Dec 26

- #Radiation in Japan: Ministry of the Environment Will Get 1 Trillion Yen Budget, 5 Times It Got This Year (EX-SKF, Dec. 24, 2011):

Speaking of Christmas presents…

The Ministry of the Environment, once an utterly unimportant, powerless ministry in the Japanese government, is now one of the most powerful under Goshi Hosono, who still doubles as Minister in charge of the nuclear accident that has ended. The measure of power? Its budget size.

It is set to quintuple in the fiscal 2012 to more than 1 trillion yen (US$13 billion) because of the “decontamination” work in Fukushima Prefecture and other 7 Prefectures. However, as no one pretends to know how much it will actually cost to carry out “decontamination”, by doling out the money to top-tier general contractor joint ventures who will then dole out jobs down the subcontracting pyramid, the sky’s the limit for the Ministry’s budget. It doesn’t even include the construction cost for the “temporary” storage facilities for the contaminated waste.

From Asahi Shinbun, which will soon go the UK’s Times way and charge fees for the online readers to read its articles (12/24/2011):

来年度予算案で、東日本大震災の被災地のがれき処理や、放射能に汚染された土地の除染を担う環境省の予算は今年度の約5倍に増え、1兆円を突破した。うち復興特別会計が8258億円で、大半を占める。

The budget of the Ministry of the Environment in the fiscal 2012 will quintuple to over 1 trillion yen. The Ministry is in charge of disaster debris disposal and decontamination of land contaminated by radiation. Of the 1 trillion yen, 825.8 billion yen is from the Recovery Special Budget, constituting the bulk of the increase.

除染や汚染廃棄物処理などにかかる国の費用として、4513億円を計上。すでに今年度の第3次補正予算で除染などの費用として2459億円を計上しており、将来的に除染関連費用は1兆数千億円規模になると見込む。

451.3 billion yen will be earmarked for decontamination and contaminated waste disposal. Already, this year’s 3rd Supplementary Budget allocated 245.9 billion yen to decontamination. The cost for decontamination is estimated to be 1 trillion and several hundred billion yen.

国が自治 体に代わり直接除染するのは、福島第一原発から20キロ圏内の「警戒区域」と線量が年間20ミリシーベルトを超える「計画的避難区域」。さらに、一定の線 量を超える地点が域内にあり、「汚染状況重点調査地域」に指定された東北・関東地方の8県102市町村にも財政支援を行う。

The national government will carry out the decontamination in the no-entry zone within the 20-kilometer radius from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, and in the planned evacuation zone where the annual cumulative radiation exposure [external only] is expected to exceed 20 millisieverts. In addition, there are location within [the planned evacuation zone] where the radiation exposure will exceed a certain level, and the government will give financial support to 102 municipalities in 8 prefectures in Tohoku and Kanto which have been designated recently as “contamination situation priority survey areas”.

ただ、今回の予算には除染で出た汚染物質を保管する中間貯蔵施設については調査費などとして20億円を盛り込んだだけで、建設費は含まれていない。「最終的な除染費用はまだ見通せない状況」(環境省幹部)だ。

However, this budget does not include the construction cost to build temporary storage facilities for contaminated waste resulting from decontamination. It includes only 2 billion yen for the feasibility study for such facilities. The officials at the Ministry of the Environment says “The ultimate cost of decontamination is still unknown to us.”

Uh huh. It is more like “The ultimate cost of decontamination is still unknown to us but we know it’s going to be gigantic; in fact it is so gigantic we would rather not tell you lest we be held accountable. So we say we don’t know, and when SHTF we will say “Who could have known?”, and you will say “Oh well nothing could be done now so let’s keep doing what hasn’t worked, because if we do it enough it may finally work””. And so it goes.

You can be pretty sure that the government will pick the costliest, most complex and probably the most ineffective so-called “technology” do decontamination. The costlier the project, the profitable for all parties taking part. (Never like that coffee filter removal of radioactive cesium invented by a layman.)

Ben “Bernank” Bernanke of the US Federal Reserve would know what to do (“print” money), but not so Shirakawa of the Bank of Japan. Instead, the Noda administration is extra keen on raising taxes on the general public, removing the social benefits even further, and expanding the government so that “Fukushima recovers and the economy grows”.

As more and more people in Japan become aware that they’ve been had, and that so-called “decontamination” is about giving lucrative contracts to the well-connected and entrapping the residents in the highly contaminated area, the governments of all levels – national, prefectural, municipal – go the other way, preaching the virtue of helping out fellow Japanese by eating contaminated food, burning contaminated debris, and paying for “decontamination” to revive Fukushima.

I guess the current batch of ministers is too young to have ever heard of what happened in Japan during the World War II – like practicing to down a B29 bomber that sprayed incendiary cluster bombs using bamboo spears.

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