Monday, April 18, 2011

Iitate plans for evacuation

Masashi provided this update of the evacuation plans for Iitate.

"On April 16 and 17, Iitate village received a series of visits by officials of Cabinet Secretariat, including Mr. Edano, Chief Cabinet Secretariat, and Mr. Fukuyama, Vice Chief Cabinet Secretariat. In Iitate village, Mr. Edano discussed the government plan for evacuation with Mayor Kanno and residents. Participants of the meeting have raised their deep concerns on their future, and expressed their discomfort with the way in which the government announced the evacuation plan without prior notice to the village. Mr. Fukuyama mentioned the plan to move Iitate cattle to another place to continue their livestock farming. However, some farmers feel it is very difficult to do that, and the brand name of Iitate beef would be difficult to maintain. Already Iitate beef is suffering from lower price because of this situation.

On April 12, the village’s assembly (parliament) had a meeting with village officials and agricultural cooperatives, and adopted a resolution to stop all kinds of planting this year.

Between April 13 and 16, Iitate village had a series of community meetings on how to respond to the evacuation plan. There was much discussion, but there was so much uncertainty in terms of the impact of radiation, the duration of the evacuation, the lingering negative image to Iitate products, the level of compensation from the electric company and government, and so on.

On April 17, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) released their working plan for the restoration of the nuclear power plant. Based on their plan, it takes about 6 to 9 months to restore the plant and establish a containment system of radioactive materials. This means radiation would continue to spill out throughout this year or even until early next year. It is crucial to estimate how much radioactive materials, such as cesium, would be accumulated around the plant by the end of this year, and assess the impact on farming and fishing."

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