Saturday, April 10, 2010

Nuclear War: Obama's Survival Kit for Japan

Advise number 1: Run! Just run!
Really...who can?

1) There are over 27,000 nuclear weapons in the world.
Thousands are deployed on land, at sea and in the air,
posing the constant threat of nuclear war and
radioactive contamination.

An atomic explosion is a chain reaction in which atoms
are split. This releases colossal amounts of energy,
and particles that collide with more and more atoms
causing an exponentially growing chain reaction. This
process is called fission. The most powerful fission
explosion is achieved by using enriched uranium and
plutonium atoms, which are unstable and radioactive.

• Atomic bombs (also known as A-bombs or fission
bombs) produce their explosive energy purely through
nuclear fission reaction.

• Hydrogen bombs (also known as H-bombs, thermonuclear
bombs or fusion bombs) produce energy through nuclear
fusion reactions, and can be over a thousand times
more powerful than fission bombs. In a similar
process to the sun, they work by using fission energy
to compress and heat fusion fuel.1

• The destructive power of a nuclear explosion is
measured in kilotonnes (which are equivalent to
thousands of tonnes of TNT) and megatonnes (equivalent
to millions of tonnes).2

About the Obama Nuclear Summit schedule
(Without Iran, Israel, North Korea)

2) Prior to the Obama Nuclear Summit. These days, it is
up to how to survive a nuclear attack. I've seen lots
of dodgy pages, here are a few quotes...


"If a "Dirty Bomb" Attack (Not the vastly more
devastating nuclear weapon blasts with fallout
discussed below.) - You can expect localized and
downwind contamination from the explosion and
dispersed radioactive materials. If you are near
enough to see or hear any local bomb blast, assume
that it includes radiological or chemical agents. You
should move away from the blast area as quickly as
possible. If the wind is blowing toward you from the
direction of the blast, travel in a direction that is
crosswise or perpendicular to the wind as you move
away from the blast area. If possible cover your face
with a dust mask or cloth to avoid inhaling
potentially radioactive dust. Upon reaching a safe
location, remove your outer clothing outside and
shower as soon as possible. Refer to local news
sources for additional instructions about sheltering
or evacuation. The government is better prepared to
direct and assist the public in a 'dirty bomb'
incident, unlike an actual nuclear weapon attack
discussed below."

#1 - STAY OR GO? You must decide FIRST if you need to
prepare where you are, or attempt evacuation. The
nature of the threat, your prior preparations, and
your confidence in your sources of information should
direct your decision. If you know already you will be
preparing to stay at your own home or, at least, the
immediate local area, go now to #2 below.

3) In the meantime... about the Nuclear Summit... A
Nuclear Summit without North Korea?

Although the gathering of 47 countries will not focus
on individual nations, the nuclear programs of Iran
and the DPRK are expected to come up in Obama's
bilateral meetings with PRC President Hu Jintao and
other leaders, as well as in the speeches of Israeli
and other participants. A draft communique circulated
to countries attending the summit, includes a U.S.
proposal to "secure all vulnerable nuclear material in
four years." "If leaders at the summit get it right,
they could render nuclear power safer to use in the
fight against climate change, strengthen the
non-proliferation regime, and build further
international confidence in ... nuclear disarmament,"
said Ian Kearns, who is an adviser to Britain's
parliamentary committee on national security.

The highest ranking DPRK official who defected to the
ROK reported that the DPRK will not collapse soon
despite its dire situation, a report said yesterday.
Hwang Jang-yop, former secretary of the DPRK ruling
Workers' Party, was quoted by Kyoto News Agency in a
closed lecture in Tokyo, "In North Korea, the
influence of the late leader Kim Il Sung remains
strong. So even if Kim Jong Il has health problems,
North Korea will see no major upheaval as long as Kim
Kyong Hui, Kim Jong Il's younger sister and a Workers'
Party director, remains in power," Hwang said. He
added that a coup d'état by the DPRK`s military is
unlikely since it has been indoctrinated by ideology.

In the meantime,the DPRK Supreme People's Assembly
convenes an annual session Friday expected to show
solidarity and perhaps indications of the nation's
future leadership and economy. On Thursday, the DPRK
elite, senior officials from the Workers' Party, the
military and the government, gathered in Pyongyang to
celebrate Kim Jong Il's 17 years of leadership, the
Korean Central News Agency said. Major DPRK
newspapers ran editorials praising Kim's leadership,
KCNA said Friday. Floral baskets and congratulatory
letters have been streaming in from foreign diplomats
and the military attaches, it said.

Japan decided Friday to extend its sanctions against
the DPRK for one year after the current measures
expire on Tuesday, including a ban on DPRK vessels
from making port calls in Japan. The decision was
made at a meeting of Cabinet ministers as Pyongyang
has not fulfilled its promise to reinvestigate cases
of Japanese nationals abducted by the DPRK, nor has it
returned to the six-party talks aimed at ending its
nuclear programs, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi
Hirano said. While noting that the sanctions have
produced ''a certain outcome,'' Hirano admitted Friday
that there are suspicions that trade has taken place
between the two countries via a third country. ''This
is an issue we must study in the future because
cooperation with related countries will be necessary,
given that there is a question about whether Japan can
handle it alone,'' he said.

Notes added pages on the Nuclear weapons survival kit
(copy and paste to access) of course...

How Stuff Works,
Kate Hudson, CND – Now More Than Ever, The Story of a Peace Movement, Vision Paperbacks, 2005.

ICAN, ‘Nuclear Weapons Today’,

Mohamed ElBaradei, ‘Preserving the Non-Proliferation Treaty’, 2005,

Bradford Disarmament Research Centre,

Nuclear Information Project, ‘US Nuclear Weapons in Europe’,

Arms Control Association, ‘Nuclear Weapon Free Zones’,

International Atomic Energy Association,

Arms Control Association, ‘Nuclear Weapons – who has what?’,

Natural Resources Defense Council, ‘Nuclear Insecurity – A Critique of the Bush
Administration’s Nuclear Weapons Policies’, 2004,

1998 UNDP Human Development Report,

Brookings Institution, ‘The US Nuclear Weapons Cost Study Project’, 1998,

The American War Library,

Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, ‘The cost of British nuclear weapons’,

‘The Environment and the Nuclear Age’, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom,

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

"Pioneering Alliance" Renault, Mercedes, Nissan!

When fame makes sense of it all

Renault, Mercedes and Nissan

French automaker Renault, Japan's Nissan and Germany's Daimler AG (Mercedes) will form a partnership to exchange capital, develop cars and share expertise, the companies announced in a statement today. As part of the deal, the Renault-Nissan alliance will take a 3.1 percent stake in Daimler, while Daimler will take 3.1 percent of Renault and 3.1 percent of Nissan, they said. Renault-Nissan and Daimler, which makes the luxury Mercedes-Benz line and the Smart small car, also agreed to work together to develop small cars and engines and collaborate in the field of light commercial vehicles.

As part of the linkup, Daimler will swap a 3.1 percent stake, valued at 1.17 billion euros ($1.6 billion), for shares in Renault SA and in Nissan Motor Co., the three carmakers said in a joint statement today. Daimler Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche and Carlos Ghosn, who heads France’s Renault and its 44 percent-owned Japanese affiliate, will lead a new committee that will oversee the partnership.

Under the accord, the carmakers will develop common parts and architecture for a new generation of Renault Twingo and Smart subcompacts to go on sale in 2013 with conventional and electric powertrains. Cooperation on engines and transmissions will extend further, with Renault-Nissan providing powertrains for a future range of Mercedes-Benz compacts, as well as the Smart and Twingo models. Daimler in turn will make its larger gasoline and diesel engines available for Infiniti. Renault will supply Daimler with a small delivery van, to be assembled in Maubeuge, northern France, as well as engines and transmissions for the mid-sized Mercedes Vito.

“It is the intention of both groups to create a long-term framework to work closely on future areas of cooperation between Renault, Nissan and Daimler.” While Daimler, Renault and Nissan will remain separate companies, the alliance has the potential to challenge the world’s largest automakers. Combined sales of the three manufacturers totaled 6.7 million cars and light vehicles last year, which would overtake Volkswagen’s 6.3 million.

More here in French with Les Echos

Beef imports: a bureaucratic brain eater for Tokyo

Japan used to be the largest importer of US beef, stopped the imports after mad cow disease was detected in an American herd in late 2003 and has only resumed limited imports since then. A recent news that a North Dakota company is recalling 25000 pounds of beef over fears of mad cow disease won't help the PR visit of the American Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to Japan. The mad cow disease, the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy can cause a deadly brain wasting disease in humans.

Vilsack's visit to Japan "is a renewed attempt to settle the long-running dispute", but Japan's Agriculture Minister Hirotaka Akamatsu said yesterday he "has no plan to ask the government's food safety commission to review US beef", even if Vilsack demands it during their meeting scheduled for Thursday.

Japan agreed in 2005 to resume limited American beef imports from cattle under 20 months of age, except for high-risk parts such as brains and spine bones. Vilsack is expected to again push for the restrictions to be softened to include cattle up to 30 months old. Japan's U.S. beef imports now stand at only around 10 percent of their former peak, and Japan has periodically frozen imports by companies whenever it found banned cattle parts in shipments. In the past four years, defending its own national beef trade, Japan suspended shipment from 13 U.S. meat packers, taking up to several months to allow them to resume business. One of them still remains restricted, a Japanese farm ministry official said.

Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan have frequently banned imports of U.S. beef due to fears of mad cow disease

Monday, April 05, 2010

Japanese opposition "implosion"!

Debating about a new Law at the Japanese Parliament can be sporty

Former Finance Minister Kaoru Yosano and ultra conservative independent lawmaker Takeo Hiranuma have agreed to launch a new party. Yosano and Hiranuma are expected to serve as joint heads of the new party. Yosano told Liberal Democratic Party President Sadakazu Tanigaki earlier Saturday that he will leave the main opposition party Wednesday. In addition to Yosano and Hiranuma, Lawmaker Hiroyuki Sonoda and Takao Fujii, former transport minister and an LDP member in the House of Councilors, will likely join the envisaged new party. Among other possible members is Yoshio Nakagawa, a conservative LDP Upper House lawmaker, who is close to Hiranuma.

Yosano and Sonoda have criticized Tanigaki for the LDP's failure to take advantage of repeated blunders by the ruling Democratic Party of Japan and the party's inability to improve its popularity ratings, which remain sluggish since its historic defeat in last year's general election. The four also shared concerns that Japan would "collapse" if the Hatoyama administration stays in office, voicing opposition to its fiscal management and plan to grant permanent foreign residents the right to vote in local elections.

In a magazine article in March, Yosano, who is seeking to raise the consumption tax, slammed the Hatoyama administration for its failure to rebuild the nation's battered finances, as well as Tanigaki for his inability to overturn the government. Hiranuma, former economy, trade and industry minister, was effectively expelled from the LDP in 2005 due to his opposition to a postal privatization bill spearheaded by then Prime Minister and LDP President Junichiro Koizumi. Asked about the plan by reporters Friday, Hiranuma said, "The sooner, the better." The resignation of Yosano and Sonoda comes after former Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Kunio Hatoyama, the younger brother of the Prime Minister, left the LDP in March.

Within LDP, popular politician and former Health minister Masuzoe Yoichi carries on with his criticism of Tanigaki and the LDP executives, complaining on the LDP leaders for "lacking the will, the ability, and the strategy" necessary to lead the party. An other popular politician, Tokyo Metropolitan Governor Shintaro Ishihara, co-author of the 1989 bestseller “The Japan That Can Say No,” stated that he is a “supporter” of Yosano’s new group. “It will certainly be a plus for Japanese conservatism.”