Giant Robot Store and GR2 News

Amateur Japanese Radiation Detectives “If TEPCO was operating this facility in the U.S., all of the reactors would have been shut down indefinitely and there would have been a complete changeover of management.” The gist of this is that people are not very happy with the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). Citizens affected by the nuclear disaster in Japan view the company’s response to the crisis as slow and somewhat sloppy. According to the report at the link, for a time after the disaster TEPCO was using fire hoses and temporary water pumping equipment to attempt to cool the reactors at Fukushima. So, out of safety concerns and a sense of duty to help, some regular folks in the Fukushima and Minami Soma areas are borrowing Geiger counters and monitoring radiation levels themselves. They are not licensed specialists, and they have no formal training in radiation risk management. But one former garbage-sorting worker and one elementary school principal, amongst others, have decided the best way to assess the ongoing risks of Fukushima radiation is to do it themselves and use their common sense to get the safely through the threat. (Bloomberg-Business Week – Geiger Counter Gumshoes)   Yakuza Disaster Relief is So Efficient, it’s Just Criminal “Those lining up to profit from the clearance operation, which is expected to take three years, include homegrown gangs and Chinese crime syndicates.” For some reason, this story reminds us of the Paul Sorvino mafia character in the movie “The Rocketeer”, who takes sides with the good guys against the evil Nazi played by Timothy Dalton. Sure, that was only a movie; but the point is that bad people are capable of doing good things when their country or way of life faces a threat, whether the threat comes from humans or nature. And so it seems to be with Japan’s Yakuza, which has been credited with very quickly and efficiently offering supplies and shelter to March 11th disaster survivors, in some cases days before government agencies were able to do the same. But in the wake of that generous initial response, the Yakuza are now seen as a possible problem where the bidding for post-disaster debris removal and reconstruction contracts are concerned. Police and government officials are worried that Yakuza-affiliated companies will win these lucrative contracts by sharply under-bidding legitimate civilian firms, perhaps with the help of local government officials, and end up exporting disaster debris outside of Japan for sale on the global black market. (The Guardina UK – Yakuza Disaster Contracts)      
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