11 Jul 2011
MANY JAPANESE INDUSTRIES SEE A NEED TO LEAVE THE COUNTRY. According to a survey by the “Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry” in May 2011, 69% of the 163 participating companies said that the March 2011 Fukushima catastrophe would accelerate the complete or partial relocation of Japanese parts makers to other countries.
SIGNS OF MAJOR SOCIAL CHANGE OCCURRING TODAY The Nippon Life Insurance Research Institute(NLIRI) is a “for profit” Corp. established in 2005 “to adequately meet the diverse and growing needs of society… with a mission to fulfill the needs of basic research and formulate solutions on a broad range of issues. These issues span the domestic and international economy, from finance and industry to urban development, and the supply of services to meet minimum living standards”. NLIRI believes that the SIGNS OF MAJOR SOCIAL CHANGE ARE OCCURRING TODAY, point to the need for “think-tanks”; and that these, will become increasingly important.
“WE’RE GOING TO SEE A SHIFT IN THE INDUSTRIAL STRUCTURE IN THE COUNTRY” said Koichi Haji, NLIRI’s Chief Economist. Companies that use a large amount of electricity will consider more overseas production if they have power supply problems. Those that don’t have to use much power will find ways to save electricity…Fears of power shortages stemming from the Fukushima nuclear disaster are prompting companies to move to the Western part of Japan, and even overseas, to reduce the risk, while companies that own offices only in Tokyo, are taking steps to relocate, in order to reduce the risk of being hit by possible blackouts.
OMINOUSLY FOR JAPAN, Companies that need to use large amounts of electricity for long periods (ON A SUSTAINED BASIS), are planning to shift some of their production centers overseas…
“WHEN IT RAINS – IT POURS” Already burdened with the dollar’s prolonged weakness against the yen, and the highest corporate taxes in the industrialized world, many Japanese manufacturers are worried that instability in Tokyo’s power supply will undermine their global competitiveness. After quake and Tsunami March 11 crippled the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant – Tokyo’s main power source, the government asked large-scale users in the east and northeast to reduce electricity use by 15 % starting 01 Jul 2011. Kansai Electric Power Co., the biggest utility in western Japan, likewise asked companies and households to voluntarily cut power use by around 15 % until Sept. 22.
RISING ENERGY COSTS would present another threat to companies operating in eastern Japan. The rub is that Tokyo Electric Power Co.(TEPCO) is facing enormous damages and compensation expenses to relocated victims, in addition to the huge long-term remediation/stabilization costs of it four(4) Dai No. 1 Nukes, plus their four (4) Spent Fuel Pools. How else but to raise prices in the near future? Somebody always pays!
ELECTRICITY IS ALSO A DIRE COMMERCIAL NEED; Surprisingly, even to Companies that rely completely on the Internet. One such is “Kenko.com” which does all its buying and selling on the Internet. They saw the light soon after March 11 because its only offices were in Tokyo. Spokeswoman Haruka Takizawa said: “If we can’t log-in to our computers, we can’t have access to do anything at all…that means the company cannot receive orders, and cannot direct storehouses to ship products – including much-needed necessities such as bottled water and toilet paper, to customers”. Since May 2011, the Kenco.com has been moving some of its operations to the city of Fukuoka, Japan. Now they plan to expand to roughly 50% of its operations and staff to Fukuoka by the end of next March 2012”. Additionally, Kenco.com has moved one of its storehouses in Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, to Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture, to reduce costs, and expedite deliveries.
OPTICAL-GLASS MAKERS “HOYA CORP” IS LEAVING JAPAN and its plant in Akishima, Tokyo. HOYA is already building a production plant in Shangdong, and plans to start its operations in December 2011. Hoya spokeswoman Akiko Maeyama said: “The plan to build a new plant in China is to diversify our risks,” HOYA’s problem is their Akishima plant was forced to switch-off its electric glass-making furnaces for a few hours a day during the rolling blackouts last March; This forced it to dig into its inventories, briefly curtailed output, and pressured them to set up a plant overseas to avoid any power outage which could damage melted raw material in the furnaces.
Nidec is a Kyoto-based Multi-National Corp. which acquired Emerson Electric Co.’s Motors & Controls Business in 2010. Nidec Corp. claims that it needs uninterrupted electrical energy to succeed, so they looking to relocate some of their motor-testing facilities in Shiga Prefecture, and its development centers in Kyoto and Nagano, to overseas. Nidec claims it must have a stable source of power to test the durability of its electric motors, which are used in automobiles and other machines. Such testing requires running motors without interruption for a couple of months; hence the need for reliable electricity supply. Nidec Corp. already has 12 subsidiaries in countries such as Canada, Mexico, U.S. and the U.K.
Thanks to The Japan Times for quotations, 08 Jul 2011,
On 30 Mar 2011 we published the article below at our SA-EN site. Unfortunately It is proving to be an early call for Japan’s leader’s to PLAN FOR THE WORST-NOW! Time is being wasted!!
In my mind, the article above proves that clear -headed Japanese planners such as those at the NLIRI are now calling for “Think-Tanks” to plan for the very uncertain future of Japan as we now know it. In the affairs of all nations there were/are “tipping points” which need(ed) to be recognized in time to prevent going down “the slippery slope” due to inaction. I believe Japan has reached that point in its history. Things will never return to normal, and joint planning at the highest Governmental levels, Academia, Commerce, and Industry is in order now!!!
Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)
San Antonio, Texas
Home of a great Toyota Tundra Assembly Plant
THE FUTURE OF JAPAN MADE UNCERTAIN BY THE FUKUSHIMA MULTIPLE MELTDOWNS.
30 Mar 2011
Mr. Tsunehisa Katsumata, chairman of the Tokyo Electric Power Co.(TEPCO), expressed his deep remorse for the accident at Fukushima in northern Japan, including explosions, the release of radiation and contamination of crops and tap water. Katsumata added that the Fukushima plant could be entombed in concrete (like Chernobyl – but a bigger – much bigger “sarcophagus”). Although Katsumata referred only to scrapping reactors No. 1, 2, 3 & 4, government officials and other experts have been saying for more than a week that the entire complex, including the less problematic reactors 5 and 6, eventually would have to be decommissioned. Katsumata’s remarks came even as authorities work heroically to bring the battered plant under control; even as they were considering new methods to limit radiation leakages from the facility, including draping some kind of large tarp or cloth over the reactors and, applying resin or glue to the ground to prevent contamination of the soil. SOUNDS VERY TEMPORARY AND QUESTIONABLY EFFECTIVE.
Chief Japanese Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, cautioned later that was just one option being considered, but: “We should look at all the options (UNSAID WAS: ANYBODY GOT ANY?),” Regarding Fukushima’s Prefectural Governor’s request to force people living 12 and 18 miles from the plant to evacuate the area, Edano said: “We are considering the Fukushima Prefectural Governor’s request; People living within 12 miles of the plant have BEEN TOLD to leave their homes, while those living between 12 and 18 miles, have been URGED to move out or stay indoors”. WE CAN EXPECT THAT 18 MILE UNSAFE RADIUS TO EXPAND SWIFTLY OVER THE NEXT 2 WEEKS.
U.S. ON THE SCENE -U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chairman, Gregory Jaczko came to Tokyo earlier in the last week of Mar 2011. We feel certain he will be deeply concerned about the usual complacency of the U.S. nuclear facility industry. Amen!
FRANCE ON THE SCENE French President Nicolas Sarkozy will visit Japan on 31 Mar 2011 to hold a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan. Nuclear experts from the French utility “Areva” arrived in Tokyo on 30 Mar 2011 to advise on the situation at Fukushima, thus (at last) expanding the team of international specialists now consulting on the situation.
WHAT’S TO DO NOW – Nuclear experts are also mulling whether radioactive water that has flooded parts of the facility could be “sucked-up” and placed in a barge; However, radioactive material continues to seep from the plant. Japan’s “Government Nuclear Agency”(counterpart to our NRC) said on 30 Mar 2011 that radioactive Iodine-131 had been detected at 3,355 times the legal limit in seawater several hundred yards from the Fukushima plant. That’s the highest such concentration recorded at sea to date. Nuclear specialists said Iodine 131 isotopes decay in a matter of days, plus the diluting effect of the ocean meant there was negligible concern about the impact of radioactive Iodine 131 on human health.
No comment was made about the presence of more enduring Cesium (with a half-life of 30 years), and Plutonium (Pu 238). THE MOST COMMON PLUTONIUM ISOTOPES (Pu 238), and those found at Fukushima Japan HAVE A HALF-LIFE OF 88 YEARS. SOURCE OF THE FUKUSHIMA PLUTONIUM is still unknown. Experts at France’s Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) say it could have come from the Fukushima No. 3 reactor, which uses mixed oxide (MOX)- about 5% Plutonium and Uranium that has been extracted from spent nuclear fuel and reprocessed. Alternatively, it could be a fissile by-product from burning uranium in the No. 1 and 2 reactors. Plutonium radiation is in alpha particles, which only travel very short distances, and cannot penetrate human skin: HOWEVER, IF INHALED OR INGESTED EVEN IN MINUSCULE AMOUNTS it is extremely damaging to HUMANS AND FAUNA because its radiation causes DNA damage in tissue, thus boosting the risk of cancer. The bone marrow and liver, are especially vulnerable. Just a dozen milligrams of plutonium are lethal to humans/fauna – according to tests on lab animals cited by France’s “Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety” (IRSN).
Folks, one loves to “accentuate the positive”, However, such an attitude can delay/exclude preparation for the worst; at a time when early planning is of the essence. THE FUKUSHIMA INCIDENT will live on as the “MOTHER OF MELTDOWNS”. Born of greed, in a seismic cradle, and with six(6) siblings, it was a disaster waiting to happen. I fear the worst is yet to come, and that the “Unthinkable” should be planned for: JAPAN, ITS PEOPLE, ITS INDUSTRY, AND ITS CULTURE MUST BE RELOCATED to “Host” countries such as Australia, Canada, the U.S., and anywhere else they want, and that wants them. Many (notably the elderly) will choose not to leave “no matter what” Such is life, tradition and culture; Yet, the young and strong, will go on. Through millennia Humanity has survived because of its innate trait to accept change, and to adapt to new circumstance and even cultures. Indeed, such a trans-national migration is already happening on a massive global scale for socio-economic and political, non-nuclear reasons.
The question every nuclear country must ask is: What does my country need to change in our nuclear facilities after the bitter lessons of FUKUSHIMA 2011?.