Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Avoid Saitama - Swedish government advises!

Now, slowly, one by one the countries are starting to lift their recommendations to avoid "non-essential" travel to Tokyo. The Brits lifted it earlier in the week and now opens up for visits to Tokyo even of "non-essential" nature, which I, wrongly or not, interpret as that they're saying that "it's ok to go there as a tourist". The Brits still keep the recommendation to avoid going to the affected regions "north-east of Tokyo". The US are still keeping their recommendation of avoiding non-essential travel to Tokyo, but I would be surprised if this wasn't changed too in the coming days. Now, Sweden have also opened up for travel to Tokyo, but the Swedes are a lot more precis in which areas to not go to and still recommends people to avoid going to the prefectures of Miyagi, Fukushima, Yamagata, Niigata, Tochigi, Gunma, Ibaraki and Saitama... Mind you, this is the same government that refered to Fukushima as "Fukuchima" on the offical homepage of the foreign ministry.

I like how this precis division of which prefectures are "safe" and which should be avoided so clearly shows a complete ignorance of how the greater Kanto region actually looks. Northern Chiba prefecture is for instance actually much closer to the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant than most parts of Saitama, but Chiba prefecture is not mentioned and is apparently with the same standards considered completely "safe" to go to.

Or maybe, just maybe, this is actually a strategic thing they starting to do here. Perhaps they will lift restrictions a little by little until only Saitama is remaining and then just keep a permanent recommendation to avoid "non-essential travel" there? Considering that Saitama is a sad and barren place compared to the lushness of Chiba? I would fully support this since it makes perfect sense!

15 comments:

kathrynoh said...

Of course the Swedish government aren't going to tell ppl to avoid Chiba -- that's where Ikea is.

Hey wait, isn't there one in Saitama too?

BiggerInJapan said...

duh, kathrynoh, Ikea is closed, all staff in Kansai now ;)

Chris said...

I'm gonna...between AHDH bouts...do a post about the Media/The Gov/The reality regarding the potential dangers of nuclear radiation.

It has become so fucking unclear and that is a symptom of the cultures hesitation to show...weakness or ineptitude...or some fucking thing??

20 years of studies of pregnant women and the like will be the final report. Anyone who says anything clearly...one way or the other is simply pushing an agenda.

a.k.a, full of shit.

IMO

Mr. Salaryman said...

Kathryn - THey're everywhere now, can't run away from Ikea nowadays!

BiJ - Yep, but they all came back in the end, begging us to buy their furniture

Chris - Not sure what you're getting at? Are you saying that you think that the whole greater kanto area should be evacuated? I'm not making a "statement" or anything by staying put (with the little baby mind you), if I would feel that the situation is dangerous I would not hesitate to temporarily or even permanently leave.

I think it would be foolish to only listen to the official government statements (and TEPCO...) but if anything I trust the Swedish, British, American etc. governments and institutions like Greenpeace and the WHO to err on the side of safety if anything and so far I have not seen any indication that there is any reason to live in fear at this point here, over 200kms away from the plant, assuming some basic precautions are taken (like giving the baby bottled water).

That said, I take responsibility for my own actions and not anyone elses. Whatever you have to say in the matter I will read with interest though, it would be foolish to not listen to any intelligent voices on the subject

Jonas said...

Since the Danish government doesn't care about Ikea, they have included Chiba on the list as well. With Narita airport as the single exception!

It sounds rather silly with these strict boundaries, but the intention is alright: People with no geographical knowledge of Japan get a rough indication of where to stay away from - the rest of us can find out the relevant information for local areas ourselves.

Mr. Salaryman said...

Jonas - I think any recommendation, for any reason, to avoid Saitama is fundamentally sound! That said, at least the Danes seem to have spent 2 more minutes looking at a map of Japan prefectures than the swedes and making a more consistent, logical recommendation ;)

Jeffrey said...

Having lived in Dasaitama for about 18-months, well before the problems a the TEPCO facility, there were already reasons to avoid eating or drinking anything from Saitama.

Saitama is home to a number of trash incineration firms. And since the Japanese still think plastic is moeru-gomi, the soil in Saitama has the highest concentration of PCB of any place in Japan.

I've heard that Kawaguchi has petitioned to be included in Tokyo-to for years to no avail.

Blue Shoe said...

Heh...Saitama that bad, Mr.S? Must be the New Jersey of Japan.

TheOctopus said...

Will I be lynched for saying I like (part of) Saitama? Specifically the Chichibu area in the western part of the prefecture, which is all nice and scenic (except for the bits they are cutting up to use for cement).

Mr. Salaryman said...

Jeffrey - Preaching to the choir man, preaching to the choir! Didn't even know about the number of trash firms but not the least bit surprised

Blue Shoe - I dunno, my image of New Yersey is bascially heaven compared to Saitama!

Octopus - I know how much you like to joke and go about your tomfoolery, but this is just distasteful

Mr. S. said...

God, I spent three years on JET in Kasukabe, Saitama: a place even the locals will tell you has no charm. Chichibu is lovely, and inconvenient to get to from anywhere in Saitama by train, but easy from Tokyo.

Martin J Frid said...

I'm in Hanno, do come and visit, lovely place. Noone from UD is welcome, at this point.

auberginefleur said...

Let's see...

Mr. Salaryman said…(re Chris):

"That said, I take responsibility for my own actions and not anyone elses. Whatever you have to say in the matter I will read with interest though, it would be foolish to not listen to any intelligent voices on the subject"

Nicely done.

Jeffrey said...

“Saitama is home to a number of trash incineration firms. And since the Japanese still think plastic is moeru-gomi, the soil in Saitama has the highest concentration of PCB of any place in Japan.”

Actually until recently, at least in Tokyo, plastic was not moeru-gomi, but now the garbage sites are apparently overloaded, and about three years ago now, plastic was switched to moeru-gomi. If you are really into it, you can recycle most plastic in Tokyo; washed plastic trays (one group) and used shampoo and soap bottles (another group), for example, go out on the same day as cans, glass, and PET bottles in my neighborhood.

Blue Shoe said...

Heh...Saitama that bad, Mr.S? Must be the New Jersey of Japan.

I am from New Jersey, and that is indeed how I explain it; New Jersey is the Saitama of America, but like Chichibu it also has very beautiful scenic mountains and seashore. You can’t judge NJ by the scenery along the highways like 95, but the lights of the chemical factories on 95 are quite surreally beautiful at night and the Garden State Parkway is lovely too.

Martin J Frid said...

auberginefleur,
You should come and visit Saitama and not just believe that the south-eastern parts near Tokyo are all that there is to this prefecture...

Hiking, rivers for canoeing, bike trails, onsen trips, mountain climbing, festivals, temple pilgrimage walks (Chichibu Fudasho is the most famous) and great food...

Mr. Salaryman said...

Wow! I can't even believe that some people here, fellow Swedes nonetheless, are having the nerve to say that Saitama has "nice places". It's an outrage! It does indeed seem like this is a very delicate issue though with a clear divide between opinions, just like the abortion issue, the war in Iraq and the future of nuclear power! Rest assure that I will further along give more evidence as to why Saitama should be avoided at all costs!

Auberginefleur - Always nice to see a comment from you, but you do realize that there's no chance for me to spell your handle, so I always have to do a copy+paste to get it right? I must admit that I think you hardly can do a more "I politely disagree" answer to Chris than I did there, have to be a bit careful around him lest he hunts me down, beats me up, goes down on my wife and teaches my baby English ;)

And yeah, now that people mentions it, it's actually true that they changed the burnable garbage rules a while back, I'm always confused as to whether I can throw away plastic in burnable and my gut instinct is that it's not proper...

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