SVCF Bulletin No. 52 issued on June 27, 2014

Eulogy on the late Mr. Yasuteru Yamada, founder of SVCF

Mr. Yasuteru Yamada, previous president of SVCF, passed away on the 17th day of June, 2014, after more than a year of fierce fight against disease, closing his 75 years and 3 months of life.

Let me express my sincere condolences at this time of mourning.  The beginning of SVCF dates back to the “Proposal for organizing a senior peoples’ desperate force for the restoration of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant cooling system” on March 30, 2011.  At the time when the proposal was presented, installation of emergency cooling equipment had just started and risk of dangerous explosion was still high.

Sensing crisis in that situation as an expert engineer, and feeling responsibility as a member of the generation that had benefited of the electricity from the nuclear power plant, Mr. Yamada presented an unprecedented idea, namely,that elderly people who are relatively less prone to the radiation should take part in the irradiated work, in lieu of the young people who may have all kinds of hope for the future.

As everybody knows, Mr. Yamada who proposed the idea of SVCF ahead of anybody, worked energetically inside and outside the country, led many people who understood and responded to his proposal, did his best to realize the primary objective of the Skilled Veterans Corps for Fukushima, and pursued his original intentions while trying various possibilities.  Mr. Yamada continued to advise and lead SVCF even after he had to retire from the front due to the his illness last spring.

We shall sorely miss Mr. Yamada who passed away despite the medical care.  However Mr. Yamada’s attitude, preparing for his death after he was in the palliative care, was quite brave and fine.  Now, we can only pray for his spirit to rest in peace.  Thank you so much, Mr. Yamada.

The 32nd Regular Diet meeting

On May 29 (Thursday), 2014, the SVCF 32nd regular Diet meeting was held in meeting room No. B109 of the House of Councilors Hall.  The main topic was a continuation of the discussion on a revision from the Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund, which was legalized on May 14 and proclaimed on May 21, to the Nuclear Damage Compensation Facilitation Corporation.

Mr. Hitoshi Yamaguchi, researcher for nuclear policy planning by the energy agency of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and Mr. Nobuhiro Abe, assistant director of the decommissioning and contaminated water prevention secretariat in the cabinet office nuclear emergency response headquarters, who had talked as guest speakers at the previous SVCF Diet meeting, were invited again to a Q & A session with SVCF.

Firstly, Director Tatsushi Okamoto briefed on the structural reform and on seven prepared questions by SVCF.  At 11:30 a.m. the two speakers showed up and the session started.  Subjected to many diversified questions raised from more than 10 interpellants, both officers sometimes reiterated heatedly or gave vague answers, however, it sounded fairly qualitative that they responded to the point with the objective and mission of SVCF for over the scheduled 1 hour.

This session was fruitful in foreseeing the direction and scale of the future decommissioning work.  Diet members Hiroshi Sakurai, the House of Representatives, Liberal Democratic Party, as well as Hiroe Makiyama, the House of Councilors, Democratic Party and Kazuko Kori, The House of Representatives, attended.  Mr. Sakurai presented an updated view for the ongoing cleanup work and recovery process of the stricken area.

What changes are foreseen under the new scheme of Nuclear Damage Compensation Facilitation Corporation?

Below is a sum-up of the explanations at the Q & A session, made by Researcher Yamaguchi and Mr. Nobuhiro Abe, assistant director of the decommissioning and contaminated water prevention secretariat.


On May 14, the new scheme was approved in the regular session of the House of Councilors by the majority of Liberal Democratic Party, Komei Party, and Democratic Party, and successively proclaimed on May 21.  This was scheduled to be executed within 3 months from the proclamation.  At present preparatory requirements are processed toward the latter half of August.  Nevertheless, the starting date has not been determined yet.

Collegial bodies streamlined

“Weedy” collegial bodies were determined to be streamlined at the end of last year and already actualized.  In reality, the decommission measures promotion meeting was orchestrated in a single body.

Governmental collegial body and executive organization all remain.

In response to a question asking “how are such existing bodies as the decommission and polluted water prevention team, the decommission and polluted water prevention branch office, the polluted water prevention committee, the nuclear disaster relief aid local headquarters, the polluted water measures local liaison, weeded or integrated?”, two officers replied “an organizational chart of distributed materials only depicts the mechanism of the total body in a limited space.  All governmental collegial bodies and executive organizations remain to date. Among governmental collegial bodies, only the aforesaid “decommission measures promotion meeting” was abolished.

The decommission and polluted water measures cabinet meeting is the sole governmental responsible office, and the supporting corps remain intact. For instance, the “decommission and polluted water prevention team” continues as a cross-sectional organization among executive offices.

Drive as a national project

When asked “Does the Japanese government drive this law as a national project?” we say “definitely”. Nevertheless, there have been many views and various suggestions to the substance of this go-ahead. In these circumstances and relations, we of the ruling party have selected this way. We firmly establish a body to work out strategic technology and let TEPCO continue tactical missions toward decommission.  We enforce both supporting and monitoring roles.

We never think the accident all over.

Though the prime minister in a previous cabinet alleged that the nuclear accident was over, in the Diet session, we don’t take such a stance.  We initially understand and objectively acknowledge hundreds of challenges are waiting to be solved and then cope with them at any price toward decommission.  We haven’t carelessly used the word of “all over”.

This new organization, the Nuclear Damage Compensation Facilitation Corporation, doesn’t expend decommission expenses.

In the relative law it is stated that this corporation shall only expend indemnity among subsidized uses, however, we have construed clean-up expenses to be filled up in this limitation. On the other side of reality, TEPCO itself should bear all expenses for decommission.  The corporation only supports suggestion, guidance, and research and development.  Our subsidies should not be allotted to TEPCO’s expenses for accident settlements. Our approved expense regarding decommission is exclusively for direct salaries for approximately 50 staffers to be hired in the technology committee, and their indirect costs.

We shall control TEPCO centrally and firmly.

The main reason why we preferred addition of decommission to the corporation rather than a creation of a decommission body from scratch is we assume it better to control TEPCO, primarily responsible and executive body, in an integrated manner.  Once we establish separate organizations, we will have to coordinate them mutually.

The corporation also copes with polluted water.

In the title of this corporation, there is only a wording of “decommission”, however, they should cope with polluted water as a matter of course.

Staple work of the corporation is the planning of strategy and R & D.

The government has responded to day-to-day troubles so far, therefore, the corporation doesn’t assume this field.  The main work of the corporation is research and development for necessary technology toward decommission and plan-out of executive strategy for decommission.

Decommission department is to be placed under the Technology committee that produces executive strategy toward decommission.  This committee convenes once or twice per month on a part-time basis.  Under this committee, we plan to have a decommission department which consists of 50 full-time specialists.  Probably, these specialists will chiefly come from private sectors on an assigned basis.  We will have to examine and determine the relation and their status with their companies.  We wish to adopt advanced foreign technology and personnel though; how this is to be carried out is in a future agenda.

Securing human resources is an important issue in the medium term.

A particular business plan issued by the corporation and TEPCO jointly needs a new obligatory statement on what scheme they apply toward decommission. The government reviews and monitors this requirement.

Transparency is important.

We publicly open and objectively announce any discussion exchanged in the technology committee.


Home Monitoring Continues in Naraha-machi

Recently, we have participated in home monitoring on the following days: May 20 (participants were Kunio Ito, Hiroyuki Takashiro, Toshihiro Nakamura, Yoichi Maru, one home measured), June 3 (participants were Nobuhiro Shiotani, Noriyuki Kumagaya, Katsuyasu Itoh, Naoki Suzuki, one home measured), June 17 (participants were Kunio Itoh, Katsuyasu Itoh, Noriyuki Kumagaya, Hidekazu Hirai, one home measured).  Mr. Nakamura came from Kagawa prefecture, and Mr. Maru came from Ehime prefecture to help.

Since April, 14 homes have been measured.  There are 32 homes, all told, in Naraha-machi.  The only homes we are currently measuring are the ones where decontamination has already been done.  In some of these homes, the dosage prior to decontamination had also been measured.  In these instances, it is possible to compare the dosages levels before and after the decontamination work was completed.  People are expected to return to Naraha-machi next April.  We expect monitoring requests to continue coming in. We would like to ask for everybody’s participation (Kunio Itoh)


Regarding the Film “Heading Home” by Yuriko Sugiyama

The main character was the nature and farmlands of Kawauchi-mura, which the SVCF is grateful for.  Its strength has left a deep impression in me.

Thanks to Mr. Akimoto, who continues to grow rice in the village, we were able to see what life is like for farmers there.  That’s why the landscape looks familiar.  It would have been more realistic if Yuko Tanaka, the woman who played the mother, was more tan and wrinkled, but that’s inevitable.  Masaaki Uchino was perhaps a bit too thin.

This was a film with few words.  I think Kenichi Matsuyama, the main human character, probably had the fewest lines.  That’s why the words he shared with his brother-in-law, his old friend, and mother are so impressionable.

Sakura Ando was the human with the greatest presence.  I highly recommend this part, because she says things that are completely different, but maybe it’s in place of Kenichi Matsuyama, who doesn’t speak much.

This film may be portrayed as a film that “deals with nuclear power,” but the phrase “we’ll have to continue living here” says it all.

It’s a secret that after leaving the theater, I belched somewhat on a street at night, “Why can’t we live here?  We are free and independent.  We have the right to go anywhere.  Try and do anything against me if you claim”