The East Asia Gazette

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Tritium levels increase tenfold at Fukushima after Typhoon Phanfone tears through Japan

On Saturday, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) announced that the groundwater collected from a well in proximity of the Fukushima No. 1 plant contained levels of radioactive tritium 10 times greater than those recorded two days eariler. The latest report measured 150,000 becquerels (a unit of radioactivity) per liter, compared to 14,000 Bq on Thursday. TEPCO officials said this was a result of the heavy rain caused by Typhoon No. 18 (Phanfone), which battered the Kantō region on October 6th killing at least four people and injuring forty-nine. Another storm, monster Typhoon Vongfong, is presently lashing at the main Honshū and Kyushū islands of Japan with gusts of up to 180 kilometers per hour. A groundwater sample taken on Thursday showed that other beta-ray emitting radioactive...  read more

Turning the tides of fate: Hong Kong's Occupy Central movement in a nutshell

In classical Chinese thought, time was not considered linear: like the rise and fall of dynasties it was viewed as cyclical. Master Zhuang Zhou, a philosopher who lived in the 4th century BC famously wrote: “Time cannot be arrested. The succession of decline, growth, fullness, and emptiness...  read more

Popular new manga "Ichiefu" offers account of workers lives at Fukushima power plant

One of the things Japan has long excelled at is alluring people to it via cultural seduction – something Joseph Nye denominated “soft power”. From its rich literature to its tea ceremony to martial arts, Japan seems to have a natural affinity for making people become infatuated,...  read more

Massive railway strike ends as Park administration faces new challenges

Starting on December 9th, about 8,700 workers from the Korea Railroad Corp. union went on strike to protest the government’s recent plan to establish a subsidiary for KORAIL’s new bullet train, in the Suseo district of Seoul. The plan was widely believed to be the precursor to train...  read more

North Korean prison camps expanding: Amnesty International

On December 5, Amnesty International released a number of satellite images exposing the development of two North Korean gulags. The report by the London-based human rights watchdog revealed that the two facilities, Kwanliso (lit. Management Bureau) 15 and 16, have expanded with new housing blocks,...  read more

Abe's Secrecy Bill passes as Japan watches closely

Japan has never had a strong tradition of freedom of speech or transparency as the events in the past two years have confirmed, and matters do not seem to be improving. Article 21 of the Constitution of Japan states, “Freedom of assembly and association as well as speech, press and all other...  read more

The delicate decommissioning of Fukushima's power plants

Upon the International Olympic Committee's decision to let Tokyo host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, a great amount of pressure has been placed on TEPCO and the Japanese government to hasten its efforts of cleaning up the aftereffects of the disastrous Fukushima triple meltdown. Whereas...  read more