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No options but to close Fukushima nuke plant – Japanese Prime Minister

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan

JAPAN, March 31, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM / RIA NOVOSTI / KYODO NEWS ) — Japan’s troubled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant will most likely be closed down, the Kyodo news agency reported on Thursday, quoting Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan.

“We cannot but close this nuclear power plant,” Kan said during a meeting with the leader of the Japanese Communist Party, Shii Kazuo, on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano suggested that all six reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant should be demolished. Tsunehisa Katsumata, the director of the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) which owns the plant, said earlier on Wednesday that it would be reasonable to close down the first four reactors.

All six reactors were badly damaged after a powerful earthquake and tsunami struck eastern Japan on March 11. Reactors No. 5 and 6 reactors have been less problematic than the other four and are already in a state of cold shutdown.

Japanese Trade and Industry Minister Banri Kaieda said on Wednesday that the country’s nuclear power stations would be closed if they did not meet tougher safety requirements being drawn up by the government. (*)
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Posted by on March 31, 2011 in World News

 

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Japan on 'maximum alert' over N-crisis ; Japanese PM

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan

JAPAN, March 29, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM) — Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan says his government is in a “state of maximum alert” over the deepening radiation crisis at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, as reported by PRESS TV CHANNEL on Tuesday.


Addressing a lower house budget committee, Kan said that the situation “continues to be unpredictable” and that the government “will tackle the problem while in a state of maximum alert,” AFP reported.

Kan’s remarks come as traces of radioactivity from damaged nuclear facilities in Japan have been detected in rainwater in the northeast United States.

Ohio reported elevated radiation levels in rainwater on Monday, a day after monitors for the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found similar cases in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

Experts at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio reported small amounts of Iodine 131 from Japan in precipitation on Monday.

“In theory, the Iodine 131 could have come from any radioactive waste processing facility. But we know it’s from Japan. The isotope is being seen worldwide,” said geology professor Gerald Matisoff, who monitors rainwater carried into Lake Erie for the EPA.

The EPA has been monitoring radiation from the Fukushima nuclear plant, which was battered in the massive March 11 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan, and had previously detected “very low levels of radioactive material” in the United States.

The agency said that these levels “were expected as a result of the nuclear incident after the events in Japan since radiation is known to travel in the atmosphere,” and that “the levels detected are far below levels of public health concern.”

The US institute has, however, stepped up its monitoring of precipitation, drinking water, and other potential exposure routes for radiation as a precaution. (*)

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2011 in World News

 

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PM Naoto Kan orders SDF to focus on relief operations for quake victims

Japanese Self Defence Force soldiers search missing people at Noda village in Iwate prefecture amid devastation caused by the earthquake and tsunami. (AFP/Yomiuri Shimbun)

JAPAN, March 15, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM) — Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Tuesday ordered the Self-Defense Forces to focus on relief operations for survivors of Friday’s deadly earthquake that hit northeastern Japan, Kyodo News Agency reported on Tuesday.

”While we will continue with our rescue operations, there are many people at evacuation centers hoping for help so we need to gradually shift our work to addressing (their needs),” Kan said at the outset of a Cabinet-level emergency disaster headquarters meeting held at his office.

Bearing in mind that food, water and other necessary supplies are not reaching the survivors, the premier urged SDF troops to assume a central role in transporting these items to the quake-affected areas.

It is ”most effective” for the SDF to take charge of this task because they have the organizational power to do so, Kan said. (*)
 
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Posted by on March 15, 2011 in World News

 

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Photostream : Japan's PM Naoto Kan inspects quake-hit areas, vows to save people's lives

In this photo released by Cabinet public relations office via Kyodo News, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan inspects devastated areas from Japan Ground Self-Defense Force's helicopter Saturday, March 12, 2011 after Japan's biggest recorded earthquake slammed into its eastern coast Friday. As reported by Kyodo News Agency on Saturday, Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Saturday inspected areas in northeastern Japan affected by a calamitous earthquake and said the government will do all it can to save as many people as possible. In addition to addressing the human tragedy, Kan's government was forced to deal with a crisis at a nuclear power plant in one of the prefectures severely hit by the quake and ensuing tsunami. Over 1,700 people are feared to have died or be unaccounted for in the natural disaster. ''To save the lives as much as we can, especially today, tomorrow and day after, we have to hang tough,'' Kan said in his address to the nation in the evening. ''The latest quake is an unprecedented national crisis...I promise that I will risk my life on this job.'' Kan said he has ordered Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa to increase the number of Self-Defense Forces personnel sent to areas hit by the quake and tsunami to 50,000 or more from the earlier 20,000. Kan also met with opposition party leaders and called for their support in drawing up an extra budget to finance the government's relief efforts. To see the situation for himself, the premier left Tokyo early Saturday morning by helicopter for northeastern Japan. (AP Photo/Cabinet public relations office via Kyodo News)

In this photo released by Cabinet public relations office via Kyodo News, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan inspects devastated areas around Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, northern Japan from Japan Ground Self-Defense Force's helicopter Saturday, March 12, 2011 after Japan's biggest recorded earthquake slammed into its eastern coast Friday. As reported by Kyodo News Agency, Prime Minister Kan visited the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, where a radiation leak has been reported, and inspected other devasted areas from the air. Concerning the nuclear plant, Kan said, ''As tsunami far exceeded what had been expected, some backup operation problems occurred.'' Kan nonetheless said the government is fully committed to preventing even one single resident from facing health problems. Kan said at a meeting of the government's emergency headquarters that more than 3,000 people have been saved by the SDF and other rescue teams. The government has also taken a number of steps to address the inconveniences the quake has been causing to the public.(AP Photo/Cabinet public relations office via Kyodo News)

Prime Minister Naoto Kan (seated, 3rd from R) and other government officials attend a meeting on March 12, 2011, at the prime minister's office in Tokyo. The Japanese government is scrambling to deal with the aftermath of a powerful earthquake that struck the nation the previous day, triggering massive tsunami, fires and a nuclear power emergency and resulting in extensive loss of life. (Kyodo)

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2011 in World News

 

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Japan gov't takes emergency steps, PM Naoto Kan asks people to stay calm

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan speaks following a massive earthquake in northern Japan at a press conference in his office Tokyo on March 11, 2011. One of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded hit Japan, unleashing a 10-metre high tsunami that tossed ships inland and sparked fears that destructive waves could hit across the Pacific Ocean. (Photo by JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images)

March 11, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM / KYODO NEWS)  — Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan set up emergency headquarters on Friday at his office immediately after a devastating earthquake struck northeastern Japan and decided to send the Self-Defense Forces and other rescue teams as soon as possible to hard-hit areas, Kyodo News reported on Friday.

”The damage has occurred across a wide range of areas, particularly in the country’s northeastern part,” Kan told an emergency news conference. ”Our government will make all-out efforts to secure people’s safety and minimize the damage caused by the earthquake.”

Kan also asked the public to stay calm and keep abreast of the latest information concerning the magnitude 8.8 earthquake that occurred at 2:46 p.m.

Death toll from Japan quake rises to 59, Kyodo News reported.

Fire reported at more than 80 locations after quake.

10,000 people stuck at Narita airport,  1,100 peopl

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2011 in World News

 

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Matsumoto to be Japan's new foreign minister

Japanese State Foreign Secretary Takeaki Matsumoto responds to questions during a House of Councillors Budget Committee session in Tokyo on March 8, 2011. Prime Minister Naoto Kan is going to promote Matsumoto to foreign minister following Seiji Maehara's resignation over a money scandal. (Photo : Kyodo News)

JAPAN, Mar 9, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM) — Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan decided Tuesday to promote State Foreign Secretary Takeaki Matsumoto to foreign minister following Seiji Maehara’s resignation over a money scandal, sources close to the premier said.

As reported by Kyodo News on Wednesday, Matsumoto accepted Kan’s offer of the post Tuesday night, according to the sources. An attestation ceremony for the new minister is scheduled to take place Wednesday afternoon at the Imperial Palace.

Kan told reporters earlier in the evening that he would be ”not taking that long” in selecting Maehara’s successor.   (*)
 
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Posted by on March 9, 2011 in World News

 

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Japanese PM says considering visit to Kuril Islands

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan

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November 17, 2010 (KATAKAMI / RIA NOVOSTI) — Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said on Wednesday that a possible visit to the disputed Kuril Islands, called the Northern Territories by Japan, deserved careful consideration.

“Given how important the prime minister’s visit [to the islands] is, it must be considered seriously. At the moment I do not have any concrete plans,” Kan said in a speech to the Japanese parliament.

Earlier this month, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev aggravated a long-standing dispute over four of the islands, by becoming the first Russian or Soviet leader to visit one of them.

Both countries have laid claims to the islands since they were occupied by the Soviet Union at the end of World War II and the dispute has prevented them from signing a peace treaty to formally end wartime hostilities.

The Japanese premier reiterated Japan’s stance on the status of the islands.

“Japan’s principal position that the Northern Territories are part of our country and that the territorial dispute must be resolved through the signing of a peace treaty, has not changed,” he said.

Last week Medvedev met with Kan during the APEC summit in the Japanese city of Yokohama. Medvedev invited Kan to visit “any part of Russia, including the Far East.”

Kan said he “wanted to develop friendly relations between Russia and Japan on a basis of trust, as between two partners.”

TOKYO, November 17

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2010 in World News

 

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