Today is March 18, 2011.
The value of Japanese currency shot up because of the earthquake. At one point, it was 76 yen. The highest I've ever heard. But because the government conducted an emergency G7 phone meeting and received the members' agreement, it eventually went down to 81 yen which is close to the before-earthquake rate. Some people only think of taking advantage even at the time of others' tragedy. If I see one, you can count on me to report it.
I'm aware that the world audience is watching this tragedy with much sympathy as well as much curiosity. Sometimes, I sense some discrepancy in perspectives. I'm sure you have noticed especially if you are writers. It's a challenge for me not to explain because I cannot possibly explain why we are the way we are, but to describe my sense of this discrepancy.
I'm also aware of the criticisms that Japanese government downplayed the nuclear reactors situation. When we hear any problem at the nuclear reactor incident whether in Japan or the U.S., we tend to think perhaps the truth is hidden from us. I think this is a wise attitude. This incident is no exception. The fear is there no matter how much we are ensured of our safety even prior to this incident. I'm not here to defend any mistakes or to try to make the enormous disaster look better. But I hope this disaster promotes understanding of human behaviors, not only Japanese's but also all the world citizens'. This gives us opportunities to think further about each other. How we act and interact at the time of crisis is the most important behavior as human beings. This is not a war. This is a natural disaster. We can help each other.
In response to some criticism about whether the evacuation distance was appropriate or not, chief cabinet secretary Yukio Edano said that the requirement was decided based on all the data gathered and the assessments and opinions of the experts. He said he understands the foreign countries make higher requirement, and if we are in the same situation as theirs, we probably do the same. The other day, the same question came up from a reporter. The question repeated itself, and it seemed to come from a foreign source. Of course, expanded evacuated area is better. 30 km is better than 20. 40 is better than 30, and so on. So, 80 km away from the reactor is much better off than 30 km requirement. And Tokyo and Yokohama are about 350 km or so away from the northeast. So, we are much better off? What is the point of argument in this? First, where do you draw the line? So, the U.S. is definitely better off than Japan right now? What is the point of pressing the obvious fact at the time of disaster? This is not helpful. That is as though saying to Jewish people during WWII, I'm better off because I'm not Jewish. To be helpful to the disaster team, please think if an advice you want to give is logical and supported by expert opinions, new scientific findings, and so on. This is not a test. This is a real situation. Chief cabinet secretary Edano needs to deal with disaster, not those guestimate type of advices.
About the reports on the radiation rate, we've been updated on the rise and fall in detail at every news program. We are still concerned, but so far, the rate is within normal boundary. We've been educated about micro and millisieverts, and some examples of ailment at a high radiation. But there is no report on anyone who received an alarmed rate. There was a report that the survivors close to the reactors have been tested on radiation, and each received a certificate of their health. I don't know all the detail, but that must be ongoing process.
But at noon today, chief cabinet secretary Edano said in the 30 km area, the highest radiation was reported in some places which was 100 microsievelt per one hour. This is much higher than normal. This is alarming. He said over all, the rate in the area is not the level harmful to human bodies. .
Some part of the Miyagi harbor has been operational since yesterday. Trucks and buses have been transporting goods and people. A part of the defense force airport was cleared, so they started to operate
We also had a report that the fire fighters worked yesterday received a few millisieverts of radiation. I've learned quite a bit today about specially equipped fire engines. There is a special fire engine car that is equipped to decontaminate and normalize the affected persons. There is a car which is capable to shoot water from 2 km away, and there is a car that can extend its ladder 40 meter high.
The radiation rates at the west gate of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear reactors.
Yesterday 3:30 pm 309 micro sieverlts per hour
8:30 pm 292 " "
This morning, 7:30 am 271 " "
Above rates are high. Today, I heard 30 specially equipped fire engine cars were gathered from all over Japan and 139 fire fighters were sent to the problem area. At 2 pm today, seven special fire engine cars shot all together 50 tons of sea water to No. 3 reactor. The fighters operated the control from inside their cars, and they took turns to minimize their exposure to radiation. I hear shameful news here and there, but I want to focus on these heroic fighters' job on the most important problem. I can't wait to hear the result tonight.
Still, we have to be watchful at secondary disasters. Because of the earthquake, some areas went down lower than the sea level. So, when high tides arrive, flood is highly possible.