3/11:The Fallout

3/11:The Fallout
Just what the heck is going on?

Saturday, 23 February 2013

The Sheep Look Up

The week Feb 18th - 23rd saw more shocking revelations and freak weather conditions hit Japan as the environmental situation continues to deteriorate. February and March sees the latest invasion of China's smog, combined with the  powderish yellow dust that floats across the intervening ocean and settles on houses nationwide. Japan's Environment Ministry issued an official warning, telling the public to stay indoors and refrain from airing out rooms when toxic smog from China is in high concentration.
Nature sure seems intent on giving Japan a bashing. A record-breaking snowstorm hit the northern part of Japan, with houses in Aomori prefecture buried under over five meters (fifteen feet) of snow as of Feb 21st. 

As if that wasn't enough, the Environment Ministry announced two weeks ago that the pollen season has begun. Why is this a problem? Because an incredible number of people in Japan  (an estimated 25 million) suffer from hay fever (kafunsho). That's why you see so many people on the street and on the trains wear those surgeon's masks. The problem originated in early 1950s, when the government decided to reforest large parts of Japan in the rebuilding process after World War II. A good idea, you might think - but they chose mature, pollen-producing trees as the cheapest option. So every year, the pollen count gets higher, and people get sicker, and local authorities complain that someone really should cut down the trees and replace them with more environmentally friendly cedar and cryptomeria, but nothing gets done.
And then the Japanese have the gall to say "their culture has a special relationship with Nature".

Japan's future energy supply, which would include the nuclear program that the ruling right-wingers want to restart, is in grave doubt. On Monday 18th, the Nuclear Regulation Authority announced that significant portions of major geological faults running under Tohoku Electric Power Co.'s one-reactor Higashidori nuclear power plant in Aomori Prefecture (yeah, the place currently under fiver meters of snow) are probably active.

Details here 
As the residents of Tohoku file more and more charges against TEPCO and their government over their mishandling of the 3/11 crisis, they have been joined by other plaintiffs, such as the wife of a Fukushima dairy farmer who committed suicide when he realized his livelihood had been destroyed by TEPCO's radioactive contamination. The farmer, Shigekiyo Kanno, was Japanese, and the wife, Vanessa Abordo Kanno, is Filipino.  He had forced his wife and two sons to return to the Philippines in March 2011 as the power plant nearby approached meltdown, while he remained behind. 

NOTE: Over the years, as Japan's countryside has slowly depopulated, it's been quite common for farmers to "recruit" wives from central Asia because there are simply not enough females out in hicksville to go around. Some workers within the agriculture industry want Japan's immigration laws to be relaxed, so they can hire skilled labor from abroad to revitalize the decaying agricultural infrastructure - but Japan's racist bureaucracy will not allow that to happen. 

 For cultural news, which lightens the mood a little - take a look at the other blog, run by John Paul Catton.  For more information on Japan's crisis and why it affects you, go here. 

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