Recent scenes from the emergency temporary housing at Izumi-Tamatsuyu and Watanabe-Hiruno, Fukushima

Original Japanese written by Izumi Koshiyama, No Nuke Project

The English below written and arranged by Heeday, based on the original Japanese

The English edited by Rev. Dr. Henry French, ELCA

The emergency temporary housing at Izumi-Tamatsuyu, located in Iwaki, Fukushima, provides temporary housing to refugees from the little town of Tomioka, whose entire territory is part of the no-go zone. Another hard-hit town, Okuma, is also completely within the off-limits area and its former residents now live in the temporary housing of Watanabe-Hiruno, Fukushima.

The Fukushima Daiichi meltdown forced these people to leave their hometowns more than five and a half years ago. Those refugees have made good friends in their temporary residences, yet one of them told me that separation from such new friends might happen someday. Therefore, said the refugee at a “Comfy Café” held at one of the temporary housing facilities, making the most of the present time is the thing to do. That message still rings in my mind. A “Comfy Café” meets every Friday morning at the temporary housing of Izumi-Tamatsuyu (for Tomioka refugees), and every Thursday and Saturday morning at Watanabe-Hiruno (for Okuma refugees).


Scenes from the temporary housing of Izumi-Tamatsuyu, Iwaki, Fukushima (housing for refugees from Tomioka)

Present of potted flowers, and a ∗“potato boiling party”

On Friday, November 25th, the Japan Red Cross Society’s Iwaki Branch presented countless potted flowers to the refugees at Izumi-Tamatsuyu
People from the Red Cross Society joined in the※ “potato boiling party” with the refugees, on the same day.

※ “Potato boiling parties” (known as “imoni” in Tohoku Japanese) are common in the Tohoku region of Japan. At such parties, occasionally held outdoors, people boil potatoes and many other foods, and then eat them together as an act of friendship. Especially during the harsh winter of Tohoku, an indoor “imoni” brings people together around the boiling pots, and they enjoy “warmth” both physically and mentally

For a Wikipedia page explaining the Tohoku custom, visit


Scenes from the temporary housing of Watanabe-Hiruno, Iwaki, Fukushima (housing for refugees from Okuma)

A scene from a Comfy Café held there

The staff prepares for the Café before it starts, making coffee. (December 10th)
The participants enjoy chatting about their health and many other things over sweets presented by donors, handmade pickles, and pumpkins cooked for the winter solstice. (December 10th)


In Japan, many cook and eat pumpkins on and around the winter solstice, wishing for good health throughout the winter.

Dealing with the aftermath of Fukushima Daiichi’s meltdown will cost twice as much as originally expected

Original Japanese written by Kay Ikezumi, Secretary General, No Nuke Project

The English below written and arranged by Heeday, based on the original Japanese

The English edited by Rev. Dr. Henry French, ELCA

The cost of dealing with the aftermath of the Fukushima meltdown has doubled. Japan’s national government plans to provide more loans to TEPCO.

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has estimated that the cost of dealing with the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown, including the decommissioning, compensation paid to those affected, etc., could grow to some 21.5 trillion yen (USD195.5 billion, at USD = JPY110). Two major reasons for this are (1) decommissioning work is taking longer than originally expected, and (2) much more in compensation to affected farmers is necessary. This new estimate doubles the total cost from the former estimate of some 11 trillion yen.

To help the operator of the devastated nuclear power plant, TEPCO, finance this massive cost, Japan’s national government has announced a plan to increase the maximum interest-free loan available to the power company from 9 trillion yen to 14 trillion. Yet how is the government going to finance this increase? It plans to finance it from increased usage rates for power provided by TEPCO and other major power companies. In short, the consumers of power will have to bear the burden of the expanded loans to TEPCO. This new estimate is to be presented to the relevant committees of the METI and the investigation committee of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), in November, turned its back on its own “rule of 40 years” for nuclear power stations’ operation and gave the go-ahead to the “life prolongation” of Unit 3, Mihama Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), located in Fukui, Japan, and operated by the Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO). This was the third outdated reactor whose life prolongation was approved by the NRA, after Units 1 and 2 of KEPCO’s Takahama NPP, also located in Fukui, a prefecture situated in the middle of Japan along the Japan Sea coast. Moreover, Japan has seven other NPP reactors that have been in operation in excess of four decades and, including those seven, the nation has sixteen reactors in all that have been in operation longer than 30 years. If the NRA stays on its current path, we will see more and more outdated reactors put back to work, which increases the risk of another major accident. Any such an accident will lead to heavier financial burdens in its aftermath.

Compensation, decontamination, decommissioning, and…. We have yet to see an end to any of these issues. We cannot let the current nuclear power policies remain as they are. If we do, more lives will be wasted, and Japan could be bankrupted.

Germany has determined to abolish all its NPPs by 2022, and there have been firm moves to make Europe nuke-free. Taiwan has moved to the nuke-free road, deciding to abolish its NPPs by 2025. Both Germany and Taiwan have learned precious lessons from Fukushima. Both governments have listened to the voices of their people. Why can’t Japan’s government do the same?

Japan is carrying an ever-expanding financial burden, and has experienced many unexpected tragedies from the use of nuclear power. Japan should be a leader in a worldwide movement to set our planet free of nuclear power. That should be a major part of the compensation paid to those affected by the Fukushima meltdown.

(Original Japanese written on December 8th, 2016)

Rehearsing a Christmas pageant

Original Japanese written by Izumi Koshiyama, No Nuke Project

The English below written and arranged by Heeday, based on the original Japanese

The English edited by Rev. Dr. Henry French, ELCA

“Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee” (The Gospel according to Luke 1:28).

This year, once again the kids at St. Paul’s Kindergarten are enjoying a blessed Advent.

^ The Sakura Class (Cherries) (3 years in age or younger): This class is learning the meaning of Christmas and having a good time with friends and the nurses.

^ The Tampopo Class (Dandelions) (Younger kids of regular kindergarten age): They are learning about the birth of Jesus so they can celebrate Christmas with joy.

^ The Momo Class (Peaches) (Medium-aged kids): They are also learning about the birth of Jesus so they too can celebrate Christmas with joy.

^ The Hikari Class (Lights) (Older kids): This class is moved by the birth of Jesus and waiting for His coming with longing.

The Hikari Class is now rehearsing a Christmas pageant. Today, they had their first dress rehearsal.

The kids helped each other put on costumes, which had hooks on the back.
They look happy in their costumes.
She is dressing as one of the three magi.
Praying together before the church, to start off the rehearsal

This is the sixth Christmas after the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown began. The situation of Fukushima’s children has not turned for the better. Still, all the parents and faculty members of the kindergarten are doing their very best, working together to keep the children safe. While, with the passing of time, more and more people are losing their concerns over Fukushima, many people, both in and out of Japan, are still graciously helping us. We are very thankful for it!

We ask for your continued help, so our children can grow up strong and happy.

(Original Japanese written on December 7th, 2016)

“Life prolongation” of Mihama’s Unit 3 approved

Original Japanese written by Kay Ikezumi, Secretary General.

The English below written and arranged by Heeday, based on the original Japanese

The English edited by Rev. Dr. Henry French, ELCA

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), on November 16th, gave a go-ahead to the extended operation of Unit 3 of The Kansai Electric Power’s Mihama Nuclear Power Station (hereafter “KEPCO” and “Mihama NPS,” respectively). Located in Mihama, Fukui Prefecture, Japan (some 47 miles north-northeast of Kyoto), the old NPP has been at work over the last four decades. This is the third aged reactor whose “prolongation” has been approved, following Units 1 and 2 of KEPCO’s Takahama Nuclear Power Plant (NPP).

Following the disaster of TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi NPP, the NPP safety laws were revised in 2011 to eliminate outdated NPPs. Under the revised safety laws, Japan has a “40-year of operation” regulation. There is, however, an exemption to this. The NRA can authorize an old NPP’s “prolongation” of operation, just once, for up to 20 additional years, as a “highly exceptional case,” since applying the “40-year rule” strictly would eliminate many reactors, which might result in a power shortage.

The approval of Mihama Unit 3’s prolongation is making “highly exceptional cases” commonplace. At present, what practical meaning does the “40-year rule” have? Many are seriously worried that we might see more and more aged reactors’ lives prolonged.

The Mihama NPS marks its 40th year of operation this November, and should have been decommissioned, if the NRA had not approved its prolongation.

The Authority claims it has confirmed that a major accident would not destroy Unit 3’s reactor vessel. When the Fukushima Daiichi disaster hit, however, most media reported that the “myth of NPP safety has broken down.” So, where has this lesson gone?

KEPCO says it will spend some JPY165 billion on reinforcing the unit, to make it resistant to earthquakes and tsunamis. The reinforcement work should be finished in 2020, after which the reactor is to be restarted. Despite this gigantic investment, at a regular press meeting last October, KEPCO’s President, Shigeki Iwane, emphatically stated: “We believe the restart work should pay off economically.”

Recently, India and Japan signed a civil nuclear agreement. One result of the deal is that many of Japan’s reactor providers—now that it is next to impossible to build a new NPP in Japan—can now count on India’s market as a major NPP export target.

The restart approval and the nuclear agreement stand on the same principle—money matters more than life. Life is disregarded for money.

In the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster, currently almost 100,000 Fukushima citizens are still living as evacuees, to avoid exposure to radioactivity and other hazards, in places far away from their hometowns. They have already been living as refugees for 5.5 years now, and this has cost many of them their health. Many aged evacuees are living in isolation, which adversely affects their health, both mentally and physically, while some have chosen to commit suicide.

The Fukushima Daiichi disaster has deprived those citizens of their ordinary living, exposed them to radiation, and left behind gigantic heaps of radioactive waste. Also, the decommissioning of the NPP has a long, winding way to go. None of these grave issues have so far been resolved. Still, there is a mega trend in Japan to approve NPP life prolongation, permit NPP restarts, and export NPPs.

We need to stand up against this trend. Otherwise, it will run wild.

Below: Article from the November 17th, 2016 edition of the Asahi Shimbun newspaper


India and Japan have signed a civil nuclear agreement

Original Japanese written by Toshiaki Ozeki, member of the No Nuke Project’s Committee

The English below written and arranged by Heeday, based on the original Japanese

The English edited by Rev. Dr. Henry French, ELCA

Below: Article from the November 12th, 2016 edition of the Asahi Shimbun newspaper

Prime Ministers Modi of India and Abe of Japan, on November 11th, agreed to and signed a civil nuclear agreement which will enable the export of nuclear power plants from Japan to India. Japan has experienced the devastation nuclear energy can cause, and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster has yet to be controlled. India, an owner of nuclear weapons, has yet to join in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Thus, many are asking serious questions about the agreement. Though the deal provides that, in the event India resumes nuclear weapon tests, Japan can cease cooperation with India, this agreement, in its essence, is an arrangement for Japan’s nuclear power plant builders/providers to secure a good market. Thus, PM Abe’s remark that his nation is going for “a world without nuclear weapons” now sounds empty.


A “decommission experiment facility” to be built in Tomioka, Fukushima

Original Japanese written by Izumi Koshiyama, staffer

The English below written and arranged by Heeday, based on the original Japanese

The English edited by Rev. Dr. Henry French, ELCA

Below: Article from the November 9th, 2016 edition of the Fukushima Minpo newspaper

The JAEA (Japan Atomic Energy Agency, a national R&D agency) intends to build a new experiment facility in Tomioka Town, Fukushima. (The northern border of the town is only around 3 miles away from Fukushima Daiichi, at its closest point.)  At this facility, they plan to conduct experiments in FY2017 to learn what caused the melted fuel rods (called “fuel debris”) at Fukushima Daiichi. The Japanese government has allocated a budget of some JPY 1.5 billion to the new facility’s construction according to the article. Literally, billions of our tax money is going to this project.