Saturday, March 26, 2011


1.  A while back, Edano, chief cabinet secretary, ordered the people in the radius between 20-30 kilometers to remain indoors. But criticisms arose, of course, because not all the survivors there could receive relief supplies. Not everyone live in the shelters. Some still live in their homes. They have to get to a shelter daily to receive supplies.

2.  Since the 9.0 hit on March 11th, some airlines haven’t landed in Narita airport. The U.S. pledged a return flight to 9000 Americans. On 24th, according to Nikkei newspaper, French ambassador said during his interview that he did not order his citizens to evacuate, but some of them and companies left Tokyo and the surrounding areas right after the earthquake hit. He said such behavior was inappropriate, and he wanted to apologize to Japanese people.

Edano has said he understood such actions. He said he would do the same if he were in similar situation. I feel the same, and I mean it, too. But, when I read the above apology by French ambassador, I appreciated it.

3.  If we received little information from Tepco (Tokyo Electric company) or the government, it might create fear in us. So, newspapers reporters and television announcers have been repeatedly reciting the rate of radiation for various items so that correct information would calm us down. If I see such news once and be assured of safety, I think it’s good. But if I see a high rate again and again, it isn’t. The thing is, if we worry, we tend to watch more. But again, I appreciate correct information.

According to Asahi newspaper on 25th, after Chernobyl nuclear blast, only thyroid cancer rate went up, but no other illness has increased. It said that the increase in thyroid cancer at Chernobyl came from those babies who drank contaminated milk over a period after the explosion. If that were true, why hasn’t the authority explained to us this important fact earlier? Does everyone know this except me?

Also, I’ve learned that, according to Nikkei newspaper on March 26, the voluntary restraint set for radiation by Japan’s government is 5 milisierbert. But it is planning to raise the amount to 10 milisierbet according to International Control of Radioactive Protection. ICRP raised the value to 10 milisierbert in 1992, and at that time, they decided that they would increase further if alternative products were unavailable. Hmm. I didn’t know that is how it works. Again, why hasn’t the authority explained this important fact in detail before? I did hear before that Japan has stringent regulations, but I wish I was confirmed on this fact backed with numbers.

4. Page 2 of March 24th Ashahi newspaper: A 64 year old man who lives within 40 km radius to the nuclear plant spoke angrily, “The government said my area is safe, but the city workers said as if it were very dangerous. Which is it? The rumor spread. People think the entire city could be in danger. Nobody will deliver goods to the town where people are leaving.”

That’s all today.


California Writer said...

thanks for your amazing blog. Keep writing it.

Luciana said...

Keiko, you´re much better than BBC, CNN, The Guardian etc together!
I ask as a friend: do you want to be in Japan or do you have to?
Hope things get better.

keiko amano said...


Thank you for reading my blog. Yes, I can't help but write.

keiko amano said...


Wow, thank you!

I wish all of you can read and watch all the Japanese news because I cannot possibly translate even one percent. It's quite educational as you probably imagine.

About going back to the U.S., if I were American, probably I have already gone back. Most American here cannot read Japanese newspapers and comprehend in depth. But I can, and I'm Japanese, and also I belong to an older generation relatively speaking. I hope to write about it in my next blog. Also, the amount ot radiation we receive from one flight from Tokyo to Los Angeles is probably more than any increase we had in air, water and food so far in Yokohama. Probably the fligh's radiation is much more. I don't mind flying three or four times a year, but in terms of radiation, less is better. But that's not the reason I'm not back to the U.S.

ZACL said...

Hi Keiko,

Workers who went into then reactor, which caught fire at Chernobyl, died because they were not wearing protective clothing; did they have any?...They were extraordinarily brave people. The Russians did not give out Iodine tablets to anyone. The international nuclear community would have assisted with this.

I will talk with hubby on the points you raise. He is more knowledgeable than I and it might be he could throw some light on the numbers you mention. Trust is a huge issue in these situations.

What we do know is, that a fear was raised about the strength of contamination levels in one of the Fukishima reactors, which was based on a wrong calculation and it was not anywhere near as crazy a number as stated. The Japanese Authorities explained to the international organisations and media what happened about the calculation, with apologies.

I don't know if this assists you or not. I will comment again if I have any further guidance from hubby on what you have heard.

A big hug. x

keiko amano said...


Thank you. My hug back.

About protective clothing, I saw a picture on a newspaper, but I'm afraid that it might not be adequate. Only people who wear adequate uniforms are ministers. They can do their business in regular dark suits. We shoud spend more on protective uniforms.

If Tepco was used to run Disaster Recovery Exercise, not the financial kind, but physical DR, then they would have ordered the best outfit and masks and boots and everyting. But I don't think they ran the scheduled DR exercise. I wrote about it in my new blog, "The Biggest Room." It's hard to believe, but it seems true so far.

About the outrageous number on radiation rate, Oh, yes, you're fast in catching the news. That outrageous number was really crazy. I learned later on when Tepco admitted it as a mistake.

My heart is aching for all the people working to resolve the problems. They have very little food, sleep, and working in very poor condition with the risk of radiation. Just reading articles, listening to people talk on television, tear wells up. When I talked with strangers, I told them about small underdeveloped country was pledging their huge donation to Japan, a woman cried. I don't know how to spell, but the country had the 9.1 earthquake in Sumatra, and they appreciated Japan's help then. I never paid attention to those things much before, but everything means a lot. We tend to get emotional with many stories. And we get angry as well.

ashok said...


You sound like an expert already.

I agree with you that there is need for more precise information. Confusion worries people most.

keiko amano said...


Thank you for your comment.

I've been listening and reading as many information as possible. Some are very scary, but those scary ones are not backed with scientic facts and reliable experience. More than a few former engineers claim that they recommended higher requirement and told their bosses the plant was dangerous. It isn't that I doubt their stories, but they obviously didn't follow through their claim, and to me, they don't seem to know the core of the reactor technology. I can tell by reading bit and pieces from their talk and putting down the operators' knowledge who are actually working there with the risk of their lives.

To me, experts of this problem are the people who are actually working there right now, not those experts who are showing off their past experiences.