The Crazy Japan Times

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Kashiwazaki has been in the news a great deal the past two weeks, what with TEPCO problems and PM Koizumiís trip to North Korea today. In fact, the mayor of Kashiwazaki may be the hardest working man in Japanese politics as he frequently has to travel to Niigata for a meeting with parents of the alleged abductees and TEPCO officials and then climb on the bullet train and head to Tokyo for a meeting with Koizumi. By the way, from what Iíve read on-line, most of you may not have heard about Koizumiís historic visit to North Korea. (The first Japanese PM to do so, I believe.) Iíve therefore decided to run this bulletin without some of the usual fanfare. Brevity, or getting to the point quickly with out much delay or hemming and hawwing or beating around the bush, is the soul of wit, I believe.

The most shocking development out of Koizumiís remarkably hasty and remarkably historical summit was an admission from North Korea that it really had kidnapped 12 Japanese citizens, including two not officially listed on the Japanís list of alleged abductees. Your humble editor, who once dismissed much of this as so much cold-war conspiratorial hooey, is eating some major, er, hooey. He is also taking a longer, closer look at all major conspiracy theories. (Maybe Oswald DID act alone; Maybe Jesus IS buried in France. . .)

Kim-Jong Il reported that the 12 were taken to fill a need for native Japanese speakers to train North Korean spies. Kim-Jong Il also reported that four of the abductees were currently aliveó-at least one met with a Japanese foreign ministry officialó-but that 8, including the two unofficial ones, were dead. The list of the dead includes then 13 year old Megumi Yokota who disappeared from Niigata 25 years ago. According to the reports, Megumi married and had a daughter. It was her daughter who verified her death. The parents are all heart broken, even those whose family are still alive, as the long, frustrating search for any answers has made them all like one large family. Unfortunately, no news has been released on when or how the 8 died. Also, Japan claims a 13th possible abductee, but North Korea says there is no evidence he ever arrived in North Korea.

Some family members are still skeptical and your humble editor suspects there will a whole lot more news about this in the future. At least on this side of the Pacific. Also, given that Japanese policy with North Korea has been directly linked with, and derailed by this issue, expect a lot of changes in the near future.

In other Kashiwazaki news, TEPCO revealed that it has operated the nuclear plant in Kashiwazaki for over 8 years with cracks in the shroud. Not only did they not repair it, they painted over it. Apparently, inspectors from General Electric found the cracks, but the official record of the visit was altered to indicate there was not problems. (As your humble editor under- stands it, the shroud is the part of the reactor surrounding the fuel rods and is vital to keeping the reactor core cool.) Also, there is evidence that TEPCO has been falsifying reports for over 16 years on 29 occasions. The first case was in the Fukushima #1 reactor as far back as 1986. Thereís also evidence TEPCO workers edited video to cover up evidence of cracks. Clean, reliable energy indeed.

More as I know it.


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Created October 2002