41-1.97 (Id. 1.06)
  • Kainosaka, Kawauchi Village0.54-2.13 (Id. 0.89)
  • Near Katsurao Village Office0.26-0.85 (Id. 0.48)
  • Near Kanabusa Elementary School, Minamisouma City0.14-0.73 (Id. 0.42)
  • Industrial complex, Naraha Town0.10-0.20 (Id. 0.16)

The data shown above are published by the Ministry of the Environment (http://josen.env.go.jp/en/; http://josen.env.go.jp/area/model_after.html).
However, according to the disaster victims, the figures vary from place to place, and figures 20 to 30 times higher can be recorded in Naraha. Similarly, the figures are significantly higher in the mountain side of Miyakoji in Katsurao Village. Even in Minamisouma, Odaka District measures as high as Iitate village, and the dose rates are so high that people are unable to stay.
Personally, I see a clear disparity between the dose rates published by the government, and what local residents are finding. The local people say: “the rates a much higher than the what are published on the newspaper”, “it seems appropriate to think that the real figures are at least three times higher (than the official figures)”. There some people who feel that they “do not know what to believe”.

[Purchasing price to be applied for the land for the interim storage facility]

According to the disaster victims, the purchase prices (JPY/ m2) for the land planned to be used for interim storage facilities (Futaba Town and Okuma Town) are as below (
  • Dwelling land adjacent to the town road(s)
Agricultural settlement—Futaba, Okuma 4,500
Industrial complex—Futaba 3,300; Northern side of Okuma 2,950, others 3,150
Residential area—Futaba 5,950; Okuma 5,250 and 6,200
Inland area—Okuma 2,800 and 3,350
  • Agricultural land
Rice field North—Futaba and Okuma 1,200
Rice field South—Futaba 1150; Okuma 1,200
Farmland—Futaba and Okuma 1,150
Mountain forest—Futaba and Okuma 520

They must come as a surprise. Land prices are usually much higher. Why must these disaster-affected areas be priced so inexpensive? With such prices, it feels so unrealistic to expect victims to rebuild their life.

For your reference, I indicate below official land prices from some other areas of Japan (JPY/m2 as of 2014; Data from Land Price Data http//www.tochidai.info).
  • Gunma Prefecture —average 44,850; dwelling land 34,119 and commercial land 61,044
  • Matsudo City, Chiba Prefecture—average 173,959; dwelling land 133,048; commercial land 335,826
  • Saitama Prefecture—average 137,732; dwelling land 113,957; commercial land 271,312
  • Okayama Prefecture—average 52,385; dwelling land 36,834; commercial land 96,963
  • Akita Prefecture—average 27,084; dwelling land 17,716; commercial land 32,032
  • Niigata Prefecture—average 47,171; dwelling land 31,902; commercial land 77,152
  • Fukushima Prefecture—average 29,970; dwelling land 25,219; commercial land 50017
(Koriyama City 53,194; Fukushima City 45,920; Iwaki City 35,601; Aizu 35,330; Minamisouma 25,540; Nihonmatsu 22,224; Miharu Town 21,723; Tamura City 12,457)

Governor Uchibori spoke about “saying what we have to say to the government and TEPCO”. However, why is the government shifting all blame to TEPCO and the governor of Fukushima,  and not actively bearing responsibility themselves?

Why is the government unable to say that “the Abe Cabinet will take responsibility for the nuclear accident, and the Abe Cabinet will solve the problems” or that “the government will protect Japanese citizens’ lives”.

It has become very rare to hear the Abe Prime Minister speak about the measures for the Fukushima victims.

Also because of the decreased media reports on Fukushima, many people may be assuming that the issues of Fukushima have been solved. I sincerely wish that you do not forget about the fact that the reality has become even harsher than before.

The victims in Fukushima are still in need of relief supplies (food products, commodities and monetary donation). We thank you very much in advance for your support.

[My advice for life] (10th)
Our mind gets affected by things that surround us. Every day on TV shows, we watch scenes with murders, sexual stimulus or violence. With extensive exposure to such stimulating scenes, our heart and mind get exhausted. Ironically, we also get addicted to stimulations. If we find ourselves not able to stand silence—a soundless world—anymore, it may be an indication that our heart and mind have become negatively affected by these unwanted simulations. It may be good to sometimes turn off the TV, and listen to the singings of insects or sounds of falling rain. You may recall the treasures that you had long forgotten. You may also rediscover a totally different kind of happiness and sense of fulfillment.

[Please donate!]
Foods products, such as water, rice and spices, as well as daily commodities would be very much appreciated.
<Contact> 10:00~17:30
Momoko Fukuoka (mobile) 080-5547-8675(Please try again if the line is busy.)
(e-mail) f.mom.1941@ezweb.ne.jp

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