Friday, April 24, 2015

Japanese Must Feel Jilted

I'm sure those readers interested are feeling that way since it has been a while since I've posted; however, I feel the same way regarding what the Globe has given me:

"Japan’s dialogue begins on key speech" by Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press  February 26, 2015

TOKYO — A panel of specialists appointed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan met for the first time Wednesday to discuss what he should say in a statement marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, fueling speculation that he might water down previous government apologies for the country’s wartime past.

Japan issued a landmark apology on the 50th anniversary in 1995 under Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, for the first time acknowledging its colonization and aggression in parts of Asia before and during the war. In 2005, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi also apologized.

A key question is whether Abe will use the same terms such as ‘‘colonial rule’’ and ‘‘aggression’’ in his statement.

Look, I'm not wanting to minimize what happened and jilt the victims, but the war-promoting paper constantly reminding us of far past events when there is butchery right in front of us is getting to be a bit much.

Abe appointed the 16-member panel — 10 academics, three business leaders, two journalists, and an aid worker — to seek advice on what he should say on Aug. 15, the anniversary of the war’s end.

Abe told the panel he hopes to get their views on what Japan has learned from the past, how Japan has contributed to international peace in the postwar era, and what Japan’s regional and international contribution should be in the future. He did not refer to the apology, and panel members said they are not bound by the specific words used in past statements.

Abe, who took office in late 2012, initially signaled his intention to revise the 1995 apology, triggering criticism from China and South Korea. He now says his Cabinet stands by the apology, but he wants to issue a more forward-looking statement, raising speculation he will somehow water it down.

I've had to revise a whole bunch of things.

‘‘A 70th-anniversary statement issued by the prime minister has a highly political and diplomatic meaning, and we must take that into consideration,’’ said international politics professor Shinichi Kitaoka, deputy head of the panel and one of Abe’s favorite academics. He said the panel will suggest possible elements for the statement and will not decide exactly what Abe will say.

About one-third of the panel members are regulars on Abe’s policy advisory committees, like Kitaoka, though they exclude his associates with the most extreme right-wing views. The appointment of centrist Asia specialists Takashi Shiraishi and Shin Kawashima and a journalist from the liberal-leaning Mainichi newspaper give the panel some balance, but some other members stand out as historical revisionists.

Among them, Masashi Nishihara, head of a national security think tank, has written that reports of the Japanese military’s use of sex slaves in the war are ‘‘fabricated in South Korea.’’ Entrepreneur Yoshito Hori says the war was one of self-defense, not aggression.

China and South Korea have sent warnings on the statement. Foreign Minister Wang Yi of China, speaking at a UN public debate, warned against attempts to ‘‘whitewash past crimes of aggression.’’ In Seoul, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said Abe’s statement should not backpedal from past apologies.

The debate over the statement reflects a simmering divide in Japan 70 years after the war.

Who is doing the dividing?


"Merkel speaks in Japan about facing WW II atrocities" Associated Press  March 09, 2015

TOKYO — German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday on a visit to Japan, where bitter disputes mark the country’s attempts to define its wartime actions, that Germany was able to return to a respected place in the international society because it squarely faced its World War II atrocities.

Still paying for them.

But Merkel, at a speech organized by the liberal-leaning Asahi newspaper in Tokyo, said she could not give any specific advice to Japan because lessons should be learned by its own people.

Her comments come as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe prepares to deliver a statement later this year to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the war. There is speculation that Abe, seen as a revisionist hawk, might try to water down Japan’s 1995 landmark apology for its aggression in Asia.

Merkel said Germany still appreciates the generosity of its neighbors that accepted the country into the international community after the war.

“Without these generous gestures of our neighbors, this would not have been possible. There was, however, also a readiness in Germany to face our history,” she said.

I wish Israel and the U.S. would.


Sorry to stand up the ambassador:

"Japanese police investigate threat to ambassador Caroline Kennedy" by Martin Fackler and Rick Gladstone, New York Times  March 19, 2015

TOKYO — Police are investigating telephoned death threats to the US ambassador, Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of President John F. Kennedy, and to a US diplomat in Okinawa, Japanese and international news agencies reported Wednesday.

The reports came as first lady Michelle Obama arrived in Japan on her first visit to the country, and as Kennedy, together with former president Bill Clinton, appeared with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a Tokyo symposium on the legacy of Kennedy’s father, who was assassinated in November 1963 when she was 6 years old.

It was a psyop show to distract from questions that may have arisen regarding that event.

Concern about the security of US diplomats in Asia was heightened a few weeks ago when the US ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, was slashed by a knife-wielding assailant in Seoul.

Seeing as they are raising that event again: 

"An Airbus A320 passenger jet skidded off a runway while landing at Hiroshima Airport in Japan. Two years ago, another Asiana plane, a Boeing 777, crashed at San Francisco International Airport after its tail touched a seawall as the jet came in too low. That accident, said to have been caused by pilot error, left three people dead and more than 180 injured."

Also see: A Year After Sinking, South Korea Will Try to Salvage Sewol Ferry

That enough coverage for you, or do you feel jilted?

Responding to the reported death threats, the State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said Wednesday in a statement: “We take any threats to US diplomats seriously. We take every step possible to protect our personnel. We are working with the Japanese government to ensure the necessary measures are in place. We will not comment on the specific details of any threats or the steps we take to address them.”

That why she moving to the White House?

The reports said that both Kennedy and Alfred Magleby, the US consul general in Okinawa, the southern island where the United States maintains a large military presence, had been the objects of death threats in telephone calls last month. It was not clear why the threats had not been made public earlier.

Well, if they were telephone calls.... NSA would have all that, etc, etc. C'mon! Or are they just partying and looking at porn like every other government agency?

The accounts included a report by the Asahi Shimbun, a major Japanese newspaper, said that the US Embassy had received calls from an English-speaking male, who was quoted as saying, “I will kill Ambassador Kennedy.” The report gave no attribution to its source, and embassy officials could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.


The visit to Japan by Obama, who has Secret Service protection, is part of an Asian tour meant to emphasize the importance of girls’ education. She is scheduled to depart Friday for Cambodia.

She then stopped in Cambodia, and I'd be worried about that Secret Service and the sake.

Kennedy, who took up her post in late 2013, is widely admired in Japan, where her father is idolized.

Yeah, she's a real treasure.


At least her date showed up:

"Japanese police hold suspect in US Embassy threat case" Associated Press  March 20, 2015

TOKYO — Japanese police said they arrested a man Thursday accused of making bomb threats against the US Embassy in Tokyo, and media reports said he is also a possible suspect in recent death threats against Ambassador Caroline Kennedy.

Tokyo police arrested Mitsuyoshi Kamiya, a resident of the southern island of Okinawa, for making the bomb threats from a pay phone in downtown Okinawa, a police spokesman said. He said the suspect also threatened to bomb Camp Schwab, a US military base on the island.

Kamiya admitted to police that he made the bomb threats, but his motive was not immediately known, the police spokesman said. He did not provide any other details.


I don't think any further reflection is due that false flag:

"US veterans of Iwo Jima battle mark 70 years" by Eric Talmadge, Associated Press  March 22, 2015

IOTO, Japan — An Associated Press photo of Mount Suribachi, an active volcano, where the American flag-raising while the battle was still raging became a potent symbol of hope and valor to a war-weary public back home that was growing disillusioned with the seemingly unending battle in the Pacific.

What? A Jessie Lynch, Pat Tillman-like lie in the "Good War?"

I guess time has come full circle for the American public, 'eh?

Speeches at the Reunion of Honor ceremony held near the invasion beach were made by senior Japanese politicians and descendants of the few Japanese who survived the battle. Also speaking were US Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and General Joseph Dunford, the commandant of the Marine Corps, who noted that the battle for Iwo Jima remains the ‘‘very ethos’’ of the Marine Corps today.

This was the first time that Japanese Cabinet officials attended the anniversary ceremony, now in its 16th year. And while the presence of veterans able to make the grueling trip has been steadily dwindling, the number of participants — about 500 — was double that of last year because of the significance of the 70th year since Japan’s surrender ended World War II.

After the joint memorial, the US and Japanese dignitaries and guests went their separate ways to visit the parts of the island that were of the most significance to their own troops. The Japanese have erected several memorials to their dead and, in a traditional way of placating their souls, poured water and placed flowers on the memorial sites....


Keep digging:

"Pentagon to exhume, identify remains at Pearl Harbor" by Dan Lamothe Washington Post   April 16, 2015

WASHINGTON — The destruction of the USS Oklahoma came quickly. On Dec. 7, 1941, it was hit with torpedoes and bombs during Japan’s fierce and shocking bombardment of Pearl Harbor, capsizing within minutes with hundreds of Marines and sailors inside. 

Maybe, maybe not: 


It is now generally accepted, even among mainline historians, that Pearl Harbor was a LIHOP to get the U.S. fully involved in WWII in Europe.

Some 429 service members were killed, and others survived to fight back from the nearby USS Maryland, which also was under attack.

More than 70 years later, the USS Oklahoma remained at the center of a battle. On one side was the Navy, which last year told the families of some of those killed that it was flatly against DNA testing on the commingled remains of 330 unidentified service members. On the other side were families that wanted to know when the military would return the remains of their loved ones.

The Pentagon has now decided to exhume unidentified remains held at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, do DNA testing, and return any identified remains to families that want them....


The U.S. struck back rather quickly, remember?

"When US bombers brought World War II home to Japan in Jimmy Doolittle’s daring air raid in 1942, the raid inflicted relatively light damage on military and industrial targets, but it delivered a moral victory to Americans, disconsolate since the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor less than five months earlier, and it was a stunning psychological blow to the Japanese, who had been led to believe that their homeland was inviolable."

And then 9/11 happened.

And right in the middle of all this war talk: 

"In security meeting, Japan and China inch toward mending ties" New York Times  March 20, 2015

TOKYO — In a small step toward a possible thaw in ties, officials from Japan and China on Thursday held their first meeting on security issues in four years, discussing the creation of a hotline to ease tensions in the East China Sea.

It was the first meeting since January 2011 between defense officials and diplomats from the two powers, which have been divided in recent years by emotional disputes over history and territory.

According to officials, a priority is to find ways — like a hotline or a similar phone connection — to communicate with each other on short notice to avoid clashes at sea.

Preventing an accidental war has become a pressing issue as Chinese and Japanese armed ships and aircraft have frequently challenged each other near uninhabited islands in the East China Sea that are claimed by both nations.

Who would want to start one?


RelatedChina failing on pollution, leader says

So they are flocking to Japan.

"China, Japan, S. Korea agree to work on improving relations" by Kim Tong-Hyung, Associated Press  March 22, 2015

SEOUL — Meeting for the first time in three years, the foreign ministers of South Korea, China, and Japan agreed Saturday to work together to improve ties strained by historical and territorial issues and restore trilateral summit talks among their leaders.

Anti-Japan sentiments in South Korea and China have grown in recent years over what is seen as Tokyo’s push to obscure Japan’s brutal colonization of the Korean Peninsula and invasion of China in the first half of the 20th century. Three-way talks among the countries’ top diplomats had been subsequently suspended.

‘‘The problems related to history are not about the past but are about the present,’’ Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at the news conference. He said the countries should not allow their relations to be hurt further by historical issues.

Despite their harsh history, the three countries are closely linked economically, with China the biggest trading partner of both South Korea and Japan.

All the more rea$on to not want war.


"South Korea rebukes China on meddling; Defense missile system from US exposes rift" by Choe Sang-Hun, New York Times  March 18, 2015

The people wanting war.

SEOUL — Tension between Seoul and Beijing over Washington’s desire to deploy a ballistic missile defense system in South Korea intensified Tuesday as South Korea made an unusual public retort to China, asking it not to meddle in its defense policy.

In recent months, the United States has made it increasingly clear that it wants South Korea to install the US missile defense system, known as Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD. The United States calls it a needed deterrent against North Korea, which has been developing its ballistic missile technology. At the same time, Beijing has pressured Seoul to refuse the US request, contending that the real target of the system is China.

Just as Russia is the true target of defense systems in Europe ostensibly meant for Iran.

“A neighboring country can have its own opinion on the possible deployment of the THAAD system here by the US forces in South Korea,” Kim Min-seok, a spokesman for the South Korean Defense Ministry, said Tuesday, without referring to China by name. “But it should not try to influence our security policy.”

South Korea considers the United States, which has 28,500 troops in the country decades after the Korean War, to be its most important ally. But growing economic dependence on China, its leading export market, requires a tricky balancing act. That was apparent this week as envoys from both nations visited South Korea with opposing demands about the missile system.

Kim’s remarks Tuesday were in response to comments made Monday by Liu Jianchao, a Chinese assistant foreign minister, who said he had “a very candid and free dialogue” with South Korean officials about the issue.

“We hope that China’s concerns and worries will be respected,” Liu said in Seoul, where his comments were interpreted as a sign that Beijing was trying to use its economic influence to pull the country away from Washington.

Good thing U.S. never does that.

On Tuesday, a visiting US envoy, Assistant Secretary of State Daniel R. Russel, said it was for South Korea to decide “what measures it will take in its own alliance defense and when.” But he added that the US military has a responsibility to consider systems that can protect the Americans and their ally from North Korean missile threats.

The THAAD system is designed to detect the launching of an enemy ballistic missile at an early stage and intercept and destroy it at a high altitude. In the past, South Korea has maintained that it would rely on US-designed PATRIOT interceptors for missile threats from the North, while developing its own system.

We were told those things largely failed after we were told they were so successful.

But the more advanced US system has gained support among South Korean military planners, amid concern that the North is getting closer to its goal of arming missiles with nuclear warheads.

Are they?


Of course, the North shouldn't mind this:

"United States and South Korea reach revised nuclear deal" New York Times   April 23, 2015

SEOUL — After more than four years of low-key yet highly sensitive negotiations, the United States and South Korea announced a revised treaty Wednesday that continues to deny — but not permanently rule out — South Korea the right to enrich uranium or reprocess spent nuclear fuel, even for peaceful purposes.

South Korea has been prevented from enriching uranium and reprocessing spent fuel, technologies used by countries such as North Korea to make nuclear weapons, under a 1972 treaty in which the United States helped South Korea build its nascent nuclear energy industry.

The two governments started negotiations in 2010 to rewrite the treaty, which was originally set to expire in 2013. But their differences were too big to resolve, leading them to sign a separate deal to extend the expiration date.

South Korea insisted in the talks that it needed to enrich uranium to produce fuel for its fast-expanding nuclear energy industry. It also wanted to reprocess spent fuel to reduce its nuclear waste storage.

That is not good enough for Iran.

But the United States maintained that allowing South Korea to employ those technologies, even for peaceful purposes, would set a bad precedent and undermine its global efforts to discourage the spread of activities that can be used to produce weapons-usable nuclear materials.

Both sides announced Wednesday that they had completed the bargaining, with the US ambassador, Mark Lippert, and Park Ro-byug, the chief South Korean negotiator, initialing the text in Seoul. The agreement is subject to review by the US Congress.

He took a stab at signing it, 'eh?


Now back to Okinawa and that bomb threat:

"Okinawa’s governor orders halt to work on US airfield; Japan dismisses edict, pledges to continue project" by Jonathan Soble New York Times  March 24, 2015

TOKYO — The governor of Okinawa ordered the suspension of work on a new US military airfield Monday, escalating a confrontation with the central government.

Maybe he was the one that called it in.

Officials in Tokyo said they would ignore his order and continue preparations for the project.

Construction of the airfield at Camp Schwab, a Marine Corps base near the village of Henoko, has been delayed for years by local opposition. Among other issues, parts of the two planned runways would jut into the coral-filled waters of Oura Bay.

Protesters outside the camp appeared in television news reports Monday cheering the suspension order.

They are all terrorists, aren't they?

The governor, Takeshi Onaga, gave those in charge of the project one week to halt a maritime geological survey for the base planned by the Japanese Defense Ministry. He threatened to revoke a marine drilling permit if the deadline is missed and said it would be illegal to continue the survey work beyond that time period.

“I have made up my mind,” Onaga said in Naha, the capital of Okinawa. “If it comes to it, I will proceed earnestly.”

The United States has had an extensive military presence on the island since 1945, including an airfield at Futenma that has become surrounded by dense residential developments.

The United States and Japan agreed in 1996 to relocate the base, but to the frustration of officials in Washington, local frictions about environmental and other concerns have caused repeated delays and changes of plan.

Onaga won a landslide election victory in November on a promise of blocking the expansion of Camp Schwab to accommodate the airfield. He and his supporters want the Marines moved off the island altogether.

About half of the nearly 50,000 US military personnel stationed in Japan are on Okinawa, which Onaga and his supporters say imposes a burden on the island.

On the other side of the debate is Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a conservative who has sought to strengthen Japan’s security ties with the United States.

Abe has shown more willingness to press ahead with the base relocation, despite Okinawan objections, than had his recent predecessors.

Protests are held regularly outside the gates of Camp Schwab, and while they have remained peaceful, they have grown larger and more rowdy in recent months.

One last month attracted at least 2,000 people, according to a count by the Okinawan newspaper Ryukyu Shimpo, and three protesters were detained. 

Funny how you read a lot about some protests and nothing about others in my propaganda pre$$, 'eh?

Officials in Tokyo disputed Onaga’s authority to revoke the drilling permit, which was issued by the previous governor.

The chief Cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, called Onaga’s order “extremely regrettable” and said the survey work would go on.

“There is absolutely no change to our plans to continue earnestly, in compliance with the law,” Suga said.

Onaga said he believed the Defense Ministry surveyors were drilling in areas of the seabed that are not covered by the permit, and that he would consider court action if the work were to continue after the permit was revoked.

“The government keeps saying it is acting respectfully and seeking the understanding of Okinawans,” Onaga said, “but this is far from sufficient.”


Kinda of making the U.S. feel jilted.

"New defense rules would give Japan new powers to aid US military" Washington Post  April 09, 2015

TOKYO — The United States and Japan are close to concluding a set of bilateral defense rules that if finalized would give Japan’s military new powers to act when US forces are threatened by a third country, US officials said Wednesday.

They just apologized.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, speaking during a visit to Tokyo, said the revision of the so-called defense guidelines would transform US military ties with Japan, which is now grappling with a missile threat from North Korea and China’s moves to assert control of areas off its coast.

Actually, they are moving towards peace -- or so I've been told.

Under a previous bilateral arrangement, Japanese forces could protect the US military only if it was operating in Japan’s direct defense, and solely in areas close to Japan. US officials say the new rules would broaden the geographic area where this could take place and, significantly, allow Japan to respond to an attack on the US military even if the US forces are not acting in defense of Japan at the time.

A senior defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, called the new rules ‘‘a big, big deal.’’ He said they were also intended to empower Japan to use its missile defense systems to protect US military assets under a greater range of circumstances.

So Japan will get sucked into a war.

‘‘With missile defense, the more radars you have, and the more shots you have, the higher probability of a kill is,’’ he said, referring to the likelihood that a missile could be intercepted.


Time to get scrambling!

"Japan scrambling warplanes as often as during Cold War era" Associated Press  April 16, 2015

TOKYO — Japan’s government said Wednesday that the number of scrambles by the country’s warplanes has surged in recent years to levels nearly matching the Cold War era, amid growing activity by China and Russia in the region....


The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been pushing to allow Japanese forces a larger role as China’s military presence grows in the region, and has stepped up defense of remote islands in southern Japan.

The ministry reported repeated flights by Chinese aircraft near the southern Japanese island of Okinawa.

When the U.S. violates your airspace, that's okay.

Russian activity was seen mainly as reconnaissance around Japan in April last year, following North Korea’s missile launch in March and joint military exercises held by the United States and South Korea around the same time.

Oh, yeah, those.


"Summons of Japanese media raises complaints of interference" Associated Press  April 18, 2015

TOKYO — Japan’s ruling party summoned executives from two major television networks Friday, the latest in a series of actions that opponents say endanger press freedom and intimidate the media.

I'm glad mine has thrown in with government.

The Liberal Democratic Party’s panel on information and communications strategy questioned officials from Asahi TV and public broadcaster NHK about two programs.

In one, an Asahi commentator made remarks critical of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s office, while the other program, on NHK, allegedly contained staged material.

Oh, no!

Government spokesman Yoshihide Suga denied suggestions of censorship, and said the summonses were not intended to pressure the media.

Abe’s government has been criticized as being too sensitive to critical reporting.

Media watchers and political analysts say mainstream media have been avoiding such reporting to keep out of trouble over their portrayals of Japan and its government.


Maybe they were the ones that sent the drone:

"Drone found on roof of Japanese prime minister’s office" Associated Press  April 23, 2015

TOKYO — Japanese authorities said they were investigating after a small drone laced with traces of radiation was found Wednesday on the roof of the prime minister’s office, sparking concerns about drones and their possible use for terrorist attacks.

Maybe it got lost after flying over Fukushima.

No injuries or damage were reported from the incident, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was in Indonesia to attend an Asian-African conference.

Police said it was not immediately known who was responsible for the drone. They were investigating the possibility it had crashed during a flight.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said a drone landing at the prime minister’s office was a wakeup call to problems caused by the unmanned aerial devices, including possible terrorist attacks when Japan hosts a Group of Seven summit next year, as well as the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

‘‘Taking into consideration the latest incident, we will review drone use and measures for possible terrorist attacks using drones,” Suga said. “We’ll do our utmost to prevent terrorist attacks.’’

Isn't that a bit of a reach? I mean, it could be a drunk Secret Service agent?

It was not clear when the drone landed.

Officials at the prime minister’s office said they rarely go up to the roof, which is also used as a heliport in case of an emergency.


What I have been looking for all this time:

"Tsunami wall plans divide Japanese" Associated Press  March 23, 2015

SENDAI, Japan — Four years after a towering tsunami ravaged much of Japan’s northeastern coast, efforts to fend off future disasters are focusing on a nearly 250-mile chain of concrete sea walls, at places nearly five stories high.

Opponents of the $6.8 billion plan argue that the massive concrete barriers will damage marine ecology and scenery, hinder vital fisheries, and actually do little to protect residents, who are mostly supposed to relocate to higher ground. Those in favor say the sea walls are a necessary evil, and one that will provide some jobs, at least for a time.

In the northern fishing port of Osabe, Kazutoshi Musashi chafes at the 41-foot-high concrete barrier blocking his view of the sea.

‘‘The reality is that it looks like the wall of a jail,’’ said Musashi, 46.

The paradox of such projects, experts say, is that while they may reduce some damage, they can foster complacency. That can be a grave risk along coastlines vulnerable to tsunamis, storm surges, and other natural disasters.

At least some of the 18,500 people who died or went missing in the 2011 disasters failed to heed warnings to escape in time.

Tsuneaki Iguchi was mayor of Iwanuma, a town just south of the region’s biggest city, Sendai, when the tsunami triggered by a magnitude-9 earthquake just off the coast inundated half of its area.

A 24-foot-high sea wall built years earlier to help stave off erosion of Iwanuma’s beaches slowed the wall of water, as did stands of tall, thin pine trees planted along the coast. But the tsunami still swept up to 3 miles inland.

Passengers and staff watched from the upper floors and roof of the airport as the waves carried off cars, buildings, and aircraft, smashing most homes in densely populated suburbs not far from the beach.


I didn't see the word Fukushima, did you? 

That ice wall idea to contain the radioactive water leaking into the Pacific must have melted.


"Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s pro-business government has been pushing for a restart, saying prolonged stoppages are not good for Japan’s economy." 

Your money or your life!

At least the trains are running on time and Japan is moving to wind power. That ought to make 'em happy.

I'm feeling a bit jilted about this:

"Lawmakers visit Nevada amid new push for nuclear dump" by Ken Ritter Associated Press  April 09, 2015

LAS VEGAS — Several members of Congress headed to the mothballed site of a proposed radioactive waste dump in the Nevada desert amid new talk about a decades-old problem: where to dispose of spent nuclear fuel stored at commercial US reactors.

The tour Thursday came with momentum building toward restarting the Yucca Mountain project, weeks after US Senator Harry Reid, a steadfast opponent of burying nuclear waste in Nevada, revealed he will retire after 2016. Reid has pronounced the project dead while working with President Obama to strangle funding for it. But Obama will leave office after 2016, too.

The daylong tour was led by US Representative John Shimkus, Republican chairman of the House Environment and the Economy Subcommittee and a supporter of plans to entomb the nation’s most radioactive waste 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas. He is from Illinois, a state with several nuclear reactors. ‘‘Our nation desperately needs to advance our nuclear waste strategy and Yucca Mountain is a part of the solution,’’ he said in a statement.

Related: Letting Off Some Steam

Joining the tour was Nevada’s newest Congress member, GOP Representative Cresent Hardy — a dissident voice in an otherwise united front of Nevada elected officials opposed to accepting highly radioactive waste from other states.

In a recent newspaper opinion column, Hardy signaled a willingness to listen to offers for economic support for Nevada schools, new roads, and the possibility of a larger share of water from the drought-stricken Colorado River. His district includes Yucca Mountain.

Shimkus has called for Congress to fulfill a 1982 promise to spend money collected from commercial utilities to store spent nuclear fuel that will be radioactive for 10,000 years.

An estimated $15 billion was spent drilling a 5-mile U-shaped tunnel and studying whether 77,000 tons of hazardous material could remain safe in casks wheeled on rails into a tunnels 1,000 feet underground. Some estimates put the cost at $100 billion. Nevada has long opposed the project.


Just wondering how the stuff is going to get there?

What I almost missed (and wish I had):

"For hamburger aficionados who want the smell even when they can’t get a bite, Burger King is putting the scent into a limited-edition fragrance. Burger King said Friday the cologne scented like the Whopper, will be sold only in Japan and only on April 1 — no joke. The limited ‘‘Flame Grilled’’ fragrance will sell for about $40, including the burger. There will be only 1,000 of them. Burger King said it hopes the scent would also seduce new grill-beef burger fans."

Doing well in Africa, I read, and it is time for lunch.


Family hopes N.H. sailor’s remains might be identified

Drone lands at Japanese leader’s office

Flown allegedly by a lone nut wanting to protest the proposed restarts. Never mind all those Japanese in the street doing such.

Also related:

"Visitors were allowed in for a wreath-laying ceremony in 2013 on the 50th anniversary of the assassination. After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, state officials restricted viewing of the monument, citing security concerns because of its proximity to the governor’s office."

Japan's 9/11's are in August, the 6th and the 9th.

"A Chinese woman who murdered her abusive husband won a reprieve from a death sentence Friday in a case that marks the country’s gradual recognition of domestic violence."

I guess. Got more recognition than the Korean protest did on the web. Hope I didn't miss anything else at bottom.