Japan crisis: words from US consulate. My son is a 15-year resident of Japan and has many contacts with expatriates, including embassy and media executives. To help balance the skewed reporting on the “nuclear meltdown”, here’s a release from the US ambassador to Tokyo:

Subject: Message from the US Ambassador in Tokyo: positive news Dear Fellow Expat,

We are forwarding an excerpt of the latest message from the US Ambassador, Mr. John V. Roos adressing the current situation:

March 16, 2011

“We understand that many of you are anxious and have questions in the shadow of the Fukushima emergency, since we are in the midst of a complex, constantly changing, and unpredictable situation. In this fluid situation, our commitment to our citizens is to accumulate accurate information and assess it sufficiently in order to make important judgments.

Since the first reports of trouble with the reactors, American nuclear experts have worked around the clock to analyze data, monitor developments, and provide clear assessments on the potential dangers. While at times we have had only limited access to information, I am personally committed to assuring that our experts have as much access and information as possible, and the necessary resources to understand the situation. I have personally been deeply engaged in these efforts.

After a careful analysis of data, radiation levels, and damage assessments of all units at Fukushima, our experts are in agreement with the response and measures taken by Japanese technicians, including their recommended 20 km radius for evacuation and additional shelter-in-place recommendations out to 30 km.

Let me also address reports of very low levels of radiation outside the evacuation area detected by U.S. and Japanese sensitive instrumentation. This bears very careful monitoring, which we are doing. If we assess that the radiation poses a threat to public health, we will share that information and provide relevant guidance immediately.

The United States will continue to work around the clock to provide precise and up-to-date information supported by expert analysis to ensure the safety and security of our citizens and to help Japan in its time of great need.”

Do Bishop’s supporters want a carbon tax? A poll on Julie Bishop’s website asking whether constituents support a carbon tax didn’t exactly go her way. The poll closed yesterday with total support slightly ahead of those who oppose a tax. But at one stage yesterday support for a carbon tax was tracking well over 70%…

Macquarie in meltdown watching markets. Capping off about a month worth of issues, Macquarie’s online banking and trading platform went into meltdown yesterday after doing the same on Tuesday. Given the amazing falls in the market, I would assume many unhappy clients will be looking to switch providers.