Smoke indicates apparent setback in Japan nuke efforts

Possible setback in bid to control nuclear reactors; Jewish residents in Tokyo accuse Western media of exaggerating risks of radiation.

By GIL STERN STERN SHEFLER JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
March 22, 2011 07:03
3 minute read.
Smoke is seen coming from area of No. 3 reactor

Japan smoke from nuclear reactor 311. (photo credit: REUTERS/Tokyo Electric Power Co)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For a symbolic $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Don't show it again

TOKYO – After days of progress, Japan suffered an apparent setback in its bid to bring the leaky nuclear power plant at Fukushima under control on Monday, when smoke was detected coming out of one of the reactors damaged by the tsunami last Friday, media reported.

Reuters quoted Japanese news organizations as saying that a grey plume rising from reactor No. 3 caused a team of workers to evacuate the site, bringing repair work to a temporary halt. The smoke ceased several hours later, and radiation levels were said to have remained the same.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


RELATED:
Israel first to set up field hospital in Japan
Engineers connect power cables to Fukushima plant

Meanwhile, in Tokyo, located about 190 kilometers south of Fukushima, members of the Jewish community complained that Western media were grossly exaggerating the risks of radiation spreading from Fukushima, causing undue panic and alarm.

Larry Greenberg, a member on the community’s board of directors who has been living in Japan for 24 years, said there was a great disparity between the reality on the ground and how it was being reported and perceived in the world.

“The media feeding frenzy is distorted,” he said. “The news coming from Fukushima has been that it’s stabilized.”

Speaking at the recently built Jewish community center, a lavish modernist building in the central district of Shibuya, Greenberg claimed that over the past week alarming reports by international media outlets had created a selfsustaining cycle of fear.



“One irrational act leads to another, and it mounts,” he said. “Suddenly everyone is talking about getting the kids out, and that’s the worst, feeling that you’re making a bad decision for the family.”

While most of Tokyo’s expats and some locals are taking refuge in the south or abroad until the situation in Fukushima is resolved, the vast majority of the metropolitan area’s 30 million people have stayed put. Most Japanese asked on the street on Monday said they were not worried about any immediate effects of radiation.

At her house a few kilometers south of Shibuya, Efrat Edry – the wife of Rabbi Binyamin Edry, who runs one of two Chabad houses in town – said that her family was determined to stay.

“At a time like this, it’s our duty to remain here and provide support to the people of Japan,” she said in her kitchen, surrounded by her six children aged two to 10. “People come up to me and thank me for staying. There’s no doubt there’s been a gap in how it’s been reported here and around the world.”

Over the past week, the Brooklyn-born Edry has watched over the children while her husband has made several runs to the northern city of Sendai together with two Japanese associates, delivering goods to the victims of the disaster.

Roi Somekh, an Israeli who runs a restaurant in Sendai – one of the places hit hardest by the disaster – said the situation in that part of the country remained precarious but that he had no plans to leave.

“At the moment, it’s still hard to find food,” he said in an interview over the phone. “There are lines for gas stations, no running water, no cooking gas and some homes still don’t have electricity. In Sendai, proper things are relatively okay, but go out to the coast and it’s totally devastated. You’ve never seen anything like it.

Things have improved, but it’s at a snail’s pace.”

Somekh is part of a joint effort sponsored by the Jewish community of Japan and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee – assisted by Rabbi Mendi Sudakevitch, who runs the other Chabad House in Tokyo – to help the needy in Sendai by providing food and shelter.


Related Content

Ringo Starr performs in Tel Aviv with Steve Lukather (left) and Graham Gouldman.
June 25, 2018
Transcendent it wasn't. But was it fun? Oh boy.

By JPOST.COM STAFF