U.S. Embassy making Potassium Iodide available to Americans who want it, in case Fukushima #3 goes. Plus: tracking the Flyjin.

I am still on the Tokyo Embassy’s mailing list, which has been quite a read the last couple weeks for sure.

This was in today’s dispatch:

Availability of Potassium Iodide Tablets
As a precautionary measure, the U.S. Embassy is continuing to make potassium iodide (KI) tablets available to private U.S. citizens who have not been able to obtain it from their physician, employer, or other sources. We do not a recommend that anyone should take KI at this time. There are risks associated with taking KI. It should only be taken on the advice of emergency management officials, public health officials or your doctor. For more information about KI, see this fact sheet from the Centers for Disease Control, http://emergency.cdc.gov/radiation/ki.asp, or contact your doctor.

At this time, the tablets are available Monday through Friday (until further notice) at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo at 1-10-5 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8420 from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., and at the New Sanno Hotel at 4-12-20, Minami-Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday (until further notice) there is also distribution at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo from 12 noon – 4:00 p.m. Allotments of KI tablets will be provided only upon presentation of a valid U.S. passport. U.S. citizens may obtain an allotment for each family member’s valid U.S. passport presented. If you do not have a valid passport, please contact the U.S. Embassy at 03-3224-5000. An allotment of tablets will also be made available to a U.S. citizen for his/her non-citizen immediate family members upon presentation of satisfactory evidence of the relationship.

It could be that the U.S. likes to take every precaution, and maybe people are less willing to turn into Flyjin if they can at least feel safe. (Arguendo, Tokyo and environs really are still safe, and it’s just a question of how safe the people feel. I still think that the J-officials don’t have a handle on the situation. But maybe they do.)

I am fascinated by the Flyjin, especially after reading a Mutant Frog dot com post on the subject. I am not a big MF reader, but they do have good stuff on when they are occasionally posting. This one was by Curzon, who [I believe is someone I met], formerly of Tokyo and lately of Dubai.

Curzon challenges Flyjin as a term that the Japanese are using at all, and posits that in fact it was created by the expat community in Tokyo to describe the foreigners who left because of all the bad stuff going on. (And remember, it’s not just the Fukushima radiation. There was the earthquake and tsunami. The earthquakes could repeat at any time, really, since so much of the two plates got shook up.)

Blogging from around Ephrata, Pennsylvania, I know there have been several Flyjin who have returned to the area, and their stories are out for the public. There was a fellow from either Hershey or York, who had started work at Tokyo Disneyland as a singer just as recently as March 3rd. He is now back in the Commonwealth. Most all of the study-abroad contingent of Temple Japan was flown out of Tokyo, and alternate arrangements for the semester are being made. There are other Flyjins.

So visiting Mutant Frog, I remembered the post that Adam Richards did about the Eikaiwa industry last year, and the numbers that METI puts out as an Excel spreadsheet. I hadn’t looked at those since my own analysis and blog post on the topic, but METI does track the number of regular employees and part-time (meaning, non-regular) employees who work in that industry.

I bet the enterprising researcher can find if METI also tracks the number of sex workers from Third World countries, but I digress . . .

Anyway, for the sake of argument, let’s say a lot of the Flyjin are in Eikaiwa. Then, in a few months, this should show up in the METI numbers if no one has replaced the escapees/fleers who had held those jobs. The numbers of Eikaiwa employees and schools has been steadily declining throughout 2010 anyway. But you should see a bigger drop if the Flyjin have flown.

To me, the Eikaiwa teacher–especially the young one with parents urging them to go home–is the archtypical Flyjin. These are the ones who grab the jobs as gigs when they fly IN to Japan. They know where the airport is.

Fun times, eh?