japan nuclear disaster

Back in the Atomic Age, the Marshall Islands served as America’s nuclear playground, because you can only explode so much in your own backyard before there ain’t no backyard left to explode. In all, the Pacific Proving Ground hosted 67 nuclear blasts, which produced at least 110,000 cubic yards of lethal nuclear debris, as well as soil which could only be considered fertile if the crop you’re raising is Fallout bosses. Thankfully, the U.S. disposed of all that in a safe and conscientious manner.

Nope, we just left it right there on Enewetak Atoll, though we did have the common decency to cover it up with something that looks like a football stadium, as is the American way. The massive concrete cap is known as the Runit Dome, though the slightly irradiated locals more accurately refer to it as the Tomb.

This was only a stopgap measure, of course, meant to keep the problem out of sight and mind until a more permanent solution could be settled upon. The more permanent solution settled upon was “not caring anymore,” so we left.

Hiroshima ‘Shadows’ And 4 Other Haunting Historical Remnants

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As someone who has openly spoken for universal nuclear disarmament, I am fascinated by Tsutomu Yamaguchi.

Tsutomu Yamaguchi was in Hiroshima, Japan on business when the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city, killing 90,000 - 166,000 people. He survived the blast and despite severe injuries, returned to his home in Nagasaki, Japan the following day. Just 3 days after the first bombing, the United States dropped a second atomic bomb on Japan - this one on Nagasaki. 40,000 - 80,000 people were killed in the blast, but Mr. Yamaguchi survived. According to some reports, he was actually describing the first bombing to his boss when the second bomb hit. He actually lived to be 93 years old, passing away just 4 years ago. According to his 3 children, he lived a relatively normal life following the disaster other than hearing loss, temporary baldness, and skin disorders. He also suffered from cataracts and leukemia from the blasts. Unfortunately, Mr. Yamaguchi was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2009 and passed away 04 January 2010, the cancer was likely due to his experiences.

It is believed that 160 people had the same experience with both bombs, but he was the only to be officially recognized by the Japanese government. He also became a prominent figure who called for the world to abolish nuclear weapons.

“I can’t understand why the world cannot understand the agony of the nuclear bombs. How can they keep developing these weapons?”

I have always been inspired by the Japanese people. The strength and resilience they display during both man made and natural disasters is the most inspiring thing to me. From Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to Kobe and Fukushima, the people of Japan represent what mankind can accomplish in the face of unthinkable catastrophe.

R.I.P. Mr. Tsutomu Yamaguchi (1916-2010)

Fukushima mutant daisies: Deformed flowers spotted at Japan's disaster site

Photographs of deformed daisies are doing the rounds in cyberspace, four years after the deadly Fukushima nuclear incident in Japan.

The white flowers are claimed to be the latest in the long-list of victims, which have experienced deformation over nuclear disasters.

The images of the deformed flowers were posted by Twitter user @San_kaido from Nasushiobara city, located about 110kms from Fukushima.

The tweet the user posted read: “The right one grew up, split into 2 stems to have 2 flowers connected each other, having 4 stems of flower tied belt-like. The left one has 4 stems grew up to be tied to each other and it had the ring-shaped flower. The atmospheric dose is 0.5 μSv/h at 1m above the ground.”

According to gardening experts the abnormal growth that distorts the heads of daisies and other wildflowers is caused by hormonal imbalance. Called fasciation (or cresting) is a relatively rare condition of abnormal growth in vascular plants. Fasciation may cause plant parts to increase in weight and volume.

In March 2011, there was a meltdown in three of Fukushima’s six nuclear reactors due to the devastating tsunami which struck the region. Japan continues to grapple with the scale of the disaster. Earlier, reports said some fruits and vegetables became mutated after the nuclear leak got mixed with ground water.

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Jellyfish Eyes

A post Fukushima Daiichi sci-fi story by Takashi Murakami

Japan’s homeless recruited for murky Fukushima clean-up
January 3, 2014

Seiji Sasa hits the train station in this northern Japanese city before dawn most mornings to prowl for homeless men.

He isn’t a social worker. He’s a recruiter. The men in Sendai Station are potential laborers that Sasa can dispatch to contractors in Japan’s nuclear disaster zone for a bounty of $100 a head.

“This is how labor recruiters like me come in every day,” Sasa says, as he strides past men sleeping on cardboard and clutching at their coats against the early winter cold.

It’s also how Japan finds people willing to accept minimum wage for one of the most undesirable jobs in the industrialized world: working on the $35 billion, taxpayer-funded effort to clean up radioactive fallout across an area of northern Japan larger than Hong Kong.

Almost three years ago, a massive earthquake and tsunami leveled villages across Japan’s northeast coast and set off multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Today, the most ambitious radiation clean-up ever attempted is running behind schedule. The effort is being dogged by both a lack of oversight and a shortage of workers, according to a Reuters analysis of contracts and interviews with dozens of those involved.

In January, October and November, Japanese gangsters were arrested on charges of infiltrating construction giant Obayashi Corp’s network of decontamination subcontractors and illegally sending workers to the government-funded project.

In the October case, homeless men were rounded up at Sendai’s train station by Sasa, then put to work clearing radioactive soil and debris in Fukushima City for less than minimum wage, according to police and accounts of those involved. The men reported up through a chain of three other companies to Obayashi, Japan’s second-largest construction company.

Obayashi, which is one of more than 20 major contractors involved in government-funded radiation removal projects, has not been accused of any wrongdoing. But the spate of arrests has shown that members of Japan’s three largest criminal syndicates - Yamaguchi-gumi, Sumiyoshi-kai and Inagawa-kai - had set up black-market recruiting agencies under Obayashi.

“We are taking it very seriously that these incidents keep happening one after another,” said Junichi Ichikawa, a spokesman for Obayashi. He said the company tightened its scrutiny of its lower-tier subcontractors in order to shut out gangsters, known as the yakuza. “There were elements of what we had been doing that did not go far enough.”

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JAPAN, Iwaki : Clad in Santa Claus costumes, volunteers hand Christmas gifts to an elderly woman, who is sheltering from Narahamachi after the accident of a nulcear power plant, in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, on December 21, 2013. Some 100 volunteers delivered Christmas gifts to cheer people living at temporary housings. AFP PHOTO/Toru YAMANAKA