J-FEED
SERVICES
'Fukushima 50' risk lives to prevent meltdown
We do not know their names, their faces, their families or their personal stories. Nobody really does. They are strangers, in a faraway land, doing the unthinkable. In Japan they have a name: The Fukushima 50. A coterie of nuclear plant employees - some reports indicate 50, others suggest four working rotations of 50 - who stayed behind while 700 of their co-workers were evacuated from the stricken Fukushima-Daiichi facility on the Japanese coast.

Five have been killed. Two are missing. Twenty-one have been injured in a struggle where, in the words of Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan, "retreat is unthinkable." The men understand the stakes. They know there is no turning back. One worker told a departing colleague he was prepared to die - that it was his job. Another informed his wife he wouldn't be coming home anytime soon.

And so they battle on, a weary bunch of managers, operators, technicians, soldiers, firemen, amid rumours, worst-case scenarios and startling television footage.

They are mid- and low-level employees. They are men with no names, cast into extraordinary circumstances, battling fires, explosions, the threat of explosion and the invisible menace: dangerously high levels of radiation no protective suit can deflect, and one that threatens to seep into the atmosphere if they fail.

(National Post, Mar 17)

17 Apr
Tochigi prefectural police said Thursday that they are questioning a man in his 30s over the murder of a 7-year-old girl in December 2005. Japanese media quoted police as saying that the man, who was arrested for dealing in fake brand-name goods, has hinted at his involvement in the murder. (Japan Today)

17 Apr
Police in Tokyo said Wednesday they have arrested an unemployed 24-year-old man for robbing a convenience store in Shibuya. (Japan Today)

17 Apr
A 6-year-old boy died and a 3-year-old girl remains in a coma after they were swept away by a strong current in a river in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, on Wednesday afternoon. (Japan Today)

17 Apr
People enjoy viewing the 15-meter snow walls of the Yuki no Otani (Great Snow Valley), along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route that passes through the Northern Japan Alps to link Toyama and Nagano prefectures. (The Japan News)

16 Apr
Tokyo prosecutors plan to look into whether a man, who has been arrested for allegedly vandalizing copies of Anne Frank's diary, is mentally competent to be held criminally responsible for his actions, informed sources said Wednesday. (Jiji Press)

Download your free
News On Japan iPhone App

Add NewsOnJapan.com to your Google Reader

Follow NewsOnJapan.com on Twitter @newsonjapan