Saturday, January 23, 2016

MLIT (Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism) is largely to blame: Causes and background of the bus accident in Nagano

The bus accident that occurred on the Usui Bypass, Nagano Prefecture killed twelve passengers, all university students, and two drivers. This is the most serious bus accident since the one that happened in January 1985 and claimed twenty five lives. The losses of many youths’ lives are tremendous to Japanese society. As the media have reported, both the travel agent, Keyth Tour, which planned the ski tour, and the bus operator, E.S.P., had organized and managed their tours in a very sloppy manner. Keyth Tour had already had negative reputations on the Internet even before the accident. Not only buses but also services of hotels arranged by the travel agent were criticized as being of poor quality – “no bath towel or toothbrush in a room”, “It’s a dormitory rather than a hotel”, and “It’s funny rather than frustrating”. The ski tour is typically cheap and nasty. (KUROGANE Ko, Safety Issues Research Group)



What is behind the “Tokyo Olympic Games”? – Wartime-like “National unity”

On January 14, 2016, discussions were held about what to do in “education on the Tokyo Olympic Games” at a regular meeting of the Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education. The education includes the “involvement of families and communities through children”, participation in “volunteer (in reality, forced) activities”, and the creation of a sense of “pride as Japanese”. These are exactly the same as what happened 70 or 80 years ago during World War II into which all Japanese people were mobilized in the name of national unity. These are to materialize the dispatch of students to battlefields. This kind of thing quietly proceeds without knowledge of the people. We cannot be silent. We have to speak out. However, none of the education board members seemed to notice the danger. The unionization rate of schoolteachers is low now, but I want respective teachers’ unions to discuss this issue. (NEZU Kimiko)
  * Nezu is on the right of the first photo at a hearing of the education board.



Why does only Fukushima have to endure 20 mSv a year? – Lawsuit by residents of Minami-Soma City

On January 13, 2016, the second oral argument was held for the repeal of the annual radiation level of 20 mSv as a threshold for evacuation in Minami-Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture, which is much higher than the level in other parts of Japan. Twenty plaintiffs from the city came to the Tokyo District Court. This legal action was started against the Japanese Government by 808 residents in 206 households in the city, who insisted that it is illegal to repeal the designation as specific spots recommended for evacuation based on 20 mSv per year. The government refuted the claim, saying that “the repeal is based on reasonable standards”. In other words, it insists that the threshold of 20 mSv per year is appropriate. The plaintiffs were furious about the government’s insistence, complaining, “Why does only Fukushima have to endure 20 mSv a year”? (YUMOTO Masanori)   
  Video (Three and a half minutes)