Japan Earthquake


Disaster risk management: Nagahama City to sign a mutual cooperation agreement with Obu City, Aichi

Nagahama City is to sign a new mutual cooperation agreement with Obu City, Aichi, with the aim of accepting refugees from each other in case of large-scale disasters such as earthquakes and nuclear plant accidents. Mayors from the two cities are going to sign the agreement at Obu City Office on July 26.

Triggered by cultural exchange of the two cities similar to each other in population, the cooperation started in 2006, by signing a mutual aid agreement designed to mutually provide relief goods, human resources, and temporary housing.

Having learned a lesson from the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, Nagahama City, located relatively close to nuclear plants in Fukui Prefecture, proposed that Obu City accept citizens evacuating Nagahama in case of emergency, which led to the new agreement.

Obu is in the northern part of Chita Peninsula in close proximity to Nagoya City. It takes about 90 minutes from Nagahama to its counterpart by car.

(July 25, 2013, Sankei Shimbun)



"Cool Biz Campaign" began ahead of schedule

The Cool Biz Campaign, a means advocated by the Union of Kansai Governments as well as the Ministry of the Environment, began on May 1, aimed at helping reduce electric consumption by limiting use of air conditioning. During the campaign, workers are encouraged to wear casual outfits appropriate enough to endure the summer heat.

Expecting the shortage of electricity in the upcoming summer, the Shiga Prefectural Government decided to begin the campaign ahead of time as well - three weeks earlier than last year. "This is a chance for consumers to think over the conservation of electricity,"says Governor Kada.

The prefecture is a trailblazer on this issue, having initiated the campaign in 1970s to encourage the workers not to wear neckties nor jackets during summer. In 2000 the prefecture took a more relaxed approach, urging its employees to wear more casual attire such as polo shirts and open-necked shirts.

(Yomiuri Shimbun, May 2, 2012)



Governor Kada made a visitation to Fukushima Prefectural Office

On April 18 Governor Kada of Shiga Prefecture made a visitation to Fukushima Prefectural Office to meet with Governor Yuhei Sato of Fukushima Prefecture, presenting him seeds of Japanese red pine that weighed 5.1 kilograms, which would be grown to approximately 300 thousand trees. The Fukushima Prefectural Government will utilize the seeds for the restoration of the coastline damaged by last year's tsunami. "With these seeds of pine trees, we will create beautiful scenery as well as disaster resistant land," said Governor Sato at the meeting.

Fukushima plans to plant 4.6 million trees from FY 2014 to FY 2020, restoring the land of 460 hectares. In the first year, 700 thousand trees will be needed, but the tsunami-hit prefecture procured only 180 thousand trees. Another 520 thousand trees were needed. Having heard of the problem, seven prefectures including Shiga offered Fukushima 10.8 kilograms of seeds, equal to 650 thousand trees, for free.

"One year has passed since the earthquake and tsunami, but new problems such as contaminated foods have risen. Having seen the damage expanding to 100 kilometers away from the nuclear plant, I am convinced that their problems are ours as well," commented Governor Kada after the meeting, underscoring the need to continuously support Fukushima. 

(Mainichi Shimbun, April 21, 2012)



Omihachiman and two other cities will sign an agreement on mutual disaster assistance

Omihachiman City Office announced on January 20 that Omihachiman, Minamisoma City of Fukushima Prefecture, and Obama City of Fukui Prefecture will sign an official agreement on mutual disaster assistance pledging to send rescue teams to each other’s cities in the event of a large natural disaster.

The signing ceremony will be held at Omihachiman Culture Hall on March 25, where mayors from the three cities sign the document, followed by a keynote speech made by Mayor Sakurai of Minamisoma and a panel discussion the two other mayors participate in.

With its specialists and relief goods dispatched to the damaged area, Omihachiman has been helping Minamisoma to recover from the recent catastrophic disaster. Obama, on the other hand, has a joint-project promoting food safety with Fujinomiya City of Shizuoka Prefecture, Omihachiman's sister city. This relationship led Omihachiman to initiate a relationship with Obama.

"If a disaster occurs, we will accept refugees. I highly value the spirit of mutual assistance," says Omihachiman Mayor Eisho Fujitani.

(Chunichi Shimbun, January 21, 2012)

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No radioactive substance detected in Omi Beef

On September 2, the Shiga Prefectural Government reported that no radioactive substance was detected in Shiga-produced beef including Omi Beef. The sampling tests, targeted for 108 stockbreeders in the prefecture, started from September 1.

The first samples were 6 beef cattle selected from Omihachiman City, Konan City, Kora Town, and Aisho Town. A research institute the prefecture contracted with tested each cattle, and detected less than 1 Bq per kg, which is considered to be harmless.

The sampling tests are going to be finished by October. From November, after the prefecture arranging an inspection system, all the cattle will be tested before shipment. If radioactive substance detected exceeds 250 Bq per kg, the stockbreeders will be asked not to sell the beef. If it exceeds 500 Bq per kg, the prefecture will order them not to do it.   

(Kyoto Shmbun, September 2, 2011)

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No radioactive substance detected in Shiga-produced rice

On August 19, the Shiga Prefectural Government conducted the first sampling tests at Institute of Public Health to detect radiation in rice harvested in Takashima, Shiga. No radioactive substance was detected.

"We will continue to conduct the sampling tests to provide consumers with safety and relief when it comes down to Shiga-produced rice," commented Governor Kada.

The prefecture will gradually conduct the same tests by the end of September, covering other 18 municipalities.

(Kyoto Shimbun, August 19, 2011)

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Governor of Shiga to attract a large solar power station

On May 24, Shiga Governor Yukiko Kada expressed her desire to attract one of the large solar power stations which Masayoshi Son, president of Softbank Corp., is planning to build. According to Son, around 10 large solar power plants will be built across the country.

Lake Biwa has been considered to be one of the potential sites for the project. "This project will contribute to the local economy and employment. I will ask municipalities in Shiga to collaborate on the project," says the governor.

(Sankei Shimbun, May 24, 2011)

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Superintendent of Education says disaster drills should include radiation-related measures

In regard to the Fukushima Power Plant where radioactive materials have been emitted, Shiga Prefecture's Superintendent of Education at a press conference expressed his desire to enhance the disaster drills conducted at junior high schools and high schools. Superintendent Fumihiko Suematsu says, "We have been conducting drills and training on the basis that earthquakes and fire may occur in the near future, but we haven't taken radioactivity into consideration," referring to the possibility of reforming the contents of the disaster drills.

Each school's principal is currently responsible for conducting the drills. The Prefectural Board of Education hadn't made a request to the schools for the reformation entailing the introduction of radiation-related measures by the time the press conference was held.

(Chunichi Shimbun, May 20, 2011) 

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Pref. Government has set up a task force to explore renewable energy

On May 12, the Shiga Prefectural Government set up a supradepartmental task force to explore the possibility of developing renewable energy. "I have to admit that nuclear energy is indispensable in the short term, but I think the risk entailing serious accidents will have to be reduced in the long term," says Governor Kada.

The task force, which consists of 1 bureau and 5 divisions within the prefectural government, will lay down a new policy to expand the usage of renewable energy. They will also come up with practical measures to encourage corporations to develop new technologies, and to have citizens familiarized with them.

"We aim at creating effective measures by putting new ideas to the existing policies for which each division has been responsible in the fields of the environment and disaster-prevention," says an official of the Planning Coordination Division that presides the task force.

(Kyoto Shimbun, May 12, 2011)

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Radiation doses at 7 places confirmed harmless

On April 27, the Shiga Prefectural Government publicized the result of radiation doses measured by a radiological survey vehicle at 7 places in 4 cities which are Nagahama, Takashima, Hikone, and Otsu. The prefecture regularly posted the results on the internet, but it was decided that the information would be announced using not only the websites but also other media, as citizens have been more concerned about the accidents at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

The radiation doses measured range from 0.019 Sv to 0.058 Sv. "This result just reflects radiation that naturally exists. There is no problem about it." says an official of the Disaster and Crisis Management Bureau.

(Chunichi Shimbun, April 28, 2011)

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