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07 Sep 2011 11:05


World: Ex-Japan PM Naoto Kan imagined uninhabitable Tokyo post-Fukushima

  • Deserted scenes of Tokyo without a single man around came across my mind. It really was a spine-chilling thought.
  • Former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan • Offering a truly harrowing vision of a post-Fukushima future for Tokyo. The vision for the 20-million-strong city helped push Kan towards encouraging renewable energy during his final months as Prime Minister, when he was dealing with the march earthquake. We’re with him. That’s a scary thought and it’s understandable why he changed his track as a result. source

29 Aug 2011 11:10


World: Meet Yoshihiko Noda, Japan’s likely new Prime Minister

Now here’s a guy that shouldn’t get too comfortable. Noda will likely be Japan’s sixth Prime Minister in five years, and the track record for keeping this job isn’t great. Plus, Fukushima’s still an issue. source

26 Aug 2011 13:23


World: As expected, Naoto Kan quits as Japanese Prime Minister

  • The earthquake sealed his political fate. A mere 14 months after he began, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has just ensured that Japan will see its sixth prime minister in five years — and he outlasted most of them. However, his weak leadership during the earthquake — which should’ve proved an opportunity for him prove how his work as a self-made man ensured he was the right man for the job, after years of weak choices. Instead, he turned out to be a weak leader, too. “Mr. Kan is the outsider-turned-prime minister, who should have provided leadership,” noted close friend and adviser Takayoshi Igarashi. “The move to escape from nuclear power should have been his great chance to shine.” Not so much. source

02 Jun 2011 10:25


World: Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan still has some confidence left

Amid the Japanese earthquake, Kan survived a no-confidence vote and will likely outlast all of his recent predecessors, despite promising to resign after the crisis. source

22 Apr 2011 17:25


World: Japan: Government sets asides funds; Fukushima locals say goodbye

  • Japan has some pretty hefty rebuilding plans: With a month and a half of distance between the earthquake and tsunami that ravaged a large chunk of the country, and a need to ensure a next step for the recovering nation, Japan’s government, led by Prime Minister Naoto Kan (left), has a large-scale recovery plan in its sights, which includes the building of 100,000 temporary homes. A huge catalyst for the move, according to the prime minister, was a recent meeting he had with people stuck in shelters. “I felt with renewed determination that we must do our best to get them back as soon as possible,” he said. More details:

The cost & the overall need

  • $48.5 billion in emergency spending earmarked
  • 14k people confirmed dead after last month’s quake
  • 13k people missing in the quake or tsunami
  • 130k people still live in evacuation centers source
  • » Japan has recovered before: Back in 1923, Japan suffered a far more substancial economic and physical disaster from Great Kanto Earthquake, which killed as many as 140,000 and caused the country to lose 40 percent of GDP. The current earthquake, likely the most expensive in the country’s history at $300 billion, is a mere fraction of that in comparative scale.

The situation around Fukushima

  • 12 miles the radius of the evacuation zone around Fukushima — residents could face fines or jail if they enter
  • 19 miles the radius around Fukushima where the government recommends residents leave source
  • » Letting residents come back: While authorities let some residents return to their homes for a brief period yesterday (a mere two-hour window, by the way), they may not have another chance. MSNBC has photos from the pretty freaky scene. “I’m sorry there’s nothing I can do for you,” said dairy farmer Hiroaki Hiruta, who had to leave his 130 cows to fend for themselves within the radiation zone. He had visited to feed them every single day, but no longer can due to the newly-enforced regulations. It’s unclear if there will be a next time for Hiruta to visit his cows, or if that “next time” will come anytime in the near-future. (photo by DVIDS on Flickr)

18 Apr 2011 11:25


World: Poll: Japanese people want PM Naoto Kan to step down over quake

  • 70% of those polled think Naoto Kan should step down source
  • » A revolving door: Were Naoto Kan to step down, he’d be the fifth prime minister in a row to step down or lose an election after a year or less on the job. From Shinzō Abe to Yasuo Fukuda to Taro Aso and Yukio Hatoyama, the job has not proven a stable one. And Kan is nearing his one-year mark in the position. But none of his recent predecessors had to deal with a crisis nearly as crazy as the double-teaming of Fukushima and the Sendai quake.

03 Apr 2011 14:27


World: Unintended consequences, priorities complicate Japan crisis

  • action Lacking the ability to pump water through the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant as they usually would, workers were hosing in as much seawater as they could to try to cool the unstable fuel rods.
  • outcome This consequently left the plant covered in contaminated salt water, and has made it extremely difficult for those in the plant to work near the reactors, thus impeding the crisis control effort. source
  • »And don’t forget about Japan’s other problems: Prime Minister Naoto Kan was pretty unpopular prior to the earthquake and tsunami that decimated the country, and his abilities at crisis management haven’t escaped public criticism. Reuters reports that many Japanese are unhappy with the Prime Minister’s focus on the nuclear crisis, feeling that not enough attention is being paid to other pressing humanitarian tolls caused by the earthquake; the number of dead or missing currently sits at 28,000 people, though obviously that estimate is changing all the time. source

25 Mar 2011 17:35


World: Japan Prime Minister on Fukushima: We’re not out of the woods yet

  • Don’t consider the situation at Fukushima settled just yet. That’s the message that Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, in his first statements on the matter in over a week, would like to make clear. “We are making efforts to prevent it from getting worse, but I feel we cannot become complacent,” he said. “We must continue to be on our guard.” Kan’s comments come in the wake of high instability at some of the plants — yesterday, two workers got radiation burns on their feet while working on Fukushima’s No. 3 unit, which is the most dangerous of the bunch due to its use of a mixture of uranium and plutonium. The situation led to fresh concerns about whether there might be a leak in that reactor. TEPCO officials are still looking for the cause of the high radiation levels. source

13 Mar 2011 10:58


World: Japan PM: The worst crisis “in Japan’s 65 years of postwar history”

  • This is the toughest crisis in Japan’s 65 years of postwar history. I’m convinced that we can overcome the crisis.
  • Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan • Speaking about the current crisis. ”We have no choice but to deal with the situation on the premise that it (the death toll) will undoubtedly be numbered in the ten thousands,” he continued. Kan’s statements come amid reports of many thousands of people missing. source

06 Jun 2010 12:18


World: Naoto Kan, Japan’s new prime minister, doesn’t wear ugly shirts

Note the suit that Kan is wearing. It really lends itself to a “take me seriously, United States, you’re a lynchpin of my foreign policy” vibe. source