Category Archives: Asia

New quake hits Fukushima; reactor cooling fails


And a tsunami warning and calls for immediate evacuation has been issued for the coastal region where the disastrous 11 March 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami [previously] caused more than 16,000 deaths and a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Diaichi reactor system.

This map from the U.S. Geological Survey pinpoints the quake’s epicenter:

blog-fuku

From Japanese state broadcaster NHK World:

Municipal authorities in Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, are urging residents of coastal areas to evacuate to higher ground following a powerful earthquake on Tuesday morning.

The Japan Meteorological Agency says the magnitude 7.4 earthquake hit off Fukushima Prefecture around 6 AM. It issued a warning for tsunami of up to 3 meters.

A tsunami of 90 centimeters was observed at Soma Port in the city of Soma after 7 AM.

Firefighting officials in the city of Iwaki said a fire broke out at a petrochemical complex in the district of Nishikimachi, but they have extinguished it at around 6:40 AM.

More from Bloomberg:

A magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck Japan off the coast of Fukushima, home to the nuclear power plant badly damaged in the March 2011 triple disaster, triggering a tsunami alert.

The temblor struck at 5:59 a.m. local time at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), according to the Japan Meteorological Agency, which issued a warning for a tsunami of three meters (10 feet) for the coast of Fukushima and a lesser warning for the northeastern coast of the country. The warning is the largest issued since the aftermath of the 2011 disaster.

A tsunami of 90 centimeters was detected in Soma port in Fukushima, as local authorities and the national broadcaster urged residents to remember the experience of 2011 and evacuate to higher ground. The office of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on its Twitter account it had set up a liaison office to gather information.

NHK warned bigger tsunami waves could hit the coast.

Workers at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant, which was crippled after the record tsunami almost six years ago, were evacuated, according to a spokesman.

Reactor cooling system fails

Making matters worse, the cooling system for at least one of the remaining nuclear reactors at the plant has failed, according to numerous reports.

From the Australia’s 9 News:

Tokyo Electric Power Co told national broadcaster NHK the water cooling system in reactor number 3 that supplies cold water to the nuclear rods in Fukushima’s Daini power plant has stopped working.

It is checking other reactors at Onagawa and the sister plant in Daiichi, Fukushima which was the centre of a catastrophic nuclear disaster in the 2011.

Finally, a brief video excerpt of ongoing coverage of the quake and tsunami by NHK:

Trump’s win kills the Trans-Pacific Partnership


Here’s one win both the left and Trump supporters can celebrate.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership [previously], the free-speech-threatening and multinational corporation-endorsed  keystone of Barack Obama’s “Asian pivot,” has been killed by The Donald’s election.

From BuzzFeed News:

Leaders of the House and Senate say they will not bring the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an international trade deal that would lower tariffs and set new commerce rules for 12 countries including Japan and Australia, to a vote. President-elect Trump had said he planned to cancel consideration of the deal in his first days in office.

Both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters Thursday that the deal is a no-go, with McConnell saying the Senate will not bring it to a vote during the lame duck session and Ryan saying the House does not have the votes to pass it. Sen. Chuck Schumer also told labor leaders Thursday the pact would not be ratified, CNN first reported.

“If the next president wants to negotiate a trade agreement, he has the opportunity to do that and to send it up,” McConnell said. “It’s certainly not going to be brought up this year and… I think the President-elect made it pretty clear he was not in favor of the current agreement.”

President Obama had hoped to have the deal approved by Congress immediately following the election. The agreement had been intended to improve relations with companies in the region and reduce China’s economic influence.

Ironically, Bernie Sanders and his supporters had proposed an anti-TPP plank for the 2016 Democratic platform, but corporate-sponsored Dems rejected it.

World leaders react to the Trump presidency


And their takes are hardly surprising, with fear from the center and left and glee from the right.

From Deutsche Welle:

EU Parliament President Martin Schulz said the result “must be respected” as he said that Trump “managed to become the standard-bearer of the angst and fears of millions of Americans.”

German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel called Trump’s victory “a warning for Germany and Europe,” urging policy makers to listen more closely to people’s concerns. “Trump is the pioneer of a new authoritarian and chauvinist international movement. He is also a warning for us,” Gabriel told German publisher Funke Mediengruppe.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said Britain and the US would remain “strong and close partners on trade, security and defence,” while French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said France would work with the new president, but warned: “We don’t want a world where egoism triumphs.” France’s Socialist government had openly endorsed Clinton. Ayrault also said he wanted clarification on US policy issues such as the conflict in Syria, Iran’s nuclear deal and climate change before a hastily arranged meeting of EU leaders in the coming days.

Hardliners embolded

the first French presidential candidate to comment on the US election was populist, anti-immigrant politician Marine Le Pen, congratulating Trump even before the final results are known. Le Pen, hoping to ride anti-establishment sentiment to victory in April-May French presidential elections, tweeted her support to the “American people, free!”

Britain’s EU exit campaign leader Nigel Farage, meanwhile, said he would “hand over the mantle” to Donald Trump as he congratulated the Republican on his win. “This is a year of two great political revolutions,” Farage said, drawing parallels between the US vote and Britain’s decision to leave the European Union in June.

In turn, Turkey — a key player on several fronts, from its stance on Syrian refugees and its own EU entry to its role in NATO and in relation to the Syrian conflict — said it wants US policy under Trump to recognize the strategic importance of the country and its “main priority is an effective fight against terrorism,” President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman said on Wednesday.

Another democratically elected hardman, the Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte — a fierce critic of Barack Obama who attacked his harsh anti-drug crackdown — was also quick to congratulate Trump.

Reactions from one quarter were as expected

From the Russian government-sponsored RT:

Russia is ready and looks forward to restoring bilateral relations with the United States, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, commenting on the news of Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election.

“We heard [Trump’s] campaign rhetoric while still a candidate for the US presidency, which was focused on restoring the relations between Russia and the United States,” President Putin said, speaking at the presentation ceremony of foreign ambassadors’ letters of credentials in Moscow.

>snip<

Russian State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin has also expressed hope that Trump’s victory in the presidential election will help pave the way for a more constructive dialogue between Moscow and Washington.

“The current US-Russian relations cannot be called friendly. Hopefully, with the new US president a more constructive dialogue will be possible between our countries,” he said.

“The Russian Parliament will welcome and support any steps in this direction,” Volodin added on Wednesday.

The London daily Mirror adds this:

The Russian Parliament also burst into applause after Donald Trump’s victory was confirmed, according to Russian news agency Interfax.

The view from China

From the Independent:

Chinese state media says that Donald Trump as president is what happens if people have democracies.

The state-run Xinhua News Agency has said that the election of the controversial Republican candidate just shows how America’s democracy brings about crisis, in contrast to the stability of China’s authoritarian rule.

The campaign – and Donald Trump’s ascension to the highest office in the world – shows how “the majority of Americans are rebelling against the US’s political class and financial elites”, the paper wrote.

The official Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily says in a commentary that the presidential election reveals an “ill democracy.”

>snip<

Like Russia, China was seen as favouring Trump because he appears less willing to confront China’s newly robust foreign policy, particularly in the South China Sea.

Hillary Clinton, by contrast, was disliked in Beijing for having steered the US “pivot” to Asia aimed at strengthening US engagement with the region, particularly in the military sphere.

Headline of the day: Now that’s a killer ap!


From the Asahi Shimbun:

Threats made to city seeking ban on Pokemon Go at the wheel

  • Nine threatening e-mails were received by the city government here after it decided to ask the operator of the Pokemon Go smartphone game to render it inoperable while driving, following a fatal accident.
  • Ichinomiya officials sent the request to U.S.-based Niantic Inc. on Nov. 4 in response to an Oct. 26 accident in the city, in which a truck struck and killed a 9-year-old boy who was walking in a pedestrian crossing on his way home from school.
  • The driver of the truck told police that he was playing Pokemon Go at the time.

Map of the day: Asian tsunami deaths 1996-2015


From the Yomiuri Shimbun:

blog-tsunami

Germans embarrassed by their racist Eurocrat


Jeez, this guy should join the Trump campaign.

From TheLocal.de:

Oettinger was recently promoted to become EU budget commissioner, one of the most powerful positions in Brussels, having already served since 2010 as energy commissioner and then digital economy commissioner.

But when he has made headlines, it has often been for statements which indicate a lack of sensibility for the modern world, rather than on his own EU policy beat.

The latest in a long line of gaffes came at a business event in Hamburg in October, where the 63-year-old was secretly recorded disparaging Chinese people with the terms “slitty eyes” and “chiselers”.

He also mocked a delegation of Chinese ministers, saying they had “their hair combed from left to right with shoe polish.”

Hillary threatens China with a ‘ring’ of missiles


Oh fercrissakes!

Yep, Hillary’s rattling sabers, and if a very dangerous way, given that Barack Obama has already ramped up U.S. military forces in the region as part of his “asian pivot.”

But, hey, all those defense contractors must be salivating, right?

From the Associated Press:

Hillary Clinton privately said the U.S. would “ring China with missile defense” if the Chinese government failed to curb North Korea’s nuclear program.

Clinton’s comments were revealed by WikiLeaks in a hack of the Clinton campaign chairman’s personal account. The emails include a document excerpting Clinton’s private speeches, which she has refused to release.

China has harshly criticized the U.S. and South Korea’s planned deployment of a missile-defense system against North Korea, which conducted its fifth nuclear test this year. But Clinton said she told Chinese officials that the U.S. might deploy additional ships to the region.

She also derided China’s claims to almost all of the South China Sea, saying that by China’s logic, the U.S. after World War II could have labeled the Pacific Ocean the “American Sea.”