Japan news updates

“Amakudari” has put us all up shit creek without a paddle.

From NHK world news in English.

68 top bureaucrats assume exec posts at utilities

Japan’s industry ministry says a total of 68 former top bureaucrats have assumed executive posts at electric power companies after retiring from the ministry over the past 50 years.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which oversees electric companies, surveyed 12 firms on the number of former career-track bureaucrats that the companies have employed as executives or advisors.

The ministry found that three former chiefs of the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy took post-retirement jobs at utilities or related companies.

They include Toru Ishida, who resigned as an advisor to the Tokyo Electric Power Company last month amid the nuclear crisis at the utility’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The ministry also found that 13 former elite bureaucrats currently hold senior positions at power companies.

The industry ministry faces mounting criticism over the practice known as “amakudari,” in which bureaucrats obtain post-retirement jobs at private companies that they have supervised.

The ministry urges its senior officials and those at energy- and nuclear power-related agencies to voluntarily refrain from accepting post-retirement jobs at power companies.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011 12:48 +0900 (JST)

Now here is a good new story. This is the kind of thing I have been hoping for from the Japanese public!

Shareholders call for nuclear plant closures

NHK has learned that shareholders of five electric power companies in Japan are calling for the utilities to decommission their nuclear power plants in the wake of the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

About 400 stockholders of the Tokyo Electric Power Company, which operates the Fukushima plant, submitted official documents in support of the proposal.

Shareholders of at least four other power companies — Kansai Electric, Chugoku Electric, Kyushu Electric and Tohoku Electric — have made similar proposals.

On Monday, a group of 232 stockholders of Tohoku Electric submitted documents calling for the company to abolish its nuclear power plants.

The group says the potential risks of nuclear power generation are too great for any single company to afford.

The group urged the utility to decommission its nuclear power plants and to end its investment in the spent nuclear fuel reprocessing businesses.

The power companies are expected to examine the proposals and submit them to a vote at their annual shareholders’ meeting. The meetings are typically held by the end of June.

Attention is now focused on what decisions will be made at the meetings amid growing public concern about nuclear power generation.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011 12:09 +0900 (JST)

And finally better later than never?

Belated release of radiation forecast data

The Japanese government is about to begin releasing data projecting the spread of radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant that it initially withheld for fear of causing panic.

The data in question is in a computer system called SPEEDI that predicts the spread of radioactive substances based on actual radiation measurements at various locations and weather conditions.

A joint task force of the government and Tokyo Electric Power Company says about 5,000 undisclosed bits of data will be released from Tuesday.

The information will be carried on the websites of the science ministry, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, and the Nuclear Safety Commission.
The secretary-general of the joint task force and prime the minister’s advisor, Goshi Hosono, apologized for the delay in releasing the data.

Hosono said the task force withheld the information because some data were based on overly rigorous assumptions and feared it may trigger panic.

But he said the task force now believes that panic can be avoided if it offers proper explanations on the projections. He also promised to promptly release all such data in the future.

Hosono said the task force will carry out a monthly check of how TEPCO is proceeding with its plan to bring the nuclear crisis under control.

The utility firm announced a recovery roadmap on April 17th that calls for stabilizing the situation in 6 to 9 months.

Monday, May 02, 2011 19:34 +0900 (JST)

You can find that Data here.

http://www.nsc.go.jp/mext_speedi/index.html

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