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TOPIC: fukushima disaster


How Japan Wound Up Stuck With Tons Of Fukushima's Radioactive Soil

Facing 14 million cubic meters of contaminated soil collected during the cleanup of fields and villages near the destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant, the Japanese government promised residents it would remove the soil, but now finds itself in a deadlock, despite the tens of billions of dollars spent..

OKUMA — It is the planet's largest ever nuclear cleanup job.

As Japanese authorities continue to dismantle the four reactors destroyed during the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, and prepare to gradually release collected and treated water into the sea, they're also trying to clear and store the tons of contaminated soil collected during the cleanup of surrounding fields and villages.

Dozens of former fields, filled rice paddies and hundreds of hectares of forest around the now-disabled power plant have been turned into a giant radioactive landfill. In the municipalities of Okuma and Futaba, some areas are still off-limits to the public.

On a recent day, countless dump trucks came to drop off contaminated soil. An army of construction vehicles including excavators, bulldozers and rollers compress the soil in successive layers, building artificial hills 15 meters high, a sort of layered cake.

"Collection began in 2015 in the villages of the area," explains Yoshitomo Mori, a Ministry of Environment executive working on the project. "We have already recovered a total of 14 million cubic meters of contaminated soil." That's the equivalent of more than five pyramids of Giza.

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This Happened - March 11: Earthquake, Tsunami, Nuclear Meltdown In Japan

One of the deadliest earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan occurred on this day in 2011. Following the natural disaster, a nuclear accident occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

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Japanese Women v. Shinzo Abe

Japanese women are challenging the three-year-old Shinzo Abe government with "constitution cafes" and street protests.

MAIOKA — In a small room in the town hall of Maioka in outer Yokohama, 20 women, most of them mothers, sit on tatami floor mats listening to Keiko Ota. A member of the Yokohama bar association, Ota teaches the group about the country's 1947 constitution.

"The constitution is too often perceived in Japan as a gift from the government to the people, rather than as an expression of citizens' rights and popular sovereignty," the young attorney explains.

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