Saturday, April 23, 2011

Japan Announces New Evacuation Area - What Does it Mean?

I'm sure the western press is going to have a field day with this new announcement so, before people get all tied up in their undies, I thought a bit of inspection and observation was in order.

This article comes from Jiji Press News. Jiji has been very fair and level-headed about reporting just the facts concerning the disaster and subsequent nuclear accident. Yes. They've done an excellent job of factual reporting and that's probably why you've never heard of them: They don't do End-of-the-World too well.

The Jiji Press News announces

Tokyo, April 22 (Jiji Press)--Japan has set a new evacuation area outside the no-entry zone around the crippled nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, its top government spokesman said Friday. 

   Prime Minister Naoto Kan instructed Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato and heads of municipalities concerned to have residents leave the new evacuation area by the end of May, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said at a press conference.

   The new evacuation zone covers Iitate, Katsurao and Namie as well as parts of Minamisoma and Kawamata with the combined population of some 10,000 people.

   The zone is where cumulative radiation levels will likely top 20 millisieverts within a year after the nuclear crisis that erupted after the March 11 quake and tsunami.

   The government announced a plan on April 11 to create a new evacuation zone out of the 20-kilometer radius of Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s <9501> Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

Like I mentioned, the western press and some other people in hysterics are going to latch onto this as proof that the world is coming to an end.

Well, if you are one of those people living in the evacuation area, you can be excused for thinking that your life has come to an end or that the world has gone upside down. You could be excused for wanting to run away. It would be quite understandable if you were angry and feared for your lives and loved ones.

But for the rest of us living far away - that is not the case. Now, I am specifically speaking about Tokyo, once again, and want to show you how this extended evacuation line does not compose a heightened risk to us at all.

First, here's a map of the new evacuation area (Here is a Google Maps link with a marker showing the new evacuation area. If that link doesn't work, try this one:


You can see that I have inserted three arrows for your ease in viewing. The arrow at the middle - top is Minami Soma. The middle arrow is Namie.  The arrow at the bottom is the crippled Fukushima Power Plant Reactor #1. Notice at the bottom left-hand side of the screen that there is a scale marker. 

The distance between Namie to the crippled Fukushima reactors is about 12 kilometers (about 7 miles). The distance between Minami Soma and the Fukushima reactors seems to be about 40 kilometers (about 24 miles). So, yes it is outside of the original evacuation areas.

The next image shows the relative distance between Fukushima and Tokyo. 


At the top right, the new evacuation area and Fukushima are so close together that they are denoted by a red A marker. Tokyo is at the left bottom of the image and is circled in red for your convenience. Once again, there is a distance scale at the lower left. The distance between the crippled Fukushima reactors - and the new evacuation areas - are about 236 kilometers (about 150 miles) from Tokyo. 

In summation, the new evacuation zones announced by the Japanese government are all areas that are within 12 ~ 40 kilometers of the Fukushima power plants? I thought most of these areas already were evacuated. I thought they had evacuated a 30 kilometer radius.

This announcement is, though, a disaster for those poor people who are going to lose their families homes and be separated from the places they love. But for the rest of us, living far away, it doesn't affect our lives at all.

For those who will latch onto this "news" and use it as an excuse and rationale for their panic and leaving Tokyo, may I simply request that they at least show some respect for those unfortunate men, women and children - those quite unlucky families - who were in the wrong place at the wrong time? May I ask that, instead of screaming like Chicken Little's that the sky is falling, how about doing something positive like helping out charity and doing something to make things a bit better for these unfortunate souls whose lives have been ripped upside down?... 

Instead of these people always thinking of themselves first (Me! Me! Me!) and whining all the time, how about, instead, doing something positive to help the situation? It is, after all, a situation that, as I said many times before is a disaster for those directly affected, but for those of us in Tokyo or far away, it has merely been an inconvenience.

How about doing something positive and helping these poor folks out? Do it yourself efforts with local churches are the best... Or, if you simply don't have time and just want to help, thanks. There's a link at the top of this page to charities.

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