It has been one month since the March 11 tsunami, which struck coastal areas of northeast Japan and destroyed the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant located about 240 km from Tokyo.
We at Green Cross Japan would like to thank everyone who has shown support for the victims of this catastrophic disaster. Though there are still many displaced, we need to start rebuilding the areas impacted by the tsunami, starting with the cleanup, segregation and disposal of the vast amount of debris.
However, the heavily damaged nuclear power plants overshadow the reconstruction efforts. High levels of radiation have not been detected, except in the immediate vicinity of the plant. They are still emitting radioactive materials into the air and the sea with few solutions available in the foreseeable future. We are told that there are no health concerns at the moment; however, we expect to have a more detailed analysis on the future of our country.
The direct impact of the nuclear plant is apparent to everyone. There continue to be power shortages at peak times in the eastern Japan grid. As a measure to overcome the shortage, planned blackouts are now practiced. These blackouts cause a great deal of problems for businesses and households due to their unannounced and unexpected nature. As we move towards the summer season when there will be a huge demand for energy, the government is studying compulsory power cuts by the big users of energy including plants and offices as well as voluntary savings by individual households. It is designed to fill the gap between power demanded and power supplied created by the tsunami.
GC Japan is fortunate not to have been affected by this disaster and we have decided to continue our activity as usual, especially during a time when we all need to realize the incredible power of Mother Nature and the weakness of humanity. It is clear we all need to have a period of reflection regarding our lifestyle. GC Japan is currently editing the 2011 Green Lane Environmental Diary to include a message of encouragement from GCI along with a few pages on energy savings and renewable energy.
There are several schools in the affected area that participate in the Diary programme and we are planning to extend our helping hand to the students in both the short and long term. A staff member from GC Japan has been dispatched to the area on a fact-finding mission as well as to help with the cleanup and reconstruction.
Again, we would like to thank you all for your support during this difficult time and will keep you updated on the progress of recovery here in Japan.