Japan to aid developing countries purchase materials from disaster areas – Will release minutes of emergency meetings

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Japan has announced it will provide aid to developing more than 15 countries as funds to procure industrial products made in areas hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, the Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.   Micronesia will be one of the first nations to receive funds, which they are expected to use to purchase equipment and construction machinery from small manufacturers operating in disaster areas.

Japan will host a ministerial level meeting on natural disasters in July to share lessons from the great earthquake and tsunami last year.  The Japanese government hopes to use the discussion results for a UN meeting on disaster prevention planned in 2015.

Japan compelled to reveal minutes after United States NRC release

Japan’s top government spokesman says they will compile the minutes of the meetings held by the country’s leadership just after the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima plant last March. The minutes will be released by the end of February.  Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura made the announcement at a news conference on Wednesday , after the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission released a record of its internal meetings about the Japanese nuclear crisis.

Fujimura said the minutes of the leaders’ meetings immediately after the disaster were not made because it was a dire emergency. In addition, he said the participants did not fully understand the importance of making minutes.  He also said that compiling documents on how the government coped with the crisis is crucial for it to show accountability.

Japan’s nuclear safety watchdog approved first-stage stress tests on an initial pair of idled reactors, but this week the head of the Nuclear Safety Commission admitted that government safety standards were lax, and not based on realistic scenarios.  The government has yet to make clear if second-stage stress tests — simulations in which a nuclear plant is exposed to several severe events at the same time — are also necessary.  Many experts believe it will not be easy  the Japanese government to arrive at an agreement on reactivating the reactors. It is more likely that all of the nation’s reactors will be offline in April.

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