Japanese Prime Minister to Make Prep Announcement?

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Recent press reports have hinted that Japanese Prime Minister Obuchi will make an announcement in the near future asking Japanese people to make personal preparations of food, water and emergency supplies as insurance against unforeseen y2k problems.

The fact that the prime minister will personally deliver the announcement is significant and speaks volumes of common sense.

Will other world leaders follow his lead?

-- PNG (png@gol.com), October 09, 1999



Interesting news ... but it seems to me that the key question is HOW MUCH preparation will the Prime Minister recommend for his people? If it's the usual 3-day "winter snowstorm" nonsense, then it's hard for me to understand why it would have much impact -- don't the Japanese people normally stockpile for a long holiday weekend anyway, with the expectation of stores being closed on Friday (Dec 31) and Mon (Jan 3)?


-- Ed Yourdon (ed@yourdon.com), October 09, 1999.

PNG, isn't he leaving it a bit late?

And, last night a news report indicated there had been a second radiation leak in Japan. Do you know if there is any truth to the report?

-- Rachel Gibson (rgibson@hotmail.com), October 09, 1999.

you'd think after two bombs and this accident the Japanese would want nothing to do with ANYTHING nuclear...and I think you are refering to the leak of 'heavy water' in South Korea two days after the Jap accicent...

-- Billy-Boy (Rakkasn@Yahoo.com), October 09, 1999.

These posts from Yourdon seem relevant and worth repeating:


I was intrigued this nameless person's comment that "This is not or could ever be a "system" that can handle 300 million, (6 billion globally), to suddenly play "Prepare for the long winter."" Aside from the minor point that there are only 260 million in the U.S. (maybe he's including Canada, too), he's obviously arguing that our JIT economy can't handle stockpiling activities on the part of business or individuals.

But I think it's a question of degree. Perhaps the entire country could not achieve the level of stockpiling that, say, Gary North has accomplished for himself; but I think we could have done a lot better than the 2-3 day figure that the government has settled on.

Consider the arithmetic associated with a one-month stockpiling effort. One month is one-twelfth, or 8.333%, of a year, right? So, if we boosted our food production by 8% during the course of a year, we could accomplish a one-month stockpile for the nation.

Not possible? Well, maybe not, though no one has ever shown me detailed evidence to back up such an assertion. But in any case, remember that Senators Bennett and Dodd began their Senate Y2K committee during the summer of 1997. Let's be generous, and assume that it took them (and the rest of the Big Cheeses in Washington) six months to figure out that Y2K could be a serious problem. Actually, I think Monynihan had written a serious, detailed letter to President Clinton in 1996, making just such an argument, and there may have been a few folks ringing the alarm bell in DC as early as 1995.

But let's start the clock in mid-1997, and give Senators Bennett and Dodd another six months to figure things out. That brings us to the beginning of 1998, at which point we still had TWO FULL YEARS to crank up production (notice that we have to take into account the spring planting season, so perhaps the decision would need to have been made earlier, in order to make plans, acquire seeds, etc,). Given two full years, all we needed to do was increase production, overall, by 4.16667% per year for 1998 and 1999.

We might also have done some additional things: pay the farmers a bonus for growing larger crops. Stop sending so much wheat to Russia, where it gets lost and/or spoiled. Take more care of the contents of the grain silos in this country, so that we don't lose anything that's been stockpiled. Encourage the concept of Victory Gardens, and devote some of the PR "spin campaign" money to encouraging citizens to use their food economically.

In any case, increasing the overall food production by 4% per year, for only two years, would have given us a one-month stockpile. If we could have increased that to 12% per year, for 1998 and 1999, then the entire country would have a three-month stockpile, which would be enough to get us through the worst of the winter months.

I've heard the argument that JIT industries are so finely tuned that they simply can't accommodate any sudden changes. But this is the agriculture industry we're talking about! The vagaries of Nature cause production to go up and down all the time, whether the JIT planners like it or not. Obviously, this means that a serious Y2K "mobilization" effort could have been doomed by two years of drought or flood, but my main point is that there seems to be a lot of fluctuation at the beginning of the "supply chain", on the farms and fields. Someone would have to show me some production figures from the slaughterhouses, canneries, bakeries, and other "food factories" to convince me that they have been running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and could not possibly have handled a modest 4% increase, in order for me to believe this oft-repeated argument that the country could not have planned for Y2K.


-- Ed Yourdon (ed@yourdon.com), October 09, 1999.


Who is John Galt, indeed ... reading through my last posting on this thread, I see that I have fallen into a trap that many of us have complained about: assuming that it was the government's responsibility to marshal the resources necessary to facilitate a national food stockpiling.

If the individual citizens who make up this country had taken a close look at the situation in mid-1997 when the first serious Y2K articles began to appear, and if they had decided in the aggregate that stockpiling was a good idea, then the free market would have taken care of things all by itself. If the average citizen had gone to the grocery market once a week and had said to himself, "Instead of spending $100 for groceries for the family this week, I think I'll spend $104.17," then the production facilities within the food/ agriculture industry would have adjusted.

Even more interesting: if the average citizen had said to himself, during his weekly visit to the grocery store, "I'm still going to spend $100, because I'm on a limited budget. But instead of spending $4.17 on Twinkies and Jolt Cola, I'm going to spend it on tunafish and rice," the free market would also have found a way to adjust. One of the minor bits of awareness that I've achieved in my own Y2K preps has come from the simple act of actually looking at the contents of grocery store shelves. At least a third of it seems to be utterly useless stuff if you're even vaguely aware of nutrition -- e.g., the aformentioned Twinkies, plus Cheeze Doodles, rows and rows of pretzels, potato chips, taco chips in ten different flavors, frozen corn dogs, mint-flavored bubblegum, etc. And beer: 30-can cases of beer, piled from floor to ceiling in the grocery store. The most incremental redistribution in food-buying choices would have accomplished the stockpiling that some of us think will prove so important next year -- and while that redistribution might have wreaked some havoc in the JIT supply chain, I believe the free market would have adjusted if we had started a couple years ago.

In any case, I don't think it was the government's job to accomplish it -- it was OUR job. I do think, though, that the government deserves strong criticism for going out of its way to actively aggressively discourage people from stockpiling. In so doing, I believe they have taken upon themselves the responsibility for guaranteeing that the food supply will remain uninterrupted. And since (as a previous poster on this thread reminded us) they can't even figure out where the Chinese embassy is located in downtown Belgrade, it stretches the limits of one's credulity to believe that they can prevent serious disruptions in the food/agriculture industry.


-- Ed Yourdon (ed@yourdon.com), October 09, 1999.

-- a (a@a.a), October 09, 1999.

Allow me, please, to comment on your comment, Ed, about the Chinese Embassy:

I am firmly convinced that the bombing of that building was intentional.


back in third grade, sometimes the biggest bully took a swipe at the next biggest bully just to see what reaction he might provoke.

I think we did that.

am I saying, then, that I think our bombing of another sovereign nations embassy 'during peace-time' [we were not then at war with China] was a 'slap in the face' just to test the reactive stance of the opponent?


the opportunity was right, the timing was right, the location was right, the excuses that could be given were credible; everything was in-place; - a war planner would say "perfect - go for it!"

appears to have worked, too, - for a time...

I guess that's what the big boys call 'playin' hardball'...

..."a few lives here, a few lives there..."

if I'm right, that means we can be looking for a counter-swipe when least expected...

check six...


-- Perry Arnett (pjarnett@pdqnet.net), October 09, 1999.

PNG, it will be interesting to see if the Prime Minister does make the announcement and to what degree preps are suggested. One should bear in mind that large scale rehersals for earthquakes and tsunamis (sp?) are common in Japan. One would assume that some of this would include food and water. It will be interesting to see if the recommendations are above and beyond those for an earthquake.

-- smfdoc (smfdoc@aol.com), October 09, 1999.


You seem to have forgotten the tie-in to the Espionge had just recently been uncovered RE: our nukes, the Chinese stealing them, and the overall disgust with the Clinton/Chinese in-a-bed-together connection.

Did we bomb the Embassy? Hell Yeah! Was it a high-up discision? Probably...but unlikely. More than not it was some mid-level staffer who was asked "Hey...Tommorows target area...Anything we need to know about?" "Uhhh Nope, nope not a thing!!((hehehehe! that'll teach 'em to steal our technology!))

And if you have trouble believing this, don't forget the december 85 bombing of Tripoli...you remember...it was when the French wouldn't let us fly over their precious non-nato airspaces with our F-111's out of Lakenheath, and gee...whatta shame...SOMEhow...Someway...a pair of 500 pounders got dropped right down their froggy throats...gee...whatta shame...

As the late great Sam Kinison once said ..."Maybe our aim woulda been a little bit better if it haddan'ta been for that extra 4000 air-miles!!BUILD A NEW HOUSE YEW BASTARDS!!!"

rant off

-- Billy-Boy (Rakkasn@Yahoo.com), October 09, 1999.

It's true that most stores are closed through the year-end period. I expect the 3-day scenario will be suggested. The 3-day scenario is still better than the 0-day scenario and late is better than never. Most people still consider "tomorrow" to be the future.

How doesan average person prepare for economic difficulties? If economists could predict the economy, they would be the wealthiest profession in the world. PGA club pros make more money on average than economists.

Perhaps the 3-day scenario will suffice for Japan? The infrastructure operational elements of power, telecommunications, water, transportation and banking are now better prepared than the U.S.

How much preparation is enough? I don't believe the averageperson will store an extra 2 weeks of food and water. It's just too fatalistic of an idea for today's fast-food society. We're not all farmers living off the land. How many will even store 3 extra days of supplies? Not as many as we probably think. Three days is a bite-size dose that suits our bite-size society.

The significance of the prime ministers's announcement will be that he has taken a personal step. It will make a significant difference in the mind of an average person who has little understanding of the potential impact of y2k. More people will prepare for 3 days than if a "spokesperson" makes an announcement.

You can "Yeah, but..." all you want. We can think of the future and complain about the past, but we have to act in the present. Mr. Obuchi will probably be the first leader to appeal directly to his constituency to prepare. Give the guy a little credit if he does it soon.

-- PNG (png@gol.com), October 09, 1999.

PNG: Are you serious about "how many will even store 3 extra days of supplies?" I don't think that I am naiive, but surely people don't run to the store everyday just to get that days food to eat. Surely they have on hand a couple cans of soup, rice, or whatever. But on the otherhand, with the fast foods business maybe pepple don't cook anymore and eat out 3 meals a day. Boy people are going to be really pissed when they can't get their Burger King and fries. I like to cook so it won't be a problem with me.

-- bardou (bardou@baloney.com), October 09, 1999.

PNG! What happened to your website? I printed out some of your articles, very good! DO you have a website again? I was a regular.

-- billburke (bburke@rocketmail.com), October 10, 1999.

Actually bardou, most people do shop everyday in Japan.

Most Japanese housewives walk or ride a bicycle to the local grocery store and buy fresh fish, meat and vegetables everyday. The stores are small, the handbaskets are small, the portions are small, the people are small, the skirts are small [:-)], the refrigerators are small, the closets are small, the plates are small, the glasses are small and the kitchens (if you have one) are small -- the average kitchen is the size of a shower stall. One gas burner, a tiny refrigerator the size of a TV and micro-microwave. Can't store too much...

Convenience stores are everywhere (I can't walk 100 meters without seeing a convenience store) and are a major source of evening meals. Most people eat lunch at a company luchroom where meals are cooked everyday. Japanese spend more money per capita in restaurants than any other nation because the business culture requires them to go out with their coworkers after work (10 PM or so). Some companies don't even allow their office workers to go home until 10:30 or 11PM. Who wants to go home anyway...to a 3 meter x 4 meter apartment?

Japan is actually one large food court connected by trains -- resting on shifting volcanic islands.

-- PNG (png@gol.com), October 10, 1999.

In response to Ed, I make no claims to "know it all." All I did was research like crazy trying to find the information stated and the answers. I too, all over Usenet, ragged on about all the American government "might have done." Babbit stated over the media during the Yellowstone sewage crises the nation is at 300 million now and it did not include Canada. I did not come up with that figure myself. We are due for another census this coming April and at that time we'll all know for sure what the population level is now.

One of the research projects I did which I did not include in that post was study the Soviet famines of 90 and 91. If it could not stockpile for its 200 million I don't think we could have. It tried and did obtain grain but with serious consequences. One, the price of purchase was hyperinflated. Two, the Soviets learned afterwards that like seeding clouds rain given to one taketh from another, and a number of nations went into deeper famines due to the Soviets "saving themselves." It was grain they had been counting on to "save" their people. There was a lot rage. Three, it still wasn't enough for any level of comfort.

You bring up American corporations working 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to vamp up enough so 4% more could prepare for the long winter. To achieve that one would have to ask how many more immigrants (mouths) would those companies have had to bring in for those plans? 1% 4%? 8%? Then if one is making a huge show of "America preparing" than more than 4% are preparing. I think that a fair conclusion to make. Activating 4% would have required a lot of media outreach and everyone would be looking at it. 2-3% responded by reading complicated bits of information in dark corners on the web. The 97% is another mind set or mind sets. To outreach to the 4% would have been potentially the same formula as activating the full 97% o 98%?

How high would the store prices have been for those not preparing? For those preparing? With a huge national show going on, much media reporting of "America Prepares!" and 35% motivated? 50% motivated?

Farmers on the edge finding themselves with acreage now worth far more selling as the yuppies create new cities and suburbs "moving to the country?" So we lose even more of our nations farm and dairy land to housing parking lots? As the national population sky rockets? A globe hitting the 6 billion mark?

Now we look at the action for the 2-3% who prepared. We read of survival food companies doing just that, they were working, expanding, and going crazy trying to meet the demand. We read of generator companies so backlogged they refused more orders. We read articles that in Texas a crises had loomed in runs on toilet paper and camp stoves. Grocery chains reported spikes. Baygens which are made on another continent jammed due to that 2-3% in America.

That means the present global economy would have been impacted. Those companies importing would have had to work 24 hours and 7 days a week so that America could "save its people." What about their people? Why should they work as slave labor for already "rich Americans" to "be saved?" Wouldn't the workers of those nations have demanded and rioted for their nations to do the same? And wouldn't we have seen a pre-My Nation First come down in a night? So as the nations face riots or seize the exports all the other nations no longer have those imports. Norway isn't sending anyone its sardines. Asia isn't sending anyone bags of rice. We wouldn't be sending them anything.

In the meantime, all of America is preparing, everyone is ready for action, and "into it" as all the imports stop? And we've included hordes of new immigrants that will further stress the system?

Gary North often mentioned at the time the farmers had a surplus. Okay, so we seize the surplus to "feed the people," and in doing so had a communist revolution quietly in the night. We'd have had to "seize" the crops (Devestating the market and causing it to go into schizophrenia) because one-third of the children are already in chronic hunger which means some parents cannot prepare for the long winter. The elderly on SS as survival could not have afforded to stock up. People making it paycheck to paycheck could not have afforded to stock up, so what we have done by now is make all food free to Americans especially as the store prices went into hyperinflation, (Many of whom are eating it early so they can purchase a new Sony boom box.) We also find ourselves completely surrounded by 6 billion hungry people who are very, very, fed up with "rich Americans" and its global police force.

The farmers by the way after selling off their land to the developers and having experienced the "seizing" of their surplus in a communist revolution will no longer be farming. So due to the bug and due to "saving Americans" the real famine comes to roost in 2001.

It doesn't look to me like a massive national preparation would have worked out. I make no claim to "know it all" in this. It is sincerely my own 0.01 worth of research. There is some hope.

In researching the past Soviet famines, which as we know played a part in the dismantling of that super power, in hindsight, are spotted faults that would have done much to help the people. The Soviet government was put into a catch 22. It could attempt to "save" its industry in hopes of eventually "making it" by stopping imports which impacted all, or it could import which would have helped SOME not suffer but seemed to be dooming the job market in the empire thus impacting the MANY. It didn't pick the some and the many but incorrectly picked the all for one and one for all. It was unable to repair its economical crises, the famine was terrible, and there weren't any imports coming in. The 90 famine then lead to the 91 famine.

It seems to me the nation has to pick the some and the many versus the all for one and one for all. I think Russian history alerts us to many dangerous wrong moves we could make. We're not special, not different, and in fact the Russians are better educated. If they couldn't "save the people" the odds are staggering we cannot. To make this, to survive this, and surviving this might mean 2% die instead of 7%, we need to open up the free market much wider and we need to free up the domestic economy. Lift the "sin" taxes off products, free some zones up, and cool it on the over regulations. We need to make a metaphorical superhighway into this nation of imports and across the nation of domestic products or new businesses. If 70% of products couldn't make it for one reason or another than we've the new 30% increase that might. It might "save" a whole lot more than the additional 4% and may launch a few backward countries into a new position of posterity. I don't know about you but if I am faced with death by starvation I am delighted to drink the French wine, am delighted to enjoy the Arabian coffee, the black German bread, and frankly anything I can get my hands on.

-- Paula (chowbabe@pacbell.net), October 10, 1999.

So, PNG, has there been any announcement yet? If so, what was it?

And, Billy-Boy, does "Japan" sound like "Korea" to you? Doesn't to me, and this written article finally provided some proof for what I had heard:

(for educational purposes only)

"http://newsworld.cbc.ca/cgi-bin/templates/view.cgi?/news/1999/10/12/j apnukes991012

Japan's JCO company admits second nuclear leak

WebPosted Tue Oct 12 08:53:44 1999 TOKAIMURA, JAPAN - After losing its licence to operate a nuclear facility, the company involved in last month's accident at a nuclear processing facility in Japan is in trouble again.

Officials at JCO company have admitted that radiation continued to pour out of the plant in Tokaimura for a week after the accident.

The company first detected the leak of radioactive iodine on Friday, but didn't admit the mistake until Monday when they contained the leak by turning off the exhaust fan and sealing the opening.

Officials for the company say the ventilator was left running after the Sept. 30 accident which exposed at least 49 people to high levels of radiation.

People living near the plant are angry that they didn't hear about the radiation leak right away.

JCO has already been criticized for not raising the alarm in the original fission accident.

Workers at the Tokaimura uranium processing plant were mixing uranium with nitric acid when they accidentally poured eight times too much uranium into the mixing tank, setting off a nuclear chain reaction.

Emergency service people called to help weren't warned of the radiation danger and many were exposed, causing severe radiation sickness.

JCO officials say the week-long leak has now been contained and measures of radiation outside the plant are at normal levels.

But the residents say they don't trust the company or its promises."

We have no guarantee that the spin won't continue even after the accidents occur, further endangering/harming those nearby.

-- Rachel Gibson (rgibson@hotmail.com), October 16, 1999.

Not yet, Rachel. I expect it any time time now - probably before the end of October.

P.S. on the 'nuclear event.'

The story of the men who volunteered to go into the area (in one-minute shifts) to try to stop the criticality is unbelieveable. Naturally, no management people did... Worthy of a documentary or "Made for TV Movie."

-- PNG (png@gol.com), October 17, 1999.

I know this is off-topic to the original thread, but I'm still shaking my head in disbelief after Paula stated that Texans have some shortage of toilet paper and/or cookstoves. T.P. has been continuously on sale in Texas for YEARS, Paula, and it's STILL on sale. WHERE are you getting your information?

-- Anita (notgiving@anymore.com), October 17, 1999.

PNG, Thanks for the update. The latter sounds like "shades of Chernobyl." Would you have time to start a new thread describing some of what happened with those people at the reactor? While it may seem off-topic, I'll bet others would like to read about it. Just in case the documentary or movie never gets made. :)

-- Rachel Gibson (rgibson@hotmail.com), October 17, 1999.

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