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An Abridged Translation of Presentations by Messrs. Hirokawa and Hirose - PART 1

Reactor No. 1 of
TEPCO's Fukushima
No. 1 Plant was
washed by tsunami
on March 11
Up until 2 weeks ago, I was translating a paper my close friend Lara Chen Tien-shi had written in Japanese for a British publisher. To finish the gig by the deadline, I had to try hard to overcome all these difficulties caused by Parkinson's disease and many other ailments. Yet it was rewarding in part because Lara arranged that the quasi-governmental organization she is working for will pay me a reasonable remuneration. More importantly, I always find the subject of her research quite relevant and intriguing.
Most of the time, I do English translation of Japanese text practically for nothing.

Actually I'm currently in the middle of a legal battle against this rotten country represented by the municipality of Yokohama over its decision to seize my annuities on the grounds that I have refused to pay Residential Tax of 971,400 yen since my retirement. I am insisting that I have already paid them much more than enough. Income Taxes are automatically withheld from the peanuts which they call pension annuities. On top of that I have paid value added taxes, tobacco taxes, and some other dues. And what did I get in return? Practically nothing.

Also, I am arguing that I have already sunk below "the minimum standards of wholesome and cultured living" which Article 25 of the Japanese Constitution guarantees.

So it's all the more frustrating to have to work on yet another English translation entirely for free. But it can't be helped because for this blogger, introducing a little more established Japanese figures than I is the only way to make you Westerners understand I am not alone here. As long as I remain a heretic who tells the truth that other Japanese seldom do, you never take me seriously. That is why I have decided to roughly translate this video.

I, myself, hadn't known these names, Takashi Hirose and Ryuichi Hirokawa, until I came across them on YouTube. I have asked 6 local friends if they know these gentlemen whose way of thinking is very un-Japanese. Only one woman, who is a reporter at a local newspaper publisher, answered in the affirmative. It's small wonder that you Westerners have no knowledge of them. The Japanese media, let alone their Western counterparts, never mention these invisible names and inaudible voices.

I think there are two reasons why the Westerners, especially Americans, have totally disregarded these respectable Japanese.

Reason 1: They don't want to listen to whoever they don't want to. Neither do they want to see whatever they don't want to.
Reason 2: These gentlemen are neither ideologues, nor busybodies. They dedicate themselves solely, or at least primarily, to the cause of the well-being of their fellow countrymen. They have no reason to talk to Americans or Europeans.

So I'll try here to provide you with an abridged translation of the presentations given on March 23 by Messrs. Hirokawa and Hirose.

Ryuichi Hirokawa, the organizer and emcee of the session:

Ryuichi Hirokawa,
63, is an independent
One day after the quake, Mr. Hirokawa went to Fukushima Prefecture where the troubled nuclear power plant is located. Although either Naoto Kan's central government or the prefectural/municipal governments hadn't officially declared an emergency in the area surrounding the power plant for an obvious reason, Hirokawa learned that the area within a 20-30km radius from the plant had been virtually evacuated. At least he saw no reporters dispatched from the mainstream media.

Braving the invisible radioactive materials wafting in the air, Hirokawa got into the area carrying a radiation detector which he had bought when he was covering the apocalypse of Chernobyl in the late-1980s through early-1990s. It can only detect radioactive particles up to 100 μSv. In Chernobyl, he never saw the needle pegged to the extreme right. But in Fukushima, the moment he stepped into the area, he saw the needle pinned at 100 μSv. He asked a passerby, who happened to have a detector on which radiation levels can be measured up to 1,000 μSv, what the reading was on his instrument. The answer was that he couldn't tell either because the needle had already hit 1,000 μSv.

Hirokawa concludes his introductory remarks by saying what is happening there is even worse than the situation the Ukrainians experienced 25 years ago, and the way the Japanese government is handling the situation is no different from that of the communist government. He warns that the Japanese people should wake up to the severity of the disaster their government and media are trying very hard to cover up.

Takashi Hirose, the main speaker:

Takashi Hirose is
a 68-year-old
nonfiction writer
Slide 1/Slide 2: Shown here are three monkeys who refused to hear the truth, speak the truth and see the truth. I just wanted to say the Japanese, especially media people, are acting like these monkeys while the natural disaster of March 11 is quickly turning into a man-made catastrophe.

Slide 3: In this country tsunami and earthquakes are something people should always be prepared for. I was sure a huge tsunami was coming very soon, and now I am sure that I will get killed sooner or later by a real devastating quake. But the series of deadly accidents at the Fukushima nuclear power plant is a different story. As Mr. Hirokawa said minutes ago, it's 100% man-made. Frankly, I don't believe the situation there can be put under control anymore. But just for argument's sake, let's assume we will somehow get over this difficulty.

Slide 4: The nuclear catastrophe should be attributed mainly to these shameless scholars who have never learned their lessons from the truth and the mainstream media who have been unenlightening their audiences with their "wide shows" everyday. Let me give you an example: Several days ago, I got a call from a reporter of the Tokyo Shimbun daily. I told him that the 54 nuclear reactors we have here should all be shut down immediately because otherwise Japan would be finished. The next morning I knew the newspaper didn't like my comment. The article was headlined something like stricter check on these reactors is needed. This is a total distortion of what I said.

Slide 5: Let's take a fresh look at what really happened at 14:46, March 11. At the beginning the Meteorological Agency put its Magnitude at 8.3. In a matter of hours the agency revised the intensity to 8.4, then to 8.8, and finally to 9.0. This is exactly what the Chinese government did in the wake of the Sichuan Great Earthquake of 2008. I suspected that the Japanese government had to make it the largest-ever earthquake in the face of the outbreak of the nuclear nightmare in Fukushima.

Slide 6: My suspicion proved right when a geologist by the name of Hidenori Shimamura confided to me that in order to inflate the magnitude reading, the Meteorological Agency abruptly changed the scale from just the Magnitude Japan has been using traditionally to the Moment Magnitude which is generally accepted among seismologists in other countries. As a result, the March 11 tremor now looks to eclipse the Hanshin-Awaji Great Earthquake of 1995 that claimed 6,434 lives. One of the reasons the government wanted the agency to falsify the Magnitude reading is because it wanted to prevent Tokyo Electric Power Company in which it has a lot of vested interests from going under because of a huge compensation. This is where the manipulation of information has all started to instill in people a false idea that the quake was way beyond any prediction whereas its Magnitude was at most 8.3 or 8.4.

Slide 7: From Day 1 of the crisis, NHK and other media organizations kept saying it was a "once-in-a-millennium" quake. Give me a break! The earthquake of Magnitude 8.3 or 8.4 was not unprecedented at all. Moreover, the destruction by the quake was dwarfed by damages caused by tsunami that followed it. And was the tsunami really unpredictable? Once again, it wasn't. Just for instance, Iwate Prefecture was washed by a 38.2-meter-high tsunami as recently as 1896.

Slide 8: As of now, we know from observations conducted by many experts that the maximum height of the tidal waves was somewhere between 15m to 20m. All in all, you should bear in mind that TV commentators are telling a lie when they say the natural calamity of March 11 was beyond any prediction.

Slide 9: When measured in terms of Gal, the same thing can be said of the "once-in-a-millennium" tremor which recorded 2,933 Gal, or 3 times the Gravitational Acceleration. For instance, the earthquake which hit the same area as recently as 3 years ago marked 3,866 Gal. Let me reiterate this here: The notion about the once-in-a-millennium thing is a transparent trick to cover up unpreparedness for and mishandling of the ongoing crisis on the part of the government.

Slide 10: Last year I published this book titled The Time Bombs of Nuclear Reactors. In this book I warned the Japanese to get prepared for a real devastating quake and tsunami which I think are imminent. The tsunami part of my prediction may have materialized this time. But I am sure the massive quake has yet to come. When I finished writing the book, I swore myself that if and when my prediction comes true, I should stop talking about this issue and devote myself to protecting my grandchildren because unlike Mr. Hirokawa, I am a chicken-hearted person who would never risk his life in the face of a disaster. But now I have changed my mind. Getting infuriated at all the gimmicks by the government and the media, I started to think I have to make every possible effort to reveal the truth. To concentrate on this task, I have already sent all my grandchildren overseas. When doing so, I felt extremely sad because chances are I will never see them again. I want to stress this: You should never play down the implication of what has already happened and what is going to happen in the near future.

Slide 11: Among other things, I find it really outrageous to hear the president of Tokyo Electric Power Company repeatedly saying the disaster was really unavoidable. Every time TEPCO people explain why this had to happen, they say they had never assumed such a big quake and tsunami. They should feel ashamed of the innumerable missteps caused by the complete lack of professionalism. Even a layman such as I could predict what was coming in his book. Let us not forget that TEPCO should be held responsible for its negligence of duty to prevent such a nuclear disaster.

Slide 12: I really hate to say this, but I had predicted exactly how the tragedy has unfolded. Now let me touch on the history of the now-crippled reactors. Reactor No. 1, the oldest one, became operational on March 26, 1971. So it will mark the 40th anniversary in three days from now.

Slide 13: This slide is a little too busy, but the most important thing to note is that all the reactors in Fukushima No. 1 Plant were designed by General Electric. One of my close friends Mr. Mitsuhiko Tanaka of Hitachi took part in the construction of the No. 4 reactor. But according to him, Japan's nuclear industry was at its fledgling stage in those days and all the blueprints were provided to Hitachi by GE. So please keep in mind that these reactors now on the verge of a total meltdown were all designed by GE.

Slide 14: On March 25 last year, TEPCO filed an application with the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency for its permission to extend the use of the then-39-year-old reactor No. 1 for many more years. At that time TEPCO and the agency agreed that its service life was estimated at 60 years.

Slide 15: Another thing I want you to remember is that on October 26, 2010, the electricity company put its reactor No. 3, one of the obsolete reactors in Fukushima, into commercial service for power generation using plutonium fuel, when it was already 34-years-old. As we have already seen, people in Fukushima Prefecture are now exposed to most hazardous radioactive particles from the No. 3 reactor. I'll come back to this later in my presentation.

Slide 16: In terms of quake resistance, all these reactors in Fukushima No. 1 Plant were originally designed to endure a tremor of 270 Gal. TEPCO has said they were later reinforced to withstand a quake of 600 Gal. Although I am inclined to doubt the power company told us the truth, it does not seem the March 11 quake was strong enough to destroy these reactors because the horizontal power to reactor No. 3, for instance, was no more than 507 Gal. But that does not make any difference to the fact that these reactors are too aged to withstand what is coming in the near future. I'm 68-years-old. Like any old man, I wear glasses, which, incidentally, got broken by the quake. I may also start wearing false teeth or hearing aid anytime soon. In short, I'm almost a cyborg. The same applies to these reactors. You can never rejuvenate them no matter how hard you fix this problem here, that problem there.

I know I am only 20% through with Mr. Hirose's presentation, but now I have a disabling fatigue particular to sufferers of Parkinson's. I can't go on anymore for now. If some of you want me to continue, I'll come back to comply with your request after taking a nap. But if you don't, that is that.

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An Abridged Translation of Presentations by Messrs. Hirokawa and Hirose - PART 1 | 2 comments | Create New Account
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An Abridged Translation of Presentations by Messrs. Hirokawa and Hirose - PART 1
Authored by: samwidge on Sunday, April 10 2011 @ 09:42 PM JST

I hope you will come back to this. Your translation is immensely helpful. I have not found audio translation software and could not succeed at comprehending the video.

There are two immensely important points:

1. Industries and companies are not innately corrupt. Nonetheless, mistakes do happen and the verbal dancing that must follow those mistakes can be very difficult to understand.

2. The video that you directed us to, already has 90,000 views. That is power. Right or wrong, it is now getting world attention, lots of attention. Things will be different in the future.

I also think it is important to question the possible alternatives to nuclear power. There is coal, wind and sea power. I suppose oil is important as well. In the end, those will all be shortstopped just like nuclear energy. Every one. America is already beset with environmental extremists battling against people who have no alternatives to offer. Where I live, our tremendously valuable hydro-power is being dismantled. There is no alternative whatsoever.

As we so frequently say, "in life, there is no way out."
An Abridged Translation of Presentations by Messrs. Hirokawa and Hirose - PART 1
Authored by: Y.Yamamoto on Monday, April 11 2011 @ 01:10 AM JST


Your words always hearten me. I'll give it a try before long.

Actually, I think their presentations are worth efforts by a translator not because you and your fellow countrymen view things in the same way as I do, but because there are huge differences between us.

My way of thinking is that there are two types of human beings: sayers and doers. We businesspeople often referred to the latter as Indians without meaning any discrimination against the native Americans.

One important thing about this classification is that sayers, too, do things and doers also say things. And yet, I think these gentlemen fall on the doer category.

You write: "It is important to question the possible alternatives to nuclear power." I think you are 100% right here. But we should always keep in mind that any person, or even any group of people, can't do two different things at a time. Destruction is for a person, while reconstruction is for another. The only thing that interconnects them is the fact that the destroyer creates a greenfield on which the constructor can build something really new.

Maybe a sayer can sometimes talk about abandoning nuclear energy and search for an alternative to it at the same time. But normally we can't do both.

Unfortunately, there are so many scholars and pundits in our countries who habitually mix up the two types and make believe they are omnipotent. I'm inclined to call them crisis-mongers.

Messrs. Hirokawa and Hirose are not that arrogant. They know they can't do everything in their lifetime. Hirose, for one, knows that at this moment, all he can do is to protect his grandchildren from the scenario he foresees for this country.

I'm neither Hirokawa, nor Hirose, in part because I'm completely in the dark about seismology, nuclear engineering, or meteorology. Also I can't afford to protect my grandchildren (lip service aside.) My forte lies somewhere else. That is why I wanted to listen to them and I wanted Americans to listen to them.

To me the 90,000 view-count does not mean anything, primarily because very few Westerners understand Japanese correctly. Actually even Fulford by far outperforms Hirokawa and Hirose in that respect. That is why I thought about translating their messages.

Yu Yamamoto