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    Posted by arudou debito on December 12th, 2011

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    Hi Blog.  Dr. David Slater at Sophia U. once again delivers the goods (see his excellent post about how domestic activism is naturally stifled in Japan here).  This is how bad it’s getting in Post-Fukushima Japan, and believe it or not, it’s worse than I thought.

    This is why we have press cartels in Japan to keep it quiet, since the ineptness of and obfuscation by the GOJ (with little apparent hope for things being fixed) makes for depressing reading.  This in a domestic media that wants the public and the world to think “nice things about Japan”.  Too bad.  What’s happening is not nice at all, and without a full and frank public assessment, as I have argued before, people are going to get hurt in the afterglow.

    Might Japan be just a little too proud to ask for help with contamination and containment from outside?  Or isn’t the public’s safety the first priority in all this? The way public money earmarked for relief efforts is being spent, it seems not.  Arudou Debito

    (Referential articles at very bottom.)

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////

    From: H-Japan Editor
    Date: 10 December, 2011
    To: H-JAPAN@H-NET.MSU.EDU
    Subject: H-Japan (E): More attempts at decontamination
    Reply-To: H-NET/KIAPS List for Japanese History

    H-JAPAN
    December 10, 2011

    Date: Sun, 11 Dec 2011
    From: David H. Slater
    Subject: More attempts at decontamination

    As decontamination continues, here are a few recent articles.

    “Residents exposed to high doses of radiation” in the Yomiuri:
    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T111209006244.htm
    Here is the goverment’s review of radiation exposure for residents. “A
    Fukushima prefectural government survey on residents’ external
    radiation exposure showed those in government-set evacuation zones
    were likely exposed to annualized radiation doses of up to 14
    millisieverts, government sources said Friday.” The government-set
    annual limit is 1 millisievert, which means relief workers must limit
    their digging time.

    “SDF battling with brooms, brushes”, the Yomiuri.
    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T111209006358.htm
    Here is a review of the SDF (Self-Defense Forces) and their uneven and
    slow attempts to clear irradiated soil. It seems that they carry as
    little protection as many of the ad-hoc volunteer groups. Some of the
    work was outsourced to private companies, but all of the different
    groups mostly work with shovels and buckets. “‘There’s no magical way
    to decontaminate the areas instantly. Our job is to prove our
    technology, even though it’s low-tech,’ said an official of the Japan
    Atomic Energy Agency, which is jointly conducting the decontamination
    project with the central government.” And “A dosimeter briefly
    displayed radiation levels of seven to eight microsieverts per hour
    during the cleanup. The central government has set a goal of lowering
    the radiation level to 20 millisieverts per year and 3.8 microsieverts
    per hour in the contaminated zones.”

    Here is the New York Times article that gives a broader scope to the
    issues, and problems, of decontamination. Fackler writes, “So far, the
    government is following a pattern set since the nuclear accident,
    dismissing dangers, often prematurely, and laboring to minimize the
    scope of the catastrophe. Already, the trial cleanups have stalled:
    the government failed to anticipate communities’ reluctance to store
    tons of soil to be scraped from contaminated yards and fields.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/07/world/asia/japans-huge-nuclear-cleanup-makes-returning-home-a-goal.html

    This is midst continuing reports of opposition by local communities to
    allow radioactive soil to be relocated and dumped in their own area
    .
    The latest ideas include a “giant washer”
    http://www.mysinchew.com/node/67283, or shipping it out sea
    http://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFL3E7N815V20111208


    David H. Slater, Ph.D.
    Faculty of Liberal Arts
    Sophia University, Tokyo

    ********************************************************
    TO POST A MESSAGE TO THE H-JAPAN LIST
    SEND MAIL TO
    h-japan@h-net.msu.edu
    ********************************************************

    SLATER POST ENDS

    REFERENTIAL ARTICLES

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////

    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T111209006244.htm

    Residents exposed to high doses of radiation

    The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 10, 2011)

    A Fukushima prefectural government survey on residents’ external radiation exposure showed those in government-set evacuation zones were likely exposed to annualized radiation doses of up to 14 millisieverts, government sources said Friday.

    This is the first statistical data indicating external radiation exposure among people living around the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

    The prefectural government sent questionnaires to about 29,000 residents from Iitatemura, Namiemachi and the Yamakiya area in Kawamatamachi, which are designated as in either a no-entry zone or expanded evacuation zone, between late June and mid-July, ahead of those in other areas. The survey covered the four months after the crisis began.

    The figure is based on analysis of questionnaires from 1,730 people who responded early. The prefectural Fukushima Medical University and the National Institute of Radiological Sciences analyzed the results of the survey.

    About half of the surveyed residents from the three municipalities are believed to have been exposed to external radiation of at least the government-set annual limit of 1 millisievert, according to the sources.

    While the prefecture projected the annualized external radiation exposure would be up to 5 millisieverts for most residents, the figure was 10 millisieverts or higher for about 10 residents.

    Among those examined, a Fukushima plant worker was estimated to have been exposed to a maximum annualized dose of 37 millisieverts, while the highest dose among non-plant workers was 14 millisieverts. The resident is suspected to have gone through a highly contaminated area at the time of evacuation, according to the sources.

    The prefectural government has been conducting health surveys on those who lived in the prefecture when the crisis broke out at the plant.

    The prefectural government plans to release the survey results by the end of December.

    Meanwhile, the city government of Koriyama, also in the prefecture, announced Thursday four primary and middle school students’ cumulative radiation exposure exceeded 0.40 millisievert in the month from Oct. 5. The dose translates into an annualized dose of 4 millisieverts or more, city officials said.

    The data was obtained from measurements by dosimeters that gauge cumulative radiation exposure. The city government distributed the dosimeters to 25,551 primary and middle school students. The cumulative radiation exposure levels among the students ranged between 0.01 millisieverts and 0.45 millisieverts, the city said.

    “Experts told us the figures [for the four students] do not represent health problems, but we’d like to question the students to find out why their radiation exposure levels were high,” a city official said.

    The International Commission on Radiological Protection sets the annual limit for radiation exposure at 20 to 100 millisieverts at the time of an emergency and 1 to 20 millisieverts after the disaster has been contained.

    ends
    ////////////////////////////////////////////

    SDF battling with brooms, brushes

    Dai Adachi and Setsuko Kitaguchi / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writers (Dec. 10, 2011)

    TOMIOKAMACHI, Fukushima–Self-Defense Forces members have begun decontamination work in the no-entry and expanded evacuation zones in Fukushima Prefecture, using only such low-tech implements as brooms, deck brushes and shovels.

    The central government has commissioned private companies to do decontamination work in some areas on a trial basis, but they, too, lack sophisticated resources, and some Environment Ministry officials involved with the decontamination work are frustrated by its slow pace.

    “The areas to be decontaminated are so wide. I wonder when the radiation levels will go down so residents can return home,” one official said.

    As cold rain fell Thursday, decontamination work by SDF personnel was shown to the media in Tomiokamachi, about nine kilometers from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

    Some SDF members used brooms to gather fallen leaves, while others trimmed weeds growing under trees or shoveled mud from ditches.

    At a first glance, it looked like a peaceful scene at a park. However, the about 300 SDF members were entirely covered by white protective suits, large surgical masks and green gloves.

    On the third-floor balcony of the town office, several personnel used buckets and rope to lower bags of gravel taken from the office’s roof.

    “We’ve no choice but to do this by hand,” an SDF official said.

    SDF personnel also dug up soil in a 3,400-square-meter plot of grassland contaminated with radioactive substances, and carefully cleansed asphalt-covered areas such as a parking lot with high-pressure water sprayers.

    A dosimeter briefly displayed radiation levels of seven to eight microsieverts per hour during the cleanup. The central government has set a goal of lowering the radiation level to 20 millisieverts per year and 3.8 microsieverts per hour in the contaminated zones.

    SDF members will be engaged in the work for about two weeks.

    “To attain the goal, we’ll have to make our personnel finish a substantial amount of work,” an SDF senior official said.

    The central government asked the SDF to do the decontamination work as an advance party, with the aim of securing rest areas for private decontamination companies and bases to store materials before the government starts a full-fledged decontamination project in 12 municipalities in the no-entry and expanded evacuation zones from January.

    About 900 SDF members currently are involved in that work at municipal offices in Tomiokamachi, Namiemachi, Narahamachi and Iitatemura of the prefecture.

    “If we commissioned private companies to do the preparations, it would take about 2-1/2 months because we have to make an official notice and hold a bid. We wanted to secure at least storage bases by the end of this year,” said Satoshi Takayama, parliamentary secretary of the Environment Ministry.

    At some places in the zones, the central government has commissioned private companies to do the decontamination, in model projects to find effective measures to rid the areas of radiation.

    However, these model projects also lack high-tech equipment.

    “There’s no magical way to decontaminate the areas instantly. Our job is to prove our technology, even though it’s low-tech,” said an official of the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, which is jointly conducting the decontamination project with the central government.

    Some local governments in the zones still cannot start decontamination at all.

    According to the agency, decontamination has begun at only five municipalities because it takes time to reach an agreement with local governments and residents over the establishment of temporary places to store removed soil and other matter.

    Futabamachi, which hosts the nuclear power plant, has not yet agreed to hold an explanatory meeting on the decontamination work.

    “It’s meaningless to hold [an explanatory meeting] at this stage as [decontamination] technology has yet to be established,” an official of the municipal government said.

    Decontamination activities also are affected by the weather. If work is conducted in heavy rain, for example, removed soil will be washed away, which could spread radioactive materials.

    Decontamination cannot be conducted if snow piles up because the snow will throw off radiation readings and workers might scrape away more soil than necessary.

    The decontamination of roads and highways will be given priority and start in January, followed by residential areas including private houses.

    However, a concrete operation schedule for the project has yet to be decided, as are specific instructions to private companies.

    It still is not certain how long it will be before residents can return home.

    “Not all the places have high radiation levels. There must be areas where people can return comparatively earlier. However, the targeted areas are large, so it will take a substantial time for some areas,” a ministry official said.

    ends

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Japan Split on Hope for Vast Radiation Cleanup
    By MARTIN FACKLER
    Published: December 6, 2011
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/07/world/asia/japans-huge-nuclear-cleanup-makes-returning-home-a-goal.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

    FUTABA, Japan — Futaba is a modern-day ghost town — not a boomtown gone bust, not even entirely a victim of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that leveled other parts of Japan’s northeast coast.

    Its traditional wooden homes have begun to sag and collapse since they were abandoned in March by residents fleeing the nuclear plant on the edge of town that began spiraling toward disaster. Roofs possibly damaged by the earth’s shaking have let rain seep in, starting the rot that is eating at the houses from the inside.

    The roadway arch at the entrance to the empty town almost seems a taunt. It reads:

    “Nuclear energy: a correct understanding brings a prosperous lifestyle.”

    Those who fled Futaba are among the nearly 90,000 people evacuated from a 12-mile zone around the Fukushima Daiichi plant and another area to the northwest contaminated when a plume from the plant scattered radioactive cesium and iodine.

    Now, Japan is drawing up plans for a cleanup that is both monumental and unprecedented, in the hopes that those displaced can go home.

    The debate over whether to repopulate the area, if trial cleanups prove effective, has become a proxy for a larger battle over the future of Japan. Supporters see rehabilitating the area as a chance to showcase the country’s formidable determination and superior technical skills — proof that Japan is still a great power.

    For them, the cleanup is a perfect metaphor for Japan’s rebirth.

    Critics counter that the effort to clean Fukushima Prefecture could end up as perhaps the biggest of Japan’s white-elephant public works projects — and yet another example of post-disaster Japan reverting to the wasteful ways that have crippled economic growth for two decades.

    So far, the government is following a pattern set since the nuclear accident, dismissing dangers, often prematurely, and laboring to minimize the scope of the catastrophe. Already, the trial cleanups have stalled: the government failed to anticipate communities’ reluctance to store tons of soil to be scraped from contaminated yards and fields.

    And a radiation specialist who tested the results of an extensive local cleanup in a nearby city found that exposure levels remained above international safety standards for long-term habitation.

    Even a vocal supporter of repatriation suggests that the government has not yet leveled with its people about the seriousness of their predicament.

    “I believe it is possible to save Fukushima,” said the supporter, Tatsuhiko Kodama, director of the Radioisotope Center at the University of Tokyo. “But many evacuated residents must accept that it won’t happen in their lifetimes.”

    To judge the huge scale of what Japan is contemplating, consider that experts say residents can return home safely only after thousands of buildings are scrubbed of radioactive particles and much of the topsoil from an area the size of Connecticut is replaced.

    Even forested mountains will probably need to be decontaminated, which might necessitate clear-cutting and literally scraping them clean.

    The Soviet Union did not attempt such a cleanup after the Chernobyl accident of 1986, the only nuclear disaster larger than that at Fukushima Daiichi. The government instead relocated about 300,000 people, abandoning vast tracts of farmland.

    Many Japanese officials believe that they do not have that luxury; the area contaminated above an international safety standard for the general public covers more than an estimated 3 percent of the landmass of this densely populated nation.

    “We are different from Chernobyl,” said Toshitsuna Watanabe, 64, the mayor of Okuma, one of the towns that was evacuated. “We are determined to go back. Japan has the will and the technology to do this.”

    Such resolve reflects, in part, a deep attachment to home for rural Japanese like Mr. Watanabe, whose family has lived in Okuma for 19 generations. Their heartfelt appeals to go back have won wide sympathy across Japan, making it hard for people to oppose their wishes.

    But quiet resistance has begun to grow, both among those who were displaced and those who fear the country will need to sacrifice too much without guarantees that a multibillion-dollar cleanup will provide enough protection.

    Soothing pronouncements by local governments and academics about the eventual ability to live safely near the ruined plant can seem to be based on little more than hope.

    No one knows how much exposure to low doses of radiation causes a significant risk of premature death. That means Japanese living in contaminated areas are likely to become the subjects of future studies — the second time in seven decades that Japanese have become a test case for the effects of radiation exposure, after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    The national government has declared itself responsible for cleaning up only the towns in the evacuation zone; local governments have already begun cleaning cities and towns outside that area.

    Inside the 12-mile ring, which includes Futaba, the Environmental Ministry has pledged to reduce radiation levels by half within two years — a relatively easy goal because short-lived isotopes will deteriorate. The bigger question is how long it will take to reach the ultimate goal of bringing levels down to about 1 millisievert per year, the annual limit for the general public from artificial sources of radiation that is recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection. That is a much more daunting task given that it will require removing cesium 137, an isotope that will remain radioactive for decades.

    Trial cleanups have been delayed for months by the search for a storage site for enough contaminated dirt to fill 33 domed football stadiums. Even evacuated communities have refused to accept it.

    And Tomoya Yamauchi, the radiation expert from Kobe University who performed tests in Fukushima City after extensive remediation efforts, found that radiation levels inside homes had dropped by only about 25 percent. That left parts of the city with levels of radiation four times higher than the recommended maximum exposure.

    “We can only conclude that these efforts have so far been a failure,” he said.

    Minamisoma, a small city whose center sits about 15 miles from the nuclear plant, is a good place to get a sense of the likely limitations of decontamination efforts.

    The city has cleaned dozens of schools, parks and sports facilities in hopes of enticing back the 30,000 of its 70,000 residents who have yet to return since the accident. On a recent morning, a small army of bulldozers and dump trucks were resurfacing a high school soccer field and baseball diamond with a layer of reddish brown dirt. Workers buried the old topsoil in a deep hole in a corner of the soccer field. The crew’s overseer, Masahiro Sakura, said readings at the field had dropped substantially, but he remains anxious because many parts of the city were not expected to be decontaminated for at least two years.

    These days, he lets his three young daughters outdoors only to go to school and play in a resurfaced park. “Is it realistic to live like this?” he asked.

    The challenges are sure to be more intense inside the 12-mile zone, where radiation levels in some places have reached nearly 510 millisieverts a year, 25 times above the cutoff for evacuation.

    Already, the proposed repatriation has opened rifts among those who have been displaced. The 11,500 displaced residents of Okuma — many of whom now live in rows of prefabricated homes 60 miles inland — are enduring just such a divide.

    The mayor, Mr. Watanabe, has directed the town to draw up its own plan to return to its original location within three to five years by building a new town on farmland in Okuma’s less contaminated western edge.

    Although Mr. Watanabe won a recent election, his challenger found significant support among residents with small children for his plan to relocate to a different part of Japan. Mitsue Ikeda, one supporter, said she would never go home, especially after a medical exam showed that her 8-year-old son, Yuma, had ingested cesium.

    “It’s too dangerous,” Ms. Ikeda, 47, said. “How are we supposed to live, by wearing face masks all the time?”

    She, like many other evacuees, berated the government, saying it was fixated on cleaning up to avoid paying compensation.

    Many older residents, by contrast, said they should be allowed to return.

    “Smoking cigarettes is more dangerous than radiation,” said Eiichi Tsukamoto, 70, who worked at the Daiichi plant for 40 years as a repairman. “We can make Okuma a model to the world of how to restore a community after a nuclear accident.”

    But even Mr. Kodama, the radiation expert who supports a government cleanup, said such a victory would be hollow, and short-lived if young people did not return. He suggested that the government start rebuilding communities by rebuilding trust eroded over months of official evasion.

    “Saving Fukushima requires not just money and effort, but also faith,” he said. “There is no point if only older people go back.”

    This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

    Correction: December 9, 2011

    An earlier version of this article said the evacuation zone covered more than 3 percent of Japan’s landmass; in fact it is the area contaminated above an international safety standard for the general public that covers roughly 3 percent of the country’s landmass.

    ends

    ///////////////////////////////////////////

    Japan looks to giant washer to clean Fukushima debris

    http://www.mysinchew.com/node/67283

     2011-12-02 14:16

    TOKYO, December 2, 2011 (AFP) – Japan is looking to launder tsunami debris in a giant washing machine to get rid of radiation from the Fukushima nuclear accident, a researcher said Friday.

    In a scheme they hope will result in finally being able to dispose of contaminated waste left by the waves that crushed towns on the country’s northeast coast, a cleaning plant will be built near the Fukushima Daiichi power station.

    Shredded waste — including the remains of houses and cars destroyed by the tsunami — will be put inside a huge water-filled drum where steel attachments will scrub away radioactive particles, the researcher told AFP.

    The plan is a joint scheme between Tokyo-based construction company Toda Corp. and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency.

    “We, as a general contractor, have experience of cleaning soil and hope that we will eventually be able to decontaminate soil as well as debris,” said a research at Toda Corp, who asked not to be named.

    He said researchers will experiment with pure water and detergents to find the best way to decontaminate the waste and hope to be able to recycle the water using a series of filters.

    In an initial test they will use a tub 120 centimetres (four feet) long and plan to install multiple washing drums three times larger than that once the project fully launches, he said.

    Large areas around the Fukushima plant have been left contaminated with radiation since the tsunami of March 11 knocked out its cooling systems and sent reactors into meltdown.

    The world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl has not directly claimed any lives, but has left tens of thousands of people displaced and rendered whole towns uninhabitable, possibly for decades.

    The radiation that has leaked from the crippled reactors has contaminated the waste left behind by the tsunami, complicating the clean-up operation.

    The Japanese government and plant operator Tokyo Electric Power have pledged to bring the reactors to a state of cold shutdown by the end of the year.

    Government planners have said radiation-contaminated debris could be stored in a facility in Fukushima prefecture for at least 30 years until its final destination is determined.

    ends

    ///////////////////////////////

    Tepco may dump decontaminated water from Fukushima plant into sea

    Reuters Thu Dec 8, 2011 4:18am GMT

    By Shinichi Saoshiro

    TOKYO Dec 8 (Reuters) – The operator of Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant said on Thursday that it is considering dumping water it treated for radiation contamination into the ocean as early as March, prompting protests from fishing groups.

    Tokyo Electric Power, (Tepco) the utility operating Fukushima’s Daiichi plant hit by a powerful tsunami in March in the world’s worst nuclear accident in 25 years, said it was running out of space to store some of the water it treated at the plant due to an inflow of groundwater.

    “We would like to increase the number of tanks to accommodate the water but it will be difficult to do so indefinitely,” Tepco spokesman Junichi Matsumoto told reporters, adding the plant was likely to reach its storage capacity around March.

    The admission is a setback for the utility which appeared to be making progress in its cleanup after building a cooling system that no longer required pumping in vast amounts of water. It also built a system, drawing on French, U.S. and Japanese technology, that decontaminates the vast pool of tainted runoff to supply the cooling system with water.

    The company said representatives of a nationwide federation of fishing cooperatives on Thursday visited its Tokyo headquarters to protest.

    Tepco said it is still assessing the potential environmental impact of releasing the accumulating water, but that if forced to do so it would discharge water expected to have the least effect the environment.

    Tens of thousands tons of water contaminated with radiation have accumulated at the plant, 240 kilometres (150 miles) northeast of Tokyo after early on in the crisis Tepco tried to cool reactors that suffered nuclear fuel meltdowns by pouring in water, much of it from the sea.

    “Our priority is also to look for ways to limit the inflow of groundwater into the buildings at the plant,” Matsumoto said.

    The operator estimates that due to the inflow the amount of water requiring storage is increasing by 200 to 500 tonnes every day.

    The utility released more than 10,000 tonnes of water tainted with low levels of radiation in April to free up space for water that had much higher levels of radioactivity, drawing sharp criticism from neighboring countries such as South Korea and China. (Editing by Tomasz Janowski)

    ends

    42 Responses to “Japan’s Broken System Pt 2: H-Japan cites AFP, Reuters, Yomiuri. NYT on how bad GOJ ineptness and obfuscation re Fukushima fiasco is getting”

    1. BobinChiba Says:

      Brooms and brushes? That seems really low-tech… Though I have no idea what other technologies are available.

    2. debito Says:

      放射性物質:環境政務官「国が測っても信用されない」
      毎日新聞 2011年12月10日 21時4分 更新:12月10日 22時41分
      http://mainichi.jp/select/today/news/20111211k0000m040047000c.html?inb=fa

       高山智司環境政務官は10日、静岡市内で記者会見し、東日本大震災で発生したがれきの放射線量の測定について「国が測ったのでは信用してもらえない。国も測っているが、その上で自治体にも測ってもらいたい」と発言した。

       これに対し、同席した大村慎一静岡県副知事は会見後、毎日新聞の取材に「国が『信用してもらえない』と言うのは、安全性の基準の根幹を揺るがす発言だ」と不快感をあらわにした。

       被災地のがれきを巡っては、国は安全性を確保されたものについて受け入れるよう、全国の自治体に要請。県は安全確保を徹底するため、受け入れの際には独自に放射線量の測定を行う方針を決めている。

       この日は記者会見に先立ち、県が自治体向け説明会を開き、こうした方針を説明。高山政務官は記者会見で国の姿勢について質問を受けた。【平林由梨】
      ends

      Translation of the above courtesy EX-SKF
      http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2011/12/moment-of-truth-for-no3-official-at.html

      Radioactive materials: “No one trusts the measurement by the national government”, says the Ministry of the Environment ranking official
      Mainichi Shinbun December 10, 2011

      Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of the Environment Satoshi Takayama held a press conference on December 10 in Shizuoka City [in Shizuoka Prefecture] and said about the radiation measurement of the debris from the March 11 earthquake/tsunami, “No one trusts the measurement by the national government. We are measuring, but we would like the local municipalities to measure it also.”

      Vice Governor of Shizuoka Shinichi Omura, who was with Takayama in the press conference, was visibly annoyed when Mainichi Shinbun asked him about the Secretary’s remark after the press conference. “To say ‘No one trusts the government’s measurement’ is to shake the very fundation of the safety standard.”

      The national government has been pressing the municipalities throughout Japan to accept the disaster debris if proven safe. [Shizuoka] Prefecture has already decided to conduct its own radiation survey when it accepts the debris to make sure it is safe.

      On December 10 before the press conference, the Shizuoka prefectural government held a meeting with officials from the municipalities and explained the prefectural government’s policy. Parliamentary Secretary Takayama was asked about the national government stance during the press conference.
      ends

    3. Jim Di Griz Says:

      ‘the effort to clean Fukushima Prefecture could end up as perhaps the biggest of Japan’s white-elephant public works projects’
      ‘“We are different from Chernobyl,”
      ‘We are determined to go back. Japan has the will ‘
      ‘“We can only conclude that these efforts have so far been a failure,” ‘
      ‘proof that Japan is still a great power’

      The above quotes say it all really. Pork barrel politics, and wishful thinking because ‘japan is different’. So sad.

      Still, one honest politician!
      ‘“No one trusts the measurement by the national government”, says the Ministry of the Environment ranking official’ Satoshi Takayama should be Prime Minister!

    4. jim Says:

      The GOJ has showed that they are unable and unwilling to handle this ongoing problem so they should let other country’s take over this situation.The GOJ has just been trying to downplay the problem, like it will just magically go away but it isn’t and it only has gotten a lot worse= think food chain= RADIATION

    5. Steve Says:

      “Decontamination” seems to be the process by which radioactive materials are moved from one place to another. Nothing is going to remove the radiation from the elements. The main transfer seems to be to move radioactive materials from the soil to the sea. Everything is washed down, but no radioactive materials are recaptured. In this way, Japan will force the rest of the world to share its contamination. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be any other option.

      Nuclear Power should not have been developed before methods for disposing of nuclear waste were discovered or invented and in place. Instead, the nuclear industry has always kicked the can further down the road saying that they will find such methods at some time in the future before they actual need them. It hasn’t worked out that way.

    6. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @Steve

      I don’t understand why they don’t just dig big holes, line them with a meter of concrete, put all the contaminated soil and debris inside, then seal it all in with concrete on top. That should stop the radiation from being spread around, and contaminating the food chain, until it has sufficiently decayed.

    7. Pitarou Says:

      @Jim

      Here’s a back-of-the-envelope calculation. It’s hardly authoritative, but it should get you thinking about the scale of the problem.

      Assume we want to scrape 3% of Japan to a depth of 5 cm and cart all the soil to a single site. Assume we can fill the site at a rate of one 25 tonne truck load every 10 minutes. It would take 650 years to get the job done.

      Here’s a link to the calculation on Wolfram Alpha. Play with my assumptions to your heart’s content.

      http://goo.gl/TVtkf

      For comparison, why not look up how much Japanese garbage goes into landfill now?

      By the way, I assume you’re not considering putting the debris of the reactor core into a simple concrete shell! The shell would have worn away looong before the debris became safe.

    8. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @Pitarou

      ‘Assume we want to scrape 3% of Japan’
      ‘By the way, I assume you’re not’

      No offense, but assumption is a dirty word, and I don’t use it, myself.

      All I was trying to convey is that I don’t much see the point of sweeping up contaminated leaves, and then dumping them in a ‘special’ designated area, just to get blown all over the place again. I was thinking that that kind of low-level contaminated waste would be better buried in concrete until the radiation decays of it’s own accord. BUT you are correct. The scale of the problem is so immense, that it’s folly to suggest that;
      i) All contaminated areas can be effectively decontaminated, and
      ii) All the removed contaminated material can be stored somewhere.

      The solution at Chernobyl was enforced evacuation. Unfortunately, the Japanese seem to be making an emotional response to ‘reclaiming their land’ (all 3% of it) at any financial and health costs, rather than being practical and realistic in dealing with the effects of radiation.

    9. AJ Says:

      As much as we’d like to see heads roll when the paper trail goes to the top, and we’ll keep pointing out the follies of J govt on down the line, it’s a dead issue.

      There’ll be no meaningful compensation to any little people, they’ll be told it’s safe and go back cos they’re too dim to think for themselves or know better, a few generations of Japanese will be hideously ill, and the food chain will continue to be polluted, just like the air has been for decades with chemicals that have been killing our lungs and respiratory systems for years anyway.

      They govt has not spoken, and they don’t give a s$&@. Feel free to say so, but don’t expect reactions, cures, or policy adjustments. It’s not what they do.

    10. James Annan Says:

      Of course they won’t be “hideously ill”. This is just silly hype and scaremongering. In fact it’s not even hype, it is just pure make-believe. At worst it might be barely possible to detect a statistically significant change in the background rate of some cancers, but even that is far from certain.

    11. fly Says:

      @Jim “The solution at Chernobyl was enforced evacuation. Unfortunately, the Japanese seem to be making an emotional response to ‘reclaiming their land’ (all 3% of it) at any financial and health costs, rather than being practical and realistic in dealing with the effects of radiation.”

      Isnt it ironic that a Soviet dictatorship-albeit it a progressive one under Gorby- makes a more effective, life-saving response than a so-called democracy, blinded by nationalist myths?

      – Perhaps because more authoritarian regimes can make more decisive moves. It’s good when they’re good decisions, but…

    12. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @James Annan,

      ‘This is just silly hype and scaremongering.’

      How would you know?

      Are you an expert in the field of radiation, currently conducting your own independent research on the ground in Tohoku?

      Even the best scientific minds, who are specialists in this field, are split on the issue, so I don’t see how a lay person be make such absolute comments. 500 hundred years ago, would you have agreed that the sun went around the earth? That was the majority belief, and those who disagreed were derided as being mad and unscientific.

    13. AJ Says:

      I might be guilty of hyperbole, but these issues are real. The governing bodies in question have their heads in the sand, on an issue that could very well lead to a strong jump in cancer rates, especially for the temp workers in these plants (I read an article yesterday that I’ll post soon on that issue) the young, and the unborn.

      I watched a parent slowly die of cancer pal. It’s hideous. Period. Something needs to be done to prevent even one more case of it due to this disaster. And yesterday.

    14. James Annan Says:

      Jim,

      No, I’m a scientist who knows how to read and learn. There are no experts with any credibility who foresee anything more than a very small threat. Radiation has been around for a lot longer than humans, and such low doses really don’t have much effect.

      – To answer the complaints you keep sending me in private, this is the reason why your comments to Debito.org keep getting edited — you just keep making these summary assertions without links or sources. You have a whole blog you could refer us to, where I’m sure you’ve taken this up and have made your case to your satisfaction. So at least send us a link to an evidentiary page. Just coming here and just briefly claiming something is just so does not make it so, nor does it convince people that it is so. You’re a scientist, so follow your own example and help us read and learn.

    15. AJ Says:

      Jim, you might be a scientist and might know better than I about nuclear science and it’s effects. But your last post came of extremely condescending. If you’re going to make comments like that, back it up with some evidence to reinforce your argument.

      Anyway, my move. I managed to dig up the article I want you to read if you haven’t already. These men are being put at unnecessary risk of a hideous disease and a hideous death by a system political and economic that regards them as expendable.

      http://mobile.latimes.com/p.p?m=b&a=rp&id=1279174&postId=1279174&postUserId=7&sessionToken=

      And I’ve seen nothing to indicate that they intend to be any more competent or vigilant at protecting the health and wellbeing of the general populace.

      Say it isn’t so. (With links or quoted evidence James)

      – And not for too many posts, please. Keep it brief and concise. Let the links do the talking but give us a brief summary of each. Remember, we’re talking more about the system as it stands than the science.

    16. Eamon Watters Says:

      Considering your message to James, can we have references from Jim DiGriz regarding this:

      Even the best scientific minds, who are specialists in this field, are split on the issue, so I don’t see how a lay person be make such absolute comments. 500 hundred years ago, would you have agreed that the sun went around the earth? That was the majority belief, and those who disagreed were derided as being mad and unscientific.

      I wish to know who the ‘best scientific minds are’.

    17. James Annan Says:

      Debito, there is a whole internet full of this obvious stuff. It is really well known. Here is NHK:

      http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/20111213_25.html

      and note that the threshold for any detectable health effect at all is 100 millisieverts, three times higher than the most contaminated person measured in that large survey (who actually worked in the power station), and a couple of orders of magnitude higher than most. At 100mSv, the elevated cancer risk is estimated to be about 1% – but it’s difficult to get an exact value precisely because the value is so low, it is hard to detect. At lower doses, the most pessimistic assumption is that the risk decreases proportionately, though there may be a threshold below which there really is no effect – there is basically no way of measuring the effect, as it is so small. For a smoker versus non-smoker, the increase in risk is about 15 percentage points (and there are other serious effects besides cancer, of course). Just some perspective for your readers. Now, this does not excuse TEPCO or the Govt, but it does place the true threat in its proper context.

      I think you do your readers a dis-service when you censor me and feed your readers a diet of exclusively ill-informed exaggeration. You didn’t ask for any evidence to support the nonsense claim of generations being hideously ill…

      – Alright, fair enough. But I am willing to accept the default that radiation as a whole is not good for you (mountains of evidence, from the Curies to the first atomic bombings on down, support that), so it’s a matter of degree about how much exposure there is before it’s bad for you. When you say that there is no danger, the burden of proof here is on you. I’m not willing for it to be dismissed as, to use your words, a “nonsense” (given your history of a worse-than-dismissive attitude of, essentially, “shut up, already” you’ve demonstrated in your past comments to Debito.org). Don’t like that apparent bias towards you as a poster? Sorry. Feel free to post your attitude on your own blog.

    18. bill Says:

      @ James Annan

      You appear to argue that hype and scaremongering are bigger problems than systemic GOJ ineptness and obfuscation, and appeal to science. But I wonder if anyone anywhere has ever written anything more scientifically meaningless than “radiation has been around for a lot longer than humans.”

      – He’s right; it has, of course. But that’s not what the debate here is about. Further, James’s tone of disdain for people with whom he doesn’t agree, making sweeping comments without evidence unlike a man of science (while heaping scorn on people unlike a man of civil debate), is why I’ve decided to moderate him more closely. Now back on topic, everyone, please.

    19. AJ Says:

      James, please read the article I posted above, I’m convinced you didn’t. those temp workers are surely in danger of some serious effects to their health as a result if irresponsible and careless exposure of them to radiation? Certainly a heightened risk compared to other workers.

      If one of them gets cancer, it’s one too many.

      And who knows about the rest of us? Really? Who do we believe when there’s clear evidence of hiding of facts and fudging of numbers about what’s safe and what’s not. Trust the government? I think not. If you are indeed a scientist with a background in this stuff, I’d be more inclined to trust you.

      But these temp workers being sent in there, they are probably screwed I think.

    20. AJ Says:

      Quote the LA times article;

      “Temp workers at the Fukushima plant in 2010 (2010!!!!!!) also faced radiation levels 16 times (96% of harmful radiation absorbed by workers) higher than did employees…of TEPCO, because contractors are called in for the most dangerous work, according to the government’s industrial safety agency.”

      It staggers me that nothings been being done about this pre 3-11. But it stinks of a government not taking a serious workplace safety issue into consideration at all. They don’t care, or aren’t willing to do anything about it. I’m inclined to believe it’s the former given that the LA Times was able to access this data.

      Its even more alarming in light of the clear govt obfuscation we have seen since 3-11.

      If it was that bad for these temp guys before, imagine what they’re being exposed to now?

    21. Anonymous Says:

      Gunma University Professor Yukio Hayakawa
      http://kipuka.blog70.fc2.com/

      Check out the calculation of Fukushima μSv/h = Chernobyl μSv/h
      http://blog-imgs-26-origin.fc2.com/k/i/p/kipuka/CHER22.jpg

      James Annan, what are you going to say if it turns out you were wrong?
      I doubt you’ll apologize to those with cancer, you’ll probably make excuses.
      “Well, uh, at the time I wrote those posts, it appeared to me that it was safe.”

      MEXT has measured over 1μSv/h over 100km away from Fukushima (Nasushiobara-Shi) already.
      http://www.nnistar.com/gmap/fukushima.html

      Are you really claiming that living in over 1μSv/h is safe? Post scientific proof of that pal.
      Better yet, how about some experimental observation: move to Nasushiobara, show us it’s “safe”!

      – Now let’s get back on track and relate comments back to this blog entry topic.

    22. James Annan Says:

      – NB from the editor. I found this comment in the spam folder. I apologize to the author for the delay. Arudou Debito

      AJ, I agree that some of the temp workers are poorly treated and probably subject to a significant risk. That’s a far cry from the general population being measurably affected. Even if you don’t trust the Govt figures, there are lots of people looking for contamination across the country and basically finding very low levels – even when safety thresholds are met or exceeded, these are still set at very conservative levels. I’m happy that people are checking these things, but when I eat a Fukushima peach, the risk of choking on the stone vastly exceeds the risk of radiation-related harm. And don’t get me started on mochi, especially in ozoni :-)

      Listen guys (and girls), I agree that TEPCO and the Govt are culpable and have been incompetent in various ways. But that doesn’t actually mean there is a significant risk to the general population from the situation. To those who say “one cancer is too many”, I seriously doubt they make the same (unrealistic) demands of power from coal-fired stations (coal has substantial radioactivity), or their consumption of pickles and salt in their food – there’s a good reason why Japanese stomach cancer rates are among the highest in the world (of course, the diet is extremely healthy in other ways, which just goes to show that there are always trade-offs and absolutist positions are rarely reasonable).

      http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=coal-ash-is-more-radioactive-than-nuclear-waste
      http://www.nature.com/bjc/press_releases/p_r_jan04_6601511.html
      http://www.live-in-green.com/health_info/problematic_food/carcinogenic/pickled.html

    23. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @Eamon Watters

      I guess you didn’t actually read the articles Debito used to start the thread. Let me show you this;

      ‘And Tomoya Yamauchi, the radiation expert from Kobe University who performed tests in Fukushima City after extensive remediation efforts, found that radiation levels inside homes had dropped by only about 25 percent. That left parts of the city with levels of radiation four times higher than the recommended maximum exposure.

      “We can only conclude that these efforts have so far been a failure,” he said.’

      Is that enough of a radiation experts expert opinion for you? If you are better qualified than Yamauchi sensei, and have conducted your own research in Fukushima, by all means share the data with us.

    24. Eamon Watters Says:

      As for Yamauchi Sensei’s expertise Jim – funnily enough my basic qualifications match his. I wonder about the lack of actual data in his quote, and looking at his CV (http://www.maritime.kobe-u.ac.jp/faculty_and_staff_e/faculty/yamauchi_e.html) I fail to see where his expertise on the effects of radiation on the human body come from – he has no apparent qualifications in the biological sciences or medicine.

      -– This is the last time I’m asking — please also relate this back to the topic of this blog entry when you comment.

    25. debito Says:

      Gov’t admits nuclear substances found in waste, unreported to IAEA
      (Mainichi Japan) December 15, 2011
      http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/national/news/20111215p2g00m0dm145000c.html?mid=553

      TOKYO (Kyodo) — The Japanese government admitted Thursday that nuclear substances have been found in the waste of domestic facilities subject to International Atomic Energy Agency inspection, but left unreported to the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

      Top government spokesman Osamu Fujimura said in a news conference that the matter will be reported to the IAEA soon, but did not say how much nuclear material was involved.

      The chief Cabinet secretary said an investigation last year of records led to the discovery of nuclear substances that were unaccounted for in waste at the Japan Atomic Energy Agency’s Oarai Research and Development Center in Ibaraki Prefecture.

      The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology then conducted a probe in August of nuclear energy facilities subject to the IAEA’s safeguard program and also found nuclear substances unaccounted for in facilities other than the agency’s.

      “Based on investigation so far, most nuclear substances have been properly managed as waste, and from that perspective, there is no problem in safety management,” Fujimura said.

      He added that the matter is still being investigated.

      Senior government officials earlier said Japan has begun discussing with the IAEA about the discovery of unaccounted-for or unreported enriched uranium and plutonium in large quantities of nuclear waste disposed of by Japanese facilities.

      Under its safeguards system, the IAEA promotes the peaceful use of nuclear energy and the prevention of nuclear material being used in weapons. It verifies declarations made by nations about their nuclear materials and activities.

      Japan’s safeguard agreement with the IAEA came into force in 1977.

      ENDS

    26. debito Says:

      Japan’s ‘nuclear gypsies’ face radioactive peril at power plants
      By John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Times, Courtesy of AJ
      Sun Dec 4 2011 12:00 AM
      http://articles.latimes.com/2011/dec/04/world/la-fg-japan-nuclear-gypsies-20111204

      Reporting from Namie, Japan– Kazuo Okawa’s luckless career as a “nuclear gypsy” began one night at a poker game.

      The year was 1992, and jobs were scarce in this farming town in the shadow of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. An unemployed Okawa gambled and drank a lot.

      He was dealing cards when a stranger made him an offer: manage a crew of unskilled workers at the nearby plant. “Just gather a team of young guys and show up at the front gate; I’ll tell you what to do,” instructed the man, who Okawa later learned was a recruiter for a local job subcontracting firm.

      Okawa didn’t know the first thing about nuclear power, but he figured, what could go wrong?

      He became what’s known in Japan as a “jumper” or “nuclear gypsy” for the way he moved among various nuclear plants. But the nickname that Okawa disliked most was burakumin, a derisive label for those who worked the thankless jobs he and others performed.

      Such unskilled contractors exist at the bottom rung of the nation’s employment ladder, subjecting themselves to perilous doses of radioactivity.

      Solicited from day labor sites across the country, many contractors are told little of the task ahead.

      “The recruiters call out their windows that they have two days of work; it’s not unlike the way migrant farm workers are hired in the U.S.,” said Kim Kearfott, a nuclear engineer and radiation health expert at the University of Michigan.

      “Many are given their training en route to the plant. They’re told: ‘Oh, by the way, we’re going to Fukushima. If you don’t like it, you can get off the truck right now.’ There’s no such thing as informed consent, like you would have in a human medical experiment,” she said.

      After an earthquake-triggered tsunami deluged the Fukushima plant in March, a disaster that cascaded into reactor core meltdowns, activists are calling for better government regulation of what they call the nuclear industry’s dirtiest secret.

      For decades, they say, atomic plants have maintained a two-tiered workforce: one made up of highly paid and well-trained utility employees, and another of contractors with less training and fewer health benefits.

      Last year, 88% of the 83,000 workers at the nation’s 18 commercial nuclear power plants were contract workers, according to Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, a government regulator.

      A study by the Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center, a Tokyo-based watchdog group, found that contractors last year accounted for 96% of the harmful radiation absorbed by workers at the nation’s nuclear power plants. Temporary workers at the Fukushima plant in 2010 also faced radiation levels 16 times higher than did employees of the plant’s owner-operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., because contractors are called in for the most dangerous work, according to the government’s industrial safety agency.

      “This job is a death sentence, performed by workers who aren’t being given information about the dangers they face,” said Hiroaki Koide, an assistant professor at Kyoto University’s Research Reactor Institute and author of the book “The Lie of Nuclear Power.”

      Okawa, who was off work from the plant the day of the tsunami, immediately quit the job and the “suicidal work” he performed there: mopping up leaks of radioactive water, wiping down “hot” equipment and filling drums with contaminated nuclear waste.

      He described an unofficial pecking order at most nuclear plants among contractors, with the greenest workers often assigned the most dangerous jobs until they got enough experience to question the work or a newer worker came along.

      “In the beginning, you get a little training; they show you how to use your tools,” said Okawa, 56. “But then you’re left to work with radiation you can’t see, smell or taste. If you think about it, you imagine it might be killing you. But you don’t want to think about it.”

      Okawa, a small man with powerfully built hands, said contractors knew they faced layoff once they reached exposure limits, so many switched off dosimeters and other radiation measuring devices.

      “Guys needed the work, so they cut corners,” he said. “The plant bosses knew it but looked the other way.”

      Now the Fukushima plant needs its temporary workers more than ever, to help Tokyo Electric Power Co. engineers shut down the stricken reactors for good. The “gypsies” are being paid salaries several times higher than before the accident, says Okawa, who says he was offered $650 a day to return to work at Fukushima after the reactor meltdowns there.

      On a recent day, hundreds of contractors milled about an abandoned soccer complex near the Fukushima plant that Tokyo Electric Power Co., known as Tepco, has transformed into a nuclear-worker locker room and debriefing center. Men waited in line to pick up dosimeters and disposed of dirty clothes from a just-completed shift. Buses packed with blank-faced workers ran continuously between the center, known as J-Village, and the plant a few miles away.

      Tepco defended its worker training, which “includes basic knowledge of protection against radiation, such as how to manage radiation doses or how to put on and take off protective suits and other equipment,” said Mayumi Yoshida, who works in the utility’s corporate communications office.

      But nuclear experts point to what they call a lax safety culture that downplays the risk of radiation exposure.

      “What’s troubling is that both the utilities and the government are saying there isn’t a problem, while we know the doses these workers are being subjected to [are] quite high,” said Kristin Shrader-Frechette, a professor of radiobiology and philosophy at Notre Dame University.

      After the Fukushima disaster, the government raised the annual limit for allowable radiation exposure from 200 millisieverts to 250 for nuclear plant workers, Shrader-Frechette said.

      Meanwhile, the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation has warned that exposure to just 30 millisieverts a year can cause cancer. “The government is allowing workers to receive more than seven times that amount,” she said.

      Tepco says it monitors radiation absorption rates among workers, who are not allowed to exceed government-set limits.

      Since the start of Japan’s nuclear boom in the 1970s, utilities have relied on temporary workers for maintenance and plant repair jobs, while providing little follow-up health training, activists say.

      “Typically, these workers are only told of the dose they get from an individual or daily exposure, not the cumulative dose over the time they work at a particular plant,” said Shrader-Frechette. “As they move from job to job, nobody is asking questions about their repeated high doses at different sites. We’re calling for a nuclear dosage tracking system in Japan and other nations.”

      Activists say utilities rely on a network of contractors, subcontractors and sub-subcontractors to supply those who work for short periods, absorb a maximum of radiation and are then let go.

      Hiroyuki Watanabe, a city councilman in Iwaki, just south of the Fukushima plant, said past medical tests on plant contractors who had become sick did not produce a definite link to radiation exposure. Still, he thinks the utilities should be more forthright about the dangers such workers face.

      “It’s wrong to prey on the poor who need to feed their families,” he said. “They’re considered disposable, and that’s immoral.”

      No matter what people called him, Okawa is proud of the work he performed for his nation’s nuclear industry. He labored among teams of men who every day faced incredible risks without complaint.

      Yet his scariest work had nothing to do with radioactive exposure. “I stood atop a building once, seeing the danger with my own eyes,” Okawa said. “That’s the way many guys felt about radioactivity: You had to see the danger to fear it. We never saw it.”
      ENDS

    27. Eamon Watters Says:

      The year was 1992

      “In the beginning, you get a little training; they show you how to use your tools,” said Okawa, 56. “But then you’re left to work with radiation you can’t see, smell or taste. If you think about it, you imagine it might be killing you. But you don’t want to think about it.”

      So in 1992 Okawa was 37, and now almost two decades of exposure to have apparently not lead to any problems worth reporting.

      Meanwhile, the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation has warned that exposure to just 30 millisieverts a year can cause cancer.

      And no reference to this can be found on UNSCEAR’s website: http://www.unscear.org/

    28. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @Eamon Watters

      ‘I fail to see where his expertise on the effects of radiation on the human body come from’.
      You’ll have to excuse me, I am not responsible for your failures.

      @James Annan

      ‘I’m a scientist who knows how to read and learn.’
      There are many kinds of scientists, just as there are many kinds of doctors. For example, I am a doctor, but I guarantee you that you would not be content to let me perform a medical procedure (of any kind) on you.

      Again (and for the last time), I am asking James Annan and Eamon Waterrs; Are you are specialists in radiological contamination? Have you taken first-hand measurements in Fukushima since March 11th 2011?
      N.B. Both questions should be answered by simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’, for the sake of clarity.

      – This is devolving to the level of sniping (started, I might note, by the sniping scientists, who have not stayed on point). Finish up this line of questioning and let’s move on.

    29. Loverilakkuma Says:

      GOJ’s ineptness and obfuscation are nothing new. As a resident of Japan(yes, I am a Japanese), I have been so annoyed–and pissed off–at their inability for many years that I always wanted to scream like, “you are the worst democratic nation among all G8 countries!!!” There are so many things in the list that describes the depravity of Japan’s civilization–graft, bribery, political gaffe, false labeling, account/medical fraud, information leakage/cover-up police brutality, racial profiling, etc. These are what people have witnessed in Japan for so many years prior to, and even after, 03/11. The most frustrating part in a forever-lasting corrupted J-system is that they just simply take it to a stride until the things get winding down. They are unwilling to learn from their past mistakes, refuse to admit their problems within the system, and use and abuse all the available resources to divert us away from the truth by keeping the citizens uneducated and undisciplined for another half century.

      This is how I feel about my home country. They still had a hope to recover from the disgrace in the 1990s. But, to be honest, the way the J-government handle the things after 03/11 tells me that Japan is getting far worse than it was but 10 years ago or even before that. I am not expecting the re-emergence of the Bubble Era. Are we heading into the Lost Decade III? I’m not even sure if I could call Japan my home in the future.

      The era you came to Japan for the first time had nothing to do with my education at a Japanese school. It’s just another chimerical idea for the people to realize such a dream–right now. The country needs a savior, which is free of administrative, institutional, and cultural constraints.

    30. Anonymous Says:

      The link to the calculation of Fukushima μSv/h = Chernobyl μSv/h is currently down,
      but since I already had downloaded the file, I’ll upload it for you all to see here:

      http://i.imgur.com/1BZ2k.gif

      This relates to how bad GOJ ineptness and obfuscation re Fukushima fiasco is getting
      because Japan needs to do what Chernobyl did: Entomb Fukushima Daiichi in concrete now.

    31. AJ Says:

      Eamonn, cancer is a disease whose effects can come along years later after lying dormant in the human Petrie dish.

      Take my mothers case. Took an experimental radiation treatment in the 80s to treat a skin condition that eventually led to skin cancer that would kill her 20 plus years later. So don’t be so disingenuous.

      There’s no direct reference to the 30 millisevert a year risk level? The article is from the LAT. I think they’d have a source to back up the claim.

      The issue here at it’s core is, who do you trust? The government that know temp workers are being exposed to 15 times the radiation of FT TEPCO employees? The LA times? Or the guy who says, hey, I’m a scientist, trust me, they’ll all be fine. For you and James, as with the government, saying it, and believing it, doesn’t make it true.

    32. Eamon Watters Says:

      Jim@27

      @Eamon Watters

      ‘I fail to see where his expertise on the effects of radiation on the human body come from’.

      You’ll have to excuse me, I am not responsible for your failures.

      You provide a link to part of the answer further down – Yamauchi Sensei has no track record in investigating radiological contamination, and has no apparent expertise in the effects of radiological contamination.

      There are many kinds of scientists, just as there are many kinds of doctors. For example, I am a doctor, but I guarantee you that you would not be content to let me perform a medical procedure (of any kind) on you.

      And I too am a doctor.

      Again (and for the last time), I am asking James Annan and Eamon Waterrs; Are you are specialists in radiological contamination?

      No, not a specialist. Have experience with irradiation pertaining to medical implants from my doctorate, have experience with radiation from my Physics degree.

      Have you taken first-hand measurements in Fukushima since March 11th 2011?

      No.

      N.B. Both questions should be answered by simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’, for the sake of clarity

      Seeing that the first question is subjective, as you will claim Yamauchi Sensei is a specialist, I cannot in all honesty comply with your request.

    33. Eamon Watters Says:

      AJ@30

      Eamonn, cancer is a disease whose effects can come along years later after lying dormant in the human Petrie dish.

      I know.

      Take my mothers case. Took an experimental radiation treatment in the 80s to treat a skin condition that eventually led to skin cancer that would kill her 20 plus years later. So don’t be so disingenuous.

      I’m sorry to hear about your mother – but as for being disingenuous, I was just pointing out that the only person referenced in that article was apparently well, despite working in what was described as a suicidal job. Scientifically not a valid sample – but there is little of validity in the article.

      There’s no direct reference to the 30 millisevert a year risk level? The article is from the LAT. I think they’d have a source to back up the claim.

      Seeing how newspapers regularly mangle science, no, I’m not confident they’d have a reliable source. You would think there’d be a link to such an important risk on the UNSCEAR website?

      The issue here at it’s core is, who do you trust? The government that know temp workers are being exposed to 15 times the radiation of FT TEPCO employees? The LA times? Or the guy who says, hey, I’m a scientist, trust me, they’ll all be fine. For you and James, as with the government, saying it, and believing it, doesn’t make it true.

      Actually, I don’t trust the government – and I think the way temp workers are abused all over Japan is a disgrace. I do not trust the LA Times on this particular article – as they’ve provided no solid facts. I agree with James that it would be statistically impossible to discern any cancer in this case.

    34. AJ Says:

      We are asking you to provide some evidence for your assertions Eamonn.

      Just because there isn’t a link on UNSCEAR website doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

      – Alright, we’ll let Eamon have the last word, and then I’m closing down this thread.

    35. Eamon Watters Says:

      Here you are AJ.

      The LA Times article says: “Meanwhile, the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation has warned that exposure to just 30 millisieverts a year can cause cancer.”

      In the UNSCEAR 2010 Report (http://www.unscear.org/docs/reports/2010/UNSCEAR_2010_Report_M.pdf) we have this statement on page 8:

      “Statistically significant elevations in risk are observed at doses of 100 to 200 mGy and above”

      Now the UNSCEAR generally uses Grays as their radiation unit, as it expresses the dose absorbed. Now the Sievert, what we’re used to seeing, is a measure of the activity of the radiation source, both are generally equivalent i.e. 1 Gray = 1 Sievert. So, with the direct relationship between the Gray and the Sievert that reads “100 to 200 milliSieverts”. That’s three to six times the figure stated in the LA Times.

      Note this is in agreement with James’ statement at 17. On the subject of James – I am also in full agreement with his post at 22.

    36. AJ Says:

      Fair enough.

      Still, there’s people being exposed to radiation levels working in the disaster zone that could be at far higher levels, and extra unnecessary exposure of civilians, even schoolchildren in some cases, that’s essentially undocumented and unmeasured by the authorities, legislators, scientists and unions. One case is too many.

    37. Curious Says:

      Dr. John W. Gofman, the originator of the LNT model (currently in use in Japan for determining legal limits) is quite adamant that ionizing radiation causes damage at any dose.
      His research has shown “that carcinogenesis from ionizing radiation does occur at the lowest conceivable doses and dose-rates.”

      http://www.ratical.org/radiation/CNR/RIC/

      To say that there are no peer-reviewed researchers who agree with that sentiment is erroneous. There is no current scientific consensus on the harmful effects of low-dose ionizing radiation exposure.

      Enjoy the ongoing radiation experiment that is today’s Japan.

    38. Eamon Watters Says:

      Curious@37

      but we also have to acknowledge that Dr. Gofman’s basic calculations proved very erroneous. Using his theory he predicted that we’d see 333 extra cancer deaths in the area around Three Mile Island – that was never seen.

      Reference: The forward to Dr Gofman’s 1979 edition of his book, Poisoned Power. Available at http://www.ratical.org/radiation/CNR/PP/Foreward1979.html

    39. Curious Says:

      Whether 333 extra cancer deaths was seen or not is not something easily proven one way or another.
      In the forward you linked, Dr. Gofman writes:

      “However, we shall never know exactly how many people will die of premature cancer and leukemia from the Three Mile Island accident because in the critical first few days there were no radiation monitors in many of the areas where people live.”

      Even if it were statistically possible to prove there was no harm from the Three Mile Island accident, it certainly does not take away anything from the fact that there is no current scientific consensus on the harmful effects of low-dose ionizing radiation exposure. I’m sorry, but your link is a red herring at best.

      I’m curious: Why is it the medical practitioners are the first to jump on the ‘radiation is safe’ bandwagon? Is it because you deal with death and cancer so often? Or is it because radiation is used in so many medical machines and treatment, MD’s are desensitized to the inherent dangers?

    40. Curious Says:

      Interesting study:

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3075914/

      It demonstrates via a meta-analysis of in-vivo studies that “chromosome damage is associated with low levels of radiation exposure.” And “chromosome damage is associated with an increase in cancer risk.” Simply: low level radiation exposure can cause cancer (among other problems.)

      I’m surprised that it’s necessary to have further studies to tell us this obvious fact. But I suppose someone will pop out yet another industry-funded new study to say radiation is good for you. (The last one to try that was the US Department of Energy. http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/RS_New_data_on_low_dose_radiation_2112111.html )

    41. Charuzu Says:

      Interesting article:

      http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120106f1.html

      that indicates that:

      “The domestic {Japanese] robot industry, in fact, had stopped working on ways to shield robots from extreme radiation around 10 years before the Fukushima crisis, and manufacturers and institutes were caught completely off guard, experts said.”

      In a country that had a stated policy of encouraging nuclear power, that is remarkable.

    42. chernoblesse oblige Says:

      “In October, a U.S. study – co-authored by oceanographer Ken Buesseler, a senior scientist at the non-profit Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Mass., – reported Fukushima caused history’s biggest-ever release of radiation into the ocean – 10 to 100 times more than the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe.” http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/After%2BFukushima%2Bfish%2Btales/5994237/story.html#ixzz1jfk19Yl6

      Fukushima already ten times worse than Chernobyl just with what went into the ocean waters, suggests data. Saturday, June 11, 2011 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer. http://www.naturalnews.com/032678_Fukushima_ocean.html#ixzz1P1ShowKB

      What can you say about Japan’s disaster? Because it is on porous sedimentary rock and landfill, they can’t even stop the radiation with a sarcophagus. Some of the fuel is MOX 2,000,000 more deadly than fuel from uranium. And there is 400 times as much fuel as Chernobyl. And, are there even more meltdowns in Japan?

      There are enough hot particles from Fukkushima Daiichi alone to kill every person on earth 4,000 times.

      If Chernobyl released only 3% of the total amount of nuclear fuel contained, and it released all noble gases, what is the equivalent at Fukushima, which supposedly also released all of its noble gases, with 20 TIMES more nuclear inventory.

      According to one expert who actually included the #3 reactor and spent fuel pool blowing up, :”under the Conservative Estimate, and using .89% Plutonium per Table 1, this would be 640 pounds of Plutonium aerosolized.” It only takes about 200 pounds of plutonium dust distributed globally to kill everyone on the planet. This very dangerous radioactive plutonium release has been totally covered up, with very good reason.

      Of course, this radioactive air release is still going on, despite claims of ‘cold shutdown’. TEPCO does not know where the melted through 65 ton corium blobs are from ANY of the other Fushima Daichi reactors 1-5. ALL spent fuel pools and reactors are OPEN TO THE AIR, and some are melted down either partially or completely, which means radiation is coming out of melted corium, ongoing criticalities, etc.

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