Notes from Tokyo
Tokyo 12:20 hrs, 19 March 2011
Not all doom and gloom despite what the media may sometimes say ( or me, ha ha).
Expressions of support by the Scottish parliament most welcome and cheering.
UK embassy on the ball now – well done to them.
Despite the persistent aftershocks today, the weather is glorious.
MSDF helicopter activity seems to be back up today.
My neighborhood is mainly deserted. I guess a lot of folk have gone back to their families in the countryside.
Tokyo is exquisite in weather like this.
Tokyo 07:40am, March 19, 2011
The Japanese government now officially categorises the on-going Fukushima N-plant incident as a level 5 out of 8 upping it to the equivalent of the 3 Mile Island debacle (see the attached NHK update).
This announcement comes hard on the heels of the IAEA’s Director General’s visit to Japan and his meeting with Prime Minister Kan who promised full transparency – or thereabouts – in the future.
Not that this promise necessarily flows from the other though the IAEA has seemed somewhat frustrated with the Japanese establishment’s tortoise-like speed in getting the full facts on the ground to them.
This promise from the prime minister is good if you believe in transparency.
And, as such, it would have been good from the get go even just for the sake of the truth and balanced judgement(s) being made all round (as well as countering the poisonous myth-making of the Sun newspaper).
It seems that governments, in this respect, resemble the Church pre-invention of the printing press with its attendant effects on literacy and its democratisation of access to knowledge unmediated by a priestly and associated castes intent on retaining control of the masses and keeping them mired in superstition: They- these modern equivalents -seem to remain locked into a similar if pre-internet mind set which has pulled the rug – for good or ill and maybe a bit of both – from under their tottering feet as we have witnessed in the M East.
Consequently, institutions may have to ca’ somewhat cannier in the future with their cavalier and egotistical spinning of the truth of things as their populaces’ relationships with “it” and them may be becoming less asymmetrical with potential knock on effects on governments’ and their elites’ tenures.
Again, pace the M East.
Minister Edano reassures us that outwith the 30km exclusion zone radiation poses no ill effects on people’s health.
One sincerely hoped this to be true, but the historical record in respect of such announcements in respect of these kind of public health disasters is not so reassuring globally.
Like Prime Minister Kan, he seems a good man and one sees no reason – at least on the face of it – to doubt him.
However, other non-Japanese “expert” sources are recommending 80km south of the plant just to be on the safe side. And Tokyo governor – Mr Ishihara – notes a recent radiation incident in Tokyo (period and no explanation) in a recent major press release (previously attached) in which he apologises to his fellow countrymen for describing the Fukushima as a form of divine retribution (for what?) and in pronouncing that originally ironically echoed a similar voodooistic sentiment expressed by the captain of the Sea Shepherd in poetic Japanese style.
Let us absorb them.
Not be afraid nor, knee-jerk, deny “them”.
Just get on with “it” in an informed fashion.
Tokyo. 22:53hrs, 18 March 2011
Always useful and vital alternatives.
From time to time.
Myself included given the partial release of “facts”?
Given the shifting whip of partiality and spin, is this suprising?
In this case, certainly, blame the sender of the messenger who packed the puir bugger off to deliver either fantansies.
Or, when the game was up, to try and sneak by the raw reality.
Head chopped off according to legend.
IAEA Director General here for talks.
Good on him.
A wee bit tardy.
And as to this stately embassage… What?
Prime Minister Kan has promised something approximating full disclosure to one and all in the future.
Good for you, sir!!
A tad out of sync with events on the ground though, perhaps?
A bit like fancy dan outfits like the Brit COBRA buffs?
Didn’t do too grand a job of things here in Nihon, did we troops and troupettes?
My great-aunts and grandmothers would have skelped your collective airses whilst multi-tasking at other vital matters.
Meantime, sending in the “Lockheids” a mite out of synchronicity with your leading American uber foreign policy lead partner…
True believers and true cynics trading “scientific
‘truisms'” as if this made their jousting assertions unassailable.
Touches of warriors going onto multitudinous battlefields girt in magic vests which would guarantee their immortality (and their clans and tribes)?
Antony, my physicist brother and Liars’ Dice imperator at the RS, counselled caution in the posting of these links.
Bugger it: What ain auld sang…
Fair enough from an auld fashioned perspective which crushes inquisitiveness and will take minimal/nil risks in letting folk/teenagers/bairns grow.
I sense the “runners” from here will not receive a pleasant welcome if they attempt to return.
Treachery abides here in the folk memory a wheen like Scotland and elsewhere.
Found posted by <cheesed off > on BBC Scotland’s Blether with Brian blog.
Otherwise this site seemed to hinge, today, around blood letting between unionist labor cyber counter-guerrillas and their nationalist/republican (if only in sympathy) insurgent opponents.
Another interesting backdrop to events here.
And quite natural in the human scale of things:
Events move on for you unless you are dead.
And still do anyway.
Vested interests and the forces of change – the tendency of us all (overwhelmingly(?)) to stick with the devil we know until a catastrophe(s) – see David Malone’s Newsnet article on the Fukushima calamity and its economic implications already kicking in – forces a radical re-think about how we name our world and act on it (pace Paulo Friere).
Interesting times and multiple perspectives.
Minor swaying currently.
Tectonic and other activities continuing.
Tokyo 15:15hrs, 18 March 2011
An interesting link posted to me by Antony Galea: physicist. Long time Tokyo resident and imperator of the Liars’ Dice Club at the Rising Sun in Yotsuya, Tokyo (who raised ¥36000 last night for the Japan Red Cross).
Tokyo 13:20hrs, March 18, 2011
Statement and apology from the controversial governor of the nation’s capital.
In convoy with statements and updates from a range of governments and agencies and institutions, eg the IAEA who remark on the fluidity of the situation (and the need for quick input of on the ground data in order to make realistic assessments of the state of play), the governor notes that radiation levels in Tokyo, as monitored at monitoring stations, were safe and unchanged until one recent outlier result.
However, he does not go into any details as to the nature of the result in question.
Has this datum (-a) been fed to the relevant institutions and agencies yet?
If so, what do they make of it?
An oddity or indicative of a possible trend (whatever that might or might not be)?
Curious even allowing for our fallibility – individual and collective – the outliers are often treated as lepers were in medieval times (and even upto fairly recently in some parts of the world).
If this “change” could be important to people in making an informed (informed decisions), then should it not be released along with a measured explanation by the relevant professionals ? (although, admittedly, they may sometimes be the last vested interest groups to surrender their paradigms of the world – witness the post-Hiroshima contaminations which birthed the nuclear contaminated Godzilla monster movies).
A healthy and rational dose of skepticism and requirement for hard data (counter-) intuitively examined still seems, therefore, to be applicable (in a common-sensed way pace the Scotch common-sensed approach to philosophy and the natural sciences), in this modern compartmentalised world where specialist and hermetic approaches to knowledge seem willfully sealed off from each other and unknowable to each other.
An holistic and rigorous approach, anyone?
Tokyo. 12:40hrs, March 18, 2011
British Embassy now responding with charter flights and issuing advice because of the evolving situation.
A most welcome move.
Specialist fire-fighting teams dispatched from Tokyo to the plant at the government’s request.
Tokyo, 17:00hrs, 17 March 2010
That is, is the game a bogie or soon to be?
We do not know yet and to what extent, if any, it is (un)likely to be.
Again, differing interpretations mutating from different official or corporate sources as events unfold and new information is elicited or released. Or exposed.
But one thing seems clear, the Delphic oracles that are the “experts” and institutions which “know best” are becoming increasingly and embarrassingly obviously less Delphic as evidence seems to be pointing to a 48hr window to get the Fukushima crisis fixed or face what may be an unmitigated disaster.
Prognosis from multiple sources indicate that this is unlikely and that hubris and its attendant spin may be partly responsible for bringing us to this potential pass:
Witness the volte face by the FCO in less than 24hrs regarding safety and the non-need to leave Tokyo.
This now ditched and heading south a goodly distance if you cannot get out is NOW advised by the self-same FCO in contradiction to on-the record, platitudinous videoed press conferences beamed in from England’s inner sanctums (as a passport holder I never even heard about it until after the event yet Prime Minister Kan is able to brief the Japanese people individually via their mobile devices).
The FCO and its experts.
Sounding a bit hollow now, chaps.
Veritable toom tabards in the face of the US government and the Australian as well as global corporate institutions following the earlier “hysterical” French, German and Swiss govt leads to evacuate their nationals and the IAEA’s demands for accuracy and timeliness in terms of data from what is looking like a possible Ground Zero scenario lest in ingesting shit into their assessments, they spew it back out and unwittingly lead everyone on a hoolie up the garden path.
Ah but the FCO does not do shit.
Only retracted certainties and vanishing acts to leave wee Japanese security personnel fielding the punters with sincere and anxious platitudes outside its ornamental front gates; or does secret video conference briefings for those and such as those where it outputs shit having eaten it; or it blocks Scots rescue specialists from helping in order to sustain the illusion of a UNITED Kingdom and this fabrication in the teeth of devastation and mass tragedy unfolding
Tokyo 19:00 hrs, 16 March 2011
The united front continues to frazzle.
Ozzies at it too, now.
RS Laing the Scottish “shrink” used to posit who is the madman and who is insane in the lunatic asylum?
Shades of this occurring here.
And my bed keeps moving like jelly.
Tokyo 18:37 hrs, 16 March 2011
Again, judge for yourselves.
Visit, as you do, the updating scientific sources dedicated to the truth and its elicitation without “fear or favor”.
Just as it should be for any genuinely enquiring mind and devil take the hindmost.
However, some of these “objective” sources seem to be piece-meal revising their granite carved assertions (if this can still be enduring done via the modern media -if ever really) and seem to be getting a wee bit fractious with each other.
Check them out.
Bags of stuff to bandy about with the nodding dugs of the cult of bad science.
Sources at increasing variance.
See for yourselves.
Am staying in Japan if they will continue to have me as I love it here.
But somewhat curious about these shifting sands of “official” information and contradictions even within EU members:
The “Frog” boffins seem to be less inclined towards the establishment Anglo-Nippon scientific analyses of the situation now and potential (soon?).
One wonders why?
A “‘pissing’ contest” as to who has the most “primo” N boffins(?) and collusion regards independent questioning of their, again, “Delphic” professional sources vis a vis those etic elements slandered as “hysterics” or to paraphrase a Brit unionist brother from Dublin -albeit “Irish” in the Connor Cruise O’Brien sense – friend: “They are parAnoid”.
That is the French.
Or is it the “English” or their post-pseudo-Longshanks-Cromwellian-Thatcherite plastic gnomes?
Exemplar templates, in many spooky ways, to the Kasumigaseki variation on Whitehall style “real” governance?
Jock, Paddy and Taffy and “Nip” comprador versions?
Washington in the latter’s case.
Defense attaches and other embassy wallahs?
Not, I hope, our Auld Alliance partners though they forget and lump us in with these Roast Beefs’ persistent and pernicious insularities.
What about the Germans, Swiss and (faultlined) Belgians and the rest of our European first cousins?
The Belgian Embassy is, today, apologetic that their supply of iodine tablets has been delayed (see notice taped to their door in Belgian Dutch and Belgian French. And English language).
This lot a bunch of hysterical nutters?
Scotland explored economic union before it would contemplate political suicide in “union” with Albion.
The Brit-Anglos. Or would be’s kind omit these inconvenient lay-bys in historically “getting by”.
Until faced with Gandhi or Mandela.
Subterfuge later. Bottle it.
Will there be more bottling it here anon?
Did the tele-conferenced “worthies” and “great and ‘academic’ good” do the same today in video-link to the Brit Embassy site for sense of duty to a similar nuclear driven agenda as with Japan?
Or was it “pure” science which drove their analysis (-es)?
Geo and seismology guys, any feedback as to why the ground seems so “liquid” tonight, at 02:39hrs, and seems to slither continuously horizontally?
Other “theoreticians” outwith the specific field(s), if responding, please declare your specific discipline(s) as per the Anglo insular and narrow minded model of your historically grounded approach to education.
And if you suspect you may be, consequently, declared an “hysteric” by dint of your non-membership of that club. Please feel free to robustly dissent.
Every “official” source and their Auntie Bella or Uncle Horatio who has had a sniff of a test-tube or footer about with a bit of math(s) or natural philosophy (physics) seems to think (s)he’s a Mosaic source on events current.
Curious the reactionary contradictions manifest in some “scientists” today…
Tokyo 16:42 hrs, 16 March 2011
Profusions on status quo and clinging there and mustard
Tokyo 16:09 hrs, 16 March 2011
Wm (Bill) Jamieson high head one or one of them unknown and unwanted to be even considered by the polis/populace in the world at large even before the purported demise and theoretical amalgamation of twa wee tumshie inflated paper medium rags: Ane Glegsca keelie and the other a pseudo-douce
Who gives much of anything about this?
Doubt the Egyptians or Monogolians or Japanese or Somalies or Venezualans do.
Or my bi-gender Mama-San in Tokyo.
Who has ever really cared about such whatever ravishings of some obscure Jock “truths ” or” truisms ” unvalidated by bulldog smarmers?
Hanoverianism has and continues to strut its stuff just like the Japanese falsely motivated irredentists with respect to Okinawa and elsewhere here.
The body public seem to be coping pretty damned well here and with tremendous dignity in the face of similar complacent and arrogant mindsets:
The Borough or Burgh councilor parasite writ large here and elsewhere as “governmental” mental set appropriate.
The burning question for Scotch MSM reporter quislings suspected, is where, in neutral territory, to have a pontificating, stitch-up dram vis a vis the contrived West Coast/East Coast hack divide?
That’s the core.
Similar shoogling here also but seeming to try to remedy previous collusionism in the face of this gutting of the nation.
Never grasped it myself – this manufactured @divide” – even pre-possible catastrophe in Japan now beyond their parochial, Barrowland – if you are a Glasgow “peasant” with a quill or variant of – with an approximation of a mooth and a contemporary quill.
Sounds uncanningly like the global parochial phenomenon as it is now affecting Japan.
A lot of outdated – if it ever was fit for consumption – and donkey’s old tripe and unreconstructed drivel.
The contemporary global pseudo-elite (self-annointing) assertion of this is HOW it IS!
Tammany Hall crisis management stretching all around the globe.
Perhaps Japan is showing great though imperfect vision – absolutely understandable – in dealing with this disaster?
Japan and Chile leading the way and the Middle East peoples, Winsconsin’s folk as well as Chavez’s and Cuba’s?
The decayed false elites fcuked, to quote, gibbering irritatingly like Scotland’s version of wigged ones on TV here.
It does not seem to cut the mustard any longer.
For Scotland, Japan, Chile, Libya or anywhere.
Tokyo 21:55hrs, 16 March 2011 Approaching or not, grown-up scientifically grounded briefings would have helped from square one.
This not meant to be nasty.
Simply curious about why we all as well as our “elites” cling to outdated paradigms of what was a limited sense and somewhat faux application of the misnomer we crie “democracy” today?
It was never that root and branch and universally inclusive (musty classical reprints in translation aside).
Certainly and albeit later in the Romanised Spartaco-Athenian hybrid, Spartacus was under no illusions.
Rather, it hinged on the productive efforts of a slave class automatically never sniffing a whiff of this tightly demarcated legal definition of “demos” and who could vote and fully participate in “it”.
Time we woke up?
And our “elites” in whom “God (some of us – though perhaps not the deist Founding Fathers) still trust” in America or, in variation, elsewhere.
Time they woke up to the reality of the growing global inclusiveness?
No offense intended, but the agora has expanded beyond the auld elites’ posturing.
Pace events in the Middle East et al.
Multiple news and info sources are available which allow folk to come to sensible conclusions.
Thus a question:
Openess not trite spins might have helped people make properly informed life decisions and, hopefully but not necessarily, irrational ones?
But the paternalistic and, increasingly, its matriarchal mirror of outmoded antiquated and throttling practices is exposing its core as increasingly dysfunctional.
The Japanese emperor showed more savvy in his emergency speech to the nation.
Or are the Japanese people somehow less mature than their Chilean counterparts?
Hypothesis: I suspect not.
Test it and gather the data as well as ca’ing canny from a “too humanistic” analysis of the raw info or lack of the common-sense approach that saw no contradiction in the Scotch approach which mandated the integration of pseudo-polar opposites- the arts and humanities and the sciences.
Tokyo, 18:30 hrs, 16 March 2011
The numbers reduced, of course, due to events ( even grandma who usually orchestrates the counter flow of customers seeking solace of food and refreshments is gone temporarily AWOL – the rest of the family are still in swaying situ).
The hard core still determinedly still here and being human in the face of whatever it is now.
Daft though it may sound, am reminded of similar community watering and feeding holes the world over.
But somehow and primarily, the Press Bar in Glasgow soon to be amalgamated with its douce Auld Reekie sister?
The whore and Madonna conjoined?
Early closing time here too.
TEPCO at it again?
Filibustering from start (?) regarding getting accurate info to Japanese govt who in turn have been slow getting upto date data the IAEA.
Latter now thinking it may be a level 6 event on the 1-7 scale and not 4 as previously categorised by Japanese authorities.
Interesting stuff: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/Quakes/quakes_big.php
Current status quo near site(s) and general state of play?
France urges citizens to leave Japan’s Tokyo region
Contrasts in approaches.
Belgians bringing in iodine tablets.
Whose experts to believe or are some being more cautious than others?
Heavy snow near site: Poor buggers.
Date: 16 March 2011 15:54
Subject: Fwd: FW: From the British EmbassyHere’s some calming news received from one of our friends downtown.
I have just returned from a conference call held at the British
Embassy in Tokyo. The call was concerning the nuclear issue in Japan.
The chief spokesman was Sir. John Beddington, Chief Scientific Adviser
to the UK Government, and he was joined by a number of qualified
nuclear experts based in the UK. Their assessment of the current
situation in Japan is as follows:
· In case of a ‘reasonable worst case scenario’ (defined as
total meltdown of one reactor with subsequent radioactive explosion)
an exclusion zone of 30 miles (50km) would be the maximum required to
avoid affecting peoples’ health. Even in a worse situation (loss of
two or more reactors) it is unlikely that the damage would be
significantly more than that caused by the loss of a single reactor.
· The current 20km exclusion zone is appropriate for the
levels of radiation/risk currently experienced, and if the pouring of
sea water can be maintained to cool the reactors, the likelihood of a
major incident should be avoided. A further large quake with tsunami
could lead to the suspension of the current cooling operations,
leading to the above scenario.
· The bottom line is that these experts do not see there being
a possibility of a health problem for residents in Tokyo. The
radiation levels would need to be hundreds of times higher than
current to cause the possibility for health issues, and that, in their
opinion, is not going to happen (they were talking minimum levels
affecting pregnant women and children – for normal adults the levels
would need to be much higher still).
· The experts do not consider the wind direction to be
material. They say Tokyo is too far away to be materially affected.
· If the pouring of water can be maintained the situation
should be much improved after ten days, as the reactors’ cores cool
· Information being provided by Japanese authorities is being
independently monitored by a number of organizations and is deemed to
be accurate, as far as measures of radioactivity levels are concerned.
· This is a very different situation from Chernobyl, where the
reactor went into meltdown and the encasement, which exploded, was
left to burn for weeks without any control. Even with Chernobyl, an
exclusion zone of 30 miles would have been adequate to protect human
health. The problem was that most people became sick from eating
contaminated food, crops, milk and water in the region for years
afterward, as no attempt was made to measure radioactivity levels in
the food supply at that time or warn people of the dangers. The
secrecy over the Chernobyl explosion is in contrast to the very public
coverage of the Fukushima crisis.
· The Head of the British School asked if the school should
remain closed. The answer was there is no need to close the school due
to fears of radiation. There may well be other reasons – structural
damage or possible new quakes – but the radiation fear is not
supported by scientific measures, even for children.
· Regarding Iodine supplementation, the experts said this was
only necessary for those who had inhaled quantities of radiation
(those in the exclusion zone or workers on the site) or through
consumption of contaminated food/water supplies. Long term consumption
of iodine is, in any case, not healthy.
What is a serious dose of raditaion?
Some much needed additional context.
The efforts of the Japanese engineers and quiet stoicism of the Japanese people – especially those most affected – is heroic. Simple and human in its best sense as was the Izmiri reaction to a lesser scale but killer quake when I lived there many years ago pre-Japan.
The situation remains somewhat fluid however as NHK reports in its updates.
As to panic, I have yet to encounter any. On the contrary and quite the opposite.
Perhaps the “hysteria” is a tabloid style generated pseudo-phenomenon?
Wed, 16 March, 2011 5:19:41
For further context and “color” in terms of folks’ individual but sympathetic – if differing responses – to the situation, I attach a follow-up reply to the Okinawa evacuation mail from the famed sumo commentator and judoist, David Shapiro.
People are calling it as they see it and as best they can given their asymmetrical information sources.
On this latter note, my sincere apologies to the British ambassador who has been/is (?) in Sendai.
Am going to go out shortly for a recce and some fresh air.
From: Steve Harris
Date: 16 March 2011 09:23:24 GMT+09:00
Subject: Re: An Emergency Update
> Good luck to Dr. David and all else in transit.
The British Embassy held a press conference
(perhaps to counter the hysterical responses
of France and Germany) to state unequivocally
that all is under control here and radiation poisoning
is a non-issue.
Having said that, one can go to
and actually see live updates of radiation readings, which
at present are about double last year’s number but still
not anywhere a level that warrants worry.
Bit of a shake just there.
Bright blue skies and strong, (cleansing (?)) winds should anything need “cleansed” – contradictory inputs on this).
Flight delays yesterday seemingly at Narita.
Contact at German engineering company reaffirms his company encouraging evacuation in contrast to the phlegmatic approach of the British embassy as well as the Danish according to a Danish acquaintance and member of the “Belial Club” who meet every Tues evening, except for their “Super Tuesday” sallies elsewhere, at Tokyo’s oldest English pub – they say “British” but actually mean the former –
here in Yotsuya.
It is over 35 years old and constitutes a little oasis of England’s “green and pleasant land” here.
More tremblers of the horizontal sway type and not the vertical pogo-ing sort that a civil engineering friend, now in India the last I heard, told me “did for Kobe” all those years ago.
I am no construction engineer and so cannot comment on the scientific veracity of this assertion.
But, and anecdotally, my experience today – the frequency of them seems to be upping at the moment – and since last Friday is that they seem to be of the side-to-side kind: A comfort or cauld kail?
Certainly the latter for the, now, thousands of missing, injured or dead at the heart of the devastation – quite a revision up in numbers from the first confident estimates in the thousandish range by the government and its bureaucratic apparatus.
Shades of Kobe again? Definitely in sharp contrast to the Chilean government’s handling of their recent mining disaster.
Revision being the key word or “modifier” in the unfolding events and their interpretation of them.
Other inklings of revised positions and perceptions lie in these attached NHK snippets.
However and to be charitable, we are all human and to err is integral to that even for technocrats though their language, often clouded in obfuscations and seemingly forgetful of our common human frailty, may win them few friends with the people at large because of what can be perceived as hubris.
On a parting note and connecting the dots to other types of “endemic” hubris, our “friends” the traders were rapidly transferred out of Japan the better to serve their masters’ bottom-line interests (see the hammering the foolishly open Japanese market took).
The Brit “ambo”, too, the better to let the wee Japanese security man at the embassy gate deal with UK passport holders’ enquiries.
Say what you will, but there are no flies on these respective, hand in glove covens of “masters of the universe” and never were here in Asia as the Opium Wars and the current stiffing of the market bear testimony to.
Had an early bed and good night’s sleep last night undisturbed by tremors until a mild one early morning.
Tokyo, near my apartment – tiny but with a balcony – still calm. Almost tranquil.
However, can hear some distant sirens, but then this is a megalopolis and one would expect to on any given day.
No helicopter activity above at the moment.
No-one currently on the little streets.
Activity probably in business and main shopping areas.
Am going to go to NHK now for news update.
Japanese folk have been wonderful.
Nihonshu or sake: Take your pick.
A mite or two may assist.
30km sanitation range now orange and not green.
In the center, it has gone 50/50 purple and red.
REMAT teams deployed.
Area of potential next strike SEEMS to be expanding.
Had 7 aftershocks last 3 days according to engineer contacts – Anglo- Maltese physicist more upbeat and neutral.
My money is on an exceedingly bad outcome – Japanese “sister” chat-mails “scary”.
Attrition of the truth.
Focus on mega-building’s resilience.
Usual TV talking heads.
And back to technical drawings – last updated?
Tokyo 17:15hrs, 15 March 2011
See forwarded mail vis a vis foreign workers here leaving. I am a Scot but have long roots here.
It is my second homeland (Turkey being my third) in terms of attachment.
One takes the rough with the smooth as we well know at home.
However, other people’s choices in this respect are theirs to make and must be respected.
Sent from my iPhone
Begin forwarded message:
0755Simon Smith in Tokyo writes: “Just passed by the immigration centre here in Chiba – packed with over 400 people, many with suitcases queuing up for re-entry visas, eager to leave Japan.”
Another statement and story and another inch or two wrung or surrendered.
Govt spokesmen talking about preventing further radiation leaks and immolation of reactor 4 with even more additional leakage (of what?).
Crucial concession: FURTHER.
Gripping times from a – temporarily (?) – safe distance.
A death sentence (?) if you are still within the 20km zone?
In passing, please see blog attached to Deccan Herald website refuting USA delivery of coolant to the plant site – the emperor’s clothes syndrome of the political and technocratic classes reinforced if not the China one.
As my grandmother said, you have to be an awful good “dissembler” to remember all your “contortions”.
Ah even as I write, they now – the managerialist elites and their political confreres – further concede that reactors 5 and 6 may be about to kick-off into the critical zone too.
Am I naive or is the IAEA not looking too good on this crisis also?
Just a chilling thought to match the weather folk are having to cope with.
Sent from my iPhone
16:15hrs, Tokyo, 2011
This a theoretical update except it isn’t really.
Looks like plant 1 vaporised.
Plant 3 nearly so but still burning.
The metaphorical retreat from the falsity (-ies) of “Moscow” seem to grind on for the establishment and its technocratic faces (my favorite a bewigged gentleman with whom you may all now be familiar from other news sources).
How many other inches to be wrought from them before the unvarnished truth?
Who and What to Believe?
Tokyo 12:40hrs, 2011
TV statements by the cabinet.
Comments by sundry pundits.
Speeches and anodyne website statements by assorted agencies Japanese and international from the Japanese Metrological
Agency through the WHO to the USGS et al.
Additional conflicting communiqués by different embassies – if even that formal – from evacuate to Tokyo is (really, really) safe – I paraphrase but catch the essence on what a smart-suited Japanese security officer for the British Embassy told me at the gates of the posh but deserted compound this morning except for a horde of uniformed, private, pleasant and Japanese security officers.
Normally, it is a couple of warm bodies who are unfailingly polite as, indeed, they were at 10am today.
But today they were mob-handed.
Were the FCO “mandarins” expecting the compound to be stormed by irate passport holders whilst they were off location buried deep in the bowels of a re-inforced bunker below what used to be the Roppongi base of the MSDF where Yukio Mushima, the rightist novelist, tried to incite the troops to mount a coup d’état in the 1970’s?
He failed despite the uniform and headband exalting imperial Nippon and committed seppuku (though that was botched and drawn out too).
The kind security officer in mufti seemed almost pleading when he conveyed the embassy message regarding Tokyo’s safety: Tablets of stone from the prophets of The Foreign and Commonwealth Office:
But why then, if it is so safe, are they and all their diplomatic and consular peers “off location” and in a mega-secure bunker way down deep deep in the belly of Tokyo?
What is to fear? And why only a decent, “wee” man with a walkie-talkie left to front the ornate front gate backed-up by a panapoly of underpaid, ill-fittingly uniformed – if courteous – private security personnel actually behind the gate which is, presumably, “British” territory if all bodes so well?
Partial truths and bureaucratic statements seem to be retreating and morphing as the day progresses – drip drip – to a kind of fudging admission that perhaps a container vessel may have been damaged.
The litmus test is surely now the attached graphic which delineates a safety zone 30km distant from the putative meltdown.
Certainly – if anything is – the Japanese print media seem suspicious of spin and the winds are veering towards Kanto region and Tokyo with a potential hazard only 17 hours away. And the embassy has a designated section of its compound allocated for a theoretical Scottish Embassy pro tem.
Still feeling periodic slight tremblers – a mere bagatelle compared to the mass destruction and agony near the core of the disaster.
But what lies ahead?
It is unclear. But for sure today is overcast and Japan is facing some very stark choices.
For the sake of balance this is suggested reading: http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2011/03/japan-megaquake-update.html
Regarding the vessel holding firm: This seems to the bone of contention especially in the light of the power companies’ and the government’s past track record in playing a straight bat with the public.
For the moment, most folk are simpy getting on with “it” in the way folk do and reminiscent of my maternal grandmother’s stories about the Clydebank Blitz wind or no wind.
Tokyo 9:10 am, 15 March 2011
This just in from Kyoto contact.
And the winds are blowing towards Tokyo…
Begin forwarded message:
Date: 15 March 2011 08:50:17 GMT+09:00
Subject: Re: Fukushima fcuked
OK need to check that.
NHK just took the live interview off because it was getting very heated and the ministers where being humiliated by the press core.
It appears they have been lying about emissions and have now been found out.
It is Chernoble.
from David MacGille-Mhuire
Tokyo 8:12am, 15 March 2011
En route to UK embassy to get their assessment of the situation.
This email from my Kyoto contact received in the Excelsior coffee shop near my flat in the Yotsuya area of Shinjuku Ward in central Tokyo – a university location encompassing the Versailles style, albeit in in Gulliver form, of the imperial “guest house” and Gakshuin Elementary School where the tiny scions of the imperial family are traditionally schooled.
Yotsuya is normally heaving with commuters at this morning rush hour time. Today, however, it is relatively quiet with a number of brave souls making it in to work.
However, is this dedication a virtue or a vice as none of the folk drinking and eating seem to be essential personnel and are defying government advisories to stay home.
Perhaps sticking to their routines is a comfort to them even if it may turn out to be ill-advised?
All the same, everyone still calm. Even laid back as they get and sup on their coffees and cigarettes. Check their mail. Play computer games on their mobiles or read or blether.
A stark contrast to the havoc outside the capital this email suggests with its promise of events that may shatter this stoicism or fatalism or passivity to come?
I usually avoid embassies like the plague, especially the “British” ones. But today should be an interesting test run as to their cop-on and general state of readiness for a 3rd reactor seems to have blown.
Tremblers currently minimal though there was one like a gunshot at 6ish this morning.
Tokyo 4am, 15 March
Grabbing sleep when I can and checking mail and news updates.
Tokyo still mostly unaffected in the eye of the surrounding storm.
This in (below) from a good and old American friend – a judoka (judoist) and sumo TV commentator. Not someone prone to panic.
Perhaps the TV shot of the cabinet yesterday did not show sullenness but exhaustion and awareness of how far gone the N-plant situation may be?
When lying down, still feel periodic vibrations in the seat of my spine, but the city is silent except for the squawk of a Jungle Crow. No helo activity and no sirens.
“I have it on fairly good authority that at least one of the Fukushima reactors is well beyond the, “if” stage in terms of a meltdown. I was told it was a question of when.
As such, I am taking my family tomorrow and putting as much distance as I can between us and Fukushima as is possible at this time. (The 300 odd kilometer distance between Tokyo and Fukushima just does not cut it.)
We will be going down to Okinawa and Joe Davis has graciously offered to put us up for the week it will take for what will hit the fan to hit the fan. (Once the cloud goes up and decides which way it will blow we should be able to return to Tokyo not long after.)
For those of you in the Kanto region I strongly advice you to leave.
For those of you overseas reading this please do not worry if you do not hear from me over the course of the next seven days. We will be safe.
I pray the information I have received is wrong.
I hope you will all join me in that prayer.”
Tokyo 15:26 hrs, 14 Mar 2011
Night quiet though now shaking minimally – rocking fleeting and stopped.
Dram of sake finished and Mama-Sans blethered with.
Tickle in the throat coughs – probably allergy.
Silence as much as big cities can do that. But not hiccup of anything. Even my gob shut and throat.
Quiet and pleasantly cool.
Supping a can of “Apple Chu – hi”. Most pleasant. Not a cheep overhead.
You probably/possibly know better than me.
Tokyo 15:45hrs, 14 Mar 2011
The city itself seems unscathed in contrast to the devastation near the epicenter and areas gutted by the tsunami at double the wave height of the N-plant safety margins.
Plants burning. Residents being evacuated or told to seek shelter indoors.
Helos flying, it would seem, almost non-stop to and from MSDF HQ in Shinjuku, Tokyo. And constant blare of sirens earlier in the day.
Some Euro embassies advising evacuation: Swiss, German and French.
Transportation in Tokyo area skeletal but stoic.
Rolling power and water cuts possible.
Central Japan just hit again around Niigata according to news a d multiple 3 strength aftershocks dotted about. 7 predicted for end of the week.
Tokyo calm. People super.
Weather crisply beautiful.
Politicos grim. Some seem sullen on TV.
Tokyo 15:45hrs, 14 Mar 2011
The city itself seems unscathed in contrast to the devastation near the epicenter and areas gutted by the tsunami at double the wave height of the N-plant safety margins.
Plants burning. Residents being evacuated or told to seek shelter indoors.
Makes one wonder about the advisability of N-plants in such a geophysically unstable region and any lessons learned post-Chernobyl?
Tokyo 10:09hrs, 14 Mar 2011
Night quiet now.
Men having a dram.
NHK on tv showing upbeat “upbeat”.
Young mama-san discussing nihonshu purchase in my local,
Folks in the sticks still gladiatorially getting on with it.