Biomimicry: Can Post Disaster Japan learn from nature in restoring Fukushima?

Biomimicry: Beaks on trains and flipper-like turbines

Caterpillars hatching from the eggs of the large white butterflyNature has been designing the world for billions of years

Since the dawn of time, nature has been working hard, engineering everyone and everything to the highest standards on Earth.

Dragonflies that can propel themselves in any direction, sharks with skin with tiny scales that help them swim faster, termites able to build dens that always keep a steady and comfortable temperature inside - those examples are just a drop in the ocean of amazing nature-designed solutions.

Granted, there have been a few individual attempts to copy nature's designs. For instance, back in the 15th Century, Italian painter Leonardo da Vinci looked at birds' anatomy while sketching his "flying machine".

His device never took off, but the Wright brothers did manage to build the first aeroplane in 1903 - after years of observing pigeons.

Still, several decades had to pass before businesses began realising that nature could really help them too.

Probably one of the most notable nature-inspired technologies of the last century is the well-known hook-and-loop fastener, Velcro. The man who invented it, Swiss George de Mestral, is said to have been inspired by burrs he constantly removed from his dog's fur.

Innovation and copycats

But it wasn't until the late 20th Century, that many firms really started to devote time, money and often an entire team of designers, specifically charged with looking at biological solutions to technological hurdles they came across.

"It is important to look at nature - after all, it has had 3.8 billion years to come up with ideas," says Janine Benyus, a natural history writer who coined the term "biomimicry" in 1998.

DSSC solar cellSolar cells that function just like leaves on a tree are a lot more efficient and can work even in low light

Ms Benyus was the first person to really describe this emerging science in her book Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature.

She says that after the book went viral, entrepreneurs from all over the world started calling her, seeking advice on resolving a particular issue in a non-traditional, nature-copying way.

So the world's first Biomimicry Institute was set up in 2005, with a team of consultants trained to help businesses.

"They come in, we learn what it is they're trying to do, and we look for that same function in the natural world - we do huge biological literature searches," says Ms Benyus.

"And then we say: 'Well, that's how nature has done it for 3.8 billion years!'

"And it's always a lot less energy, a lot less material, no toxins - a lot better."

Ms Benyus's clients range from Nasa to a multitude of companies of many different domains.

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Human beings have demonstrated a terrible track record of maintaining environmental balance in trying to solve 'problems'”

Lisa WelchOrnilux

According to a well-known economist Lynn Reaser, on the global scale by 2025, biomimicry could affect about $1tn (£621 bn) of annual gross domestic product, and account for up to 1.6 million US jobs.

Butterfly's wings

"There are three types of biomimicry - one is copying form and shape, another is copying a process, like photosynthesis in a leaf, and the third is mimicking at an ecosystem's level, like building a nature-inspired city," says Ms Benyus.

Businesses are usually interested in the first two categories, she adds - and a great example of the shape-based type is the Mirasol displays produced by a US mobile phone chip maker, Qualcomm.

Unlike regular screens with backlight or e-ink, these displays, which are still being developed, create colour by mimicking the way a butterfly's wings reflect sunlight.

Researcher with model whale flipperResearchers mimic humpback whale's flippers to build turbine blades - but one day there could be biomimetic aeroplane wings, helicopter blades, ship rudders and propellers

The displays play video just like any other tablet or smartphone, but have a much longer battery life and softer-for-the-eyes effect of e-ink readers.

"The innovation has been inspired by the same natural principles that enable the reflective shimmer you see from a butterfly's wings or a peacock's feather," says Cheryl Goodman, senior marketing director of Qualcomm.

Mirasol display, a butterflyQualcomm's mirasol displays imitate the way a butterfly's wings shimmer

She explains that all the displays need for illumination is ambient light, thus being "both low power and viewable in a variety of lighting environments, including direct sunlight".

The company says that the products are pretty much ready and just need some final touches before appearing on the market - with a number of firms already toying with idea of using them in their products.

Trains with beaks

Ms Benyus says that besides Qualcomm, many other companies call her team of consultants on a daily basis, asking them to sift through the lengthy archive of our planet's extensive history.

She lists just a few examples.

For instance, a Canadian firm Whalepower mimics humpback whale flippers and uses the principle on wind turbines and fans, reducing the drag and increasing the lift.

A paint company Lotusan applies the lotus effect, mimicking the shape of the bump on a lotus leaf.

Lotus leaves are self-cleaning - they have tiny bumps that help remove the dirt when it rains.

Lodafen uses the principle in architecture designs - and in Europe, there are more than 350,000 buildings that have this kind of paint.

kingfisherThe design of the high-speed Shinkansen bullet train in Japan was inspired by the beak of a kingfisher

"And of course the high-speed train, Shinkansen bullet train in Japan - instead of having a rounded front, it has something that looks like a beak of a kingfisher, a bird that goes from air to water, one density of medium to another," she adds.

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Nature possesses infinite patience in developing and perfecting processes”

Marc ThomasCEO of Dyesol

"So as the train enters a tunnel, it's quieter because there is no pressure wave as with ordinary trains; and it uses 15% less electricity, too."

Leaves and solar cells

She pauses momentarily, and then goes on to describe in detail a process-based type of biomimicry - solar cells that copy the natural process of photosynthesis, or creating energy from sunlight, in leaves.

When Professor Michael Graetzel from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland applied it to solar cells, he won the 2010 Millennium Prize.

He called his creation a dye-sensitized solar cell, or DSSC.

The main difference from a traditional solar cell is that DSSC does not require high-energy consuming silicon, but is instead made of titanium dioxide, used in white paint and toothpaste.

Wood, a musselPlywood made by Columbia Forest Products uses an adhesive called purebond - inspired by adhesives made by blue mussels

The dye in cells absorbs light just like chlorophyll in photosynthesis, releasing an electron that is conducted by the chemical electrolyte in the cell.

And while silicon solar cells require direct sunlight to generate electricity, DSSC uses any light, and works even in very low light conditions indoors or outdoors, and regardless of the panel's orientation.

It can then power a broad range of electronic devices such as remote controls, wireless keyboards, mobile phones, e-readers, and much more.

"Nature possesses infinite patience in developing and perfecting processes, including those to produce energy such photosynthesis, and by mimicking and adapting [them] we can develop technology that is useful, low cost and aligns to our fragile environment," says Marc Thomas, CEO of Dyesol, the company that makes the cells.

Colliding birds

Glass is a well-known hazard for birds, continues Ms Benyus.

Ornilux glassOn the left is how a bird would see the glass - which looks absolutely transparent to humans

A US glass maker Ornilux decided to tackle this problem by observing spiders.

Certain species of spiders, in particular the Orb Weaver, have certain ultraviolet-reflective materials in their webs' silk, to warn birds about the web's presence.

Birds may not see a regular web, but they spot UV-reflective materials very clearly, thus avoiding destroying the web and the spider's prey.

"It is the reflective and transparent properties of glass that make it dangerous for birds," says Lisa Welch of Ornilux.

"Birds do not 'see' the glass, but instead respond to reflections of sky and vegetation on the glass, seeing a tree to land on or a flight path to the sky.

"The way to make glass visible to birds is to create visual markers on the glass, alerting them to the presence of a solid object."

Using UV-reflective materials on the glass was a solution - the window stays transparent to people, but not to birds.

A number of buildings around Europe and North America now sport this ingenious glass, possibly saving many birds' lives.

"I'm sure all of the answers to what we are wanting to solve exist in some form or another, in nature," says Ms Welch.

"Inherently, nature provides balanced, symbiotic solutions.

"Human beings have demonstrated a terrible track record of maintaining environmental balance in trying to solve 'problems'.

"So copying nature may just be the way to go."

A cockroachScientists study insects in order to mimic their locomotion and build insect-like robots


Teachers in Japan 2011

Interesting and well thought out article on teachers and education in Japan. At this time of recover through these difficlut months and maybe years in the East Japan region it is the teachers of that region who have been so hard working and are of deep significance to the community in times of disasters. This is not the time for any disrespect or diversion from their superb and unselfish efforts for their surviving pupils in the most badly of effected towns, cities and other smaller communities too.

Sunday, Japan Times, Oct. 30, 2011 Opinion

"Give teachers time, not a fine"

A recent spot check of working conditions of teachers in Hokkaido, Ishikawa, Tottori and Okinawa by the Board of Audit concluded that teachers in Hokkaido and Okinawa misused their working hours. The Board of Audit will ask the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry to demand those teachers return part of their salaries to the authorities. While inappropriate use of work time should be discouraged, the report sounds more like a witch-hunt than a serious investigation."

Japan TImes

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein Andrew Tokyo Japan Testing post.ly

Tokyo Yoga


Yoga Therapy

Yoga therapy is an aspect of the ancient tradition of yoga which adapts yoga practice to the individual for healing purposes. Yoga therapy uses practices such as postures, breathing, meditation, arts, and sound, to integrate body, mind and spirit, as well as heal illness and emotional imbalance. Yoga therapy is also preventative, helping to maintain an optimum state of health for life by bringing awareness.


Is Yoga Therapy for me?

Often the pain we experience in our bodies and minds has roots in habitual reactions to stress and circumstances. Our nervous systems tend to react in predictable patterns. Yoga Therapy can help change these patterns with mindfulness to our body and deep unwinding.


Psychology and Yoga

If you struggle with anxiety, depression, stress, or related issues, Maki will use yoga, in combination with creative process of therapy to facilitate healing. The use of witnessing and dialogue reconnects the client to wholeness, inviting presence through the postures or through direct inquiry and counseling. Maki uses her training as a therapist to facilitate a safe and nurturing space for her clients.


Tokyo Counseling Services Sunday Yoga Group

Group Facilitator: Maki Mitsuya is an Expressive Arts Therapist and also a Yoga instructor. She is fluent in both English and Japanese 

Location: TCS's(Tokyo Counseling Services)Counseling Center in Shimokitazawa, Setagayaku, Tokyo. 
Particpants: 5 ~ 8 people
Starting Date: October 30th (Sundays) from : 10.00 a.m. - 12.00 noon.
Autumn Program Fee: Y4000 per session. Please wear comfortable clothes.

Tokyo Yoga



Tokyo Counseling Services Yoga Therapy Application

Application: To apply for a place in this Art Therapy group please send an email to us with the title “Maki's Yoga Therapy group application” to tokyocounselingservices@gmail.com and withanswers to the following in the body of the email: 

1. Name 
2. Sex 
3. Age 
4. Occupation 
5. Your reason for wanting to participate in this group 

※ If you are currently receiving treatment from a psychiatrist, please check with your doctor before applying.


Counseling Center Contact and Appointments

For information on how to contact Tokyo Counseling Services' Reception and how to schedule apppointments for individual therapuetic yoga and/or this yoga group with Maki and also for general information on TCS other individual, couples and family therapy services please simply follow this link to our "Appointments and Inquiries" section in English and follow this link for information in Japanese.

Tokyo Counseling Services: Yoga Webpage:



TCS: http://tokyocounseling.com/


Depression in Japan


Depression in Tokyo and Japan

No one moves to another country to become depressed. This is true too for the over 2,000,000 people of overseas origin or descent who are living and working in the Tokyo Metropolis and Japan as a whole. The reasons and motives of the people who have made this move and commitment to living in Tokyo and Japan are as varied and numerous as the number of people themselves. Whatever the diversity of your cultural heritage and whatever your professional aims and social aspirations, one thing that you have in common is the hope to live a happy, successful and fulfilling life in Japan. However, as many of those living in Japan reading this article will be only too well aware, the stress involved in working and leading a full life in this fast paced hi-tech society in Japan can at times be overwhelming for even the strongest and most resilient of individuals. If you are currently living in the Tokyo Metropolis or another one of the cities and towns in Japan as one of the 126,000, 000 residents of Japan you will already be familiar with this kind of stress emotionally and psychologically draining. Depression is an illness that affects people of all ages and all social and economic backgrounds. The rate of depression in Japan has been estimated to be at 1 in 10 of the people at any one time, with the highest rates of depression being reported in the densely populated urban areas.


How to recognize Depression in yourself or others

If you think that you yourself or someone you know and care about may be suffering from depression the following list of possible indications and symptoms of clinical depression to look for in yourself or in someone you know may be of help. It is important to note that the in the case of people suffering from relatively less severe forms of depression such as those termed 'mild depression', 'moderate depression' and dysthymia do not necessarily have to have all of these indications or symptoms in order to be considered as having clinical depression:

Lacking interest in the activities and interests you usually enjoy most, for example not getting any positive effects or enjoyment when listening to your favourite music.

A loss of your appetite or enjoyment of your food may be an indication of depression. On the other hand some people may eat more than usual and put on weight.

Sleeping badly with shallow sleep or insomnia or sleeping for excessively longer periods of time (hyperinsomnia) than your normal sleeping pattern.

Still feeling tired, ‘heavy’ or without your usual sense of “get up and go” after you wake up.

Experiencing inexplicable feelings of fatigue or loss of energy as you go through your usual daily routine.

For some people depression may be associated with feeling low and depressed when you wake up every day, which may lessen as the day progresses but sometimes may not people.

For other people depression may manifest itself in feeling a little low in the mornings and with a growing deepening of this feeling into more depression during the day and feeling more and depressed as day draws to an end.

Not calling or emailing your friends for family as often as you used to or usually would.

Feeling sad, unhappy or miserable without any specific cause or reason for feeling so.

Feeling hopeless and negative about your future.

Feeling emotionally ‘empty’ or not feeling anything

Lacking your usual level of self-confidence and a lowering of your self-image and self-esteem.


What to do if you feel you are in depression or feel worried or fearful that you are at risk of falling into depression?

If you think or feel you are, or may be, suffering with clinical depression the sooner you go for treatment and counseling the better. The longer you delay in getting professional help and medical opinion then it can affect the time it takes for you to recover and get better again. It is important to note that in Japan only medical doctors/psychiatrists who are licensed by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Labour are legally allowed to diagnose, treat and prescribe or recommend medication for the treatment of clinical depression or any other kind of mental disorder or illness. Clinical Psychologists and JCP qualified Psychotherapists in Japan can and do provide psychological and social support in the form of counseling and psychotherapy. If you are already under the medical supervison of a doctor/pscyhiatrist and think you may benefit from counseling or psychotherapy then you should first consult with your doctor to discuss whete she or he feels it would be okay to do so in parallel with or after a period of medical treatment. If you feel you are, or possibly may be, clinically depressed, then go now as soon as you can to see and talk about how you are feeling with a psychiatrist who is licensed in Japan. There are over 13,000 througout Japan. However you may usually feel about taking medication, talking with a Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare nationally licensed doctor/psychiatrist (there are over 270,000 dotors throughout Japan) will give you a professional opinion, diagnosis and assesment of your condition and an understanding of what are your treatment options are to help you recover and get out of depression as quickly and efficiently as possible.


How can I find a Psychiatrist in Tokyo and Japan legally licensed by the Ministry of Heath, Labour and Welfare to treat me for depression?


If you feel think you could be suffering from Clinical Depression or you feel depressed to the point where you feel consulting with a license doctor or psychiatrist to talk together and get her/his opinion on your condition and as to whether a course of medication could be of benefit to you then you should as soon go to see a doctor as soon as possible. This is not as difficult as you may think as there are in fact over 13,000 psychiatrists practicing in community based psychiatric clinics (usually non-bed medical facillities that see patients on an 'out-patient' basis) and hospitals throughout Japan. who hold the national license to practice medicine by passing the national licensing examinations as is legally required in Japan.

Naturally for people who have not learned Japanese before coming to Japan they can of course experience difficulties, here are some contact details for other counseling and medical information centers to help them:

AMDA International Medical Information Center:
"In multiple languages, we introduce medical facilities with staff who speak the patients' languages and explain the Japanese Health Care System." 
Tokyo/Kanto region TEL : 03-5285-8088 - Kansai region TEL: 06-4395-0555

 - Tokyo Metropolitan Health and Medical Information Center
Information about medical services in English and other languages: 03-5285-8181
Emergency translation services in English and other languages: 03-5285-8185

Useful Links in Japanese:

The Foundation of the Japanese Certification Board For Clinical Psychologists

Japan Society of Certified Clinical Psychologists (JSCCP)

Japanese Association of Psychiatric Social Workers

How to Find a JSCCP Approved Counseling Center Throughout Japan
(This is the web version of the JSCCP publication: "Rinshoushinrishi deau tame ni" which gives information, addresses and contact details of all JSCCP Approved Counseling Centers and private clinical practices of registered Clinical Psychologists in Japan.)

"Depression in Tokyo and Japan"
Copyright © Andrew Grimes Tokyo Counseling Services 2010 ~ 


Tokyo Therapy


The English speaking clinical psychologists at Tokyo Counseling Services are all qualified JSCCP Clinical Psychologists licensed to practice in Japan. Our English speaking psychotherapists are qualified and registered by The Japan Federation for Psychotherapy. Tokyo Counseling Services English speaking counselors and psychotherapists are committed to providing professional and qualified bilingual counseling and psychotherapy services in both English and Japanese and other international languages that are widely used today in the 21st century multicultural international Japanese society we all live in today.

In autumn 2007 Tokyo Counseling Services opened the first of its purpose designed counseling centers located in the heart of the vibrant Shimokitazawa district in Setagaya. It offers convenient access to Tokyo Metropolis residents and also to Yokohama and Kanagawa residents. Tokyo Counseling Services' counseling center is staffed by a team of highly experienced, trained, qualified, licensed and nationally recognized mental health professionals in Japan.

The TCS team of counseling and psychotherapy professionals is expert in individual counseling, couples and marriage counseling, divorce and separation support, international marriage counseling and international family issues. Additionally they are all qualified, trained and experienced in providing psychological and emotional support services to help people experiencing stress and mental health problems in their everyday life and job environment.

TCS professionals have expertise and experience in counseling and psychotherapy for a wide range of problems and issues including stress management, low self-esteem, depression, anxiety disorders, panic attacks, compulsivity, eating disorders, anger management, alcohol and substance abuse, co-dependence, divorce and child support issues, childhood abuse issues, sexual abuse, traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and trauma resolution and recovery.

Tokyo Counseling Services was founded in May 1999 by Andrew Grimes JCP, CP under the auspices of Dr Noboru Hozumi and with the cooperation and support of the team of Japan registered mental health counselors and psychotherapists who provide individual, couples and family counseling services at Ikebukuro Counseling Center and daycare center group programs at the adult mental health daycare rehabilitation center at Hozumi Clinic Medical Center. Since then under Andrew’s leadership and direction Tokyo Counseling Services has grown in the range of counseling, psychotherapy and group therapy services it provides to the greater Tokyo Metropolis community and is now in its tenth year of providing psychological and emotional support services to the international Japanese community.

Counseling and therapy services are currently provided in English, French, German, Japanese, Korean and Portuguese for all residents in the Tokyo Metropolis and Kanto region.

Tokyo Counseling Services English:

Tokyo Counseling Services Japanese:

Tokyo Counseling Services Japanese:

Japan Earthquake Tsunami Disasters Red Cross Media


The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Disasters Red Cross Work

TCS's Director Andrew Grimes was interviewed on the topics of the need for psychosocial support, on the subject of PTSD, (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) mental health care and what we can expect to see over the coming years in Japan following the Japan Earthquake, Tsunami and nuclear disasters on 11/3/2011. Some of his comments, shown below, were featured in The Magazine of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent in the article "Mending Minds", written by Tokyo based journalist Nick Jones, and that was published in the English and translated into the French and Spanish editions of the International Red Cross Magazine. The article focuses on the need for psychosocial and culturally sensitive mental health care for the as yet uncounted hundreds of thousands of people who have suffered and continue to be exposed to the stress and traumatic consequences that continue to impact their health, their lives, their communities and their livlihoods in the wake of the East Japan Great Earthquake, the ensuing Tsunami and the meltdowns and explosion of three of the Fukishima Dai Ichi nuclear power plants. Mr Jones well researched article was written after he travelled through the East Japan (Touhoku) Region disaster area to the town of Ishinomaki. In the article he places careful emphasise on the need for careful and culturally appropriate psychosocial support and mental heatlh care for the people and communities that were have been so wounded by the disasters: "Understanding the importance of psychological care following disasters, the JRCS also organized and dispatched teams of psychosocial professionals to help those traumatized survivors. The first workers arrived at the Ishinomaki Red Cross Hospital three days after the earthquake. By the middle of May, there were 289 psychosocial workers offering care and support in the main affected areas. (In total, around 8,000 Red Cross staff in Japan, including doctors and nurses, have received psychosocial training.) In late April, JRCS nurse Mayumi Oguri arrived at the evacuation centre where Asano is living with another 300 local residents. (There were 1,800 people living in the same space for the first three weeks after the disaster.) Oguri is head of a three-person psychosocial support team from Nagoya that relieved another group of psychosocial support workers. Sitting on the traditional Japanese straw tatami mat-lined floor of the school gymnasium, she says her team assesses the mental state of the people at the centre by walking around and talking, listening and offering opportunities for more private, emotional discussions. They also watch for tell-tale signs of post-traumatic stress such as insomnia, flashbacks, irritability and seclusion."

Steve Jobs Apple's Worldwide Celebration of His Life Japan

  1. Home
  2. Apple Events
  3. Celebrating Steve

Shop the Apple Online Store (1-800-MY-APPLE), visit an Apple Retail Store, or find a reseller.

Copyright © 2011 Apple Inc. All rights reserved.

Here in Japan too the Apple Store closed for the 80 minutes for the staff to watch and share in the video which is a great tribute to Steve Jobs. Apple's Worldwide Celebration of His Life Japan. Creative Genius Greatest CEO ever Rebel

Hibakusha: Swap reliance on atomic energy for renewable fuel sources


Their appearances at the "Testimony of Hibakusha" event, which was organized by the Japanese Mission and the U.N. Office of Disarmament Affairs, were part of efforts by Japan — the only nation attacked with atomic weapons — to stress the importance of educating people about the horrors of nuclear arms.

The committee adopted a Japan-led resolution Wednesday calling for the total elimination of nuclear weapons — just as it has done annually for the last 18 years. This year, there were a record 97 cosponsors of the resolution, which was backed by 157 countries.

While Thurlow pointed out that the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant accident was caused by "the force of nature," the resulting release of radiation from the power station's crippled reactors has sparked radiation fears in Japan for the second time in her life.

Citing Douglas Roche, a former Canadian ambassador of disarmament at the United Nations, she also warned that nuclear materials such as enriched uranium and plutonium can be used both for peaceful purposes and to build nuclear weapons.

"Will the expansion of nuclear energy in the world lead to the spread of nuclear weapons and increase dangers of nuclear terrorism?" she asked.

Despite the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, she expressed concerns about countries being allowed to pursue atomic energy for peaceful purposes in exchange for agreeing to never develop nuclear arms.

"Thus, the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki who witnessed the atrocities of the first two uses of nuclear weapons 66 years ago now must confront the horror that sufficient nuclear fuel exists in dozens of countries" to build more bombs, she said.

"Has not the time come to consider replacing the pillar of the NPT that guarantees access to nuclear energy technology with a new guarantee for access to technological assistance for renewable energies?" she asked.


Mental Health Center for Children Japan

NewsLocalNew mental health center for children

New mental health center for children

New mental health center for children Japanese mental health experts will set up a psychological care center to help children who survived the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.

Psychiatrists and therapists decided to establish the new center in Tokyo, to make up for a shortage of mental health professionals in areas affected by the disaster.


Many children in northeast Japan continue to show signs of psychological instability, such as crying at night or not playing outside.

The center will start by sending experts to affected areas on a long-term basis by the end of December. It will work with 44 mental health organizations across Japan in the process.

The center will also provide training to teachers in affected areas on how to deal with the children.

via NHK 



Japan Nuclear Power Station Higashidori Sitting on Active Faults

When will they every learn? The TEPCO nuclear disaster clearly shows that the power company spent a lot of time, money and effort to convince the people of the Tohoku Region that they were safe in the event of an earthquake and tsunami. Now Tohoku Electric Power Company's Higashidori is trying to say that fault lines under this plant that they want to start up again and also build anohter there are not active. No fault line is active until it moves as we all learned from first hand experience on March 11th and as the residents of Fukushima learned to their cost. Higashidori means 'East Road' If Electric Power Company's keep insisting and attempting to manipulate and deny the facts of the danger of earthquakes to nuclear reactors in Japan we may all be going west in more ways than one. Japan can be the first developed country in the world to produce all its energy needs without the use of nuclear power plants that sit on the fault lines like so many time bombs just waiting to go off. 

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Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011

Power station sitting on active faults

Japan Times

Plans to restart Higashidori plant's reactor may be affected


Active faults under Tohoku Electric Power Co.'s Higashidori nuclear power complex in Aomori Prefecture are grounds for a reassessment of the seismic safety of the plant, according to a recent study.

The new report released Monday by researchers including Mitsuhisa Watanabe, professor at Toyo University, may affect a decision whether to restart the plant's reactor, which is currently shut down, as well as the earthquake-proof safety screening for other nuclear plants.

However, Tohoku Electric, which runs the single-reactor plant, and Tokyo Electric Power Co., which is building a new reactor in the same Higashidori complex, said the faults were shaped by the swelling of water-bearing strata and deny there are active faults that cause earthquakes under the plant site.

There are a number of faults beneath the complex and whether they are active is unclear, but several experts noted recently in the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency's safety-screening process that some may be active.

In the study report, the researchers say they found characteristics that typify the existence of active faults under the plant site in analyzing the surveys conducted by the two utilities for constructing the reactors there.

Takashi Nakata, a professor emeritus at Hiroshima University who took part in the analysis, criticized the utilities for denying active faults on the pretext of the swelling effects of strata.


Tokyo Counseling Services


Another International Symposium of 'Experts' Agrees that Community Participation is vital for nuclear decontamination of Communities polluted by Fukushima - yet with no community representatives groups invited to attend.

Check out this website I found at japantimes.co.jp

FUKUSHIMA — Radiation decontamination at the community level requires the input and participation of the citizenry, close communication with authorities, and a clear understanding of safety, nuclear experts said at a recent symposium in Fukushima.

Expert opinion: Yasuo Onishi, chief scientist at the U.S.-based Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (center), speaks at a panel discussion with Nataliya Shandala, senior official of the Federal Medical and Biophysical Center in Russia (left), and Tarja Ikaheimonen, director of the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority in Finland, at a symposium on decontamination in the city of Fukushima on Oct. 16. KAZUAKI NAGATA PHOTOS
When dealing with decontamination, "it's absolutely necessary to involve stakeholders," Ann McGarry, chair of the Committee on Radiation Protection and Public Health, part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, told the Oct. 16 symposium.

Nuclear experts from overseas and members of the Japanese decontamination team shared their experiences with decontamination at the government-sponsored symposium, which was held to find ways to improve the cleanup process for areas tainted by fallout from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

"Radiation protection is a science, but it's a science that takes place in a society. It incorporates individuals, so it means that there is more than just science that needs to be taken into account when making decisions that affect people, and we do that by stakeholder involvement," McGarry said.

With public distrust in government growing from its opaque handling of the crisis, officials are facing stronger pressure to maintain clear lines of communication with the affected communities. This challenge is growing more acute because the government has yet to find even temporary storage sites, let alone permanent ones, for the contaminated waste in Fukushima, due to strong public and local government opposition.

With the publics general distrust and anger with the government and TEPCO giving out no clear information or scientific data on the nuclear radiation crises around and in the no go exclusion zone, symposia like these will only feul the fire of distrust and disbelief in the validity of the authorities statements on the radiation levels. This PR strategy could well backfire on the government and lead to further development of protests and demonstrations against using nuclear power generation to meet the country's long term needs. Japan may well end up as being the first developed nation on Earth to decommission nuclear power plants and replace them with alternative sources of renewable and environment safe.


Mental Health Japan WHO Statement


Use Japan nuke disaster to reform mental health system: WHO
The World Health Organisation's logo is seen in Geneva in 2009. Japan should use a higher rate of mental health problems after the Fukushima nuclear accident to update outdated attitudes to depression in the country, a top health official said Monday.
The World Health Organisation's logo is seen in Geneva in 2009. Japan should use a higher rate of mental health problems after the Fukushima nuclear accident to update outdated attitudes to depression in the country, a top health official said Monday.
This DigitalGlobe handout image shows the earthquake and tsunami damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March 2011 in Japan. Japan should use a higher rate of mental health problems after the Fukushima nuclear accident to update outdated attitudes towards depression in the country, a top health official said Monday.
This DigitalGlobe handout image shows the earthquake and tsunami damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March 2011 in Japan. Japan should use a higher rate of mental health problems after the Fukushima nuclear accident to update outdated attitudes towards depression in the country, a top health official said Monday.

AFP - Japan should use a higher rate of mental health problems after the Fukushima nuclear accident to update outdated attitudes towards depression in the country, a top health official said Monday.

Speaking at the World Health Summit in Berlin, Shekhar Saxena, from the mental health division of the World Health Organisation, said the mental aspects of disasters tended to be ignored in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

"Mental health treatment is needed for almost everyone who is affected by the disaster," Saxena told a packed audience at the summit. "Unfortunately, some neglect occurred."

Officials have previously warned of an increase in depression cases in a country where this illness still carries a stigma largely overcome in the West.

It is only recently that urban areas of Japan have begun to tackle the taboo surrounding depression, a condition euphemistically known as "heart 'flu" in the country.

After a disaster such as the Fukushima accident, the prevalence of severe mental disorders, such as psychosis, increase from two to three percent of the population to three to four percent, said Saxena.

More mild mental disorders like depression increase from one in ten people to one in five, he added.

Treating such disorders is best done within the community rather than in medical institutions, he said, arguing for an overhaul of attitudes and the system in Japan.

"In Japan, mental health care is largely undertaken by specialised institutions whereas it is more effective if it is undertaken at a community level," he said.


Andrew's reflection on this article:

Yes there is an opportunity in this still enfolding disaster to futher improve the movement towards community based health care which actually started here in Japan in the establishment of community based out-patient psychiatric clinics and adult mental health daycare centers outside of hospitals since the early 1980's. Some of the statements about mental health care here are somewhat cliched and stereotypical and some outdated and no longer true in Japan. However it is good to see international organizations and spokepersons, such as quoted from this WHO conference, moving towards helping we mental health professionals who have our work cut out for us for decades to come.

I most agree with the following comment:

"We recommend for Japan to utilise the opportunity presented by the disaster to actually change the system to make it more community-oriented."

Four Pinay Caregivers who refused to leave their elderly patients despite threat of radiation in Japan receive Japanese Foreign Ministry Recognition and Bagong Bayani award

This should help put an end to the pre- Quake discussion about whether foreign nurses are as good as Japanese nurses. Way to go Pinays! (;

Home > Pinoy Abroad > Top Stories
Four Pinays in Japan to receive Bagong Bayani award
10/24/2011 | 03:00 PM

Four Filipina caregivers in Japan who refused to leave their elderly wards despite the threat of nuclear radiation after the March 11 quake and tsunami this year will receive the "Bagong Bayani Award."

The Philippine Embassy in Japan said President Benigno Aquino III is expected to hand over the award in ceremonies in Malacañang on December 1.

"Despite imminent danger and risk of nuclear radiation, the four Filipino caregivers: Gemma Juanay, Juliet Tobay, Sandra Otacan and Mercedes Joie Aquino, chose to remain in their jobs and continued to provide care and companionship to their Japanese elderly patients," it said.

The four were chosen to receive the 2011 Bagong Bayani (New Heroes) Awardees for Community and Social Service due to their dedication.

The Bagong Bayani Award (BBA) is a national search for the Philippines’ outstanding and exemplary Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).

It seeks to recognize and pay tribute to overseas Filipino workers for fostering goodwill and promoting the image of the Filipino as a competent, responsible and dignified worker.

According to the embassy, the four worked at the Social Welfare Juridical Seihoukai in Komine-en, Shirakawa City.

The institution for the elderly where the four Filipino caregivers worked is in Fukushima Prefecture, some distance away from a danger zone declared by the Japanese government following the March 11, 2011 quake and tsunami.

The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO Tokyo) under Labor Attaché Clifford Paragua nominated the four after they "downplayed significant personal risks to ensure the safety and survival of their patients."

On May 11, the four were invited to a Thanksgiving Dinner hosted by the Japan Foreign Minister at Iikura House in Tokyo.

"They were also bestowed recognition and honor by the Japanese people through the kind words and rewards that have been expressed and heartily given and the attention that local media has provided which serve as true testaments to their heroism," the embassy said.

Last June, the four receiving their Certificates of Appreciation from the Philippine Embassy in Japan during the celebration of Philippine Independence Day. - VVP, GMA News