Hello From Ruthie in Japan: Monju Nuclear Reactor, JI Core 50 Professionals, New JobKiso and Gifts from Jarman International KK

Update for OCTOBER, 2016:
Security vs. Self-reliance; Monju is Decisive in Japan's Stance on Nuclear Going Forward
We have a few select SPECIAL GIFTS from Coconoma Season DiningEnoshima Island Spa, and three pair tickets for seats at the Shonan Fujisawa Fireworks Display for our JI Japan Report Readers, compliments of Jarman International KK. Check out the details below!
DJ Senpai Zenkai
JI Japan Report Editor-in-Chief Lee Reeve
Saying good bye to a nuclear dream?

Earlier this week, a reactor hotly debated in Japan’s continuing controversy over nuclear power was shut down due to safety standards. The shutdown leaves Japan with only two operating reactors, following the closures of dozens of reactors in the aftermath of the March 2011 Fukushima meltdown, the worst nuclear disaster in a generation.

The recent shutdown in Kyushu followed demands from the region’s top politician that the plant's owner, the Kyushu Electric Company, conduct extra safety inspections at its Sendai plant in southern Kagoshima—after deadly quakes hammered neighbouring Kumamoto prefecture in April. Volcanic eruptions at Mt. Aso in Kumamoto Prefecture have also added to the communities concern over plant safety in this natural disaster prone nation.

And while proponents of this decision will find some comfort since anti-nuclear sentiment still runs high despite Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and utility companies push to switch Japan’s stable of reactors back on, decisions against nuclear power mean Japan must continue to rely on expensive fossil fuels to plug its energy gap.

Jarman International would offer that the 3.11 issue in Fukushima has brought deep concerns about anything nuclear, hereto suppressed inside the Japanese psyche, bubbling to the surface. A country subject to two nuclear bombs and then the anxiety evoked by a nuclear meltdown in Japan's northern and beloved heartland just 
can't seem to get its head around how anything to do with nuclear could really, truly be safe. There is a huge psychological block towards nuclear in Japan that we feel is utterly legitimate and needs to be addressed with sensitivity, compassion and above all, transparency in how safety is pursued and protected at the plants. The latest move regarding Monju was the government's courageous effort to take a hard look at safety and sustainability and assume a hit to its pride by letting it be known the super expensive project could actually be added to the list of plants slated for decommissioning.

Everything about nuclear in Japan is understandably complicated and sensitive, but Monju presents what we feel is a fundamental change in how everyone will view the possibility of nuclear power for Japan from here on. As of September, the plight of Japan's Monju fast breeder nuclear reactor is pretty much complete.

At the time considered bold by the world's nuclear professionals, the reactor's construction began in 1986. The reactor went online for the first time in April 1994. But a little over a year later, in December, 1995, a major fire broke out and forced its first shutdown. The scope of the accident was then covered up, and the subsequent scandal delayed its restart for another five years.

But then, just three months after its restart, another accident - this one involving dropped machinery - shut down the reactor again. As of June 2011, the reactor has only generated electricity for one hour since its first testing two decades prior, while total funds spent on the reactor have amounted to 1.2+ trillion yen (US $12+ billion).

In November of last year, the Nuclear Regulation Authority declared that the government-affiliated JAEA was “not qualified as an entity to safely operate” Monju, and told the government to either find an alternative operator or scrap the project. The government was unable to find new management. Even so, Japan's science ministry wants to continue to maintain Monju despite the projected 600 billion yen (US $6 billion) in costs required to do so, while public opposition to keeping Monju in place continues to grow.

Very recently, the government met in an emergency meeting to decide the fate of Monju. It is now likely that the reactor will be put on the list for decommissioning by the end of the year.

Although some Japanese naturally feel cheated, betrayed, and confused since nuclear power plants support livelihoods via jobs, etc., in regions around the country, many welcome the decision to only keep power plants running that are proven by experts to have cutting edge safety mechanisms in place. It is clear that nuclear power will continued to be pursued in Japan based on the comment that the Monju decision will “...not have an impact on nuclear fuel balance or nuclear fuel cycle technology development or Japan’s international cooperation,” made by Tomoko Murakami, nuclear energy manager at the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan. However, we sense the beginning of a new era in nuclear technology where Japan could truly be at the forefront. With the technical expertise alive and well in this country and 18 nuclear plants already slated for decommissioning, we think Japan could lead the world in the development of decommissioning and nuclear waste management procedures, protocol and best practice.

As some of the best entrepreneurs know already a "pinch" or challenge can actually turn into a huge opportunity. We hope Japan won't miss this one and that it will open the door to more and more expertise from other countries coming in to ramp up the safety procedures and protocol at every facility across the land.

This whole topic is deeply intricate and problematic for Japan in that the culture has been uniquely shaped and defined by the advent of atomic energy. Even manifesting in the written language, where the kanji character used to describe both "nuclear" energy and "nuclear" weapons is essentially the same, we hope that Japan in its usual and forward-thinking style, will take this opportunity to focus on how to make anything involving nuclear power a safer proposition for the world as a whole. 

Japan is in the unprecedented position in terms of how best to address the issue of nuclear energy. We are here for the ride and looking so forward to how this unique nation with take on the challenge. 
H&R Group

Jarman International's 
JI CORE 50 professional monitors on the move

These professionals will be offered opportunities for paid monitoring trips to various parts of Japan to experience local activities and then write about them and/or participate in discussions about how services could be improved for international visitors.

Recently, JI Core 50 members Sarajean Rossitto, Andrew Stevens, and Ruth Jarman did a consulting job for Iwatemachi in Iwate Prefecture over the weekend.

We have two more consulting jobs coming up this month and in November to help promote two areas in Kanagawa Prefecture as well as Ramen in Morioka in Iwate Prefecture. JI Core 50 members Austin Auger and John Lawrence will be covering Morioka and Sarajean Rositto and Vicki Bayer will cover Kanagawa. Looking forward, we have a huge support Tohoku related event coming up in mid-February, where professional monitors will give feedback on how Tohoku should be better promoted to an international audience.

If you are interested in being a part of the JI Core of professional monitors and consultants (all of us do this as a side job), please let us know. We expect significant opportunities in 2017. 

Our first E-book
Jarman International is also pleased to announce the publishing of its first E-book about Kusatsu Onsen. "Through the Year at Kusatsu Onsen" is by Petra Canan Trudell (JI's Content Specialist) and was a collaborative project boasting contributions from Aron Kremer, Toru Watanabe, Andrew Shuttleworth, Alana Bonzi, Claire Ghyselen, and CEO Ruth Jarman. The project originated from the Kusatsu Onsen Tourism Association wanting to share the beauty of Kusatsu year-round with the world and we thought telling the story of this beautiful place would be the answer. 

See what you think by downloading the book for free here:

New Coconoma Season Dining Project 
headed by Aron Kremer 

Aron will be working closely with the chefs and service team at Coconoma Season Dining restaurant inside the Hotel & Residnence Roppongi to help tell the story of their amazing menu, rich history and attention to healthy ingredients and perfect ambiance. With a new private lounge opening in the building this month, we expect this Nishi-Azabu restaurant to become a popular gathering place of internationals in Tokyo. Stay tuned for more information. Also, check our special offer for a chance to enjoy a nice dinner at this lovely restaurant on us!

JI CEO Kicks off 5th Season of NHK's 
"Shigoto no Kiso Eigo" Basic Business English on October 2. On every night Monday thru Thursday, watch Chiaki, Onishi Sensei and Ruth help Aki improve his ability to respond quickly in All-English situations. A hugely popular show on NHK in Japan, this show is also available on NHK Global outside of Japan as well. Jarman is doing everything possible to help Japan get OUT into the world and into the action on every level :) 

Our Entrepreneur of the Month: Alana Bonzi

“Japan is a place where it’s OK not to understand everything,” she explains. “And it allows you to do things you probably wouldn’t dare in your own country.”

Entrepreneurs need to be able to keep many plates spinning at once. This may mean holding several roles in your business while it grows or pursuing not just one, but multiple ventures. The latter is the case with our Featured Entrepreneur of the Month, Alana Bonzi, a lecturer at Keio University whose different businesses and projects are all united around a common theme: community.

Bonzi, who is Trinidadian Canadian, arrived in Japan in 1996 to participate in the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program. Her love for the country and her place here as a foreigner helped embolden her to pursue her passions, finding ways to be a bridge between the Japanese and foreign communities.


Read the full article here...

Special Gifts from Jarman International KK

1. Dinner for two at Coconoma Season Dining at Hotel & Residence Roppongi
A perfectly delicious elegant treat on us!

2. Entrance passes for Enoshima Island Spa
JI is lucky to be working with this fantastic place, so we're giving away to two lucky winners free day passes to cover the entrance fee!

By the way, anyone can purchase a gift certificate online to treat someone special to a special spa treatment for any special occasion. For our male readers out there who want to impress a lady friend, here's the way to do it: Enospa Gift Certificates!

3. Tickets for the Shonan Fujisawa Hanabi Fireworks 
Spend a memorable autumn night at Enoshima Island Spa's special seating watching fireworks! View 3,000 fireworks including some that span more than 1,500 feet in diameter from the best spot on the island. We've three pairs of tickets to give away! Click here for details

Email to enter the drawing for these gifts!
H&R Group
We have signed an NDA with one of the leading nuclear safety experts from the US. With Staffing Japan, the staffing arm of the H&R Group, we will be visiting various general contractor and/or electric companies to see if we can assist them by providing consultants from the US to advise on how to make nuclear power plants in Japan safer under cutting edge safety protocols used in the US and Europe. Along with our partner H&R Group, we hope to bring expertise into Japan and raise the level of safety in decommissioning and re-start as much as possible.
H&R Group
If you should happen to pass by this historical building in Nishi Azabu (just up the street towards Roppongi Hills from Gonpachi Restaurant), drop in and take a look at the amazing art on display. There is a new up-and-coming Japanese artist's work presented every month...
H&R Group

CEO Ruth will be there, so please come over to the Enoshima Island Spa on the evening of the 22nd and Boogie Down with us!
Please help us support our partners!
If you've ever visited either Enoshima Island Spa or H&R Roppongi, we invite you to write about your experience at TripAdvisor. Thank you in advance, we appreciate your effort!

Coconoma Season Dining

Enoshima Island Spa 

Ginza Aster

H&R Roppongi

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