When this started I never thought I’d write 05 (May) in the subject line. But here we are. A couple things I’ve seen over the last few days are as follows.
First up, OurManInAbiko (editor of Quakebook) has teamed up with his wife OurWomanInAbiko, yet another silhouetted Twitterer, to create the Free Tohoku blog and the #freeTohoku hashtag on Twitter. A Japanese and English language blog about the efforts of OurWomanInAbiko to help those in Ishinomaki, Miyagi. She’s recently made a trip up to Ishinomaki from Abiko, Chiba to bring the people there goods that she had accumulated through fundraising and donations. The blog has been set up so that OurWomanInAbiko can tell the world about what is really going on in Ishinomaki. So far there are only two posts, but looking at OurMan’s twitter feed over the last few days, it’s clear to see that it will eventually outline the issues volunteers and people who wish to donate are having with the bureaucracy in Japan.
From personal experience, there’s a lot of red tape involved in even the most mundane and small tasks when dealing with the government, so one would assume in dealing with the disaster there are quite a few issues. I look forward to reading it. I believe that it will go in the direction of ways to help those in need while circumventing the bureaucrazy (see what I did there?). The twitter channel is @freetohoku and is described as: Advocate for unheard survivors of the Japan eathquake and tsunami.
A story about how Quakebook came to be along with how foreigners dealt with the quake using social media was recently posted on Asahi.com, check it out here.
Next up, Reuters, among other media organizations have reported that workers entered the Number 1 Reactor at Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant to set up a ventilation system in order to put the reactor into cold shut down. Below is a small quote from the article.
Two TEPCO staff and 11 contractors with protective suits, masks and air tanks worked for 1- hours, moving in and out in small groups to connect duct pipes to ventilators that will filter out 95 percent of the radioactive material in the air, a company spokesman said.
The Christian Science Monitor has an article that reports reactor 1 will hopefully be put into cold shutdown by the end of the week. TEPCO and Japan Times are cited in the article as sources, but I couldn’t find this report anywhere else. Perhaps it came from the Japanese version?
Tokyo Electric Power Company says it is moving ahead with plans to bring the Unit 1 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi plant to “cold shutdown” within the week, Japan Times reported today.
In other news, Toshiso Kosaka, an adviser to the Japanese government on radiation has quit over the unusually high radiation limits that the government has set for school children in Fukushima. There are articles everywhere on this, here is the link to the Voice of America article from April 30th. While that information is a bit old, it leads into a group I’ve recently come across, Mothers to Save Children from Radiation. Their goal is to put pressure on the Japanese government and TEPCO to lower the radiation exposure level for children throughout Fukushima. For a full article on the radiation exposure levels around Fukushima, see this article from The Guardian. The MSCR website appeals to the foreign media in order to put pressure TEPCO and educate the world on the plight of the children in Fukushima.
Since TEPCO sponsors a number of nation-wide mass media, major TV stations and newspaper companies in Japan are not positive about such actions. We therefore would like to appeal to you press people outside Japan for assistance.
Please report as much as possible on this problem. Please disseminate it to the world.
Please pursue the status quo of the children being exposed to radiation.
Please endeavor to save the future of children together with us.
Speaking of radiation, Japanese PM Naoto Kan has said that early next year it will be determined if evacuees from the 20km zone can return. See the the Japan Today article here.
Check out the website and spread the word.