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DISPATCHES

 

A regular up-date featuring articles written for publications

all over the world by FCCJ Correspondents

Risky business

David McNeill writes in the Economist about the difficult task of removing the spent fuel from the Fukushima nuclear plant's storage pool.

Among the twisted metal and random debris that litter much of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, the fourth reactor looks in relatively good condition. A new structure covers the damage from a hydrogen explosion that blew its roof off days after a massive earthquake and tsunami hit the plant in March 2011. But the building is still unstable, and its spent-fuel storage pool highly dangerous. Read the article

 

The Guardian's Justin McCurry reports on the quixotic battle being fought by a determined horse breeder in the shadow of the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Until March, 2011, Tokue Hosokawa had only to peer through the window of his home in Iitate village to confirm that all was well with his 100-year-old family business. The 130 or so horses that once roamed this sprawling farm have sustained three generations of Hosokawa's family.   Read the article

Martin Fackler and Hiroko Tabuchi write in the New York Times about the environmental impact of the continuing leakage of radioactivity into the air and sea.

For months now, it has been hard to escape the continuing deluge of bad news from the devastated Fukushima nuclear power plant. Even after the company that operates the plant admitted this summer that tons of contaminated groundwater was leaking into the Pacific Ocean every day, new accidents have added to the uncontrolled releases of radioactive materials.   Read the article

Journalist celebrates court win

Nathalie-Kyoko Stucky reports for the Japan Subculture Research Center on the celebration party for the court victory of a free-lance journalist in a SLAPP suit filed by a powerful nuclear industry figure.

The tale of Tanaka Minoru, the journalist who took on a much feared kingpin in Japan's nuclear industry, Shiro Shirakawa, and who was sued for neary $670,000, ended happily. Mr. Shirakawa folded. Mr. Tanaka and his supporters celebrated his semi-victory last week. The lawsuit was officially dropped in August but the party was a long time in coming. With new legislation on the horizon to darken the landscape of the freedom of the press, the celebration was very short.           Read the article

Health issues and slumps in morale are the latest issues for the beleaguered workers trying to clean up the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, writes Justin McCurry in The Guardian.

Dressed in a hazardous materials suit, full-face mask and hard hat, Japan's prime minister, Shinzo Abe, left his audience in no doubt: "The future of Japan," he said, "rests on your shoulders. I am counting on you." Abe's exhortation, delivered during a recent visit to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, was only heard by a small group of men inside the plant's emergency control room. But it was directed at almost 6,000 more..

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Ex PM Koizumi's son on the way up

Ex PM Junichiro Koizumi's son, Shinjiro, has been promoted at the Reconstruction Agency, reports Ayako Mie of the Japan Times. This, despite his criticism of his own party's policies in in reconstructing Tohoku and failing to clean up the nuclear mess.

Shinjiro Koizumi’s appointment Monday as parliamentary secretary in charge of Tohoku’s recovery has generated much attention amid mounting criticism of the government for failing to speed up reconstruction efforts or end the radioactive water spill into the sea at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. The 32-year-old son of popular former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will oversee its Iwate and Miyagi divisions.

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