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Experts doubt lifting of Japan food ban

Concerns linger about imports from nuclear radiation area
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Quarantine officers inspect king crabs imported from Japan in Taicang, East China’s Jiangsu Province in December 2016.
The curbs on imports of Japanese food produced in areas hit by the country’s nuclear crisis will not be easily relaxed or lifted, and Chinese consumers won’t accept such imports given food safety concerns, experts said.
 
The comments came after reports in the Japanese media said that China will probably relax import restrictions on Japanese food that were put in place after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, signaling an improvement in relations between the two countries.
 
A report by Kyodo News Agency on January 1 said that China has proposed talks with Japan on whether to ease or lift an import ban on food from 10 prefectures imposed after the meltdown at the Fukushima No.1 nuclear plant, citing related diplomatic sources.
 
China has offered to set up a working group to discuss the matter in response to a request by a group of Japanese lawmakers led by Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-general of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, who visited Beijing and held talks with the Chinese side about relaxing import restrictions on December 29, 2017, said the Kyodo report.
 
It also noted that Zhi Shuping, head of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), China’s quality watchdog, made the proposal when he met with Nikai that day.
 
The AQSIQ banned imports of food produced in 10 prefectures in Japan including Miyagi, Nagano and Fukushima in 2011, amid fears of radiation contamination following the disaster.
 
The quality watchdog did not reply to a request for comment from the Global Times as of press time. Neither has any official statement from the Japanese side been released.
 
The Kyodo report said the talks were “a sign that the governments of the two countries are looking for ways to mend ties as they mark [in 2018] the 40th anniversary of the signing of the treaty of peace and friendship between Japan and China.”
 
But this view was seen as overly optimistic by some Chinese experts.
 
Chen Zilei, deputy director of the National Association for the Japanese Economy, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the beginning of such talks does not mean an easing or lifting of the ban is imminent.
 
“The beginning of negotiations might signal an improvement in bilateral relations, but we have our own supervision standards and requirements for imported goods, which will not be changed,” Chen said.
 
Besides, Japan needs to publicize the accident-related information in a more open and transparent way in order to address the concerns, Chen said, adding that this would be a prerequisite for carrying out the negotiations.
 
“It is also Japan’s obligation to the international community,” he noted.
 
Many countries and regions, including China, the US, South Korea, Singapore and the EU, have curbed imports of food products from areas near the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant over fears of potential contamination, although some have recently eased their restrictions.
 
The EU has decided to ease import restrictions on Japan’s farm and marine products, including rice, the Japan Times reported in November.
 
Consumers’ concern
 
Ruan Guangfeng, director of the science and technology department at the China Food Information Center, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the radiation in the areas near Fukushima has returned to the level before the disaster happened, according to the related data.
 
“Even if the import ban is lifted, consumers do not need to worry too much, as the import checks will only be stricter,” Ruan noted.
 
However, not all consumers will draw confidence from the scientific conclusion, according to Zhu Danpeng, a food industry analyst.
 
“In terms of the industrial side, there is no big problem based on the efforts of the Japanese government as well as the long time it has taken to restore the situation. However, it is the consumer end, which takes up 80 percent of the importance in the food industry, that plays the key role,” Zhu told the Global Times on Wednesday.
 
“Most consumers have a psychological barrier against accepting food from the nuclear radiation areas,” Zhu said, noting that Japanese seafood has not been very popular in the Chinese market over the past two years, partly due to increasing competition from products from countries such as Denmark, Norway and Canada.
 
“Friends around me have declined to eat any Japanese seafood since the accident took place since you cannot tell whether it is from the radiation-stricken area or not,” he said.
 
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January 11, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , | Leave a comment

China must exercise caution in lifting ban on import of Japanese food

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According to Kyodo News Agency, China and Japan recently held talks on whether to ease or lift the ban on food imports from 10 Japanese prefectures imposed after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, with the Chinese government offering to set up a working group on the issue. There has been no official confirmation from the Chinese side.
 
The earthquake, which rocked Japan in March, 2011, caused a radiation leak from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station after which the Chinese government immediately banned food from Japanese prefectures surrounding the facility. Neither Beijing nor Tokyo has released any statement on lifting the ban, yet the Kyodo News Agency report attracted wide attention.
 
Since Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe returned to power in late 2012, rebuilding people’s confidence in affected areas both at home and abroad has become his major task. During the lower house election in 2014, Abe tasted grilled fish in Fukushima. When Britain’s Prince William visited Japan in 2015, Abe invited him to visit Fukushima and enjoy local food with ingredients from local producers. Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono brought Fukushima peach juice to British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson during his visit to the UK in December 2017.
 
The Abe administration has been proactively promoting the safety of Fukushima food on public occasions, with little success. According to research revealed by the NHK Broadcasting Culture Research Institute in 2016, many people are feeling more anxious about radiation in Fukushima. According to Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, China, the US, Russia, South Korea, Singapore and other countries have kept their bans on importing food produced in some regions or sometimes from the whole country. This has been an awkward reality for Abe’s administration.
 
It remains to be seen whether the working group will be eventually established. But it is an indisputable fact that Abe’s administration has repeatedly requested the Chinese government to lift the ban on food imports over the past few years. For example, during the agricultural vice-ministerial meeting in Beijing in 2016, the Japanese side had hoped that China will remove food import restrictions. However, China did not give any specific reply. When Toshihiro Nikai, secretary general of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party, visited Beijing in December last year, he also expressed his wish of easing the import ban to the head of China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.
 
It can be argued that China is Japan’s primary destination for food exports from affected areas including Fukushima. This is not only because China has a huge market, but also because any Chinese move will be likely followed by other Asian countries.
 
With recent improvements in Sino-Japanese ties, the possibility of setting up a special working group cannot be ruled out. However, even if the group is established, Beijing may not completely lift import restrictions on Japanese food. On the one hand, the key to lifting the ban lies in whether food products from Japan can meet Chinese standards. On the other, Chinese people’s doubts over the food in the affected areas also play a crucial role. Even if imported food from Japan’s disaster-affected region passed Chinese tests, it is not very likely to appear on Chinese dining tables given the distrust of the Chinese public.
 
China and Japan are lately cooperating in a number of fields including economy and politics. Import and export of agricultural products is a vital link in the cooperation trail. According to a Xinhua report in March, some food from Japan’s affected areas was flowing to China via e-commerce platforms, posing a severe safety risk to Chinese consumers. Therefore, when it comes to lifting the ban on food from disaster affected areas, China should exercise caution. Political interaction is important, but people’s well-being is above all.
By Chen Yang Source:Global Times Published
The author is a PhD candidate at the Graduate School of Sociology at Toyo University.

January 9, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , | Leave a comment

Intensifying the Fukushima denial campaign

Not contented with its media strong censorship and its 2013 passed State Secrecy Law discouraging any possible whistleblower inside Japan , Japan’s government is now directing its Fukushima denial propaganda toward the international community, in preparation of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics venue and its numerous visitors to come, and also to encourage its Asian neighbor countries to lift their import restrictions, their radiation contamination tests, for them to buy anew Eastern Japan’s agricultural and marine products.

Its Ministry of Environment has added a new segment to its website on radioactive decontamination in Fukushima Prefecture to promote the ‘understanding of progress’ in Fukushima’s environmental recovery among people residing outside Japan.

The irony is that they have the balls to call one of their programs, the Fukushima Diairies. I think many of you remember that the Fukushima Diary Blog was one of the very few blogs informing us about the Fukushima catastrophe from 2011 to 2016. Especially during the first year, 2011, the blogger, Iori Mochizuki, was the only one bringing out Fukushima news from inside Japan. http://fukushima-diary.com/

 

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New Website Segment on Fukushima Environmental Remediation Updates Content, Offers Overseas TV Shows Produced with MOEJ Cooperation
TOKYO, Dec. 11, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — The Ministry of the Environment, Japan (MOEJ) has added a new segment to its website on radioactive decontamination in Fukushima Prefecture, introducing broadcast programs and events produced with the MOEJ’s cooperation. The main purpose of the new website segment is to promote the understanding of progress in Fukushima’s environmental recovery among people residing outside Japan.
The MOEJ cooperates with the production of select broadcast programs aired overseas to help widely communicate correct information on Fukushima and eliminate misconceptions about the area. The ministry has added this new website segment to allow users to view such programs, free of charge.
Specifically, the MOEJ has so far cooperated with the production of certain programs aired mostly in Southeast Asia on Discovery Channel and CNBC Asia Channel Japan.
To access the new website segment, follow one of the two links below:
– English site
– YouTube (Discovery: English)
(Outlines of the programs)
– Discovery Channel
— Program title: Fukushima Diaries
— Program outline: The 30-minute show was produced by Discovery Channel, the world’s leading documentary channel, with the MOE’s cooperation, and was broadcast throughout the Southeast Asian region and Japan, together containing some 27 million viewing households.
In the show, three bloggers from overseas each visit a different destination within Fukushima Prefecture following their respective interests. They report discoveries and moving experiences they have had respectively in Fukushima. Their themes are varied, including (1) comprehensive conditions of environmental remediation, (2) tourism and food, and (3) technological innovation and development.
– CNBC ASIA (Channel Japan)
— Program outline: The documentary series of four 15-minute episodes on diverse topics related to Fukushima’s environmental recovery was developed and produced by TV-U Fukushima (TUF). The series features key persons who have led Fukushima’s environmental recovery and reconstruction moves in their own respective fields. Watching the stories of their professional and personal commitments, viewers will see great progress in those moves, as well as appreciating the prefecture’s appeals as seen from the respective key characters’ expert viewpoints.
— 3rd & 4th episodes and Highlights version will be broadcast sequentially.
Contents
– Episode 1: How Did Foreign Students Feel About Fukushima?
The storyteller featured in this episode is William McMichael, Assistant Professor, Fukushima University International Center. McMichael covered up close the 21 students from abroad attending the 12-day Fukushima Ambassadors Program held in August 2017 to tell the story of changes in their thoughts and feelings during their stay.
– Episode 2: Meeting Challenge of Revitalizing Fukushima by Younger Generation
Riken Komatsu and Hiroshi Motoki, both leading local efforts to revitalize Iwaki City, Fukushima, are the two storytellers of this episode. Komatsu talks about UDOC, an alternative multipurpose space he opened in May 2011, and the Sea Lab where fish caught close to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant are tested for radioactive concentration. Meanwhile, Motoki discusses the Tomato Theme Park — Wonder Farm, a unique facility he opened in 2016 by combining agriculture and tourism. As they talk, both express positive thoughts about Fukushima’s future.
– Episode 3: Creating a New Fukushima by Robotics
Characters featured in this episode are Koki Watanabe and Yuna Yasura, both engaged in robotics. Watanabe is developing underwater robots capable of moving freely deep in the ocean and exploring narrow passages, while Yasura wearable robots (muscle tools) to assist people’s motion function, both at their local companies in the Hamadori district, Fukushima. The episode focuses on their dedicated professional efforts, as well as their dreams and shared belief that for Fukushima’s true reconstruction, vibrant local industries are necessary to support the local economy.
– Episode 4: Record of Research as a Physicist in Fukushima for 6 Years – Ryugo
Hayano –
Ryugo Hayano, Professor Emeritus at the University of Tokyo, has been involved energetically with Fukushima as a “nuclear physicist who acts” since the calamitous disaster. This episode presents a wide range of Dr. Hayano’s achievements related to recovery from the disaster, including the tweets he began as an expert immediately after the disaster hit, his tests of the Fukushima people’s exposure to radiation and related research, his development of a whole-body radiation counter for children, his joint research with local high-school students and his vigorous communication of related information for audiences both within Japan and without.
SOURCE Ministry of the Environment, Japan

 

 

December 12, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Japanese Government Is Lying to the International Community: the Radiological Situation in and around Fukushima is NOT Safe

A report from NIRS (Nuclear Information and Resource Service, in USA)
The Japanese government has created foreign language websites which provide the information about radiology in general and the radiological situation in Fukushima. Journalists around the world, our friends and acquaintances living abroad are continually asking us whether the information that these Japanese central and local government websites present to the international community is correct or not. The following is our answer.
 
Appeal from a Japanese Anti-nuclear Activist Etsuji Watanabe
Nov.29 2017 Revised (Oct.12 2017)
Etsuji Watanabe: Member of the Japanese anti-radiation citizen-scientist group ACSIR (Association for Citizens and Scientists Concerned about Internal Radiation Exposures)
Special thanks to Mrs Yuko Kato, Mr Ruiwen Song, Ms Nozomi Ishizu, Mrs Kurly Burch, Ms Jennifer Alpern, and Mark Bennett Yuko Kato: Evacuee from Fukushima, member of the Kansai plaintiff group for compensation against TEPCO and government Ruiwen Song: Taiwanese freelance journalist.
The Japanese government has created foreign language websites which provide the information about radiology in general and the radiological situation in Fukushima. Journalists around the world, our friends and acquaintances living abroad are continually asking us whether the information that these Japanese central and local government websites present to the international community is correct or not. The following is our answer.
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[Question 1]
The stories uploaded on these websites give people the impression that worrying about radiation is unnecessary. As for this impression, has Fukushima now really become a safe place to live or visit?
[Answer]
First of all, Japanese anti-nuclear activists and evacuees from contaminated areas in Fukushima and Kanto, have been warning people all over the world NEVER to trust what the Japanese government is saying about both radiology in general and the specific radiological health effects caused by the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster (hereafter Fukushima accident) following the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami on March 11th, 2011.
Prime-minister Shinzo Abe and the Japanese government as a whole including Fukushima prefectural government have repeatedly declared that “with regard to health-related problems (of the Fukushima accident), I (Abe) will state in the most emphatic and unequivocal terms that there have been no problems until now, nor are there any at present, nor will there be in the future.” (Abe’s statement at a news conference). See the Japanese government website here.
This claim is completely fabricated and false. In making these claims, the Japanese government is blatantly ignoring the vast number of studies in radiological sciences and epidemiology that have been accumulating historically. By engaging in this behavior, the Japanese government has been systematically deceiving the public, both nationally and internationally.
Just think of the amount of radioactivity released during the Fukushima accident. As you know, one of the standards used to assess the extent of radioactive releases and longtime human health effects is the levels of cesium 137 (Cs137) released into the environment. Based on the Japanese government data (which is an underestimate), the Fukushima accident released 168 times the Cs137 discharged by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. This amount is almost the equivalent to the total atmospheric nuclear explosions conducted by the United States on the Nevada test ground. The Nevada desert is not designated as a residential area, but the Japanese government has recommended evacuated residents return to live in areas with radiation levels of up to 20 mSv/year. By removing economic support for evacuees, the Japanese government has forced many people who had evacuated from these areas to return.
We estimate that in the Fukushima accident approximately 400-600 times the Cs137 were released into the atmosphere by the atomic bomb blast in Hiroshima. Roughly 20% of the Cs137, or 80-120 Hiroshima-equivalents, were deposited on Japan. Of this, the decontamination efforts have only been able to retrieve five Hiroshima-equivalents. The waste from decontamination efforts is typically stored all over Fukushima mostly in mountainous heaps of large plastic bags. This means that 75-115 Hiroshima-equivalents of Cs137 still remain in Fukushima, surrounding prefectures, and all over Japan.
In addition, the Japanese government is now planning to reuse the retrieved contaminated soil under 8000Bq/kg in public works projects all over Japan. This self-destructive program has now been partially started without any announcements as to where the contaminated soil are and will be reused, under the pretext of “avoiding damage caused by harmful rumors”. This project is tantamount to scattering lethal fallout of Cs137 equivalent to about 5 times that of Hiroshima bomb all over Japan. The Japanese government is literally behaving like a nuclear terrorist.
Do you really imagine that Fukushima prefecture and surrounding areas, contaminated as they are to levels similar to the Nevada test site, is really a safe place for people to permanently live, or for foreign tourists to visit and go sightseeing?
Regrettably, we must conclude that it is not, for either residents or tourists the situation in Fukushima is not safe.
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[Question 2]
These websites also point out that the international annual dose limit for the public is at 1mSv, but this level is easily exceeded by only one CT-scan, insinuating that this 1mSv standard is set too low and thus not a useful indicator.
[Answer]
CT-Scans are often cited as if they had no radiation risks, But this is not true. A recent study clearly shows that every CT-scan (about 4.5mSv irradiation) increases the risk of cancers in children by 24%. See the website here.
In Fukushima the allowable level of radiation per year for residents is now 20mSv. Can you imagine having 4-5 CT-scans every year?
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[Question 3]
One of the websites states: “In Fukushima, the indoor radiation doses are now so reduced that no radioactive cesium can be found in the air. Therefore, no radioactive particles can invade the human body during breathing.” What do you think of this statement?
[Answer]
The Japanese government also ignores the long-term peril caused by “hot particles” ――micron-and- nano-sized radioactive particulates――which, if inhaled or absorbed into the human body, may lead to many kinds of cancers and other diseases including cardiac failure. We should consider internal irradiation to the cells near the radiation sources to be 500 times more dangerous than external irradiation because particles inside the body radiates very near or even inside cells, causing intensive damage to DNAs and other cell organs such as mitochondria.
 
[Question 4]
These websites explain that there exists not only artificial but also natural radioactivity, thus people are living in an environment surrounded by radiation all the time in everyday life.
[Answer]
One of the main tactics that the Japanese government often uses to propagate the “safety of low level irradiation” is to compare artificial radioactivity with natural radioactivity. But this logic is a methodological sleight of hand. It is crystal-clear that even exposure to natural radioactivity has its own health risks. Cancers sickened and killed people long before artificial radioactivity was used. For example, Seishu Hanaoka, one of the founders of Japan’s medicine, carried out 152 breast cancer surgeries from 1804 to 1836.
Both kinds of radioactivity have their own health risks. Risks caused by artificial radioactivity should not be compared but be added to the natural radioactivity risks as they both lead to the accumulation of exposure.
For example, potassium 40 (K40) is a typical natural radioactive nuclide. According to  the Japanese government, the average internal exposure dose for adults from K40 is about 4,000Bq/year or 0.17mSv/year. See the website here (in Japanese).
The ICRP risk model (2007) allows us to estimate the approximate risk posed by K40. The calculation shows that K40 is responsible for approximately 4,000 cancer cases and 1,000 deaths every year. If the same amount of radiation was added to that of K40 in the human body by artificial sources, the cancers and mortalities would be doubled to 8,000 and 2,000 a year, respectively. Based on the ECRR (2010) model, which criticizes the ICRP risk model as a severe underestimate, these figures should be multiplied by 40, reaching 320,000 and 80,000, respectively.
The extract you cite from the Fukushima government website is completely fake: “In Fukushima, the indoor radiation doses are now so reduced that no radioactive cesium can be found in the air. Therefore, no radioactive particles can invade the human body during respiration”. Reports from civic radiation measurement stations refute this claim. For example, dust collecting paper packs of vacuum cleaners used in Iwaki City, Fukushima prefecture, are radiologically measured and 4,800-53,900Bq/kg radioactive cesium was detected in Oct-Dec 2015. See the website here (in Japanese).
 
[Question 5]
One of the websites says that the Fukushima prefecture has conducted whole-body counter screenings of the 170,000 local population so far but cesium was rarely detected.” Does this mean that we can safely consume food from Fukushima, and Fukushima residents are no longer being exposed internally to radiation?
[Answer]
This is a typical example of demagogy by the Japanese government: vague expressions lacking specific data, using the words “safe and secure” without clear explanation. In reality, the government has not publicized any data indicating serious irradiation of the population. For example, you mentioned the Fukushima prefectural government website saying that whole-body counter screenings of 170,000 members of the local population have found radioactive Cs only in very few cases. However, the fact that no specific number is given makes the statement suspicious.
These statistics, more than likely, exclude many firefighters or other municipal employees who, at the time of accident, helped local residents evacuate from a lot of contaminated areas surrounding the defunct Fukushima plant. These people were subjected to serious radiation doses.
Civic groups’ efforts for the disclosure of information has recently prompted city officials near the defunct plant to disclose the fact that it conducted whole-body counter check-ups on about 180 firefighters, nurses and municipal employees. According to Koichi Ohyama, a member of the municipal assembly of Minami Soma, the screening conducted in July, 2011, showed almost all of these people tested positive in Cs. The maximum Cs137 dose among the firefighters was as high as 140,000 Bq. This data reveals a part of the reality of irradiation but it is only a tiny part.
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[Question 6]
The government websites suggest that no health effects from irradiation have been reported in Fukushima. Is this true? Or have any symptoms appeared that indicate an increase in radiation-induced diseases in Fukushima?
[Answer]
One example is the outbreak of child thyroid cancer, but the Japanese government has been denying the relationship with irradiation from radioactive iodine released from the Fukushima disaster.
Japan’s population statistics reflect the health effects from the Fukushima disaster radioactivity. The following data clearly show that diseases increasing in Fukushima are highly likely to have been radiation-induced.
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[Question 7]
The Fukushima prefecture website says, “After the Fukushima accident, the Japanese government has introduced the provisional standards for radioactive iodine and cesium. The Fukushima prefectural government subsequently strictly regulated distribution and consumption of food with levels of radioactivity exceeding the provisional standards. Now we have had this new much stricter standard. The distribution and consumption  of food exceeding this new standard has been continuously regulated; therefore any food on the market is safe to consume.” Is it true?
[Answer]
As for food contamination, the Japanese government has also tried to cover up the real picture. First, the current government standard for radioactivity in food, 100Bq/kg, is dangerously high for human health, especially for fetuses, infants, children and pregnant women. Even six and a half years after the accident, the Agriculture Ministry of Japan as well as many civic radioactivity measurement stations all over the country have reported many food contamination cases, although the frequency is evidently reduced. See the website here.
The Japanese government has underestimated the danger presented by internal irradiation. But, we must consider two important factors. (1) The wide range of difference in personal radio-sensitivity. According to Professor Tadashi Hongyo (Osaka University Medical Faculty), the maximum difference is as wide as 100 times in terms of biological half-life of Cs137. (2) Recent studies denying that the so-called biological half-life decrease curve actually exists. According to the new model, daily food contamination can cause concentrations to accumulate as time passes. Even a daily 1Bq internal radiation dose from food cannot be safe for human health (details below).
Our recommendation is to be cautious of food or produce from Fukushima and the surrounding areas, and, even if contamination levels are said to have now generally decreased, to avoid jumping to the conclusion that all the food is fit to eat.
 
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[Question 8]
We would like to ask about the situations in prefectures surrounding Fukushima. A television program once reported, “As for the safety of Tochigi and Gunma prefectures, few people are raising concern about health effects of radiation.” Is it true that the prefectures somewhat distant from the Fukushima Daiichi plant are now safe with no human risk?
[Answer]
Regarding the radioactive contamination in prefectures surrounding Fukushima, you can refer to the following website.
This article examines the contamination in the Tokyo metropolitan area, but conditions are the same or more serious in Tochigi or other prefectures north of Tokyo, nearer to the defunct Fukushima Daiichi plant.
Another example is the statistics of stillbirth and neonatal mortality in Fukushima and the surrounding five prefectures (Tochigi, Gunma, Ibaragi, Miyagi, Iwate) shown here.
Perinatal mortality in not only Fukushima prefecture but also neighboring prefectures rose 15.6% just 10 months after the accidents. This clearly indicates the existence of some kind of human health damage from radiation.
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[Question 9]
We would like to ask about the decontamination efforts by famers living in Fukushima and neighboring prefectures. Should we think highly of the farmers measuring the amount of radiation deposited on the surface of soil to create radiation maps for farms, or washing the radiation from the surface of every single tree off the radiation with high-pressure washers? The farmers said that while these methods have been shown to be radiologically effective, their produce did not sell well, because consumers are still feeling anxious about health risks. Does the problem of radioactive food contamination in Japan just end up in whether each consumer personally believes it safe or not?
[Answer]
We must raise a question that, despite the government’s decontamination efforts, a huge amount of radioactive materials deposited in mountainous areas remain untouched. Now they are re-dispersing and re-depositing over wide areas of Fukushima and surrounding prefectures via winds, cars, trains, river water, pollen, spores, emissions from incinerators, in the form of radioactive dusts and particulates, among many others. For an example, see the following website.
So I regret to say that, although these farmers’ endeavors you mentioned are very precious and respectable, they are not sufficient to completely eliminate the risk of radiation exposure from food. The problem exists objectively in the nuclear materials deposited on and in soil, algae, plants, houses, buildings, forests, animal and human bodies, not subjectively in the consumers’ sentiment or psychology.
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[Question 10]
Japanese experts have recently pitched a cultivation method that can remove cesium by intensive use of potassium fertilizer. Is this method effective at all? Do you have any doubt about their claims?
[Answer]
They seem to be among those experts who have been criticizing the general public’s tendency to demand “zero irradiation risk” as an obstacle to Fukushima reconstruction.
As you know, cesium (Cs) has chemically similar characteristics to potassium (K). So it is true that higher levels of application of potassium fertilizer lowers the plant’s absorption, and therefore concentration, of radioactive Cs, decreasing Cs137/134 concentrations in produce, often to below the government standard of 100Bq/kg. But the following problems remain: (1) This procedure can prevent Cs transfer from the soil to produce only partly, not completely; (2) This process raises the potassium concentration in the produce and therefore heightens the burdens on certain human organs such as kidneys, the heart and the nervous system, causing new health risks; (3) Heightened concentration of potassium also leads to the heightened concentration of radioactive K40, so the reduced risk of radioactive Cs lead to an increased risk of internal irradiation by K40.
 
[Question 11]
Even if cesium concentration was reduced by applying more potassium fertilizer than usual, strontium contamination would remain. In Japanese government’s international press campaign as to the Fukushima accident, almost nothing has been said about strontium. If you have any information on strontium contamination, let us know.
[Answer]
We regret that the information about strontium that you are asking for is very limited and searching for it is also a challenge for us. The Japanese government and research institutes under the government have reported very limited data regarding strontium contamination. But it is important that the Japanese government admits the fact of strontium contamination within 80km from the defunct Fukushima plant. See the website here.
Did you know that the US Department of Energy data on the strontium contamination of soil in Japan and its visualization (in Japanese)  can be seen on the websites here?
 
[Question 12]
Some Japanese experts say, “the Japanese government has declared that no health effects from irradiation below 100mSv (or 100mSv/year) have been confirmed.” Some farmers have established a private food standard of 20Bq/kg, much lower than the Japanese government standard of 100Bq/kg. Do you think that doses under 100mSv or under 20Bq/kg are safe and secure?
[Answer]
As you mentioned, the Japanese government claims that no scientific studies verify that irradiation of 100mSv or less poses a threat to human health, suggesting that irradiation under 100mSv has no risk. This, however, is false. The government is fabricating this information. In fact, very many scientific studies have already confirmed and proven health effects induced by irradiation under 100mSv. For example, see the websites below.
 
The Japanese government is using the term “100mSv” in a deliberately ambiguous and confusing manner. The expression 100mSv can have three meanings: (1) a one-time irradiation dose, (2) cumulative irradiation doses, or (3) annual irradiation doses. So 100mSv is not the same as, nor equal to the 100mSv/year that you mentioned in parenthesis. The latter amounts to a 1Sv in cumulative dose over 10 years (which is an up to 10% lethal dose), and 5Sv over 50 years (which is a 50% lethal dose). The present government standard for evacuees to return, 20mSv/year, means that living there for 5 years leads to a cumulative dose of 100mSv, at which the Japanese government admits clear health risks.
Regarding 20Bq/kg as some farmers’ private food standard, it is critical to pay serious attention to the extraction process of Cs from tissues. Japanese-Canadian non-organic biochemist Eiichiro Ochiai points out in his book “Hiroshima to Fukushima, Biohazards of Radiation” (2014) that, based on the Leggett model, the Cs concentration injected in tissues at one time diminishes relatively quickly for about 10 days in most tissues. After that, processes slow down, tending to become steady. He writes: the decrease of the overall Cs level in the body does not follow an exponential decay curve (p.83). This means that consecutive intake of Cs, even in very low levels, results in the accumulation of Cs in the body. (Incidentally, Ochiai’s book can be downloaded for free from the website below.)
Regarding the Leggett model, see the website below.
Yuri Bandazhevsky considers over 10Bq/kg of radioactive Cs concentrations in the body to be unsafe because even this low level can possibly cause abnormal electrocardiographic pattern in babies, metabolic disorders, high blood pressure, cataracts, and so on.
Therefore, we can conclude unequivocally that neither the irradiation under 100mSv nor the privately set 20Bq/kg food standard are safe and secure.
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December 1, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Activists call on artists to join protests against 2020 Olympics in Tokyo

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The idea of the Olympics as a sporting event complemented by culture goes back to Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Games. The Olympic Charter also states that the Olympic Movement is composed of sport, culture and education. These elements were often blended, as in the prewar Games that included such events as poetry and painting. From 1912 to 1948, arts competitions were held in parallel with the sporting events, though growing discontent meant this curiously hybrid system was jettisoned in favour of separate arts and cultural festivals held alongside the sports. From Barcelona in 1992, the idea of a Cultural Olympiad took hold, whereby a series of arts and cultural events would be organized during the four-year Olympiad period to culminate with the Games, though this had already happened de facto at past Games.
Now the leading figures in the protest movement against the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have called for an anti-Cultural Olympiad. In the recently published Anti-Olympics Arts Council Statement of Purpose, activists point to the destruction of public housing and eviction of homeless people as part of the preparations for the Olympics in Tokyo. The statement ends with a call to action:
For residents of urban areas, and especially the poor, the Olympic/Paralympic Games are nothing but a huge catastrophe. We, the Anti-Olympic Arts Council, call for you to resist and protest against these mega events. We call on artists, performers, poets, and all that use the arts as their medium—oppose the Olympic Games.
It is often said that artists in Japan have avoided direct political engagement in past decades, preferring more oblique modes of socially engaged practice, though the post-Fukushima zeitgeist has certainly produced some prominent examples of overtly politicized art. The prospect of the Olympics and Cultural Olympiad in 2020, given the geopolitical situation in the region as well as such ongoing major socio-cultural questions as Fukushima, Constitutional change and Japan’s demographic time bomb, necessarily conjure up a dilemma for the arts. How will the arts respond? Will artists protest, ignore, borrow or participate?
 
The most notable and lasting case of an artistic response to the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics is surely Kon Ichikawa’s nearly three-hour documentary film Tokyo Olympiad (1965). Arguably, the Olympics “propaganda” film subverts the brief, focusing on many of the small moments and the ordinary people among the spectators. It starts with the rising sun and then a wrecking ball while the narration enumerates the iterations of the modern Games and their host cities. The Olympics have noble aspirations, as Ichikawa acknowledges from the opening epigraph, but the reality, at least initially, is demolition. It ultimately segues into a somewhat more predictable, yet staggeringly meticulous, hymn to the facilities created for the 1964 sporting events, the participating athletes and the competitions themselves, but the underlying social commentary is more subtle.
The 1964 Olympics were more conspicuously satirised by the art collective Hi-Red Center when its members set about cleaning the streets of Ginza in white lab coats, a stunt intended to mock the city’s attempts to spruce up its appearance ahead of the Games. Recent moves in Japan to expunge pornographic magazines from retail outlets is an indication of the “cleaning” likely to take place prior to 2020.
One of the early projects of Akira Takayama’s theater collective Port B examined both the famous 1964 Games but also Japan’s “phantom Olympics”, the 1940 Games that were canceled due to World War Two. Tokyo/Olympic (2007) was a tour several hours long around the city on a chartered Hato Bus that took in the sites of the 1964 Games, but finished rather unexpectedly at a rather desolate location in Tokyo Bay. Participants could look across the bay to see the artificial island of Yumenoshima (literally, “island of hope”), which was made from the city’s trash, and a projected venue for the abandoned 1940 Games. (See Peter Eckersall, “Memory and City: Port B and the Tokyo Olympics” in Performativity and Event in 1960s Japan: City, Body, Memory, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.) The bay area will play host to many of the venues for the 2020 Games at a time when the government, say its critics, is attempting to steer the nation back towards its prewar past.
The upcoming Olympics in Tokyo have already succeeded in coopting many artists for its pageantry. One of them is the singer Ringo Sheena, though she recently got flamed by liberals for her nationalist comments in a July interview with the Asahi Shimbun in which she declared that “the whole population is the organizing committee” for the Games. “In that sense, it’s very Japanese in its respect for harmony.” No individual opinions are anticipated.
More specifically, the direction and content of the actual 2020 Games’ cultural program is the source of much anxiety in the arts world in Japan, since so little is known. Certain commercially driven artists have been announced as part of the Cultural Olympiad, but firm details are still under wraps. So far what we have been shown has largely consisted of the “Tokyo Caravan” performances, overseen by Hideki Noda, beginning in 2015 and then continuing at Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo’s Roppongi Art Night in 2016. Ostensibly this would qualify the program as an “Olympiad”, even if the events are apparently mere previews without a genuine feeling of sequence or overall curation. Alongside the Roppongi Art Night performance, an event in autumn 2016 “fusing traditional arts and the latest technologies for which Japan is famous”, officially launched the Olympiad as an “ambitious programme of cultural activities”. The veracity of that boast remains to be seen.
It is certainly the case that various celebrities and artists will benefit financially from the Olympics and Cultural Olympic. One of the reasons that Expo ’70 in Osaka was also such an iconic event was the participation of major figures from the arts, though this was not without intense controversy at the time — so much so that an “anti-expo” was held. Now that there is an Anti-Olympics Art Council, perhaps we can expect such a counter-event, an Anti-Cultural Olympiad, in 2020.
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November 25, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Japan Prime Minister Requests ASEAN Nations to Lift Food Import Ban

 The way Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pushing with arrogance Fukushima contaminated produce to Japan’s neighbor nations is no surprise, we can see the influence of his grandfather in the Prime Minister’s own outlook.
The grandfather of current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was as a Class-A war criminal. Nobusuke Kishi, who served for three years as a senior official in the Manchukuo puppet government installed in Shenyang following the invasion. Kishi was initially charged with war crimes but was subsequently cleared of the charges by a Tokyo tribunal. He later rejoined politics and went on to become Prime Minister in 1957.
Mr. Abe is a “revisionist” bent upon denying wartime history, and also rewriting Japan’s pacifist Constitution and reviving militarism.
Mr. Abe, a Conservative politician who took office in December 2012, is attempting to rewrite history and downplay atrocities. Mr. Abe recently angered both China and South Korea – which also faced Japanese occupation – by becoming the first Japanese leader in seven years to visit the Yasukuni Shrine, which honours Japan’s civilian war-dead but also enshrines 14 Class-A war criminals, including officials behind the Nanking massacre.
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Japan has requested ASEAN nations to lift the ban on food import from the country, which was introduced after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident.
MANILA (Sputnik) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in his opening remarks at the ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Commemorative Summit in Manila on Tuesday requested ASEAN nations to lift the ban on food import from the country.
“Incidentally, it has been six years since the Great East Japan Earthquake. I strongly request that import controls on Japanese food to be lifted, based on scientific grounds,” Abe said.
The Japanese prime minister added that Japan would start rice deliveries to Laos and Myanmar again through the APT Emergency Rice Reserve Agreement.
Following the devastating Fukushima nuclear accident caused by a massive earthquake in 2011, many countries around the world, including ASEAN nations, introduced various import restrictions on food produced in certain Japanese prefectures. Some countries have eased such restrictions in recent years.
During his previous remarks at APT summits in recent years, Abe brought up the issue of easing import restrictions on food produced in Japan consistently.

November 14, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | 3 Comments

EU to stop radiation check on Fukushima rice etc.

The European Commission shows that once more it does not give a damn about the health of the European, this time by lifting the restrictions and controls on the Fukushima products, rice, some fishes and seafood!!!

 

The problem is it might not even be clearly labelled  from Fukushima, and most of people in Europe are still quite ignorant of internal radiation thru contaminated produce.
The EU allows Chernobyl area berries and mushrooms to be labeled as organic. Fukushima rice should fit right in .

From November 29, 2016 The harvests of Chernobyl https://aeon.co/essays/ukraine-s-berry-pickers-are-reaping-a-radioactive-bounty

 

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The European Union has decided to lift import control on some agricultural produce and seafood from Japanese prefectures affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident.
Currently, food products from 13 Japanese prefectures remain under control even after gradual easing by the EU. These products cannot enter EU nations without a radiation safety certificate to prove the product is within the EU safety standards.
Starting on December 1st, the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, will phase out the certificate on some products from 10 prefectures.
Those products include rice from Fukushima Prefecture, yellowtail fish, red sea bream, some mushrooms and mountain vegetables. All products from Akita Prefecture will have been cleared.
No restriction on Fukushima rice will mean that rice from other prefectures will no longer need a certificate. Observers say this would encourage rice farmers across the nation to export more.
The Japanese government has been asking the EU to lift restrictions on all the remaining controlled products.

 

November 13, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | 1 Comment

Blanket radiation checks on Fukushima rice under debate

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FUKUSHIMA – Blanket radiation checks on rice produced in nuclear disaster-hit Fukushima Prefecture have come under debate because no rice with radiation exceeding the safety limit has been found in recent years.
Some people, including producers, in the prefecture call for continuing the current system because there are consumers who still avoid Fukushima produce. But the blanket checks are costly and require a lot of manpower.
The prefectural government hopes to decide by year-end whether to change the radiation checks, starting with rice that will be harvested next year, officials said.
The blanket checks were introduced after many parts of the prefecture were contaminated with radioactive substances released because of the 2011 nuclear disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 power plant.
Fukushima rice is put through radiation checks bag by bag before shipment. The safety limit is set at 100 becquerels per 1 kg of rice.
Rice that pass the checks have certification labels attached to the bags before being put through distribution channels.
According to Fukushima officials, the total amount of rice harvested last year and checked by the end of September this year reached 10.26 million bags.
To cover the expenses, the prefectural government collects ¥5 billion from Tepco each year. Some ¥500 million to ¥600 million in personnel expenses are covered with state subsidies.
The prefecture conducted radiation checks on a total of 53.13 million bags of rice harvested between 2012-2016. Total costs reached ¥30.5 billion.
The blanket check system began with the 2012 rice. At that time, 71 of the 867 bags checked exceeded the safety limit. But no such rice was detected at all for the 2014-2016 rice.
As of Oct. 25 this year, radiation levels stood below the minimum detectable level of 25 becquerels for 99.99 percent of the 2016 rice that underwent the checks.
The absence of above-limit rice has led some people to question the blanket check system. The continuance of the system may be making the unintended effect of fueling consumer concern about Fukushima rice, one critic said.
To discuss the fate of the blanket system, the prefecture set up a group with members of agricultural and consumer organizations in July this year.
The group will examine the issue based on opinions from more than 300 local farmers and seven wholesale companies in the Tokyo metropolitan area. It will also conduct an internet survey of 2,000 consumers nationwide.
Hisao Tomita, a farmer working in the city of Fukushima, called for the continuance of the current system even though it is burdensome also to producers.
As long as Fukushima rice is affected by negative rumors, radiation checks should be maintained even if they have to be scaled back, he said.

November 6, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

The Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry urges Taiwan to ease 3/11 food import ban

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TAIPEI – The Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry is urging Taiwan to ease its ban on food imports from five prefectures imposed as a result of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
In its annual white paper released Friday, the Taipei branch of the business group expressed hope that Taiwan will work to join regional economic cooperation agreements and sign a free trade deal with Japan.
“To create an environment conducive to regional participation in economic liberalization, Taiwan must amend regulations that are applied only here and run counter to international practices,” it said.
The chairman of the JCCI’s Taipei branch, Takeshi Yagi, cited two examples: The high tariffs imposed on Japanese rice wines and the ban on food imports from Fukushima and surrounding areas in place since 2011.
Last November, Taiwan was considering easing the import ban in two stages.
In the first stage, while the ban on imports of all food products from Fukushima Prefecture would remain in place, the ban on certain items from nearby Ibaraki, Gunma, Tochigi and Chiba prefectures would be lifted. In the second stage, to be implemented possibly six months later, restrictions would be further relaxed.
But that plan faced strong opposition from the opposition Nationalist Party (KMT), which questioned the government’s ability to ensure the safety of the products. And the government backed away from the plan following revelations that banned food products had nevertheless slipped into the country and been sold.
While the JCCI hopes to see the ban lifted fully, Yagi said it would be happy to see it eased in a phased manner.
On regional economic integration, Yagi said the JCCI is not in a position to comment on how Taiwan’s strained relations with China might impact its bid to join regional trading blocs such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
But the JCCI did urge Taiwan to map out more concrete plans concerning its “New Southbound Policy,” which calls for bolstering relations with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations plus Australia, New Zealand and nations in South Asia.
Regarding purely domestic issues, the JCCI urged Taiwan to amend labor laws, cut red tape and ease rules for foreign investors.
The JCCI began releasing an annual white paper on business issues pertaining to Taiwan in 2009. The report assesses Taiwan’s business climate and summarizes recommendations to the Taiwan government on public policies, legislation and measures that impact Japanese companies’ operations in Taiwan.
Despite the absence of official diplomatic ties, which were severed in 1972, the unofficial relationship between Taiwan and Japan has remained robust. Japan is Taiwan’s third-largest trading partner after China including Hong Kong, while Taiwan is Japan’s fourth-largest trading partner.

November 6, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

WTO panel rules on Korea’s ban on Japanese seafood

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September 28th. Banners and calls for government action at Seoul’s Gwanghwamun Square: “We oppose imports of radioactive, contaminated Japanese seafood.”
 
A dozen civic groups are protesting the lifting of an import ban on Japanese seafood.
“It’s been more than six years since the Fukushima nuclear disaster, but radiation-tainted water is still being released into the sea. If the government lifts the restrictions, contaminated Japanese seafood will enter Korea.”
 
Following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, the Korean government slapped a temporary import ban on Japanese food. It then extended the ban to all fishery products from eight Japanese prefectures around Fukushima in September 2013, citing safety concerns.
 
In mid-2015, Tokyo lodged a complaint with the World Trade Organization against the restrictions.
After several bilateral meetings, a dispute resolution panel was set up in Feburary 2016, and this weekthe WTO panel sent its first dispute resolution report.
 
“Yes, both Seoul and Tokyo received the panel’s interim decision on Tuesday. For now, we cannot reveal the outcome as the concerning party’s duty. The result will be made public next spring, after it’s translated into three languages. What we can say now is that we will take measures if we think the panel’s ruling poses a risk to public health.”
 
In the complaint, Japan argued the Korean government lacked an explanation and scientific proof to back its restriction measures, adding Seoul had failed respond to Tokyo’s requests to answer its questions.
 
“In 2014 and 2015, Korea dispatched experts to conduct inspections in Fukushima. But, according to what I’ve found through information disclosure requests, under pressure from the Japanese government, the team didn’t conduct inspections in deep water, oceanfloor deposits as originally planned. Such inspections are critical to finding levels of contamination.”
 
The inspection team was disbanded in 2015 without a clear reason, and there was no final report on the inspection.
Experts believe it’s highly likely Korea lost the first panel ruling.
Once the outcome is made public next year, Korea has 60 days to hold discussions with Japan, and 15 months of appeal process, if it decides to do so.
 
“The Korean government needs to see how Japan is controlling its radiation tainted water, and conduct a thorough inspection in Fukushima, including of deep seawater, to show the import ban is fair. Secondly, the Korean government needs to take active measures to release whatever the inspection team found in 2014 and 2015 to restore people’s trust.”
 
Importing food is a matter of a nation’s sovereign rights.
A number of other countries, including China, Russia, Singapore and the U.S. all have some sort of import restriction measures, with China banning imports from ten prefectures in Japan, and Russia banning not just fresh seafood, but processed seafood.
Thus, the WTO ruling could have a broader impact and give Japan the basis to claim that food produced in the Fukushima region is 99 percent safe.
 
“There’s no safety level. Food safety standards differ according to the scientific research methods and the machines you use. No matter how small, radioactive material like Cesium, which stays in a natural state for a long time, accumulates in fish. If consumed by people, there’s a possibility it can cause cancer.”
 
Following the import ban in 2011, Japanese seafood imports to Korea have slumped to less than half the level they were at before the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Many Koreans are worried about the possible resumption of seafood imports from Japan.
 
“Then, people won’t be conscious or cautious of food from Fukushima, and I’m worried my child will eat Japanese seafood. The government should protect the public’s health.”
 
“With concerns about radioactive contamination in seafood imports from Japan, and a lack of transparency from the government, the Korean public is calling on the administration to take the necessary measures that guarantee the safety of the nation’s food supply.
Kim Hyesung, Arirang News. ”

 

October 20, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Japan attempting to force contaminated food products onto the market

A World Trade Organization panel has apparently ruled in Japan’s favor in a dispute over South Korean restrictions on imports of Japanese seafood imposed after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Both sides had been informed of the panel’s decision as of Tuesday. Tokyo declined to reveal the outcome but said it was “consistent with Japan’s position.” A final report is expected to be made public by next spring.
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WTO panel said to back Japan on Fukushima fish ban

Tokyo has called South Korean restrictions on seafood imports unfair
GENEVA/SEOUL — A World Trade Organization panel has apparently ruled in Japan’s favor in a dispute over South Korean restrictions on imports of Japanese seafood imposed after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Both sides had been informed of the panel’s decision as of Tuesday. Tokyo declined to reveal the outcome but said it was “consistent with Japan’s position.” A final report is expected to be made public by next spring.
The WTO dispute settlement process lets parties appeal panel decisions. Ryu Young-jin, South Korea’s minister of food and drug safety, told lawmakers in the National Assembly on Tuesday that the country would appeal any ruling against it by the panel “in the interest of public health.”
For Tokyo, a victory would mark progress on rolling back restrictions on imports of fish and other seafood from waters off eastern Japan. The South Korean ban, which Japan claims is unfair under WTO rules, was imposed in 2013. Japan tried and failed to talk the matter out with South Korea in 2015, prompting Tokyo to request the establishment of the dispute resolution panel.
What happens next remains unclear. South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported that the import ban would stay in place until at least 2019.
A number of other countries have imposed similar restrictions on Japanese seafood for fear of radioactive contamination, so the ruling could have a broader impact.

Seoul considers appeal against WTO ruling on Fukushima seafood ban

SEOUL, Oct. 18 (Yonhap) — South Korea is considering appealing the World Trade Organization (WTO) panel findings that its import restrictions on Japanese seafood after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster were unfair, the country’s trade ministry said Wednesday.
Japan lodged a complaint at the WTO in 2015 to challenge South Korea’s import bans and additional testing requirements on fish caught from eight prefectures near Fukushima since 2013.
On Tuesday, WTO’s dispute settlement panel in Geneva ruled in favor of Japan and notified the two sides of the result.
“We will appeal in accordance with the WTO procedures if (its decision) is considered unfair and affects the government’s ability to safeguard the health of our people,” the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said in a release. “Public health concerns are our top priority.”
Under WTO rules, South Korea has 60 days to appeal to an appellate body, which could delay imports of Fukushima-related seafood for another two years during the deliberation period.
Details of the final result will be available to WTO member nations in January and will be open to the public afterwards, the ministry said.

October 20, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

MEPs to raise alarm on Fukushima food imports

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Members of the European Parliament’s food safety committee will vote on a text on Thursday (7 September), raising the alarm over a European Commission proposal to partly relax controls on food imports from Fukushima, Japan, which suffered a nuclear disaster in 2011.

The draft resolution, seen by EUobserver, said “there are sufficient reasons to believe that this proposal could lead to an increase in exposure to radioactive contaminated food with a corresponding impact on human health”.

The MEPs’ text highlighted that, under the commission’s proposal, rice and derived products from the Fukushima prefecture would no longer be subject to emergency inspections. It stressed that one of those products is “rice used in baby food and food for young children”.

The text criticised that the commission’s proposal did not justify why some foodstuffs were taken off the list.

However, the MEPs’ concerns may already be outdated.

Cautious

Danish centre-left MEP Christel Schaldemose, one of the text’s sponsors, spoke to EUobserver on Tuesday over the phone.

“We are completely relying on data from the Japanese side. … We need to be cautious,” she said.

“I wouldn’t say we can’t trust them, but it is worth checking ourselves,” said Schaldemose.

The resolution is an initiative by French Green MEP Michele Rivasi, who has been working on the text since June 2017.

In parallel, Rivasi and two of her Greens colleagues, also asked the commission for an explanation through a written question, on 14 July.

On 22 August, EU commissioner for food safety Vytenis Andriukaitis answered, telling MEPs that the proposed changes are based on publicly available data from the Japanese government.

Andriukaitis included a link to the raw data in a footnote, and said that if MEPs wanted to have a “detailed justification for the proposed changes”, they can get them “by separate mail, upon request”.

According to a commission source, Rivasi will receive this justification after having requested it.

Meanwhile, however, work on the resolution continued, and is now on the agenda for a vote on Thursday.

It received the support from five other MEPs, including two from the two largest political groups in the EU parliament.

Free trade agreement

The parliament’s text, which is non-binding, also mentioned that Japanese exports of rice could increase under the EU-Japan free trade agreement (FTA), which the commission is expected to wrap up this year.

In a briefing which Green MEP Rivasi gave to journalists last July, according to a summary provided by her office, the French politician implied that the proposal on Fukushima was a bargaining chip in the negotiations for the FTA, and called it a “scandal”.

The left-wing Greens are generally critical of FTAs.

Rivasi referred to a remark commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker made following an EU-Japan summit on 6 July.

“I would like to congratulate prime minister Abe on the remarkable progress Japan has made on making products from the Fukushima region safe, following the 2011 accident,” Juncker had said.

“I am confident and I will work into that direction that we will have after the summer break a further lifting of import measures,” he added.

A commission spokeswoman told EUobserver, however, that the proposed changes are based on a thorough analysis.

“The requirement for pre-testing before export is lifted only for food and feed from a prefecture where sufficient data demonstrate that food and feed is compliant in the last growing season with the strict maximum levels applicable in Japan,” she said.

The emergency restrictions were put in place two weeks after the accident happened, and have already been amended five times.

The decision is taken by a so-called implementing act, which only involves the commission and member states, but not the EU parliament.

https://euobserver.com/environment/138902

 

September 7, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Taiwan’s Atomic Energy Council Establishes First Food Testing Lab for Japanese Food Imports

Taiwan communicates on the control of foodstuffs from Japan. I note that these are the same limits, concerning Cesium, in the European Union … (according to the last regulation dated 13/07/2017).
In the EU, it’s been a long time since Iodine 131 is no longer controlled.
The article does not mention “other foodstuffs”, for which the maximum import limit in the EU is 100 Bq / kg.

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AEC lab to test food imports for radiation

The AEC said the new facility can test up to 1,700 samples per month and would run tests on food samples sent by customs offices in northern Taiwan

The Atomic Energy Council (AEC) yesterday announced that it has established the nation’s first food testing laboratory for radioactive contamination in response to calls from civic groups following last year’s public hearings on the issue of Japanese food imports.

The facility is the first of its kind to obtain certification from the Taiwan Accreditation Foundation (TAF), AEC Department of Radiation Protection Director-General Liu Wen-hsi (劉文熙) said.

The council had already been testing food products for radiation, but the new laboratory would be a separate branch entirely dedicated to testing food, Liu said.

Last year, the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s plan to lift a ban on food imports from Japan’s Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki and Chiba prefectures led to a public outcry, amid fears that food from these areas were affected by the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster in March 2011.

At the public hearings, many experts and civic groups questioned the capability of the nation’s ability to detect radioactive contamination in food products.

The council said it receives about 1,400 food samples from the ministry each month and that the new laboratory would be able test up to 1,700 samples per month.

The council received 2,200 food samples in a single month following the Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster, but the monthly average of food samples received for the rest of 2011 was about 1,600, Liu said.

The number of samples sent to the council has not increased significantly over the past few years, the council added.

The new laboratory in Taoyuan’s Longtan District (龍潭) is equipped with five high-purity germanium detectors and employs 12 specialists, increasing resources by one detector and two staff members, Liu said, adding that the laboratory will be testing samples sent by the customs offices in northern Taiwan.

A smaller laboratory run by the council in Kaohsiung tests samples from Taichung and Kaohsiung ports, and is waiting for TAF certification for food testing, he added.

The ministry has determined the maximum allowable level of radioactive residue in foods for three isotopes — iodine-131, cesium-134 and cesium-137 — in the Standards for the Tolerance of Atomic Dust and Radioactivity Contamination in Foods (食品中原子塵或放射能污染容許量標準).

For dairy products and baby foods, the limit is set at 55 becquerels (Bq) of iodine-131, 50Bq of cesium-134 and 50Bq of cesium-137 per kilogram of food, while beverages and bottled water can contain up to 100Bq of iodine-131, 10Bq of cesium-134 or 10Bq of cesium-137 per liter.

As iodine-131 and cesium-134 have shorter half lives, the council is more concerned with cesium-137 contamination in food imported from Japan, Liu said.

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2017/08/01/2003675708

August 7, 2017 Posted by | Taiwan | , | Leave a comment

KMT vows to challenge Japan food imports with referendum

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Taipei, April 6 (CNA) Opposition Kuomintang (KMT) Vice Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said on Thursday he will officially submit a proposal for the holding of a national referendum on food safety if the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration lifts a ban on the import of food products from radiation-affected prefectures in Japan.

The proposal has obtained more than 120,000 signatures, Hau said.

In addition, if the DPP government opens Taiwan’s market to ractopamine-containing pork from the United States, the KMT will mobilize the public to protest at customs offices, he said.

Under the Referendum Act, the authorization of a referendum requires that no less than 0.5 percent of the total electorate at the last presidential election sign a petition.

Because there were 18.78 million eligible voters at the last election on Jan. 16, 2016, Hau’s proposal needs to be supported by at least 93,900 signatures and then approved by the Referendum Review Committee.

Taiwan has banned imports of food products from five prefectures in Japan – Fukushima, Gunma, Chiba, Ibaraki and Tochigi – that were contaminated by radiation following the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in March 2011, a catastrophe triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami.

Taiwan’s government is now considering lifting the ban on food from all the prefectures except Fukushima, but has run into virulent public opposition.
http://focustaiwan.tw/news/aipl/201704060017.aspx#.WOhNDdKzEuk.facebook

April 8, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , | 1 Comment

Remembering 6th Anniversary of Fukushima March.11.2017

Fukushima is never going away.
Sheila Parks
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Kimberly Roberson, speaking as a parent and an activist/organizer does not mince her words. They are heart, mind and soul piercing. She is in our faces about the horrific dangers of nuclear power – especially for our babies and children. Her purpose is to inform and rouse to action all those not already involved and aware. “Startling clear to me: radioactive fallout from nuclear power and food do not mix, and children are especially at risk”.But as parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents and caregivers we have a responsibility to our children. And remember, radiation from nuclear fallout is transgenerational, meaning that it has been proven to damage DNA for generations to come. The bigger picture after all is really about food safety and human health.

I marked every page in the book as I was reading. I am focusing on food in this review because that is a major issue for both Roberson and me. What are we doing to our babies and children when we give them milk? Alarmed, I read from Roberson that “strontium 90 has been detected in the U.S. milk supply, as well as other radioisotopes linked directly to Fukushima”.Radioactive strontium is attracted to the body, much like calcium, only rather than nourishing bones it causes cancer. Children’s cells divide and multiply at an accelerated pace which makes the youngest especially vulnerable to radiation.”

Roberson tells us, “The late Dr. Rosalie Bertell, PhD and Gray Nun of the Sacred Heart was an accomplished scientist who warned in No Immediate Danger; Prognosis for a Radioactive Earth not only of the damage to the person coming in contact with radioactive fallout in their food and water, but also to their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren suffering mutations in their DNA as well.”

Roberson continues, again alarmingly, “Probably the one question that perplexed so many of the people I was working with was how could the biggest industrial and nuclear accident in world history be allowed to continue to affect our food supply unchecked .” [emphasis mine]. That continues to this day.

Roberson puts it this way, “One thing I’ve realized in the past two years is to always consider the source”The list goes on and on. Grass fed beef, free range poultry, miso [see the paper I wrote about miso “Fukushima, Miso Soup and Me” ], nori, strawberries”pesky questions, but we all need to be asking them.” Begin today, now, all the time, to ask this question about everything you eat and drink. This is urgent: what is the country of origin?

From my experience working on the many issues about food and drink safety since Fukushima, here are some questions we must understand and work to change since Fukushima: What food and drink does the USA import from Japan? How was and is our food here in the USA contaminated from Fukushima? Who tests the food in each country, including the USA? How do they test it? Is how the food is tested adequate? Who decides? How honest are our labelling laws? [Not honest at all; but that requires a whole other paper.] Thank goodness the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been defeated by the actions of we the people and as immoral and misleading as our food labeling laws are here in the USA, at least it willl still be mandatory to put counrty of origin on our food. What Trump will do, who is now talking about “binary arrangements” instead of the TTP, remains to be seen.

Be wary also, Roberson warns us, of “fish oil, carrageenan, and sea salt [which] all come from ocean waters.” I say, please read all labels. Use pink salt from the Himalayas, not sea salt. This pink salt from the Himalayas sometimes is called sea salt – but from oceans millions of years ago. I eat nothing from the ocean. There is really only one ocean. Look at any map. You might want to read a paper I have written called “The Pacific Ocean Does Not Belong to Japan: It Belongs to All of Us.”

Also pay attention to iodine and where it comes from, continues Roberson. Iodine often comes from kelp “but where is the kelp sourced? Much of the kelp spanning the California coastline has shown significantly increased levels of Iodine-131 since Fukushima began. Not exactly the kind of iodine I want in children’s gummy vitamins.”

While we are here talking about food and drink, note also that most non-mercury fillings that your dentist puts in your mouth come from Japan!!! As does most bonding material at your dentist’s office. Instead, there is a company in Germany – Grandio – where dentists, not you, can get non-mercury fillings. Please ask your dentist to do so for you.

Since Fukushima, I myself do not knowingly eat or drink any food or beverages that come from Japan. My first question about anything that goes into my mouth always is – what is the country or countries of origin? I am an organic vegan now, since Fukushima, and before that was an organic vegetarian for 40 years. For those who eat organic, Roberson notes, “And trust me, radioactive fallout does not distinguish if it lands on conventional or organic items. You may be asking why is radioactive fallout alllowed in organic food but irradiation is not? The answer is because the regulations are not yet in place to test from nuclear accidents and nuclear power production. That clearly needs to change.” She wrote Silence Deafening; Fukushima Fallout, A Mother’s Response in 2013. It is now 2016. Nothing has changedI love this from Roberson, “Perhaps Dr. Seuss said it best in The Lorax, ‘Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

On my birthday two years ago, before I read Roberson’s book, I went to the Dr. Zeuss museum in Springfield, MA and read that quote there for the first time and bought myself a Lorax then. Consider buying a Lorax for a constant reminder and keep her with you = in mind, heart, body, soul. You can buy a Lorax through The Manhattan Toy Store.

A final truth telling from prophet Roberson, “Another lesson learned. Much of what happens to protect our food and water or anything else for that matter starts with us.”

LEASE SIGN FFAN’S [FUKUSHIMA FALLOUT AWARENESS NETWORK] URGENT PETITION No Olympics or Paralympics in Radioactive Fukushima “Children are our most beloved and cherished gift and they are also the most vulnerable to the generational damage of man-made radiation in air, food, soil and water. Around the world children who are currently adolescent and possibly younger are in training to compete at the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Japan. Their parents most likely have no idea that some of the venues are near the most devastating and ongoing nuclear and industrial disaster in world history, Fukushima Daiichi.

Sheila Parks, Ed.D., is a former college professor. She had a spiritual awakening many years ago and left her career to do peace and justice work full time. She is the founder of the grassroots group On Behalf of Planet Earth (found on FB).

http://portside.org/2017-03-27/remembering-6th-anniversary-fukushima-march112017

March 29, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment