#2106 / Ten years passed after the disaster

2:46 p.m. March 11th, 2011, it is unforgettable time for me. The historically strongest earthquake followed by the largest tsunami has attacked eastern Japan. Over 23,000 people were killed or missed by the disaster. Over half million residents have been required to evacuate from the area. 4 nuclear power plants in Fukushima Prefecture have been destroyed by the attack, and remarkable amounts of radioactive fallouts were sprinkled in the area.
As I was born in the area, I have many friends and relatives. One of my cousins was a fisherman and killed by the tsunami. His wife has lost her memory during the evacuation. One of my nephews has lost his home by the tsunami. My old mother in Sendai could survive from the direct damage from the disaster, but she passed away 3 months later because of poor medical service during the evacuation.
Japan government has provided big budgets to help damaged people fixing infrastructures and homes. However, many people, especially in Fukushima, did not return to home because of radioactive contamination in the area. The power supply company says that it will take another 30-40 years to clear the radioactive debris from the destroyed nuclear power plants. Japan government does not make any clear comments about the treatments of the spent fuel and relating materials. But the experts comment that it takes more than one hundred thousand years to decay out. It is much longer than the whole history of the human beings. No one can guarantee to manage the safety of the radioactive wastes for many years.
Recently in Japan, several scientists are expecting another large disaster of earthquake and tsunami in the southern sea in the next thirty years. The possibility is more than 90%. However, the scientist cannot say when it happens, tomorrow or 30 years later. Nowadays, meteorologists forecast the tomorrow’s weather with good accuracy using super computers. There has been great progress to clarify the mechanisms of the air movement on the earth in the last half century. Many observation devices have been developed to get the data with good density. Satellites and radars provide valuable data for the forecast. The meteorologists say they are not enough, however, people can have enough time to evacuate.
On the other hand, , the current seismologists do not have enough observation devices to analyze the movements of the lands. A difficulty of seismology is that the daily movements of the land are very small and slow, but the earthquake moves very quickly when it happens. The movements of the earthquakes are very small, usually less than one meter. Currently, the seismologists cannot provide any forecast for tomorrow’s earthquake. It happens suddenly without clear signs, therefore, we have no time to evacuate. The latest telecommunication technology is capable to make an alarm few seconds before the arrival of the earthquake. Recent observation technologies from the satellites make the accuracies of the land movements much higher. Unfortunately, they are still not enough for tomorrow’s forecasts. They need more observation points with higher accuracies and densities.
The seismologists in Japan have been working very hard last ten years making remarkable progresses. Unfortunately, the goal is still very far. I cannot be optimistic to have practical devices to detect the signs of the earthquakes in the next one decade. Nowadays, people in Japan have been spending more time for the evacuation drills expecting earthquakes and tsunami. It will make the survival percentage higher, but it is not be perfect solution. I have been considering to develop observation devices to detect signs of earthquakes utilizing flexible circuit technologies. I am not very confident to get the practical devices while I am working as an engineer.

Dominique K. Numakura, dnumakura@dknresearch.com
DKN Research, www.dknresearch.com

P.S. When I completed this newsletter, news has reported another strong earthquake with magnitude of 7.2. Fortunately, I and my family did not have physical damages.

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Headlines of the week
(Please contact dnumakura@dknreseach.com for further information and news.)

  1. Kansai University (Japan) 3/3
    Has codeveloped a new friction powered tiny power generator device with Sumitomo Rubber Industry The devices will be applied automobile devices.
  2. TIT (Technical institute in Tokyo) 3/5
    Has developed a new measuring method for distortion of the flexible devices such as folderable smartphones.
  3. Toshiba Device & Storage (Semiconductor manufacturer in Japan) 3/11
    Will invest 25 billion yens to enlarge the manufacturing capacity of the power devices introducing 300mm wafer lines. The new lines will start the operation in the first half of 2023.
  4. Mitsubishi Electric (Major electric &electronics company in Japan) 3/12
    Has developed a new thermal diode infrared sensor “MelDIR”. Temperature range: -5 ~ +60C. Size: 13.5 x 9.5mm.
  5. NDK (Major device manufacturer in Japan) 3/16
    Has started the sample supply of the new tiny quartz device with ceramic package for pace makers. Size: 1.2 x 1.0 x 0.45mm. It makes patients MRI available.
  6. Yano Research Institute (Market Research firm in Japan) 3/16
    Forecasts global market of lithium ion batteries produced automobiles for next ten years. It grew 25.9% to 167.55GWh in 2020.
  7. Toppan Printing (Major printing company in Japan) 3/16
    Has developed a new flexible TFT. It survive one million times of bending with one millimeter radius targeting flexible sensors.
  8. Yano Research Institute (Market Research firm in Japan) 3/18
    Has released a new market research report about global polyimide films for flexible printed circuits.
  9. Semiconductor industry in Taiwan 3/18
    Is experiencing a serious water supply shortage. It is the worst situation since 1957. The government is planning to enlarge the capacity.
  10. Alps Alpine (Major device manufacturer in Japan) 3/22
    Has started sample supply of the new NR module “UMNZ1Series” for 5G equipment of the automobiles. Size: 60.0 x 60.0 x 4.5mm.
  11. Renesas Electronics (Major semiconductor company in Japan) 3/22
    Had a serious damage in Naka Plant by the fire accident at the main manufacturing plant in Miyagi. It will take at least one month to fix the damages.

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