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2011 Japanese Earthquake/Tsunami

Even the dreaded Yakuza are helping:


TOKYO (Reuters) - Tons of relief goods have been delivered to victims of Japan's catastrophic earthquake and tsunami from a dark corner of society: the "yakuza" organized crime networks.

Yakuza groups have been sending trucks from the Tokyo and Kobe regions to deliver food, water, blankets and toiletries to evacuation centres in northeast Japan, the area devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami which have left at least 27,000 dead and missing.

Yakuza are better known for making money from extortion, gambling, pornography and prostitution, as well as for the often-elaborate tattoos covering much of their bodies.

But disasters bring out another side of yakuza, who move swiftly and quietly to provide aid to those most in need.

As with the devastating 1995 Kobe earthquake, government workers were slow in reaching afflicted areas, and the 300,000 or so survivors, so yakuza groups stepped in quickly, and in many cases, were first on the ground.

Such actions stem from yakuza knowing what it's like to have to fend for yourself, without any government or community support, because they are considered outcasts.

Many gang members faced discrimination and come from minority populations such as ethnic Koreans or "burakumin" - those who work in businesses seen as related to death, such as butchers and leather tanners.

"Yakuza are dropouts from society," said Manabu Miyazaki, a prolific author who has written more than 100 books about yakuza and minorities.

"They've suffered, and they're just trying to help other people who are in trouble," said Miyazaki, himself the son of a former Kyoto yakuza boss.

Others see ulterior motives to the groups' charity.

"If they help citizens, it's hard for the police to say anything bad," said Tomohiko Suzuki, a journalist who has written several books on Japan's underworld.

"The yakuza are trying to position themselves to gain contracts for their construction companies for the massive rebuilding that will come."

One yakuza boss rejected such criticism.

"It takes too long for the arm of the government to reach out here so it's important to do it now," the Weekly Taishuu magazine, which specialises in yakuza affairs, quoted a top yakuza as saying.

"Our honest sentiment right now is to be of some use to people," said the boss, who declined to be identified.


Yakuza groups have so far dispatched at least 70 trucks to the quake zone loaded with supplies worth more than $500,000, according to Jake Adelstein, an expert on yakuza who lives in Tokyo and is writing two books on the Japanese syndicates.

The gangs' charity is rooted in their "ninkyo" code, Adelstein says, which values justice and duty and forbids allowing others to suffer. "In times such as earthquakes, they put their money where their mouths are," he said.

Atsushi Mizoguchi a freelance writer and yakuza antagonizer who has written about organized crime for 40 years, also gives the yakuza the benefit of the doubt.

"Rather than a PR effort, I think it's actually good intentions," said Mizoguchi, who has angered the yakuza so much that he has been stabbed twice in attacks by gang members.

But yakuza shun the spotlight regarding their relief work.

Adelstein explains that there is an informal understanding between yakuza and police who tolerate the gangs carrying out such charitable work, but not seeking publicity for it.

"What they seek most is self-satisfaction," said Miyazaki, the son of the former yakuza boss. "It's not for pay, but for pride."

There are an estimated 80,000 yakuza in Japan. The Sumiyoshi-kai and Inakawa-kai, the second and third biggest organized crime syndicates, are believed to be the most active in the earthquake-tsunami disaster relief.

In a phone call to the Inakawai-kai headquarters in Tokyo, a man from the gang's "general affairs division" brusquely told Reuters: "We don't talk." A faxed request to speak with the Inakawa-kai's No.2 leader went unanswered.

Part of the reason for the yakuzas' reluctance to receive attention stems from stepped-up enforcement after a 1992 anti-gang law and increased crackdowns by the National Police Agency over the past year, which have heightened anti-yakuza sentiment among the public.

But there have been no reports of donations being refused -- perhaps because there is no indication who supplied them.

And, says author Suzuki, this is not the time to nitpick over the origins of emergency goods.

"When it's life or death, you don't care where your food comes from," he said.

(Editing by Miral Fahmy)
More information about the nuclear reactors:


A series of slides and diagrams.
shared in accordance with provisions of the Copyright Act

Japan mobilizes 100,000 troops for tsunami recovery in biggest mission since World War II
By Eric Talmadge, The Associated Press

ISHINOMAKI, Japan — Since World War II, Japan's military has never been involved in combat. Its forces have never fired a shot in war. But few are questioning their value now.

In its biggest mission since 1945, more than 100,000 troops — roughly half the force — have been mobilized to lead the recovery effort after a March 11 tsunami that devastated the coast of northeast Japan.

The presence of the Self-Defence Forces, as the military is known in Japan, is ubiquitous. Soldiers in dark green fatigues dig through mud and debris in search of bodies. Convoys deliver food and fuel to hundreds of thousands of survivors. They provide water, logistical support and leadership at shelters. Their helicopters dropped ocean water on the overheating Fukushima nuclear plant after the tsunami disabled its cooling systems.

This, the soldiers say, is what they signed up to do.
article continues...
Thucydides said:
More information about the nuclear reactors:


A series of slides and diagrams.

Helpful graphics.

Hi-Resolution photographs taken by a small unmanned drone (released by AIR PHOTO SERVICE):

Diane Sawyer/ABC news, check out 1:56 min-2:08, the green metal seen in the footage is the reactor core:

Can see it here as well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ry4bye6ycdE

An intriguing proposition.....
Saint John's commissioner of finance wants the federal government to fly victims of the Japanese earthquake to Canada and have them stay here while their homes are being rebuilt.

Greg Yeomans got the idea watching some of the 450,000 people in shelters after the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in northern Japan on March 11.

Yeomans said the precedent was when the government flew people from war-torn Kosovo to Canada in 1999.

"Canada was involved in a huge humanitarian airlift and 5,000 people were brought to Canada through the Department of National Defence and the Red Cross."

In that instance, they were housed on Canadian military bases.

"The simple version is bring people over and billet them in homes. And the idea there is that Japan Airlines alone has 200 aircraft, so if, you say, flew a couple of 400 passenger jets over once, twice a day, you'd get 500 to 1,000 people a day arriving in the country, and disperse them out that way." ....
More from CBC.ca here.
Japanese, U.S. military search for tsunami victims
SENDAI, JAPAN— The Associated Press
Published Friday, Apr. 01, 2011 3:03PM EDT

Japanese and U.S. military ships and helicopters trolled Japan's tsunami-ravaged coastline looking for bodies Friday, part of an all-out search that could be the last chance to find those swept out to sea nearly three weeks ago.

More than 16,000 are still missing after the disaster, which officials fear may have killed up to 25,000 people. The 9.0-earthquake and tsunami also ravaged a nuclear plant that continues to leak radiation despite frantic efforts to control it...................

.............Altogether, 25,000 soldiers, 120 helicopters, and 65 ships will continue searching through Sunday. If U.S. forces spot bodies, they will point them out to the Japanese military rather than trying to retrieve them. So far, more than 11,700 deaths have been confirmed.

“Unfortunately we've come across remains over the scope of our mission, so it may be more likely than you think,” to find bodies at sea so long after the disaster, said U.S. Navy Lt. Anthony Falvo.

Some may have sunk and just now be resurfacing. Others may never be found. After the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, 37,000 of the 164,000 people who died in Indonesia simply disappeared, their bodies presumably washed out to sea.

The Japanese military stopped short of saying the search would end for good after Sunday, but public-affairs official Yoshiyuki Kotake said activities will be limited. The search includes places that were submerged or remain underwater, along with the mouths of major rivers and the ocean as far as 20 kilometres from shore...........

Dissident said:
Sign me up. I'd take a family of Japanese any day.
This a noble idea but I just don't think it is logistically feasible. Would not the ordinary Japanese family wish to stay in their own country and assist in making everything all right again?
.... courtesy of the U.S. Congressional Research Service (via the Federation of American Scientists' Secrecy News blog).

The Japanese Nuclear Incident:  Technical Aspects (PDF), Jonathan Medalia, March 31, 2011

Japan’s 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami:  Economic Effects and Implications for the United States (PDF), Dick K. Nanto, William H. Cooper & J. Michael Donnelly, March 25, 2011

Nuclear Power Plant Sites: Maps of Seismic Hazards and Population Centers (PDF), Anthony Andrews, March 29, 2011
Japan can't seem to catch a break.

Japan hit by 7.1-magnitude quake
Tsunami alert has been issued


Japan was rattled by a strong aftershock and tsunami warning Thursday night nearly a month after a devastating earthquake and tsunami flattened the northeastern coast.

Officials said Thursday's quake was a 7.1-magnitude and hit 40 kilometres under the water and off the coast of Miyagi prefecture. The quake that preceded last month's tsunami was a 9.0-magnitude.

Officials at the tsunami-ravaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant said there's no immediate sign of new problems caused by the aftershock. Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said it evacuated two workers there and seven at a sister plant to the south that was not badly damaged.

Paul Caruso, a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colo., said Thursday's quake struck at about the same location and depth as the March 11 quake. It's the strongest of the more than 1,000 aftershocks that have been felt since, except for a 7.9 aftershock that day.

Just heard on the news that the tsumani warning for Japan has been lifted.
There's specualtion that the situation at the plants is worse than expected.

Yes, some may be tin-hat stuff.

OTOH  the above source seems credible.

Turning off the radiation detectors in Canada?

Like turning off the smoke detector when the neighbours house is on fire

De Nile is not just a river, je pense

Hope, I'm wrong
or maybe, just maybe, there really is no significant rise in radiation in BC.

edit: extra comments removed, because they really did not add anything useful.
Here is an unsettling article; there were reliable indications in advance of the earthquake:


The Man Who Predicted the Tsunami
After studying ancient rocks, a Japanese geologist warned that a disaster was imminent—to no avail


The giant tsunami that assaulted northern Japan's coast surprised just about everyone. But Masanobu Shishikura was expecting it. The thought that came to mind, he says, was "yappari," a Japanese word meaning roughly, "Sure enough, it happened."

"It was the phenomenon just as I had envisioned it," says the 41-year-old geologist, who has now become the Japanese Cassandra.

Dr. Shishikura's studies of ancient earth layers persuaded him that every 450 to 800 years, colliding plates in the Pacific triggered waves that devastated areas around the modern city of Sendai, in Miyagi Prefecture, as well as in Fukushima Prefecture.

One early tsunami was known to historians. Caused by the 869 Jogan quake, its waves, according to one chronicle, killed 1,000 people. Dr. Shishikura had found strong evidence of a later tsunami in the same region, which probably took place between 1300 and 1600.

"We cannot deny the possibility that [such a tsunami] will occur again in the near future," he and colleagues wrote in August 2010. That article appeared in a journal published by the Active Fault and Earthquake Research Center in Tsukuba, the government-funded institute where Dr. Shishikura works.

He was beginning to spread the word. Plans were under way at his center to hand out maps so people would understand which areas were at risk. Dr. Shishikura had an appointment on March 23 to explain his research to officials in Fukushima.

Dr. Shishikura's boss at the center, Yukinobu Okamura, had even mentioned the results at a 2009 meeting of an official committee discussing the safety of nuclear-power plants. Dr. Okamura says the idea of beefing up tsunami preparedness didn't go anywhere.

At Dr. Shishikura's eighth-floor office, bookshelves and televisions crashed to the floor during the quake on March 11. He has found temporary office quarters one story below, where he discussed his unheeded warning. "It's unfortunate that it wasn't in time," he said. But he also felt vindicated after past slights, remembering the local official who didn't want to help him dig holes in the earth for research and who called the endeavor a "nuisance."

His work is part of a young field called paleoseismology. Kerry Sieh, a pioneer in the specialty, says that the few dozen people who do this kind of work are usually doomed to be ignored. Humans are made to trust what they have seen themselves, or what someone they know has seen. They aren't designed "to deal with these once-in-500-year events," says Dr. Sieh, formerly of the California Institute of Technology and now head of the Earth Observatory of Singapore.

From his youth, Dr. Shishikura liked to collect fossils in the hills outside Tokyo. He says he realized in high school how geology could answer questions about the past.

His method is fairly simple. Miyagi Prefecture has rich soil, but sandwiched in it are layers of sand and pebbles that Dr. Shishikura says must have been carried from the shore by tsunamis. Looking at the layers allowed his group to estimate the rough dates of waves that struck as far back as 3,500 years ago.

Many lives could have been saved, at relatively little cost, by spreading awareness of the danger. People in Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures were used to strong quakes, but the location and magnitude of these seismic events didn't generate tsunamis. Further north on the eastern coast, tsunamis were well-known from quakes in 1896 and 1933. Those were of yet another, weaker variety that affected mainly low-lying areas along the coast.

During the magnitude 9.0 quake on March 11, some people well inland, thinking themselves safe, took time to change clothes or to make phone calls. Others watched the disaster unfold instead of running to high ground. They proved what Dr. Shishikura's group wrote last year about local tsunamis: "It appears to be almost completely unknown among the general public that in the past great tsunamis have inundated areas as far as 3-4 kilometers inland as the result of earthquakes exceeding magnitude 8."

Now, Dr. Shishikura's team is looking at the Nankai trough to the south, which could trigger tsunamis hitting the island of Shikoku and the Kii Peninsula. Dr. Shishikura says large tsunamis appear to hit there every 400 to 600 years, with the most recent in 1707.

Those rough calculations suggest the danger is at least a century away. Still, Dr. Shishikura says, "we had better be on the lookout."

Write to Peter Landers at peter.landers@wsj.com
SeaKingTacco said:
or maybe, just maybe, there really is no significant rise in radiation in BC.

edit: extra comments removed, because they really did not add anything useful.


Theres been plenty of time when I' may have been desrving of censure.

This aint one of them

I say again, checkout www.fairewinds.com
Thucydides said:
Here is an unsettling article; there were reliable indications in advance of the earthquake:
In hindsight, yep.

Thucydides, I'm normally a fan of your posts (thought your History of the Peloponnesian War rocked), but can you imagine anyone reacting -- at least positively -- to someone saying, "Japan will, within the span of two weeks, face an earthquake, tsunami, nuclear meltdown, oh, and....uh, volcanic activity (oh, but the last...just in the south)? Not likely.

Prescience is easy....again, in hindsight; it turns out that Truman actually defeated Dewey.  ;)
I'm glad you enjoyed my earlier works  ;)

The point of the article isn't so much that we could have avoided or prevented the disaster, but rather that reliable techniques exist to forecast such events. Rather than crying wolf or playing chicken little, it is prudent to start taking these techniques seriously.

Imagine if these warnings had been used to raise some EMS levels of alert, perhaps move some equipment and supplies into higher readiness and so on. The JSDF would have been the ideal vehicle for this (moving things around could be part of a readiness exercise), and other, non obtrusive things like cataloguing where heavy construction equipment is located can also be done at the time.

We need to start thinking along these lines as well. Ice storms and floods are part of the Canadian landscape, and BC is located along the "Ring of Fire" and could be devastated by an earthquake at some time. (If we had some means of predicting increased probabilities of earthquakes like described then we should be getting on with that as well).
SeaKingTacco said:
or maybe, just maybe, there really is no significant rise in radiation in BC.

edit: extra comments removed, because they really did not add anything useful.

Bay Area rainwater tested last month exceeded federal standards for radiation in drinking water by 46 times, but a federal agency downplayed the potential health effects because the radiation is weakening rapidly and short-term exposure brings minimal risks.

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/bay-area/2011/04/radiation-bay-area-rainwater-high-weakening?utm_source=feedburner+sfexaminer%2FLocal&utm_medium=feed+Local+News&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sfexaminer%2FLocal+%28Local+News%29feed&utm_content=feed&utm_term=feed#ixzz1JAZpPd3b

Up here we turn off the detectors.

In he states EPA wants to riase "Safe Radiation Exposure limits.

Here is another wacko alarmist site for your perusal

Dept of Nuclear engineering at Berrkley

I simply cant make this STUFF up
Vancouver, Canada radiation tests show iodine-131 in rainwater at almost 100 times above US drinking water limit

link here


I am positive that that is NOT an official site, but one that has been set up by some Environmental Activists.  Most of the links on those pages lead to ERROR messages or Blank Pages.

Here is an example:

Click on the bottom link in the top right margin RECENT POSTS:  "Cesium-137 forecast shows high altitude radiation cloud concentrating over California, western US on April 12 (VIDEO)"

And you land up with a link to YouTube about "Nadja Pettitt - Parisian, Mother of 7, Mormon "  http://enenews.com/cesium-137-forecast-shows-high-altitude-radiation-cloud-concentrate-over-western-us-on-april-12-video

Thx, it probably is.

They may also have had problesm setting up their links, or someone else pointed that out to them

I just clicked on the link provided and it seemed to be a valid link.

I think we all hope that the situation will mitigate, with minimal impacts.

I certainly wouldn't want to one of those reposnsible for deciding what info to release.

Seems to be a lessor of two evils scenario