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Home: Strongest Ever Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: News updates for May 28-June 3, 2011

Strongest Ever Japan Earthquake
and Tsunami
News updates for May 28-June 3, 2011

This page is a continuation of my main Strongest Ever Japan Earthquake and Tsunami page, reflecting May 28-June 3, 2011 news updates for the 12th week after the initial quake. Thanks so much for your concern, and please remember in your thoughts and prayers those thousands of people who are suffering right now and haven't heard from their missing family members.


News Updates for 12th Week after Japan Earthquake and Tsunami -- May 28-June 3, 2011 (JST=UT+9 hrs., or CDT+14 hrs., e.g. 8 am in Houston = 10 pm in Tokyo):

June 3, 2011 8:50 (JST):  'Earthquake drunk' cases on the rise - A few days after Japan's magnitude 9 earthquake struck, physician Munetaka Ushio felt the unnerving sensation of the earth moving beneath his feet. Dizzy and unsettled, he fell into a chair and waited out what he thought was another of the hundreds of aftershocks that have rocked Japan since the disastrous March 11 earthquake. What happened next really shook him, Ushio says. When nobody else in the room said they had felt any tremors, Ushio checked an earthquake-monitoring website to confirm his suspicion: It was all in his head. Ushio had experienced a mysterious condition known here as jishin-yoi, or "earthquake drunk," an illness in which people feel as if they are swaying, as though moved by a phantom temblor. More...

physician Munetaka Ushio
"I know it's not a life-threatening condition. It fascinated me. So I became my own test animal," said Munetaka Ushio, an ear, nose and throat specialist at Tokyo Medical Center. (Tom Miyagawa Coulton/L.A. Times)

June 2, 2011 21:20 (JST):  Taiwan to offer 15,000 hotel rooms for Japan earthquake victims
- Taiwanese hotels will be offering 15,000 free rooms for Japanese victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. That's the word from Taiwan's Tourism Bureau on Thursday. The Tourism Bureau said it hopes that every hotel in Taiwan can offer at least one free room. Currently 350 hotels have agreed to do so. Bureau official Chiang Ming-ching said his office will announce the final arrangements at the Taiwan-Japan Tourism Summit at the end of June. Chiang said Taiwanese travel agencies also plan to donate NT$20 million (~US$698,000) to Japan for relief efforts. More...

June 2, 2011 6:10 (JST):  Japan Today "Picture of the Day"
 

Super Cool Biz
Fast Retailing unveils its "Super Cool Biz" lineup for men, including chinos, mesh polo shirts, linen jackets and knee-length shorts, that it bills as "cool, yet professional" office dress. The "Super Cool Biz" summertime energy-conserving campaign began Wednesday. (Source: Japan Today)

June 1, 2011 22:00 (JST):  Free Telephone Consultations on Legal Issues for Earthquake Victims
- The Tokyo Public Law Office will offer free telephone consultations on a variety of legal matters to non-Japanese victims of the earthquake through September 30, 2011. Consultation hours are Monday through Friday from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and are available in English, Japanese, and several other languages. To take advantage of this service please call 03-3591-2291. (Source: June 2011 Tokyo U.S. Embassy newsletter)

June 1, 2011 16:05 (JST):  Tepco Begins Compensation Payments Despite Government Aid Delay
- Tokyo Electric Power Co. began to pay initial compensation Tuesday to farmers for their lost income due to contamination of their crops from radioactive fallouts from the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex. In the first compensation payments to businesses hit by the March 11 disaster, Tepco paid out 500 million yen ($6 million) to farmers who suffered losses because they were unable to sell their produce due to concerns over radiation. Separately, Tepco has paid Y47 billion in living expenses to about 50,000 households who evacuated the area around the plant. (Source: Wall Street Journal)

June 1, 2011 9:30 (JST):  Fukushima cleanup could cost up to $250 billion - A private think tank says the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant could cost Japan up to $250 billion over the next 10 years. The estimate is part of the Nuclear Safety Commission's ongoing survey of opinions on the disaster from nuclear and other experts. He said the costs of the accident could range from nearly $71-250 billion. The figure includes $54 billion to buy up all land within 20 kilometers of the plant, $8 billion for compensation payments to local residents, and from $9-188 billion to scrap the plant's reactors. (Source: nhk.or.jp)

June 1, 2011 7:15 (JST):  IAEA draft on Fukushima says tsunami risk underestimated
- A group of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency acknowledged in a summary of a draft report on the Fukushima nuclear crisis that the risks of tsunami were underestimated and called for the independence of nuclear regulatory authorities to be ensured. The summary is expected to be handed to the Japanese government on Wednesday by the IAEA group, which has been visiting Japan on a fact-finding mission into Japan's worst nuclear crisis, triggered by the massive March 11 earthquake and tsunami. (Source: Japan Today)

May 31, 2011 21:15 (JST):  Japanese photographer getting tsunami and earthquake victims to smile
- A Japanese photographer is making a difference for tsunami survivors by bringing smiles to the faces of people who have lost so much. Koji Mizutani has seen devastation before. From Japan's 1995 earthquake, to the 2008 quake in Sichuan Province, China, to Sumatra, Indonesia, hit by a devastating tsunami in 2006. He's taken pictures of more than 5,000 smiles. Now, he hopes his pictures will encourage survivors of Japan's recent earthquake and tsunami. Last month, he traveled to hard-hit Miyagi prefecture to take pictures of children smiling, then printed those pictures on umbrellas. Saturday in Tokyo, people opened their umbrellas to show off their smiles. More...

Earthquake victim smiles

May 31, 2011 15:50 (JST):  Disasters prompt more women to seek marriage
- Amid the increased sense of insecurity in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, a growing number of Japanese women set their minds on finding a marriage partner. Many women say they have become more eager to get married after reassessing their lifestyles and rediscovering the importance of family in these trying times. Since the twin disasters, which also triggered the nation's worst nuclear crisis, matchmaking agencies have reported a rise in female membership and the number of marriages arranged, while retailers are noting brisk sales of engagement rings and wedding bands. (Source: Japan Today) 

May 31, 2011 6:55 (JST):  Radiation exposure for 2 workers may exceed limit
- Two workers at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant may have been exposed to high levels of radiation exceeding the safety limit set by the government. If confirmed, these are the first cases of radiation exposure since the health ministry raised the limit in March following the accident. Tokyo Electric Power Company said on Monday the 2 workers are men. One is in his 30s and the other in his 40s. Both worked at the control rooms of the Number 3 and 4 reactors, and elsewhere, after the accident broke out at the plant. (Source: nhk.or.jp)

Radiation exposure for 2 workers may exceed limit

May 30, 2011 22:40 (JST):  Japanese scientists hope lone pine brings back 70,000 destroyed by tsunami
- The terrifying force of the March 11 tsunami left only one tree, estimated to be 270 to 280 years old, standing from the Takata Matsubara forest of 70,000 red and black pine trees in Rikuzen-Takata, Iwate Prefecture. Now scientists are using that tree to bring back one of the nation's most beautiful sights, a stretch of beach about 1.2 miles long which has been designated a scenic beauty spot. With permission from the Takata Matsubara Protection Society, the Forest Tree Breeding Center collected 2-inch-long branches with buds, which have been grafted to about 100 rootstocks of red and black pines. If the grafts are successful, the branches of the pine tree will grow as part of new trees, preserving the original tree's genetic material. More...

Takata Matsubara forest pine tree
Before the March tsunami in Japan, about 70,000 red and black pines grew on a stretch of beach about 1.2 miles long. Only one tree, about 270 years old, survived the disaster. (Photo by Yomiuri Shimbun)

May 30, 2011 15:30 (JST):  Gov't misses 30,000-unit home supply goal for quake evacuees
- The government has failed to achieve its stated goal of supplying 30,000 temporary housing units by the end of May for people displaced by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. But the government will not backpedal from a longer-term goal set by Prime Minister Naoto Kan to deliver temporary housing units by mid-August to all evacuees eager to move into such homes, infrastructure minister Akihiro Ohata told a parliamentary session. The number of temporary housing units that can be completed by Tuesday will be 27,200 units, Ohata said. (Source: Japan Today)

May 30, 2011 11:50 (JST):  Japan Today Picture of the Day

Tokyo radioactivity poster
A couple looks at a poster explaining protective wear
against radioactivity in Tokyo on Sunday.

May 30, 2011 7:35 (JST):  Kiwi IT man sells up dream property to help rebuild Japan
- Kiwi entrepreneur Terrie Lloyd, owner and founder of Tokyo-based LINC Media and who has also invested in start-up companies in New Zealand, has put a 19-hectare waterfront estate near Mangonui, NZ on the market, with the land in five titles and a combined capital valuation of $3.4 million. Some of the proceeds from the property sale will be used to help fund business opportunities in Japan. "As you can imagine with the post earthquake, the banks aren't lending a lot of money, so whereas a year or so ago I could have just gone out and just simply raised the money locally, I'm finding now that liquidity is much tighter." More...

Terrie Lloyd & family
Terrie Lloyd, owner and founder of Tokyo-based LINC Media with his children Monica, Sophie and Eva (left to right) in front of the Meiji Shinto shrine in Tokyo.

May 30, 2011 1:20 (JST):  TEPCO believes stabilizing reactors by year-end impossible
- TEPCO is coming to the view that it will be impossible to stabilize the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant by the end of this year, possibly affecting the timing for the government to consider the return of evacuees to their homes near the plant. The revelation that meltdowns had occurred at the Nos. 1 to 3 reactors at the plant, most likely with breaches to pressure vessels encasing nuclear fuel, has led the officials to believe that "there will be a major delay to work" to contain the situation, one of them said. (Source: Japan Today)

May 29, 2011 22:10 (JST):  Gov't mulls making highways in disaster-hit areas toll-free - The government and the ruling Democratic Party of Japan are considering earmarking 60 billion yen in a second supplementary budget for fiscal 2011 to make highways in northeastern Japan hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami fully toll-free. The budget would make the highway toll-free for not only victims of the disaster, but all people driving on them for about half a year from this fall to help the region's recovery. Currently, the transport ministry and lawmakers are in the final stage of preparations to make the highways toll-free for people with a disaster victim certificate for the time being after the current system of limiting highway tolls to 1,000 yen at maximum in wide areas of Japan on weekends ends in mid-June. (Source: Mainichi Daily News)

May 29, 2011 17:50 (JST):  Fukushima tsunami plan based on single page - Japanese nuclear regulators trusted that the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi complex were safe from the worst waves an earthquake could muster based on a single-page memo from the plant operator nearly a decade ago. In the Dec 19, 2001, document -- one double-sized page obtained by The Associated Press under Japan's public records law --Tokyo Electric Power Co rules out the possibility of a tsunami large enough to knock the plant offline and gives scant details to justify this conclusion, which proved to be wildly optimistic. Regulators at the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, or NISA, had asked plant operators for assessments of their earthquake and tsunami preparedness. They didn't mind the brevity of TEPCO's response, and apparently made no moves to verify its calculations or ask for supporting documents. (Source: Japan Today)

May 29, 2011 11:40 (JST):  Foul-smelling fish and seaweed plague survivors of earthquake and tsunami
- Mountains of rotting, foul-smelling fish and seaweed are causing March 11 disaster survivors here and in fishing communities all along Japan's northeast coast serious headaches. Though local governments have been concentrating on removing debris in the quake- and tsunami-ravaged regions, they have not been able to find space for rotting marine harvest -- a lot of which spilled from aqua-farming and fish-processing facilities washed ashore by the tsunami and now increasingly covered in flies. Some residents have reported headaches due to the foul smell, raising health and hygiene concerns. (Source: Mainichi Daily News)

Foul-smelling fish and seaweed plague survivors of earthquake and tsunami
A mountain of rotten fish that had been in storage at fish-processing plants in Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture, is seen on May 25, 2011. (Mainichi)

May 29, 2011 5:25 (JST):  Criteria to assume missing people as dead undecided
- The government under a special law will recognize people still missing three months after the March 11 disaster as dead, but criteria for determining whether individuals fall into the category have yet to be outlined. Local authorities will start accepting applications for bereaved family pensions and other benefits on June 11 as part of efforts to ease financial burdens on those affected by the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit northeastern Japan. Under the special law enacted on May 2, a missing person can be assumed to be dead if his or her fate remains unknown three months after the disaster. (Source: Japan Today)

May 28, 2011 10:35 (JST):  Tokyo Disneyland, DisneySea to halve entrance fee for kids this summer
- Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea will halve the entrance fee for children this summer for the first time as part of efforts to help lift their spirits in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, the operator said Friday. The amusement parks will offer their one-day passport at the price of 2,050 yen, compared with the usual 4,100 yen, for 4- to 11-year-olds from July 8 to Aug. 31, Oriental Land Co said, adding that holders of the annual passport will be excluded from the discount program. (Source: Japan Today)

May 28, 2011 3:20 (JST):  Fukushima gov't to conduct health checks on all residents
- The Fukushima prefectural government will launch long-term health checks on its 2 million residents in the wake of the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, prefectural government officials said Friday. The program will cover those who have evacuated outside of Fukushima Prefecture, the officials said. Through the program, the prefectural government plans to allay concerns among residents about the effects on their health of radioactive substances released from the nuclear power plant which was crippled by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. (Source: Japan Today)

11th week updates continued here: Strongest Ever Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, News updates for May 21-27, 2011



More Japan quake/tsunami news updates...
 
News updates for Mar. 19-25, 2011 (2nd week)
News updates for Mar. 12-18, 2011 (original page - 1st week 
after Mar. 11, 2011 quake)  
 

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2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake -- All revenue from the purchase of "Quakebook" will be used to help the earthquake victims through the American Red Cross.


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Star-studded album benefits Japan earthquake and Pacific tsunami relief. The artists, music labels, and music publishers have waived their royalties and proceeds to ensure that the Japanese Red Cross receives as much support as possible from this initiative.





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