Thursday, March 31, 2011

U.S. CHARITY DONATIONS TO JAPAN HAVE HIT $150 MILLION USD



From Breitbart.com

US relief groups said Tuesday that Americans have donated close to $150 million to support Japan after its devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
The American Red Cross said it has raised $120.5 million. It said it gave $10 million initially to the Japanese Red Cross and would transfer $50 million in the coming days, along with more funds as they are available.
Our industry has responded with an unprecedented effort to raise money for the earthquake victims in Japan. These efforts are still ongoing as several conventions are hosting earthquake relief fundraisers over the next few months.

If you are unable to attend any of these events you can always give to the Japan NGO Earthquake Relief and Recovery Fund. You can donate here!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

AMERICAN AIRLINES TO SUSPEND TWO DAILY FLIGHTS TO JAPAN



From Kyodo News


American Airlines said Wednesday it will suspend a total of two daily flights between the United States and Japan from April 7 through 25 due to reduced demand following the massive earthquake and tsunami disaster in northeastern Japan.
American will suspend a service between New York and Tokyo's Haneda airport launched in February, and one of the two daily flights between Dallas-Fort Worth in Texas and Narita airport near Tokyo. The two services are scheduled to be suspended after flights from Japan on April 6 and to resume with flights departing the United States on April 26.
If you needed any idea of how the earthquake has slowed down economic activity in Japan please look no further.

While demand is low and has depressed prices do not forget that the price of oil has risen to over $100 USD per barrel and has force the price of jet fuel above $3 USD per gallon. When AA made this announcement months ago the price of oil was in the 60-75 USD range now its $100 USD and the O&D traffic for the routes have plummeted since the earthquake. It's going to be interesting to watch what happens to flights in and out of Narita as it seems those are still viable from connecting traffic.

JAPAN CONSIDERS UNUSUAL FIXES TO CONTAIN NUCLEAR PLANT

                            This photo from an unmanned air drone shows the extensive damage
                            to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Sticky resin may help. On Thursday, Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) plans to test it, spraying this adhesive substance on an area of ground near the plant, said Japanese nuclear safety authorities on Wednesday. The idea is to glue down any fallen radioactive particles.
A giant tarp has also been proposed. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said nuclear experts might cover reactor buildings with a special material to try and stop emission of radioactive substances.
The US is readying a shipment of radiation-hardened robots to help the Japanese fight this problem, said Peter Lyons, acting assistant secretary of the US Department of Energy.
“We’re moving expeditiously to ship not only the robots but also operators who [would] train Japanese operators,” Dr. Lyons told a Senate committee on Tuesday.
That officials are considering such unusual approaches reflects the fact that, despite some progress in restoring electricity to the Fukushima complex, the nuclear crisis has no end in sight.
“We are not in a situation where we can say we will have this under control by a certain period,” Mr. Edano told reporters at a Wednesday news briefing.
It looks like things could be getting worse at the nuclear plant.  It might take a full year to get this situation contained (it looks doubtful Fukushima will ever generate electricity again) and even its possible there are going to be many new issues popping up.

TEKKOSHOCON ARTILCE NOW UP ON ROBOTECH.COM



Robotech.com has posted its overview article Tekkoshocon. The article includes panel times, registration and parking information. You can view the article here. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

SIMPSON PRODUCER OK WITH NUCLEAR JOKES BEING PULLED.

A follow up in TheWrap.com to the Simpsons story from last week.



A foreign television network might be yanking reruns of "The Simpsons" because of references to nuclear mishaps in the wake of Japan's nuclear crisis, but the top producer for the animated series isn't having a meltdown about it.

While a network in Austria reportedly pulled two reruns because they contained jokes about radiation poisoning and other nuclear accidents, the show's executive producer, Al Jean, says he "completely understands" why they'd do so.
"We have 480 episodes, and if there are a few that they don't want to air for a while in light of the terrible thing going on, I completely understand that," Jean tells EW.com. "We would never make light of what's happening in Japan."

NETWORK NEWS BUDGETS BUSTED COVERING DIASTERS



A very interesting report from TheWrap.com

From Japan to Libya, disasters and political upheavel around the globe are wreaking havoc on the already-skeletal budgets of cable and broadcast news organizations.
“We've already had a year's worth of breaking news coverage, and it's not even the end of March,” David Verdi, NBC News VP of worldwide newsgathering, told TheWrap.
News organizations may have already spent their annual budgets for covering foreign events and still have nine months to go, one veteran cable news executive told TheWrap.
 "If Saudi Arabia goes up in flames, all bets are off," the executive said. 
The story provide a chart of these costs as well and you can see it here.   Here are some of the costs trying to cover the Japanese earthquake.


The nuclear meltdown in Japan poses its own unique and expensive challenges.

“We bought 10 radiation monitors -- those cost $1,500 a pop. Protective masks that cost a few hundred.

Potassium iodine pills. And we hired a radiation expert on the first day and flew him to Tokyo,” Verdi said.  
One thing working in the news networks' favor: technological advances mean they can get by with smaller crews.
It's possible to get the story with a pair of satellite phones or even an iPad, particularly now that broadcasters have given up longstanding prejudices about the graininess of web video. 
"Ten years ago, in order to cover an event live, it would have required an amount of technology that is difficult to ship, expensive to buy, and requires a lot of manpower. Ten years later all of the equipment is suitcase-size and easily operable by people who are not MIT engineers," Wald said.
Sadly, the price tag for all this coverage hasn't shrunk along with the technology.

The article gives you a sense of how fast your costs can rocket upward with very little ways to recoup. If covering a news story is going to cost you $2 million per month over your fixed costs at some point its going to add up  and something is going to give.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

RADIOACTIVE WATER DUE TO PARTIAL MELTDOWN?

According to Kyodo News.


The government believes highly radioactive water detected at the No. 2 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is due to a partial meltdown of fuel rods there, its top spokesman said Monday.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told a news conference that the government believes that the meltdown was only temporary.
When reactor fuel melts down it does NOT return to original shape when it cools. Even a temporary meltdown is quiet serious and the fact we are three weeks into this and this is happening means we have a long way to go.

ROBOTECH NOVELS NOW AVAILABLE IN E-BOOK FORM!



Robotech.com has announced that the novelizations by Jack McKinney are now available in e-book form. If you have Amazon's Kindle, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble's Nook, Google eBooks, Sony Reader or a device with a generic ePub and PDF formats (DRM required) you are good to go.

For those who still wish to purchase a hard copy the you can still order the original Omnibus editions from the Robotech.com Store!

CLICK HERE TO ORDER THE NOVELS IN E-BOOK FORMAT!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

JAPANESE ANIME STUDIOS ARE AT A "STANDSTILL"

Hat tip to reader "MaverickLSC"for pointing the article out to me.

A must read article about the quakes impact on the anime industry from DailyFinance.com

Japan's recent earthquake, tsunami and nuclear reactor crises are taking their toll on the nation's population and industrial sector -- and Japanese anime, an industry that brings in an estimated $2.5 billion annually, has suffered as well.

"The whole thing is having a pretty significant effect right now," says Christopher Macdonald, CEO and publisher of Anime News Network. "70% of Japan's animation studios are in the suburbs of Tokyo, and those are . . . the areas being affected by the rolling blackouts. That means it's very hard for people to do work. They don't know when their electricity is going to be turned off for three to six hours; the offices start shaking every 15 minutes [from aftershocks]. For the most part, most of those studios are at a standstill when it comes to their animation work."

[snip]
The disaster is just the latest setback for Japan's anime industry. While demand for anime is growing internationally, Japanese anime is being challenged by animation from other countries. A lot of the manually-intensive animation work by Japanese studios is also being outsourced to countries with cheaper labor costs like South Korea, China and Thailand.

"Production budgets have been slashed because of the economic slump, and young workers on the margins are bearing hard burdens," Hisako Sasaki, the head of anime studio Wish, recently told the national newspaper Asahi Shimbun. "Young workers have fewer chances to accumulate experience and improve their skills."

There's also an ongoing international slump in the sale of DVDs, anime and otherwise. Internet piracy of anime programs, meanwhile, is rampant -- with some of the more popular shows illegally available online with hours of their first broadcast in Japan.

The article ends with a interesting observation from Anime News Network Editor-in-Chief Christopher MacDonald:

And there are now concerns the earthquake and tsunami could create a worse-case scenario for Japanese anime. With work at home interrupted by the disaster, Macdonald says, "some of the studios might decide we need to get this work done, so we're going to hire some more Korean studios to fill in temporarily. Once a season is off-shored for a couple of weeks, it's not coming back. And if you lose a complete season or two seasons of salary in Japan, these people are going to find work in other industries, higher paying industries, like video gaming."

Part of the reason why I have focused so much on the economy of Japan post quake is that it directly affects the amine industry. If studios have blackouts for three to six hours every day their workers are idle (while those studios still have to pay overhead costs like their salaries, water bills, materials etc..) and they cant make anine and thus not make money. Hence they outsource and when they do...

Put that on top of other industries that are idle in Japan. We are already seeing the end result in Japan with major industries struggling to get back on their feet. Instability in the Yen/Dollar relationship Wondering whats going to happen next with the Nuclear Emergency that now appears to be getting worse again.

No one knows how this all will impact the anime industry long term.

Friday, March 25, 2011

MAZDA SUSPENDING JAPAN BUILT DEALER ORDERS

From Kyodo News


Mazda Motor Corp. has suspended U.S. dealer orders for vehicles built in Japan until further notice due to parts-supply disruptions caused by the earthquake and tsunami earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing a Mazda spokesman.
Mazda's main Japanese plants were not directly affected by the disaster, but production was suspended due partly to problems with parts supplies. Partial production resumed on a temporary basis from Tuesday at Mazda's Hiroshima Prefecture-based main factory and at another plant in Yamaguchi Prefecture, but operations have yet to return to full capacity.
Mazda appears to have judged that output disruptions in Japan would affect the sales of vehicles exported to the United States and has decided to suspend orders for Japan-built models including the CX7 and CX9 sport-utility vehicles.
The real question is how long is this going to go on? 

ANIME NEWS NETWORK COVERAGE OF THE "WE HEART JAPAN EVENT"


Anime News Network has posted coverage of the "We Heart Japan" event that took place in Hollywood last week. You can read thier full coverage here.
 

SIMPSONS NUCELAR JOKES EDITED IN GERMANY

Interesting news from The Hollywood Reporter.


German Television has put a moratorium on meltdowns in The Simpsons.
Reacting to the real-life nuclear disaster unfolding in Japan, Pro7, the channel that airs The Simpsons in Germany, will be screening current and future episodes of the show and remove or replace any that feature a disaster at Mr. Burns' nuclear power plant. Berlin's Tagesspiegel newspaper reports that networks in Austria and Switzerland have followed suit.
Austria's ORF has already pulled two episodes set to broadcast:  Episode 66, Marge Gets a Job, which features scientists Marie Curie and Pierre Curie dying of radiation poisoning; and Episode 346, On a Clear Day I Can't See My Sister, in which characters joke about a nuclear meltdown. Tagesspeigel says ORF has held back eight Simpsons episodes until the end of April, when it will review its Springfield disaster policy.

This is a normal reaction to current world events. In normal times making jokes about nuclear meltodwns, bumbling nuclear safety inspectors, poor plat design would be funny. However right now it takes rather different tone.

BREACH IN THE REACTOR AT NUCLEAR PLANT?

From the AP

A suspected breach in the core at one reactor at a stricken Fukushima nuclear plant could mean more serious radioactive contamination, Japanese officials revealed Friday - a situation the prime minister called "very grave and serious."
A somber Prime Minister Naoto Kan sounded a pessimistic note at a briefing hours after nuclear safety officials said they suspected a breach at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant that would be a major setback in the urgent mission to stop the facility from leaking radiation.
"The situation today at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant is still very grave and serious. We must remain vigilant," Kan said. "We are not in a position where we can be optimistic. We must treat every development with the utmost care."
The uncertain situation halted work at the nuclear complex, where dozens had been trying feverishly to stop the overheated plant from leaking dangerous radiation. The plant has leaked some low levels of radiation, but a breach could mean a much larger release of contaminants.

This is not a good sign.

MACROSS DIRECTOR SHOJI KAWAMORI POSTS AN ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE REGARDING THE MARCH 11 EARTHQUAKE

Anime News Network has discovered that Macross very own Shoji Kawamori has spoken a message of support for those impacted by the March 11 earthquake.

Mechanical designer and director Shoji Kawamori (Macross, Escaflowne, Aquarion) also posted an illustrated message of support via the Twitter account of Kadokawa's Sneaker Bunko imprint on March 22.
If you click on the link you will see Kawamori's artwork plus some cool Gundam artwork as well.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

FOUR CHARITY EVENTS IN JAPAN FOR QUAKE VICTIMS

This news comes to the blog via Anime News Network.

The first event, "Sakura no Kai" (Cherry Blossom Gathering), will run from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, followed by "Himawari no Kai" (Sunflower Gathering) at 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. "Tulip no Kai" and "Tanpopo no Kai" (Dandelion Gathering) will be held at the same times on Sunday. The drawing for tickets is already being held, and the staff is requesting a 1,000-yen (about US$12) donation from the ticket winners at the door. All proceds will go to charity.

RADIATION LEVELS HIGHER OUTSIDE OF EXLCUSION ZONE IN JAPAN

From the Wall Street Journal.

Levels of radioactivity from Japan's damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex may be above government limits for infants in some areas outside the plant's 20-kilometer evacuation zone, according to the latest estimate to fuel an international debate over how close civilians should be allowed to the plant.

The new estimate, by a state-funded monitoring body, came as fears over Tokyo's tap water eased. Tests Thursday also showed radioactive material in a major plant supplying water to the capital has fallen to below the level the government says could pose long-term health risks to infants. Elevated levels in samples from the plant Tuesday and Wednesday sparked official warnings and bottled-water sales.
[snip]
But the model showed that areas where cumulative exposure over 12 days reached 100 millisieverts—the government's maximum for infants—extended beyond the evacuation zone. A map based on data from the center showed areas that received a cumulative 100 millisieverts extended as far as about 40 kilometers northeast and south from the plant.

Government officials said the center's estimate doesn't require a larger evacuation, under even the most conservative standards. They said a person would have to have been in the area, and outdoors for the entire time since the March 11 earthquake, to receive that full dose.
Still, the test results demonstrate the uncertainty surrounding the measuring of radioactive emissions from the power plant.
This is an example of a long hard slog getting the plant under control is going to be. 
 

NPR STORY ON JAPAN QUAKE AND ANIME FANS

NPR has a interesting story on the earthquake and its impact on the North American anime community.
All of them had come to the annual Zenkaikon anime convention because they're among the countless people around the world who feel an intense, visceral connection to Japan through its popular culture — in the U.S. alone, fans spent an estimated $200 million last year just on anime.
So in the wake of the disasters that struck Japan on March 11, it's no wonder that the general mood at this year's Zenkaikon was more somber than usual.
"Everyone I've talked to ... has been kind of down," said anime-convention regular Jeremy Volk. "It doesn't feel like a normal, upbeat convention."
The article contains an audio report as well and its worth the read/listen. 

3 FUKUSHIMA WORKERS EXPOSED TO HIGH DOES OF RADAITION 2 SUFFER BURNS

                                       Workers at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant

While its faded from the headlines there is still much going on at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in Japan.

It is still a very dangerous place.

Three workers were exposed to high-level radiation Thursday while laying cable at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, and two of them were taken to hospital due to possible radiation burns to their feet, the nuclear safety agency and the plant operator said.
The three men in their 20s and 30s were exposed to radiation amounting to 173 to 180 millisieverts while laying cable underground at the No. 3 reactor's turbine building. Exposure to 100 millisieverts is the limit for nuclear plant workers dealing with a crisis but the limit has been raised to 250 millisieverts for the ongoing crisis, the worst in Japan.
The two hospitalized are workers of plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s subcontractors and had their feet under water while carrying out the work from 10 a.m., according to the utility known as TEPCO and the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.
The two, who were diagnosed with possible beta ray burns at a Fukushima hospital, will be sent to the National Institute of Radiological Sciences in Chiba Prefecture by early Friday and will stay there for about four days, the agency said.
As the workers had stepped in a 15-centimeter-deep puddle, radioactive water may have seeped through their radiation protective gear, causing radioactive materials in the water to stick to their skin, TEPCO said, adding that the burns are caused by direct exposure to beta rays.
The technicians were wearing nonwoven protective suits of U.S. chemical firm DuPont Co.'s Tyvek brand, full-face masks and rubber gloves, but the two later hospitalized were not wearing boots, letting radioactive water in their shoes, according to the utility and the agency.
Radiation at the surface of the puddle stood at 400 millisieverts per hour, while the amount in the air reached 200 millisieverts per hour.
Lets hope these men get a speedy recovery.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

EARTHQUAKE COULD COST JAPANESE ECONOMY 25 TRILLION YEN

Yes you read right, that's trillion with a T.

The government estimated Wednesday that the economic costs from the March 11 earthquake on seven affected prefectures could total up to 25 trillion yen ($309 billion), adding that this could be the worst natural disaster in Japan in terms of such costs since the end of World War II.
The destruction of social infrastructure, housing and corporate facilities in the areas could cost between 16 trillion yen and 25 trillion yen, according to the Cabinet Office. This could push the nation's economic growth rate lower by 0.5 percent.
The actual result may be worse, however, as this projection ruled out any negative effects of power supply shortages spawned by the nuclear plant crisis in Fukushima Prefecture, as well as of damage to industries caused by radiation fears.
But the office also suggested that downward pressure on the economy could be offset by reconstruction work, which normally brings about a surge in domestic demand.
''We provided the number based on data available so far, and cannot help having certain ranges in our estimate,'' economic and fiscal policy minister Kaoru Yosano told reporters.
''As there are some people who are concerned the Japanese economy could sink, I am saying the actual loss of GDP (gross domestic product) will be this size,'' Yosano said, apparently playing down such concerns.
''The most troublesome thing is harmful rumors and the psychological effect (on consumers) as a result of radiation concerns,'' he also said, while noting it is inevitable that manufacturers will suffer from rolling blackouts implemented by Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant.
We are now starting to get some numbers of the quake's economic impact to the country. The sad thing is that these numbers could get worse as better accounting takes place.

ROBOTECH CONVENTION TOUR TO STOP AT ANIME NEXT THIS JUNE

Today on the Robotech Facebook Page Harmony Gold announced that the 2011 Robotech Convention Tour will be heading to AnimeNEXT in New Jersey this June. According the Robotech.com website the following Robotech guests have already commited to appear.
Tommy Yune - Director of Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles
Steve Yun - writer of Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles
Wendee Lee - voice of Vanessa Leeds in The Macross Saga
Vic Mignogna - English voice of Macross' Hikaru Ichijo
AnimeNEXT takes place on June 10-12 in Somerset, New Jersey. 

RADIOACTIVITY FOUND IN TOKYO TAP WATER

 Empty shelves in a store in Japan. 


From the the Los Angeles Times.

Infants in Tokyo and five surrounding cities should not be allowed to consume tap water, the city's government said Wednesday after elevated levels of radioactive iodine from a crippled nuclear plant were detected at a water treatment plant.

Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan urged consumers to not eat a dozen types of contaminated vegetables from the region surrounding the nuclear facility 150 miles northeast of the capital and also expanded a shipment ban.

Water tests in Tokyo found levels of radioactive iodine 131 at 210 becquerels per liter Tuesday and 190 becquerels per liter on Wednesday morning, about double the level of 100 becquerels per liter deemed safe for children under the age of 1. A level of 300 becquerels per liter is considered safe for adults.

This news has caused some convenience stores to sell out of bottled water late Wednesday. You can go for days without food but you really need water consistently to stay alive.

As for exports:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday banned the importation of milk, milk products and fresh fruits and vegetables from four areas near the plant.
Then there is the power issue:
 Tepco has asked banks for about $18 billion in emergency loans to cope with the crisis at the power plant and the resulting power shortages in a wider area. Economy Minister Kaoru Yosano said ongoing power shortages would pose the biggest problem for Japan's economy.
Looks like there is still a long way to go.

UPDATED LIST OF ANIME / MANGA LISTING DELAYED DUE TO EARTHQUAKE

Anime News Network has updated its list of anime/manga delayed by the March 11 earthquake. The list includes productions from Aniplex and Bandai Visual.


CLICK HERE TO SEE THE LIST!

24 HOUR CHAIRTY PODCAST RASIES $31,500 USD FOR QUAKE VICTIMS



As part of the ongoing charity efforts by the North American Anime Industry/Community The Unofficial One Piece Podcast held an "Anime Fans Give Back to Japan" 24 hour marathon fundraiser. The podcast was a 24-hour marathon featuring members of the North America anime/manga industry from 6:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) on Saturday, March 19 until 6:00 p.m. EST on Sunday, March 20.

Now the group via ANN has a released their fundraising totals.

At press time, the official website for the charity marathon stated that the event had raised US$31,515, which will be donated to the Global Giving charity organization. The website is also still taking donations, although its original goal was US$25,000.
ANN also has a nifty list of people who participated.

I remember during the Shadow Chronicles Charity Screening at MechaCon n 2006 when the local head of the Salvation Army told me point blank that they were "forgotten" even though the need was so great. He said that every little bit helps a great deal and often can make a great difference in people lives as they get back on their feet.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

ANIMATE AND GAMER STORES REOPEN IN SENDAI

Anime News Network is reporting that the anime/gamer chain store know as " ANIMATE and Gamers " is reopening its store in Sendai. The store will be open for limited hours and "selling the items they already have in stock."

JAPAN MANUFACTURES FACE FURTHER DELAYS

From the Los Angeles Times.

The natural disasters that struck Japan's northeast continued to wreak havoc on the nation's economy on Tuesday, with two of the country's largest carmakers announcing further delays in resumption of production at their plants because of continued disruption in parts supplies.

Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., which were scheduled to resume production at their earthquake-affected plants early this week, said Tuesday that operations would not begin again until the weekend. Toyota had suspended operations at four plants, Honda at three.

Toyota said the new suspension would last until Saturday and Honda said its plants would resume operations Sunday.

For Toyota, the halt in output, which will affect about 140,000 units, marks a record suspension, Kyodo News Agency reported. The effects are likely to be felt domestically for the most part -- the companies' cars sold in the U.S. are largely manufactured in North America.

Electronics maker Sony Corp. also said Tuesday that while manufacturing had restarted at some of its sites, scheduled power outages and shortages of materials and components continued to hamper production at others.

Technophiles may also have reason for concern: Japan's earthquake and tsunami has halted production of a quarter of the world's supply of silicon wafers, used to make semiconductors, which are the crucial components in personal computers, mobile phones and digital music players, according to a report released by a California-based market research firm.
Even when production resumes it will be interesting to see what kind of demand for products in Japan will be. 

"WE HEART JAPAN" VIDEO NOW ON CNN iREPORT

CNN has posted video from the "We Heart Japan" event by Tommy Yune. You can watch the video below.

                            

POWER RESTORED AT THE FUKUSHIMA DAIICHI NUCLEAR PLANT

Some good news and bad news to control the reactors at the power plant.

First the good news.

Workers reconnect all six reactors at the troubled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex to the electrical grid Tuesday, but they are not ready to turn the power on yet. They were also able to cool a spent fuel pool that was nearly boiling, reducing the risk of releasing radioactive steam.

Now the news that there is still work to do

Smoke and steam rose from two of the most threatening reactors at Japan’s quake-crippled nuclear plant on Tuesday, suggesting the battle to avert a disastrous meltdown and stop the spread of radiation was far from won. …
Kyodo news agency said steam appeared to rise from reactor No. 2 and white haze was detected above reactor No. 3. There have been several blasts of steam from the reactors during the crisis, which experts say probably released a small amount of radioactive particles.
Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said later the smoke had turned to steam and it was deemed safe to continue work in bringing the plant under control. Japan’s nuclear safety agency said steam was believed to be coming off a spent nuclear fuel pool at reactor No.2.
Lastly some bad news.


TEPCO said radiation was found in the Pacific Ocean nearby, not surprising given rain and the hosing of reactors with sea-water. TEPCO officials have said some of the water from the hosing was spilling into the sea.
Radioactive iodine in the sea samples was 126.7 times the allowed limit, while caesium was 24.8 times over, the Kyodo news agency said. That still posed no immediate danger, TEPCO said.
"It would have to be drunk for a whole year in order to accumulate to 1 millisievert," a TEPCO official said, referring to the standard radiation measurement unit.
People are generally exposed to 1-10 millisieverts a year from background radiation caused by substances in the air and soil.
The Health Ministrysaid residents of five municipalities in Fukushima should not use tap water for baby powder milk after the water was found to have more than the standard level of radioactive iodine allowed for babies. Authorities have also stopped shipments of milk and some vegetables from the area.
Despite the warnings, experts say readings are much lower than around Chernobyl after the 1986 accident in Ukraine.
Japan is a net importer of food, but also exports fruit, vegetables, dairy products and seafood, with its biggest markets in Hong Kong, China and the United States.
Japan's neighbors including China, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand, are monitoring Japanese food imports. Australia's food regulator said the risk was negligible and no extra restrictions on Japanese food were in place.
As I said yesterday this is going to be one very long slog, however, things are moving in the right direction. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

GOVERMENT ORDER FOUR PREFECTURES TO SUSPEND FOOD SHIPMENTS

From Kyodo News

The government ordered Fukushima and three other prefectures Monday to suspend shipments of spinach and another leaf vegetable following the detection of radioactive substances in the produce at levels beyond legal limits, while trace amounts of radioactive substances were detected in tap water samples collected Sunday and Monday in nine prefectures.
High levels of radioactive substances were also detected in seawater near a troubled nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture, according to the plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. The company said it is too early to assess the impact on fishery products.
While issuing the orders to Fukushima and its surrounding prefectures -- Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma -- in accordance with a nuclear disaster law, the government's nuclear disaster countermeasure headquarters also asked Fukushima to refrain from shipping raw milk.
Top government spokesman Yukio Edano said the readings for radioactive substances found in the farm produce were at levels exceeding provisional limits set under the Food Sanitation Law but ''aren't readings that would affect humans.''
''Eating food with (radioactive levels) exceeding provisional limits isn't going to affect your health,'' Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano added, urging the public not to overreact to the findings.

TOKYO BIG SIGHT TO HOUSE DISPLACED EARTHQUAKE EVACUEES

From Anime News Network.com

The metropolis of Tokyo announced on Monday that the Tokyo Big Sight and Tokyo International Forum event complexes will house evacuees from the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake (Higashi Nihon Daishinsai) disaster and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accident. Tokyo Big Sight will begin accepting up to 3,000 evacuees at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 22. The Tokyo International Forum can accept up to 1,000 evacuees until the middle of April.
Tokyo has already been housing evacuees at the Tokyo Budōkan and Ajinomoto Stadium. Ajinomoto Stadium extended the time that evacuees can stay at its facilities from the end of March until the middle of April. Altogether, the various facilities in the metropolis can house up to 10,000 evacuees.
 Yesterday I talked about how finding housing for the evacuees would be one of the hardest tasks for the government in the post-quake rebuilding.  We are beginning to see steps being taken to solve that problem.

HOW MUCH RADIATION DO YOU GET?

Since the 1950's people have been told to fear radiation.  The mere mention of the word often makes people very uncomfortable. So when people hear the words radiation leak its quite natural for them to get concerned.  Well at work today Steve pointed this really cool chart out.


 
                                                   How much do you radiation do you get?

The chart is quite informative and puts into perceptive what type of doses people get. I personally like the dose you get by sleeping next to another person. 

WORKERS FLEE NUCLEAR POWER PLANT IN JAPAN

From the Los Angeles Times

                                 Smoke rises from reactor number three of the number one Fukushima
                                 Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. Fears that the plume may be radioactive 
                                 interrupted work on the reactors

Smoke rising from two of the reactors in the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan caused alarm and abruptly halted efforts to restore power to reactors Monday afternoon.

Workers from the Tokyo Electric Power Company were evacuated midafternoon after dark-colored smoke was seen rising from reactor No. 3 above a pool storing spent nuclear rods, Kyodo News Agency reported. A few hours later, a white plume was also seen rising through a crack in the roof of the building containing reactor No. 2, according to reports.

The smoke had stopped by evening. Power company officials told local reporters that the plume from reactor No. 2 appeared to be steam.

The cause of the plumes was unknown, but they did not appear to be associated with a radiation spike.

Still, officials said the interruption would delay the work to restore power to the cooling systems at the plant by a day. The smoke also caused fire officials to halt the spraying of water onto the reactors. The power company and government officials said the efforts to connect the reactors to a power source and cool them would likely resume Tuesday, according to Kyodo News Agency.
It's going to be along hard slog to get this situation under control.  Some people are under the mistaken impression that since they hooked up a power line to the plant that everything is fine, but thats not really the case.

OVER 21,000 DEAD OR MISSING IN JAPAN FROM THE MARCH 11 QUAKE

From Kyodo News
The death toll from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that hit northeastern and eastern Japan and the number of those reported missing came to a combined total of 21,911 as of noon Monday, the National Police Agency said.

The number of deaths reported in a total of 12 prefectures came to 8,649, while people reported by their relatives to be missing climbed to 13,262 in six prefectures. Police have identified about 4,080 bodies, including 2,990 returned to their families, the agency said.
A total of about 350,000 evacuees, including those who fled from the vicinity of the troubled nuclear reactors in Fukushima Prefecture, are now staying at some 2,100 shelters set up by 15 prefectures.

It's not the dead and missing, but also the number of displaced by the quake. to put that nmuber into perspective  350,000 displaced is a city the size of Bakersfield, CA. How these people are going to  be fed, clothed and housed for the foreseeable future is a good question.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

JAPAN NOW FACING A FOOD SAFETY CRISIS

From the UK Guardian.


Japan faces a further crisis with concern escalating about radioactive contamination of its food and water, even as the fight to stabilise the earthquake-stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant appears to be making progress.
Tests found levels of radioactive iodine up to seven times the legal limit in samples of raw milk, spinach and two leaf vegetables as far away from the nuclear plant as Chiba prefecture, to the east of Tokyo.
The results mean Japan faces a food safety scare on top of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis. Almost 300 engineers have been battling to bring six reactors under control at the plant, 240km north of Tokyo, since their cooling systems were knocked out 10 days ago by the tsunami.
Meanwhile the IAEA, the UN atomic watchdog, said on Sunday that there had been some positive developments at the Fukushima plant in the past 24 hours, though the overall situation remained “very serious”.
The government halted shipments of raw milk from Fukushima prefecture and spinach from Ibaraki prefecture. It will decide tomorrow whether to widen the freeze. Officials admitted that some food with radioactivity above the safety limit might be on shop shelves.
Tests also showed slightly elevated radioactivity in Tokyo’s drinking water although the measurement was still 100 times below the legal safety limit.
Experts and the Japanese government said the levels of radioactivity recorded in milk and spinach did not pose an immediate threat to human health.
“I have never let my children drink much milk but at the current level of concentration I would have no hesitation in letting them consume spinach and tap water,” said Tetsuro Fukuyama, the deputy chief cabinet secretary.
An average consumer would have to drink such milk for a year to get the equivalent radioactive dose to a single CT scan.
Only four of 37 milk samples from the Fukushima area were above the legal limit but the range of affected sites suggests halting food shipments could have a big economic impact.
Even if the food shipments are not halted, fear of contaminated food could hurt Japanese food exports for years to come.  If people do not buy food from Japan that could put yet another dead weight on thier export driven economy.

FIRST CNN iREPORT OF THE "WE HEART JAPAN" FUNDRAISER



CNN has posted a iReport by Tommy Yune on the "We Heart Japan" fundraiser. You can look at the report here.

ECONOMISTS BEGIN TO ASSES THE ECONOMIC DAMGE TO THE JAPANESE ECONOMY

From the Wall Street Journal.


The financial damages will be enormous: Goldman Sachs puts the losses in buildings and production facilities at 16 trillion yen, or $193 billion, some 3.3% of the country's gross domestic product. In coming months, power shortages and supply-chain problems will slash the country's production of cars, electronics, machinery and other goods. The hit to tourism could last even longer.
Yet the overall cost to Japan's growth, measured in GDP, should be minimal. As with past disasters such as the Kobe earthquake in 1995, a massive reconstruction effort will later push up spending on buildings, factories and even furniture and home appliances lost in the rubble, all of which could offset a slowdown in output.
"We expect by the fourth quarter, Japan will be on a clear economic recovery track," says Tomo Kinoshita, deputy head of Asian economics at Nomura. The Japanese bank has revised down its 2011 GDP forecast for the country by a mere 0.4 percentage points to 0.9%.
For the rest of the world, a loss like that amounts to a rounding error. Bank of America Merrill Lynch figures even no growth at all in Japan this year would knock only a tenth of a percentage point off global GDP growth, to 4.2%. A shift in manufacturing and tourism away from Japan could benefit its neighbors, too. Taiwan hotel shares rose Friday in expectation that evacuees and travelers from nearby Japan would provide a new source of business. A shortage of Hondas for sale could prompt more people to buy Hyundais.

There are still many unknowns as to how this will affect the anime industry. Already we have central banks trying to stabilize the USD/JPY exchange rate, an important dynamic for the anime industry in both the U.S. and Japan. While things are stabalzing at the nuclear plant the fears (not to mention economic impacts)  could linger for years.

It looks like we will get a better handle on the economic impacts in about 3-6 months.

IMPACT OF THE JAPAN EARTHQUAKE STILL BEING MEASURED ON THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY


Inautonews.com gives a interesting breakdown of the effects of the earthquake on each Japanese automobile company.

Here are some excerpts.

From Honda.

Damage was widespread in the Tochigi area, where Honda has a number of operations. Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has confirmed the fatality of a Honda R&D associate at the Tochigi R&D Center, when a wall collapsed in a cafeteria. The associate was male, 43 years old.
In addition, 17 Honda associates were injured in the Tochigi area from collapsing ceilings and other damage during the earthquake (initial reports put the number of injured at 30).
• The suspension of automobile production, which began March 14, was extended today for an additional three days– through March 23 — at the following locations: Sayama Plant at Saitama Factory (Sayama, Saitama); Suzuka Factory (Suzuka, Mie).

From Toyota:

The initial freeze in production, originally said to last until the past Tuesday, has not been extended for an additional week, until March 22. In an attempt to limit the financial losses that will come as a result of the production freeze, Toyota also announced its decision to resume the production of spare parts for vehicles already on the market beginning Thursday, March 17.
From Nissan

Based on the currently available supply chain, Nissan Americas manufacturing operations plan to follow a normal production schedule for at least the next seven days. The supply chain is being continuously assessed and the next update will be provided on Friday, March 25.

From Mazda


Mazda Motor Corporation previously announced the suspension of production at its Hiroshima and Hofu plants from the night shift on March 14, until March 21, in the wake of the disaster. Mazda has now decided to resume temporary production at both plants from March 22, producing replacement parts, parts for overseas production and vehicles utilizing “in-process” inventories.

The article then goes into how these disruptions in Japan are now impacting in the U.S.


GM said Saturday it is cutting unnecessary spending companywide as it assesses the impact of production disruptions from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
The move will help the automaker preserve cash as it deals with the financial implications from shortages of parts made in Japan, a company spokesman said.
Also, General Motors Co. stopped work at two European factories and is mulling production cuts in Korea amid growing uncertainty over how its plants around the world will be affected by the crisis in Japan.
In the U.S., GM will shut down a plant in Shreveport, La., starting next week. Mr. Akerson said the shutdown was to ensure adequate supplies at all U.S. plants, and that the company is unsure how their supply chain will be affected.
When major manufactures are being hit with production freezes and supply chain disruptions that sets off a cascading effect in the whole economy. If people are not working they are not getting paid, if porduction is cut back back workers/companies can make less and have less to spend on other things. It looks the economic impacts of this quake is going to be felt for a long time to come.

PROGRESS AT THE JAPANESE NUCLEAR REACTORS

From the Wall Street Journal.

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Sunday that the Japanese are making progress at stabilizing the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and said U.S. regulators are reviewing the safety of reactors with a similar design.

Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," Mr. Chu said the situation at the reactor is "more under control." Japanese authorities and power company officials are "making very good progress," he added.
Speaking on CNN's "State of the Union," Mr. Chu said he believed the main containment vessels in two of the three reactors were "intact" but that officials remain concerned over Unit 2 because higher levels of radiation there suggest there may be a breach in the containment vessel.
Mr. Chu also there was no evidence that the Japanese were holding back information on the reactors. "We have confidence," in information provided by the Japanese, he said.
Japan's nuclear safety agency said Sunday that pressure levels inside the containment vessel of the No. 3 reactor at the Fukushima plant are stabilizing. Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plant's operator, said Sunday afternoon that it restored the power supply to the No. 2 reactor.
It's good to see things are beginning to move in the right direction at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. However, there is still much work to do before they are out of the woods. It took technicians months before Three Mile Island was in a cold shutdown phase and years before they even got close to the reactor. It looks like that will be the same thing here.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

"WE HEART JAPAN" EVENT PHOTOS ARE NOW AVAILABLE ON THE ROBOTECH FACEBOOK PAGE

                                 We heart Japan organizer Stephanie Sheh with the Ajuku Girls
                                 at Meltdown Comics on Thursday night.

Over on the Robotech Faebook Page photos from the "We Heart Japan" event, that took place last Thrusday at Meltodown Comics are now online.

Robotech.com had this to say about the event:

Event pulled off very nicely with busy crowd! We'd like to also thank Michael Sorich for showing up at the last minute! More information on other events and charities coming soon!
CLICK HERE TO SEE PHOTOS FROM THE  WE HEART JAPAN EVENT.

POWER LINE CONNECTED TO JAPANESE NUCLEAR PLANT

Some hopeful news from the AFP.

After an epic week-long tussle to control overheating at the facility, where the tsunami knocked out backup generators, the crews were expecting to restore electricity to four of its six reactors, officials said.
The nuclear safety agency said workers had connected a power line to reactor number two at the plant after the 9.0-magnitude earthquake -- the biggest in Japan's recorded history -- felled electricity pylons in the area.
"If no problem is found at the facility today, the power will resume as early as tomorrow (Sunday)," a spokesman for the agency said.
Once power is back up, radiation-suited engineers hope they can get the cooling systems online. In the meantime, they have been dumping water by hose and by air on the reactors to avert a feared meltdown.
But given the extent of damage at the plant, it is unclear whether the cooling system would work even if power is restored.
The lack of power has sent the temperatures of fuel rods -- both in the reactors and in separate containment pools -- soaring as the coolant water that normally keeps them safely submerged has rapidly evaporated.
If they can get the cooling system to work and that is a big if,  then they can explore what type of options they have to decommission the plant. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

SDF: MACROSS ANIMATOR & MACROSS II PRODUCER HIROSHI KAKOI PASSES AWAY

Very sad news out of Japan from Anime News Network.

ANN confirmed with Jan Scott Frazier, a close friend of the deceased, and other anime industry members that producer and animator Hiroshi Kakoi passed away during the March 11 earthquake (Tōhoku Chihō Taiheiyō-oki Jishin) and tsunami. Kakoi's wife Kumiko survived the disaster.
Hiroshi Kakoi was a key animator on the original SDF: Macross and a Producer on Macross II.

Our deepest condolences to his family.

NEW YORK FEDERAL RESERVE CONFIRMS INTERVENTION IN THE CURRENCY MARKETS

From the AP:

The New York Federal Reserve Bank confirmed that it intervened in currency markets on Friday for the first time in more than a decade.
The disclosure came a day after the Group of Seven major industrialized nations pledged in a statement to join in a coordinated effort to weaken the Japanese yen. The yen has surged in the last week to post-war record levels following the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.
A spokesman at the New York Fed, which operates as the agent of the U.S. Treasury in currency operations, confirmed that it had intervened. The last time the U.S. government intervened in currency markets was the fall of 2000 when it sold dollars and bought euros to bolster the fledgling European currency.
The spokesman refused to provide any details on the amounts of the intervention or what currencies were involved.
A stronger yen threatened to deal another blow to the fragile Japanese economy by depressing the country's exports.
The USD / JPY exchange rate has a direct impact on the anime industry both in Japan and here in the U.S.. Dont believe me then lets take a look back to 1985's The Plaza Accord.

The Plaza Accord or Plaza Agreement was an agreement between the governments of France, West Germany, Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom, to depreciate the U.S. dollar in relation to the Japanese yen and German Deutsche Mark by intervening in currency markets. The five governments signed the accord on September 22, 1985 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.
The exchange rate value of the dollar versus the yen declined by 51% from 1985 to 1987. Most of this devaluation was due to the $10 billion spent by the participating central banks.[citation needed] Currency speculation caused the dollar to continue its fall after the end of coordinated interventions. Unlike some similar financial crises, such as the Mexican and the Argentine financial crises of 1994 and 2001 respectively, this devaluation was planned, done in an orderly, pre-announced manner and did not lead to financial panic in the world markets.
Does anyone remember what series was just about to start production in September 1985? Anyone remember what killed it? You could say it was this accord that brought about the end of the Golden Age of Anime.

RADAIATION LEVELS AT THE FUKUSHIMA NUCLEAR PLANT ARE NOW LEATHAL

From the Daily Mail.

                             Tokyo Electric Power Company Managing Director Akio Komiri 
                                     cries as he leaves after a press conference in Fukushima

The boss of the company behind the devastated Japanese nuclear reactor today broke down in tears - as his country finally acknowledged the radiation spewing from the over-heating reactors and fuel rods was enough to kill some citizens.

Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency admitted that the disaster was a level 5, which is classified as a crisis causing 'several radiation deaths' by the UN International Atomic Energy.
Officials said the rating was raised after they realised the full extent of the radiation leaking from the plant. They also said that 3 per cent of the fuel in three of the reactors at the Fukushima plant had been severely damaged, suggesting those reactor cores have partially melted down.
After Tokyo Electric Power Company Managing Director Akio Komiri cried as he left a conference to brief journalists on the situation at Fukushima, a senior Japanese minister also admitted that the country was overwhelmed by the scale of the tsunami and nuclear crisis.
He said officials should have admitted earlier how serious the radiation leaks were. 
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said: 'The unprecedented scale of the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan, frankly speaking, were among many things that happened that had not been anticipated under our disaster management contingency plans.
'In hindsight, we could have moved a little quicker in assessing the situation and coordinating all that information and provided it faster.'
Nuclear experts have been saying for days that Japan was underplaying the crisis' severity.
It is now officially on a par with the Three Mile Island accident in Pennsylvania in 1979. Only the explosion at Chernobyl in 1986 has topped the scale.
Deputy director general of the NISA, Hideohiko Nishiyama, also admitted that they do not know if the reactors are coming under control.
The AP is now reporting that radioactive fallout from Japan's crippled nuclear plant has reached Southern California. (no I'm not worried) Now weather forecasts are indicating that changing winds could start moving radiation closer to Tokyo by the end of the weekend.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

ROBOTECH VOICE ACTRESS BARBARA GOODSON TO ATTEND THE "WE HEART JAPAN" TONIGHT!

                                                                     Barbra Goodson

The Robotech Twitter Feed has confirmed that Voice Actress Barbra Goodson (Sera, Marie Crystal) will be attending the "We Heart Japan" fundraiser tonight at Meltdown Comics in Hollywood. It appears she will be at th fundrasier from 8 - 9 p.m.

U.S. EMBASSY ANNOUNCES EVACUATION PLAN FOR CITIZENS IN JAPAN

From the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan

The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo informs U.S. citizens in Japan who wish to depart that the Department of State is making arrangements to provide transportation to destinations in East Asia outside Japan.
U.S. law requires that we bill all passengers for the transportation assistance provided through the U.S. government. U.S. citizens who travel on U.S. government-arranged transport will be expected to make their own onward travel plans from their arrival point. Flights began departing Tokyo on Thursday, March 17. U.S. government-arranged transport will be available from Tokyo on the evening of Friday, March 18.

THE VIEW FROM THE NUCLEAR HOT ZONE

Steve Herman is tested for radiation contamination in Koriyama, Japan


Voice of America Northeast Asia Bureau Chief Steve Herman has a personal account of what it is like being 30 KM away from the Nuclear Emergency.  Here is an excerpt.

After spending nearly all of the past six days in the "hot zone" of Fukushima Prefecture, it seemed prudent, while reporting from a radiation screening checkpoint, to see how much clicking my own body would register.

Arriving at the Koriyama Municipal Gymnasium was akin to walking on to the set of a science-fiction movie. Men clad head to toe in white anti-contamination suits calmly guided visitors through the gauntlet. Other "space men" unloaded boxes full of white masks.

Japanese, young and old, expressed no emotion as a mysterious device rendered their radioactive fate.

When my turn came the needle began to jump as the man in the space suit scanned my torso. I knew not to become immediately alarmed. After all, with the jump in background radiation levels in the past few days in the prefecture, it was not surprising that I had absorbed some extra radiation.

I had done an online cram course in radiation to conclude that even if I had been quite close to the crippled nuclear facility (and I was at least 30 kilometers away at all times), I was unlikely to have picked up more radiation than I would absorb on a trans-Pacific flight - or, at the very worst, a chest X-ray.
It's worth the read!

NUCLEAR FALLOUT DEBATE GETS RADIOACTIVE ON FOX NEWS

From Breitbart.TV

QUAKE IDLES AUTO PLANT IN UNITED STATES

From the Wall Street Journal.

General Motors Co. says it suspended production at its Shreveport, La., plant for the week of March 21 because of a parts shortage stemming from last week’s earthquake in Japan. Damage to parts suppliers and transportation networks in Japan have brought that country’s auto industry to a halt.
GM, which builds Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickup trucks at the plant, says it currently has enough of the vehicles to meet consumer demand. But the Shreveport production stoppage could be one of many to come across the industry in the U.S. and elsewhere as car companies inevitably run short of certain components made in Japan.

Due to transportation and electrical supply disruptions the automobile manufacturing in Japan has come to a halt. While that shutdown has benefited some countries it also having a negative effect here in the U.S. as the article above explains.

Here is another example.


The disaster in Japan could slow shipments of popular cars like Toyota's Prius to auto lots. And many dealers are already taking advantage of expected shortages to raise prices.

Buyers will now typically have to pay sticker prices, instead of enjoying discounts that had been the norm for small cars and hybrids imported from Japan. Besides the Prius, models that suddenly cost more include Honda's Insight, Fit and CR-V; Toyota's Yaris; and several Acuras and Infinitis.
Small cars such as the Yaris, with a $12,955 sticker price for a base model, and the Honda Insight, priced at $18,200, are losing their typical discounts of 5 percent to 10 percent.
The price increases "will last weeks, if not months," says Jesse Toprak, vice president of industry trends and insights for TrueCar.com, a website that tracks what cars sell for at dealerships.
This should give you an idea of how far reaching the economic effects of the earthquake will be not on just the Japanese economy but of the world economy. When workers at manufacturing plants are idled unexpectedly the costs can be enormous.

"MY DAD WENT TO THE NUCLEAR PLANT. I NEVER HEARD MY MOTHER CRY SO HARD"

STEPHAINE SHEH TALKS ABOUT WE HEART JAPAN EVENT

Anime News Network has a podcast interview with voice actress Stephanie Sheh, the driving force behind the We Heart Japan fundraiser.

Joining us for a quick chat is Stephanie Sheh, who has put together We Heart Japan, which is planned as a series of events but the first is a fundraising event this Thursday, March 17th, at Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles. There'll be an art auction, anime screenings, voice actor autograph sessions and more, with 100 percent of proceeds benefiting Japanese Earthquake Victims through the Japan NGO Earthquake Relief and Recovery Fund. You can also follow them on Twitter @weheartjapanXO. You can still donate to We Heart Japan even if you aren't in LA - details can be found at their website

You can listen to the podcast here.

QUAKE FORCES DOWNWARD REVISION OF JAPAN ECONOMIC GROWTH

From Kyodo News.

Nomura Securities Co. on Thursday revised downward Japan's real economic growth projection for fiscal 2011 starting next month to 1.1 percent from an earlier estimated 1.5 percent due to last Friday's devastating earthquake in northeastern Japan.

Damage from the disaster is estimated at 12.7 trillion yen, some 30 percent greater than losses from the Great Hanshin Earthquake in January 1995, the brokerage's Financial & Economic Research Center said.
The disaster is estimated to reduce Japanese companies' production capacity by 0.2 percent and affect private consumption, it said.

Electric outages planned by some utilities may work to reduce the nation's gross domestic product about 0.3 percent by affecting private consumption, these firms' earnings and business operations of banks and telecommunications firms, it said.
Many often consider the 1980's to be a "golden age" of anime while there is some truth to that, what people forget is that the Japanese economy was roaring at that time. Thus we saw some really great anime being cranked out by studios. Now Japan is still trying to recover from the "lost decade" and the 2007-2011 financial crisis  with their economy taking a direct hit from the earthquake and nuclear emergency. Lets not forget the further devaluation of the dollar to the yen.

What type of affect this will have on the production committees for the creation of anime is unknown at this time. However, it is safe to assume that this level of economic upheaval in the country is going to have an effect.