Japan

World War II Flag
5:55 am
Mon August 13, 2012

Washington Veteran Having Difficulty Repatriating Captured War Flag

Close-up of "good luck flag," known as hinomaru yosegaki in Japanese.
Photo by Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Wednesday will mark the 67th anniversary of the Japanese surrender to end World War Two. With each passing anniversary, there are fewer and fewer living witnesses to the event. Correspondent Tom Banse reports time is also running low for an aging U.S. Marine veteran who wants to return a captured Japanese war flag.

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Japanese Earthquakes
5:57 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Northwest States Mapping Liquefaction Susceptibility

Soil liquefaction and lateral spreading in Tumwater, WA after the 2001 Nisqually Quake.
Photo courtesy UW College of Engineering

Two major earthquakes last year raised red flags for the Northwest. Some of the damage from those quakes in Japan and New Zealand resulted from a phenomenon called liquefaction. This is when the ground turns to jello or quicksand. Transmission towers topple, buildings sink and utility pipes break. Now, geologists in the Northwest have mapped the spots most likely to liquefy here in an earthquake. Correspondent Tom Banse begins our story in Japan.

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Tsunami Debris Cleanup
5:59 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Hundreds Turn Out To Clean Up Coastal Beaches

Beach cleanup volunteers found this refrigerator with Japanese labels on July 5.
Photo by Shelly Pollock

More than 700 volunteers turned out Thursday to help pick up litter and flotsam on the Oregon and southwest Washington coasts. Volunteers were on alert for debris from last year's tsunami in Japan. There were some possible new finds on Long Beach, Washington. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

The fifth of July is a traditional beach cleanup day in Manzanita and Seaside, Oregon and on Washington's Long Beach Peninsula. The coordinator of Manzanita's cleanup estimates the three dump truck loads hauled away were "99 percent fireworks" related.

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Tsunami Debris
7:29 am
Fri June 29, 2012

Oregon Sets Out Dumpsters For Tsunami Debris Clean-up

Oregon is putting out dumpsters at coastal parks for beachgoers to throw away tsunami debris. Governor John Kitzhaber announced Thursday he’s appointed an interagency team to coordinate efforts to dispose of materials washed up from last year’s Japanese tsunami.

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Tsunami Dock
7:04 am
Mon June 11, 2012

No Decision Yet On The Fate of Tsunami Debris

Oregon Parks officials are still weighing their options for the giant piece of tsunami debris that washed up on the Oregon coast this week. The Japanese dock continues to draw onlookers to the beach near Newport.

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Japanese Dock
6:43 am
Fri June 8, 2012

Tsunami Debris Dock Gets Scrubdown, Attracts Onlookers

A giant piece of Japanese tsunami debris on the Oregon coast is now scraped free of what marine biologists worried were invasive species. The floating dock landed on the beach near Newport this week. Park rangers and volunteers worked quickly [today] Thursday to remove seaweed, mussels and barnacles, some of which are found only in Japanese waters. Meanwhile, the massive hulk has attracted hundreds of onlookers. Correspondent Tom Banse spoke with O.J Cortez of Reedsport.

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Fukushima Recovery
6:51 am
Thu June 7, 2012

Trading Places: Pendleton To Fukushima And Reverse

Seiko Saijo moved into a temporary housing complex after the March 2011 tsunami washed away her home and fish shop in Minamisanriku.
Photo by Tom Banse Northwest News Network

You might find it unsettling to move to a place where some residents routinely scan their groceries with a Geiger counter. Also in this place, automated radiation monitors stand guard outside parks and schools. The place we're talking about is Minamisoma, Japan... just down the road from the nuclear reactors that melted down last year. But a 23-year-old art instructor from Pendleton says volunteering in this shaken city is like living a dream. She's helping out in her hometown's sister city. Correspondent Tom Banse visited Japan's Fukushima Prefecture and has this report.

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Japanese Tsunami Relief
6:54 am
Wed June 6, 2012

Follow The Money: Japan Disaster Relief

Minamisanriku buildings destroyed by last year's tsunami.
Photo by Tom Banse Northwest News Networ

Over the past year, people and businesses in the Pacific Northwest have contributed tens of millions of dollars to Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief. It's an unfamiliar situation for a wealthy, industrialized country like Japan to be the recipient of international relief funds. Correspondent Tom

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Tsunami Debris
6:35 am
Fri May 18, 2012

Spy Satellites Used In Search For Tsunami Debris

A personal message on this soccer ball confirmed it washed to sea from a Japanese school during the 2011 tsunami. The ball drifted ashore at Middleton Island, Alaska.
Photo by David Baxter. Northwest News Network

Another piece of confirmed tsunami debris – part of a restaurant sign – has washed ashore in Alaska. But marine scientists can’t say how much other Japanese disaster debris is trailing behind. This problem surfaced at a U.S. Senate hearing Thursday. As correspondent Tom Banse reports, researchers are now getting some access to spy satellite imagery.

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Tsunami Cleanup
6:20 am
Thu April 26, 2012

Tsunami Debris Cleanup Here Depends Mostly On You

Debris off the Honshu Coast soon after the tsunami.
Photo courtesy U.S. Navy

The first items of debris swept into the Pacific Ocean by last year's big tsunami in Japan are turning up on the Northwest coast. More is out there drifting our way. The state of Washington hosted a meeting Wednesday to prepare local governments and beachgoers for what to do about this. Oregon held similar meetings last week. Here's the takeaway: tsunami debris pickup depends largely on you. Correspondent Tom Banse is beach side with the latest.

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