TT-620 -- Is Our Food Supply Radiation Safe? e-biz news from Japan

* * * * * * * * * T E R R I E 'S T A K E * * * * * * *
A weekly roundup of news & information from Terrie Lloyd.

General Edition Sunday, July 03, 2011, Issue No. 620


- What's New -- Is Our Food Really Radiation Safe?
- Metropolis Members Club winners
- News -- Nokia to Pull Out of Japan
- Candidate Roundup/Vacancies
- Upcoming Events -- Next Entrepreneur Seminar set
- Corrections/Feedback -- Rule of Law finding a surprise
- News Credits

SUBSCRIBE to, UNSUBSCRIBE from Terrie's Take at:


----------- UPGRADE TODAY TO PBXL IP TELEPHONY ------------

PBXL has the solution for your office. PBXL will purchase
and dispose of your outdated, unsupported phone system and
provide you with state-of-the-art Cisco VoIP telephony.

Designed with scalable enterprise level functionality for
companies ranging from two seats to two hundred, PBXL is
the perfect cost-effective solution when opening an office,
expanding a business, or rolling out a new BCP location.

For additional information call us anytime at 03-4550-1600,
e-mail us at or visit

------------ PBXL is BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS --------------


Our breakfast most mornings, including this morning, is
muesli, soy milk, yoghurt, and fruit -- followed by an
apple and carrot juice chaser. But after today, we might be
changing menus. You see, yoghurt = milk, fruit = berries,
and carrots = root vegetables. All of these foods are
considered greater-than-average sources of long-term
radiation contamination, and all are under scrutiny in
growing areas outside the Fukushima exclusion area.

Why are we worried about food? It's been a series of things
really. The first incident was when it was discovered in
April that sludge pits from sewerage treatment plants in
Tokyo were responsible for generating high levels of
radioactive (Cesium) ash from their incinerators. The
reading at one plant (Koto ward) was 170,000 becquerels/kg,
well over normal, and the ash from that particular plant
was recycled into construction materials such as cement.

Authorities were quick to say that the sludge processed was
found in March, and that by April the radiation readings at
the same plant had dropped to about 5%-10% of the March
levels. OK, that's all well and good, but:
1. While air readings of radiation levels showed no majorly
abnormal levels of radiation in Tokyo post-explosion, how
did such high levels of radiation turn up in Tokyo
2. Worse still, how much radiation was re-distributed into
the atmosphere while they were busy cooking the sludge into
cement filler?

[Continued below...]

-------- Remaining Partners for Tourist Web Project -------

Our many thanks to the 30+ partner candidates who have
contacted us so far. The project is moving forward with
great momentum and full project details are available for
interested parties.

We still have the following prefectures available:

Aomori, Iwate, Yamagata, Toyama, Yamaguchi,
Tokushima, Kagawa, Kochi, Saga, Nagasaki,
Miyazaki, and Kagoshima

If you can write and market tourism for your prefecture, as
part of a nationwide English-language tourism push under
the Metropolis banner, then please email us today for our
Powerpoint presentation.

Initial project manager:

[...Article continues]

The best explanation by authorities for the sludge
radiation readings was that by virtue of the sewerage
"cooking" process, radioactive nuclides, however sparsely
dispersed and relatively safe as a result, would be
concentrated once the food tissue holding them was consumed
by humans and that waste accumulated. OK, so does that mean
that those radioactive particles, no matter how few,
traveled through the digestive systems of Tokyo residents?
If so, that means lots of people including, 10m kids, had the
possibility of DNA damage as it happened. Further, what
about the fact that some of this stuff was pumped back up
into the atmosphere for a second time in a more
concentrated release, and what effect has that had?

Actually, the sludge pit furor didn't last long, because
the media had so many other Fukushima stories to be
distracted by. However, in late May a second incident
occurred that further concerned us. It emerged that about a
quarter of the green tea crop in Shizuoka (the prefecture
produces 20% of all Japan's green tea) -- which is on the
other side of Tokyo from the power plant -- was also
contaminated and much of it will be destroyed. Given that
the radioactive plume from the March power plant explosions
was not supposed to have reached so far away in such
concentrations, how has the radiation shown up in in
the tea plantation?

The authorities say that much like the sewerage, this is a
case of sparsely distributed radioactive particles being
concentrated in the collection and drying process. Whatever
the reason, radiation is clearly now contaminating the food
chain outside of Fukushima. Thankfully, the public is
becoming so sensitized to the possibility of contamination,
that occurrences like the tea crop are quickly detected,
reported, and being dealt with.

Then, in June a group of concerned parents in Fukushima,
who it appears don't trust the government (we wonder why?)
sent off urine samples to ACRO, a French independent
radiation testing lab, and got them back last week with
indications that some of the kids were running higher than
normal (but not necessary injurious) levels of Cesium
contamination. Authorities were quick again to point out
that the kids are contaminated in small amounts and so
were probably affected by the original set of March
explosions at the plant. But what if the contamination
wasn't a one off? What if those kids are being affected by
an ongoing situation, such as what they are eating?

Interestingly, ACRO also did testing on Belaurus residents
after Chernobyl and found ongoing contamination because of
the food system. Indeed, in April this year, Greenpeace
issued a statement that hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians
are still eating and being affected by food contaminated by
Chernobyl 25 years after the meltdown there. In that
report, Greenpeace said that milk, berries, potatoes, and
other root vegetables in two regions near the exclusion
zone (in Japan, think Fukushima city, 60km from the plant),
still show "unacceptably high levels of the radioactive
isotope cesium-137". In one village, milk samples had
contamination up to 16 x greater than normal levels, a
situation blamed on dairy cattle being fed contaminated

The current level of doubt and fear is of course wreaking
havoc with consumers of high-value Japanese foods purchased
overseas. Japanese apples are particularly popular in
Taiwan, with about 17,000 tons shipped last year -- that's
90% of Japan's apple exports. In April, Taiwan banned food
imports from five prefectures, including Fukushima, but
unfortunately for Aomori apple growers, which isn't in the
banned group but by association is still suspect as far as
consumers are concerned, the total apple exports to Taiwan
in May tumbled to less than one ton, about 0.1% of March's
volume. These numbers show that this will be a disastrous
year for the fruit export industry and indeed the entire
food export sector in general.

This is disturbing stuff, and whether or not there really
is a serious problem in our food supply here in Japan,
rather than be entertained by politicians and
celebrities eating Fukushima tomatoes and other produce,
we'd be more comforted by the government making a serious
effort to address public fears. What is needed is a major
coordinated and trustworthy study (i.e., involving outside
agencies) coupled with a comprehensive radiation-related
health check program so that the public can be reassured
that their food sources are safe.

...The information janitors/


--------- BIOS - Bilingual IT Systems and Support ---------

BiOS full-service IT solutions has a new service.

Working with our fully licenced temporary dispatch group,
we are now able to provide Japan in-country workers
for companies not yet registered in Japan.

This innovative service is available for companies needing
to hire staff for Japanese customers, but who are unable
to commit to the expense and infrastructure of maintaining
an office in Japan. We take care of all aspects of the
employment, contracting, and dispatch -- including
management of the employee.

Also, if you're thinking of Cloud office solutions, take a
look at Microsoft's new Business Productivity Online
Standard Suite. Terrie mentions Exchange Online in TT602,
and we can do the same implementations for you.

For more information on this and other SI and IT services,
in English or Japanese:

Phone: (03) 4588-2220, Email:

+++ NEWS

- Nokia to pull out of Japan
- LaSalle land deal biggest in two years
- 19.4% of Japanese men may never get married
- First day of compulsory power rationing incident-free
- NZ used car business hit by Tohoku earthquake

=> Nokia to pull out of Japan

Nokia never really got the Japanese market anyway, but now
with global earnings on the skids, the company has decided
to get real and pull out of the consumer market here. The
company will apparently shut its high-end Vertu stores in
Shibuya and Ginza by the end of July, then shut down its
phone service by the end of August. The company will
continue to handle refunds and other customer support until
year end. ***Ed: If you were one of those people who spent
JPY20m on a diamond encrusted Vertu phone, we'd be
somewhat upset about this announcement...!** (Source: TT
commentary from, Jul 1, 2011)

=> LaSalle land deal biggest in two years

According to sources in the property industry, LaSalle
Investment Management is close to selling a large portfolio
of industrial buildings to one of two funds: either
Singapore's Global Logistic Properties, or Blackstone
Group. The asking price is thought to be around ¥140bn.
Driving the acquisition is the ability for Tokyo prime
property to still get reasonable yields. Apparently Tokyo
residential gets yields of 4.5%~5%, compared to just 3% or
less in places like Hong Kong. Interestingly, Tokyo had the
highest land transaction volume, JPY1trn, in the first half
of 2010 out of all the world's major cities. (Source: TT
commentary from, Jul 1, 2011)

=> 19.4% of Japanese men may never get married

An Internal Affairs Ministry 2010 census report shows that
amongst man aged 45-54 a full 19.4% were unmarried, while
for women it was 9.8%. Further down the age scale, a
surprising 46.5% of men aged 30-34 were unmarried and for
women it was 33.3%. This high rate of unmarrieds is
considered the main reason why Japan's birth rate is
falling. Reasons given for late or non-marriage included
inability to find a suitable partner, lack of income, and
lack of a full-time job. ***Ed: What about Nintendo
obsession?** (Source: TT commentary from,
Jul 2, 2011)

=> First day of compulsory power rationing incident-free

Sasuga Nihonjin... with the chips down and the government
asking everyone to do their bit to reduce power consumption
in the TEPCO service areas, the level of power being used
on the first day of compulsory power rationing was down
5.8% on the same time last year, even though the daytime
temperatures were 3 degrees higher. As a result, power
usage was 81.8% of capacity and no actual restrictions
applied. The reduction was due both to the public responding
to power saving measures, as well as large corporations
moving production to early mornings and weekends, thus
allowing peak demand periods to be avoided. (Source: TT
commentary from, Jul 2, 2011)

=> NZ used car business hit by Tohoku earthquake

In this interconnected world of ours, events on one side of
the globe can have unintended knock-on effects elsewhere.
So it is in the used car business. There are not many
countries in the world that drive on the left hand side of
the road as Japan does, but New Zealand is one of them. As
a result there has been a healthy export business of second
hand cars bought by Kiwi dealers directly from Japanese car
auction yards, but which is now severely disrupted as
Tohoku residents scramble to replace the estimated 300,000
cars damaged by the tsunami. Dealers are saying that used
car prices in NZ are expected to increase substantially
from next year. (Source: TT commentary from,
Jul 3, 2011)

NOTE: Broken links
Many online news sources remove their articles after just a
few days of posting them, thus breaking our links -- we
apologize for the inconvenience.


------------- Japanese Labor Law in English ---------------

CCH is pleased to introduce the CCH NEW HR book written in
English -- Japanese Labor & Employment Law and Practice,
1st Edition, published June 10, 2011, JPY22,050 (incl. tax)

This book was revamped from the 'Japan Staff Employment Law
Guide 1st Ed'. New amendments, additions and more details
and precise information are available throughout all
chapters. Page volume also increased by 100+ pages.

Contact:, or 03-6234-3980



=> BiOS, a Division of the LINC Media group, is actively
marketing the following positions for customers setting up
or expanding in Japan, as well as other employers of


BiOS is urgently looking for an Account Manager with
experience selling embedded software services to
international corporations at our client’s office in the
Minato-ku area. The candidate will be responsible for
building relationships with both new and existing clients
to close sales deals of the company’s product with high
market share, as well as liaising with internal engineering
and marketing teams in order to provide best and customized
services to all clients.

You will also be responsible for expanding network
connections within the industry to promote products and
services by attending trade shows, events, etc.

Due to the technical nature and demanding work environment,
this position is suitable for someone with solid experience
selling embedded software services in Japanese market with
proven sales records. In addition, since this role requires
direct negotiations with both Japanese and international
clients, business-level communication skills in English and
fluent-level communication skills in Japanese will be

Remuneration is JPY7m – JPY11m depending on your experience
and skill level.


- Helpdesk Engineer, global med equip co, JPY4M – JPY5.5M
- MS Dynamics Specialist, BiOS, JPY6M – JPY8M
- Bank Operations Staff, global bank, JPY3.5M – JPY4.5M
- Project Manager (Mobile), global sw co, JPY 8M – JPY11M
- MAC Coordinator, global ibank, JPY4M – JPY5M

Interested individuals may e-mail resumes to:

** BiOS Job Mail

Every 2 weeks BiOS sends out a regular communication to its
job seeking candidates, called BiOS Job Mail. Every edition
carries a list of BiOS's current and most up-to-date
vacancies, with each entry featuring a short job
description and a direct link to the main entry on the BiOS
home page. Regardless of whether you are unemployed and
searching, thinking about a career change, or just curious
to know if there is something out there that might suit you
better, the BiOS Job Mail newsletter is an easy and
convenient way for you to stay informed. If you would like
to register for the BiOS Job Mail, or to find out more,
please email

Interested individuals may e-mail resumes to:




--------------- Start a Company in Japan ------------------

Entrepreneur's Handbook Seminar 16th of July, 2011

If you have been considering setting up your own company,
find out what it takes to make it successful. Terrie Lloyd,
founder of over 17 start-up companies in Japan, will be
giving an English-language seminar and Q&A on starting up a
company in Japan.

This is an ideal opportunity to find out what is involved,
and to ask specific questions that are not normally
answered in business books. All materials are in English
and are Japan-focused. Over 450 people have taken this
seminar in the last 8 years, and approximately 20% have
gone on to form companies.

For more details:

------------------- ICA Event - July 21 -------------------

Speaker: Kazuaki Hiraga, Senior Software Engineer, Basis
Title: 'Lucene/Solr Open-source Enterprise Search Engines'

Details: Complete event details at
(RSVP Required)

Date: Thursday, July 21, 2011
Time: 6:30 Doors open, Buffet Dinner included and cash bar
Cost: 4,000 yen (members), 6,000 yen (non-members).
Open to all.
Venue: The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan



In this section we run comments and corrections submitted
by readers. We encourage you to spot our mistakes and
amplify our points, by email, to

*** In TT618 we mentioned a report by the World Justice
Project where Japan was ranked 4th for rule of law out of
countries globally. We admit that we were surprised
ourselves by this ranking -- but the World Justice Project
seems to be a kosher think tank, so who are we to second

=> Reader response:

Wow! All I can say is wow.

I can give points for the fact it is a lawful country and
the crimes seem to be under control. Because of the almost
complete ineffectiveness of the litigation system other
unofficial systems have taken their place.

The sentinels make themselves seen to be busy, being extra
severe with bicycle parking and moped traffic offenses
while turning a blind eye to rohipnol robberies, sumo
murders and hostess rapes. The probability is that the
most effective policing is a system where Mr Plod is judge
and jury. From this, then subtract the numbers of
foreigner-related (as victim) crimes and YUP! it's a great
system -- IF you are Japanese.

If this makes for the 4th best system in the world, the
baseline must be pretty skewed or else stop the world. I
want to get off.


SUBSCRIBERS: 8,862 members as of July 03, 2011
(We purge our list regularly.)


Written by: Terrie Lloyd (

HELP: E-mail
with the word 'help' in the subject or body (don't include
the quotes), and you will get back a message with

Send letters (Feedback, Inquiries & Information) to the
editor to

For more information on advertising in this newsletter,

Get Terrie's Take by giving your name and email address at, or go
straight to Mailman at:


Copyright 2011 Japan Inc. Communications Inc.

----------------- Japan Inc opens up Japan ----------------

J@pan Inc is Japan's only independently published English-
language business website. Authoritatively chronicling
online the business trends in Japan, each posting brings
you in-depth analysis of business, people and technology in
the world's second largest economy.

Visit for the best business insight on
Japan available.

Terrie mailing list