Hawaii Radiation Concerns a Problem; Barron’s says Maui No. 2 for Homes; North Korea Meeting Here

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An poll taken by a newspaper blog in Spokane, Washington shows Hawaii tourist officials are rightfully concerned about how the talk of radiation blowing across the Pacific might affect the visitor trade.

The unscientific poll on the Huckleberries Online blog found nearly one-quarter of respondents would hold off on Hawaii vacation plans in the next few weeks given fears about possible nuclear fallout.


The poll said 154 of 215 respondents (71.6%) said they aren’t afraid of nuclear fallout from Japan disaster reaching Hawaii and would happily vacation here in the near future. About 51 of 215 (23.7%) responded in the negative, while 10 were undecided.

Both Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle have noted publicly there is no danger from radioactive particles from damaged Japanese nuclear plants reaching Hawaii. The Hawaii Tourism Authority also has been promoting the state, noting that it remains open for business.

Airline passenger arrivals from Japan have plummeted since the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, with Monday’s arrival count down 36 percent compared to a year earlier.

Passenger arrivals from the Mainland were off 1.9 percent on Sunday.

Barron’s Tabs Maui as one of top Places for Second Homes

Maui slipped slightly in Barron’s annual ranking of the best places for second homes, coming in No. 2 in 2011 after taking the top spot a year earlier. Sea Island, Georgia occupied the No. 1 position this year.

The financial publication noted median prices had gone up over the past year, rising to a median price of $1.7 million in 2010 from $1.5 million in 2009.

“The price of paradise is about to go up,” Barron’s article on second homes said. “After two down years, sales are gaining strength in the serene and lovely towns of Wailea and Makena.”

South Korea, U.S. set Talks in Honolulu on North Korea

Korean Deputy Defense Minister Chang Gwang-il and Michael Schiffer, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia, will be among meeting leaders next week as South Korean and U.S. officials meet in Honolulu to discuss North Korea, the Yonhap News agency is reporting

It said the first high-level meeting of the Extended Deterrence Policy Committee is set for March 28-29 and is expected to discuss measures to deal with the North’s threats and assess the effectiveness of the extended deterrence
Yonhap reported the committee was set up last December after the allies agreed to step up their commitment to deterring North Korea amid high tensions following the North’s two military attacks on the South last year.

Hawaii Unemployment Remains at 6.3 percent

Hawaii’s unemployment rate remained at 6.3 percent for a third consecutive month in February as both the labor force and the number of people employed grew.

Figures released by the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations show February’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate tied January and December’s numbers.

February’s unemployment rate compared to 6.8 percent a year earlier.

The state also reported unemployment numbers for each county, though on a non seasonally adjusted basis.

February County Unemployment, Not Seasonally Adjusted

2011                       2010

Honolulu                             5.2%                      5.7%

Hawaii County                    9.4                          9.8

Kauai                                 8.5                          9.0

Maui County                       7.9                          8.5

Maui Island                         7.8                          8.4

Molokai                              12.6                       12.2

Lanai                                  5.6                        7.8

Source: State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations