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The ostriches of Fukushima and what they told us about radiation

hjkklmlm.jpgAn ostrich runs by a bicycle with rusted chain in November 2011 in Tomioka, Fukushima Prefecture.

September 30, 2019

Of all the astonishing sights that unfolded in the aftermath of the 2011 nuclear crisis, the one that took the biscuit was ostriches roaming in one of the towns hosting the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

Farmers in the area were forced to abandon their livestock due to mass evacuations ordered after the triple meltdown at the plant, and many departing residents also left their pet dogs and cats to fend for themselves as evacuation shelters would not accept animals.

An area of 20 kilometers radius of the plant was declared off-limits immediately after the accident, and the creatures left behind became feral.

It was not uncommon for later visitors, wearing protective gear because of high radiation levels, to see cattle and pigs wandering through the streets of Futaba and Okuma, the now-empty towns that co-hosted the nuclear power plant.

Masato Kino, now 50 and an economy ministry official in charge of decommissioning and radioactive water issues, returned to the area on Sept. 23, 2011, six months after the magnitude-9.0 earthquake that hit the northeastern Tohoku region, triggered devastating tsunami which in turn knocked out cooling systems at the plant and caused the nuclear crisis.

He was flabbergasted to come across an ostrich peeping into a private home from its yard in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture.

That day, Kino, who at the time also served as an official of the government’s local nuclear accident control headquarters, was accompanying returning evacuees on their visits to tend to family graves.

The ostrich was observed as Kino and three colleagues were driving back.

Although he wondered what the ostrich was doing there, he had the wherewithal to scatter dog food out of the car window for the big bird to tuck into.

Each time Kino came across dogs and cats in the restricted area, he would scatter dog food he had prepared in his car. He saw himself as a “lonely volunteer.”

It later emerged that the bird had escaped from an ostrich park in Okuma, situated 7 km from the Fukushima No. 1 plant. The facility was opened in 2001 by Toshiaki Tomizawa, now 81, a former assemblyman of Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture, to draw tourists to the region.

KEEPING OSTRICHES ALIVE

The ostrich park had nine birds when it opened. But the figure quickly rose to 30 and a restaurant was set up on the premises to serve ostrich meat. Soon after that, the nuclear crisis struck.

Following the disaster, Tomizawa moved to Saitama Prefecture to live with his daughter.

When he returned to the park three months later, more than half of the ostriches had died. The remaining 10 or so became feral in the no-entry zone.

Many sightings of the species were reported, drawing complaints from people, who on temporary return visits, were frightened to encounter ostriches near their homes.

Tomizawa trapped six ostriches in late 2011 with help from the farm ministry and other parties.

Farm ministry officials told him to kill them, so Tomizawa contacted ornithologists and other experts to find ways to “make full use of them.”

One of them, Yoshihiro Hayashi, director-general of the National Museum of Nature and Science, who was involved in research on animals affected by the disaster, asked ornithologist Hiroshi Ogawa, an animal husbandry professor at the Tokyo University of Agriculture, for advice.

In response to the offer, Ogawa began examining how the six ostriches trapped in January and May 2012 had absorbed radioactive substances.

It was assumed the feral birds feasted on contaminated plants, bugs and rainwater, so Ogawa tried to see if there was a way of reducing radioactive substances in their bodies by feeding them radiation-free dog food and well water.

Although the ostriches should have been kept in an area where radiation levels were significantly lower, transferring animals from the no-entry zone was prohibited. As a result, they were cared for at Tomizawa’s stable in the restricted area.

The birds displayed a radiation reading of 4.6 microsieverts per hour when the research started in March 2012. To lower the figure, Tomizawa frequented the stable from Saitama Prefecture once every one or two weeks to give them clean food and water.

The six ostriches were finally euthanized and dissected one month, two and a half months, nine and a half months and 14 months after they were caught, respectively, so that changes in radiation levels in their bodies could be analyzed.

SIGNIFICANT FINDINGS

The results showed that almost no radioactive substances other than radioactive cesium derived from the Fukushima crisis remained in their bodies, meaning that they were free from strontium and other more dangerous materials.

According to the findings, cesium is more easily absorbed through skeletal muscles than organs. It turned out to be difficult to rid muscle tissue of the substance.

The cesium reading began dropping nine and a half months after the birds were captured, which suggests the radiation level will drop if the animals are kept under low-radiation conditions.

The research provided insights into internal radiation exposure and drops in the radiation level of wild animals,” Ogawa said.

Tomizawa, who still lives in Saitama Prefecture, described his ostrich park as having “reported successive losses and posing many problems.”

But Tomizawa also has good memories of that time. Because the overseas media gave the escaped ostriches more extensive coverage than in Japan, Tomizawa was treated like a TV celebrity when he visited Indonesia, Australia and elsewhere after the disaster.

I met many people thanks to the ostriches,” Tomizawa said. “I feel things worked out right in the end.”

OSTRICHES AT NUCLEAR PLANT

Tomizawa decided to open the ostrich park in 2001, two years after Tokto Electric Power Co. began keeping four ostriches at its Fukushima No. 1 plant.

The reasoning behind TEPCO’s bizarre move was that the high productivity rate of the bird species resembled that of reactors.

An ostrich reaches adulthood within two years on a meager diet of wheat and corn, yet grows to 2 meters tall and weighs more than 100 kilograms. A female ostrich lays eggs for 40 years, starting from the age of 2.

This feature is similar to the characteristic of nuclear power plants that can generate a lot of electricity from a small volume of uranium fuel,” reads a promotional pamphlet issued by plant operator TEPCO around that time.

As ostriches are called Strauss in German, TEPCO said it wanted the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to be nicknamed “Strauss power plant” in the document.

However, those efforts appear to have fallen flat as few TEPCO officials were aware of the nickname.

TEPCO hired a veterinarian to look after the ostriches, but as the species is ill-tempered it was decided that the three ostriches still alive should be sent to Tomizawa to look after.

While a TEPCO public relations official said the utility could not offer a detailed explanation as to when and why the utility stopped keeping the birds “due to an absence of relevant documents,” at least one thing can be said about the project: what it touted as “highly productive” turned out–just like the nuclear power plant–to be difficult to deal with.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201909300003.html?fbclid=IwAR18JGMk7r6HVK19KMoYYskcS9lpul-Mp2urIiZV1uOq6CCTcXJWkndOyNI

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October 7, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

CITIZENS’ RADIOACTIVITY DATA MAP OF JAPAN

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September 19, 2019

This booklet shows the actual amount of radioactive contamination caused by the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, as revealed by Japanese citizen scientists.

[ Table of Contents ]

Page 2 – 3: Why Measure in Becquerels?
Page 4 – 5: What is the East Japan Soil Becquerel Measurement Project?
Page 6 – 7: 2011 Radioactivity Map of 17 Prefectures in Eastern Japan
Page 8: 2020 Cesium Contamination Map
Page 9: 2010 Radioactivity Level Before the Fukushima Accident
Page 10 – 11: Estimate of Radioactive Cesium Contamination Over 100 Years
Page 12: What is Minna-no Data Site?
Page 13: Minna-no Data Site Measurement Accuracy Control
Page 14 – 15: Minna-no Data Site Participating Measurement Laboratories
Page 16: Glossary, Credits, and Acknowledgments

Specifications

Pages:16
Oversized book
500 yen (tax exclude)

About CITIZENS’ RADIATION DATA MAP OF JAPAN – Digest Edition

This booklet shows the actual amount of radioactive contamination caused by the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, as revealed by Japanese citizen scientists.
In the aftermath of the accident, citizens around Japan began to question the Japanese government’s initial radiation exposure assessment, the scope of their radioactivity measuring, and their method of information disclosure. With the aim of reducing citizen exposure to radiation, we established Minna-no Data Site, an independent nonprofit network of radioactivity measuring laboratories, to conduct extensive food measurements and release this information to the public.

More specifically, over a three-year period starting from October 2014, we measured the concentration of radioactivity (cesium 134 and cesium 137) in the soil (in Bq/kg) as part of the “East Japan Soil Becquerel Measurement Project” and publicized the results online as a collection of maps.

According to legislation enacted five years after the Chernobyl accident, Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus were responsible for measuring both air dosage (μSv/h) and soil concentration (Bq/m2).
And using these measurements, the authorities were required to establish criteria for relocation and compensation.
The Chernobyl legislation guarantees relocation and recuperation rights to residents from areas where the exposure dose was estimated to be above 1mSv/year.
In contrast, after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, soil measurements were more or less not conducted outside of Fukushima Prefecture, and the government has only published estimated numbers of the deposition amount of radioactive cesium and the air dose rate one meter above the ground. The soil concentration figures released by the government are nothing more than estimates, and because the method of display was just an approximation, it is impossible to correctly ascertain the actual amount of contamination
in areas where citizens actually live.

In order to address this unsatisfactory state of affairs, we solicited the cooperation of citizens from around the country to help us carry out this soil measurement project in an attempt to
fully grasp the total amount of radioactive fallout which fell on eastern Japan (excluding Hokkaido) as a result of the triple
meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi NPP.

As a result of this investigation, we determined that the radioactive contamination was by no means limited to Fukushima Prefecture and that one hundred years from now there will still be several highly-contaminated areas where humans should not live.

Now, eight years after the accident, not only has the government yet to establish a criterion for radioactive concentration in the soil, but the authorities are continuing to enforce the policy of compelling people to return to their homes if the air dose rate goes below 20 mSv/year.
Seen from the standpoint of international standards of public health and radiological protection we cannot turn a blind eye to this unacceptable situation. With the Summer Olympics and Paralympics scheduled to be held in Tokyo in 2020, we decided to publish this booklet in order to respond to questions and concerns from people around the world about the current
state of radiation contamination in Japan.

This book is a digest version of our bestselling Japanese book, Illustration: 17 Prefecture Radioactivity Map & Close Analysis which was self-published in November 2018, and was awarded the Japan Congress of Journalists Prize in July 2019.

With the publication of this English booklet, we are hopingto inform people around the world about the actual amount of contamination in Japan, and at the same time, we are calling on the Japanese government to correct the following two problems:

CORRECTION OF THE DOUBLE STANDARD CONCERNINGRADIOACTIVE MATERIALS 100 Bq/kg AND 8,000 Bq/kg
With regards to the clearance rule for radioactive materials, prior to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident if the level of radioactivity was more than 100 Bq/kg there was a strict storage obligation.
However, with regards to radioactive contaminants derived from the Fukushima accident, the government is permitting anything less than 8,000 Bq/kg to be incinerated or disposed of as ordinary waste; an irresponsible policy which leads to the unnecessary spread of radioactive materials.
We are calling on the Japanese government to correct this double standard and are demanding a return to the preaccident clearance level of 100 Bq/kg.
Also, with regards to soil contamination, we are asking the government to not rely simply on the air radiation dose (sieverts) as they have been doing up until now. Instead, we are calling on them to guarantee appropriate rights of evacuation and compensation that meet international standards based on zone classification depending on the soil concentration
of radioactive material.

RESTORING THE ANNUAL PUBLIC DOSE LIMIT FROM20 mSv TO THE PRE-ACCIDENT LEVEL OF 1mSv A YEAR.
The Japanese government has not yet cancelled the nuclear power accident state of emergency declaration, which was enacted on March 11th, 2011.
Based on this declaration, the public dose limit was raised from 1mSv/year to 20 mSv/year and the government is forcefully requiring evacuees to return to their homes in areas where the dose limit does not exceed 20 mSv/year.
We are calling on the authorities to abolish the 20mSv standard repatriation policy and to return to the pre-accident public standard annual dose limit of 1mSv.

Minna-no Data Site
September 2019
Citizens’ Radiation Data Map of Japan Digest Edition Project Team

https://en.minnanods.net/mds/e-digest.html?fbclid=IwAR0dIUuqd4GESdmVHSKTOlapOm_Pn5XbQ8Iql0nsN1ImV-dMiePhz_OstxM

September 26, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Vietnamese trainees sue Fukushima firm over decontamination work

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(Workers involved in decontamination work in the northeastern Japan town of Namie offer silent prayers to mourn victims of the March 2011 massive quake and tsunami on March 11, 2016.)
 
September 4, 2019
Three Vietnamese men on a foreign trainee program in Japan have sued a construction company for making them conduct radioactive decontamination work related to the March 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima Prefecture without prior explanation, supporters of the plaintiffs said Wednesday.
The lawsuit, dated Tuesday and filed with a branch of the Fukushima District Court, demanded that Hiwada Co., based in Koriyama in the northeastern Japan prefecture, pay a total of about 12.3 million yen in damages, according to the supporters.
The case is the latest in a string of inappropriate practices under the Japanese government’s Technical Intern Training Program which has been often criticized as a cover for cheap labor.
According to Zentouitsu Workers Union, a Tokyo-based labor union that supports foreign trainees, Hiwada made the plaintiffs conduct decontamination work in the cities of Koriyma and Motomiya in Fukushima Prefecture between 2016 and 2018.
The Vietnamese, who arrived in Japan in July 2015, also did pipe work in the town of Namie while evacuation orders were still in place.
The plaintiffs’ contracts only said they would be engaging in reinforcing steel placement and formwork installation.
Hiwada did not provide them with detailed explanation on decontamination work beforehand, and it did not offer sufficient training either.
“We were not told that it was dangerous work. I am very worried about my future health,” said one of the plaintiffs, a 36-year-old, in a written statement.
In separate instances, foreign trainees have said they were inappropriately involved in decontamination work in Fukushima, including a Vietnamese man who said in March last year that he was hired by a construction firm in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture.
The Justice Ministry and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare have said decontamination work does not fit the purpose of the trainee program.

September 8, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Nearly 17 Tons of Radioactive Materials Detected in Japanese Food Imports

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August 30, 2019
Anchor: Amid a renewed radiation scare sparked by news Tokyo could be considering dumping radioactive water from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster into the Pacific Ocean, KBS has obtained a list of Japanese food imports from which radioactive materials were detected over the past five years. The list includes household food items like coffee and chocolate.
Choi You Sun reports.
 
Report: The office of South Korea’s minor opposition Bareunmirae Party Rep. Chang Jung-sook said nearly 17 tons of radioactive materials were detected in more than a dozen processed food categories imported from Japan between 2014 and June of this year.
 
Documents from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety on Thursday showed the 19 food categories include roasted coffee, tea, chocolate, fish jerky, peanuts, and processed fish products.
 
There were eleven cases of detection in 2014, six in both 2015 and 2016, four in 2017, six last year and two this year through June.
 
KBS has learned popular Japanese chocolate, candy and drip coffee brands were on the list; the drip coffee is currently being sold at Japanese food supply stores in South Korea.
 
Some of the products, such as talcum powder used to make chewing gum and bilberry extract in dietary supplements, were found to have been manufactured in the nuclear-hit Fukushima and seven other prefectures subject to Seoul’s ban on fish product imports.
 
While the Food Ministry assured all the imports with radiation detection were returned to Japan and were not distributed or sold in the country, experts say the ministry’s current 30-minute-long tests should be extended to three hours to detect smaller levels of radiation.
 
Amid mounting concerns over the safety of Japanese food products, Rep. Chang urged the ministry to seek ways to calm public anxieties over food safety and to disclose information about imports from Fukushima as it had previously announced.
 
The Seoul city government, meanwhile, plans to inspect 160 items ranging from Japanese fishery products to confection made from Japanese food ingredients over the next month and post the outcome on its official website.
Choi You Sun, KBS World Radio News.

September 1, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Sports bodies need to make own assessments of Fukushima: Greenpeace nuclear specialist

“The first thing is … don’t trust the Japanese government, educate yourself. If you’re an organizing body, get independent verification and independent information about what the relative radiation levels are, what the risks are,” Burnie said.”
Nuclear specialist warns of unknown long-term health, environmental risks from Japan’s radioactive water disposal plan
20190821000626_0.jpg
Shaun Burnie, senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace Germany, speaks about Tokyo’s plan to discharge a massive amount of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean during an interview with The Korea Herald at Greenpeace Seoul’s office in central Seoul last week. (Greenpeace Seoul)
Aug 21, 2019
With less than a year to go until the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, concerns are growing over the safety of the baseball and softball venues in disaster-hit Fukushima.
 
Seeking to break away from Japan’s association with high levels of radioactivity, the Abe government has branded the 2020 Olympics the “Recovery Games.”
 
But health and environmental risks from high levels of radiation persist in parts of Fukushima after the 2011 nuclear meltdown.
 
According to Shaun Burnie, a senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace Germany, those visiting Fukushima for the Summer Games next year should take a proactive approach to educating themselves on which areas of Fukushima are affected by radiation and on the impact of exposure to radiation.
 
“In terms of safety, there are certain areas of Fukushima where we would certainly not advise athletes or spectators to spend any time. Those are areas particularly close to the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, including where the torch processions will be taking place,” Burnie said in an interview with The Korea Herald at Greenpeace Seoul’s office in central Seoul last week.
 
“They are areas that are not safe for people to live. If you visit, you need to follow a radiation protocol. It is a bizarre situation that you are having Olympic events where people are concerned about radiation,” he added.
 
While noting that not all parts of Fukushima should be off limits, Burnie said athletes and sports bodies need to seek independent assessments on Fukushima, rather than relying on information provided by the Japanese government.
 
“It’s dangerous to just dismiss the whole of Fukushima as a radioactive disaster zone. It’s much more complex than that. The first thing is … don’t trust the Japanese government, educate yourself. If you’re an organizing body, get independent verification and independent information about what the relative radiation levels are, what the risks are,” Burnie said.
 
As the senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace Germany, Burnie has followed the Japanese government’s handling of the tsunami and earthquake in March 2011 that resulted in the meltdown of three nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant.
 
In a report published in January, Burnie alleged that Tokyo plans to dispose of some 1 million metric tons of contaminated water by discharging it into the Pacific Ocean after the Summer Olympics.
 
If Japan follows through with the move, radioactive water is expected to be present in Korea’s East Sea a year later.
 
“For the past five years we’ve been accessing the process, the discussions, the documents submitted by Tepco (Tokyo Electric Power Company) … we were reviewing some of Tepco’s data (last year) and we looked at it and went ‘there is something wrong here with Tepco’s processing,’” Burnie said.
 
“It became very clear there has been bad decisions made, not really surprising, by Tepco, by the (Japanese) government over the last five or six years and how to manage the water crisis.”
 
Last year Tepco acknowledged its Advanced Liquid Processing System, or ALPS, had failed to purify contaminated water stored in tanks at the Dai-ichi power plant.
 
A committee under Japan’s Ministry of Economy in 2016 put together five scenarios for the Japanese government to deal with the massive volume of pollutants stored at the Fukushima No. 1 plant.
 
The amount of water stored at the plant is to reach its full capacity of 1.3 million tons by the end of 2020, with about 170 tons accumulating daily.
 
According to Burnie, Tokyo has chosen to discharge the radioactive water instead of acting on any of the other four suggestions because “it is the most cheap and fast.”
 
Besides increased levels of radioactive cesium found in Fukushima and in the East Sea, Burnie warned of “cesium-rich micro particles” extremely small in size and inhaled through breathing.
 
Cesium is one of the largest sources of radioactivity from the 2011 disaster and has a half-life of 30 years.
 
“There is evidence from samples … some scientific literature has published the results and they found concentrations of these particles in areas 20-30 kilometers from the plant. … The problem is these particles can be inhaled. Then some of them lodge inside your lung at which point you are getting an internal dose, a very focused, very localized, relatively high-exposure dose to individual cells,” Burnie said.
 
“That’s a real problem because there is very little known about how cesium in that form will affect your long-term health. … Again, the people most at risk are those returning to live in areas of Fukushima affected by these particles. But the Japanese government has not taken into account in any of its assessments what those risks are,” he added.
 
Stressing that the risks of exposure to radiation should not be exaggerated, Burnie noted there is no safe level of radiation exposure and the long-term effects are unknown.
 
“The effects you will only see over decades. It won’t be instant, it’s not an acute radiation exposure, it’s low-level radiation,” Burnie said.
 
“The country that will be next impacted will be Korea, because it’s the geographically closest. … There is no safe threshold for radiation exposure. … Why should you be exposed when there is a clear alternative, which is you store?”

August 22, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

South Korea to increase radiation testing of Japanese food

My respect to South Korea: the one and only country to protect its population from Japanese radiation contaminated products and to protest against japan’s plan to dump all the Fukushima radioactive water into our Pacific ocean. I would like to hear the countries protesting and our elected politicians have at heart to defend as well the health of their citizens!
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South Korea to increase radiation testing of Japanese food
August 21, 2019
SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea said on Wednesday it will double the radiation testing of some Japanese food exports due to potential contamination from the tsunami-damaged Fukushima nuclear plant.
Relations between the two U.S. allies are at their worst in years, with a trade row rooted in a decades-old dispute over compensation for South Koreans forced to work during Japan’s wartime occupation of the Korean Peninsula.
South Korea has stepped up demands this month for a Japanese response to concerns food produced in the Fukushima area and nearby sea could be contaminated by radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that was severely damaged by the 2011 tsunami.
South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) said on Wednesday that it will double the frequency of testing of any food products with a history of being returned in the past five years after trace amounts of radiation were detected.
“As public concerns about radioactive contamination have been rising recently, we are planning a more thorough inspection starting August 23,” said Lee Seoung-yong, director-general at MFDS.
The affected food imports from Japan will be relatively minimal, as only about two tonnes are returned out of about 190,000 tonnes of total Japanese food imports annually, Lee said.
An official at Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said Japanese food products were safe and the increased radiation testing was unnecessary.
“Safety of Japanese food items has been secured and no additional restrictions are necessary. Many countries have agreed with this and got rid of import restrictions completely … It is very regrettable that these additional measures will be implemented,” the official told Reuters.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics organizers said on Tuesday that South Korea’s National Olympic Committee had sent a letter expressing concern at the possibility of produce grown in Fukushima prefecture being served to athletes in the Olympic village.
South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday summoned the economy minister from the Japanese embassy in Seoul over media reports and international environmental groups’ claims that Japan plans to release contaminated water from the Fukushima plant into the ocean.
In April, South Korea won the bulk of its appeal in a dispute at the World Trade Organization over import bans and testing requirements it had imposed on Japanese seafood in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
 
 
S.Korea to tighten checks on food from Japan
August 21, 2019
The South Korean government says it will tighten radiation checks on food products imported from Japan.
Following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accident in March 2011, South Korea banned imports of marine products from eight Japanese prefectures and farm products from 14 prefectures. Other food items are tested for radiation upon arrival in South Korea.
South Korea’s Food and Drug Safety Ministry announced on Wednesday that 17 food products that have tested positive for even minute amounts of radiation in the past will be screened twice, starting on Friday. The items include processed seafood, blueberries, tea and coffee.
South Korea’s government announced earlier this month that it is stepping up radiation checks on coal ash and three types of recyclable imports from Japan.
On Monday, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry summoned a senior Japanese Embassy official for an explanation of Japan’s plan to release into the ocean water containing radioactive substances generated at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

August 22, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Radiation Becomes Latest Japan-South Korea Sore Point

1000x-1.jpgThe Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma, Fukushima prefecture.

 

20 août 2019

Radiation from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is becoming the latest source of tension between Japan and South Korea, potentially undercutting Tokyo’s effort to promote the 2020 Olympics.

In recent days, South Korean officials have summoned a Japanese diplomat to express concern about a planned release of treated radioactive water into the ocean by Tepco, the plant’s owner. They’re also pushing for independent radiation checks at Olympic venues and proposing a separate cafeteria for their athletes, citing concerns about contaminated food.

 

The radiation dispute is threatening to prolong tensions between the two U.S. allies, who have spent much of the summer trading economic sanctions and diplomatic threats in a tit-for-tat dispute. The feud has exposed lingering mistrust and disagreements over Japan’s colonial rule on the Korean Peninsula.

South Korea’s radiation concerns contrast with signs of softening attitudes last week on the anniversary of Japan’s World War II surrender. Japan has also taken steps to show that its recent export controls won’t prevent legitimate sales to its neighbor. JSR Corp., one of the materials makers subject to the restrictions, received an export permit this week, according to a person familiar with the matter.

No Backing Down

It’s gone so far that neither side can back down,” said Hiroyuki Kishi, a former trade official turned professor at Keio University in Yokohama, adding that the dispute would probably continue “or get worse.” “I’m concerned that Japan may respond emotionally, because the Olympics are seen as very important.”

South Korea is also mulling whether to maintain an agreement on sharing military information with Japan, and may announce its decision as soon as Thursday, Yonhap News reported. Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono told reporters in Beijing following a meeting with his South Korean counterpart Kang Kyung-wha that the pact was important and should be maintained.

Under Control’

The issue of radiation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which was damaged in the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami, has loomed over Tokyo’s Olympic bid from the start. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe threw his weight behind the campaign, assuring the International Olympic Committee in a 2013 speech that the plant was “under control” and would have no impact on the capital.

Now, Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. is preparing a release from on-site storage tanks, which are expected to fill up by 2022 with water treated to remove most radioactive elements. An adviser for the company has recommended a controlled release into the Western Pacific — a common practice at other reactors around the world — while the environmental group Greenpeace has urged keeping the water in storage.

South Korea summoned a Japanese diplomat on Monday, with the Foreign Ministry urging Tokyo to look into international organizations’ views on the matter and be more transparent about its plans.

Separately, the Korea Sport & Olympic Committee is set to make an official request that international organizations such as Greenpeace monitor radiation at Tokyo Olympic venues, the committee’s press officer, Lee Mi-jin, said. South Korean officials have also drawn up a plan to run a separate cafeteria exclusively for South Korean athletes, to ensure they don’t eat food from Fukushima, Lee said.

The South Korean Food Ministry also announced Wednesday it would step up radiation checks on 17 items imported from Japan, including tea and chocolate.

Produce from Fukushima is screened before shipment and is widely available in Japanese supermarkets. Recent data from volunteer organization Safecast shows that radiation levels in Tokyo are somewhat lower than those in Seoul.

The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee declined to comment on requests from other countries’ organizing committees.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-20/fukushima-radiation-becomes-latest-japan-south-korea-sore-point?utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=socialflow-organic&cmpid=socialflow-twitter-business&utm_source=twitter&utm_content=business&fbclid=IwAR3zRTuoeDEynETpydD9GgIALFyuIJWqIHnHNpUW_hjQAS7nv7xSO9WvT9s

 

August 22, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

Less bluster, but no compromise seen as South Korean, Japan ministers meet in China

2019-08-20T083741Z_1_LYNXNPEF7J0EG_RTROPTP_3_SOUTHKOREA-JAPAN-LABORERS.JPGA police officer stands guard near Japan and South Korea national flags at a hotel, where the South Korean embassy in Japan is.

 

August 20, 2019

SEOUL/TOKYO (Reuters) – South Korea and Japan have toned down the rhetoric but show little sign of compromise in a bitter political and economic dispute as their foreign ministers prepare to meet in China this week.

Relations between the two U.S. allies are at their worst in years, with a trade row rooted in a decades-old dispute over compensation for Koreans forced to work during Japan’s wartime occupation of South Korea.

Foreign ministers Kang Kyung-wha of South Korea, Taro Kono of Japan and Wang Yi of China will have trilateral meetings in Beijing from Tuesday evening to Thursday.

“We will have to actively express our position, but I am leaving with a heavy heart because the situation is very difficult,” Kang said before departing for China where a one-on-one meeting with Kono is set for Wednesday.

Their August meeting in Bangkok, where cameras captured the unsmiling pair making perfunctory handshakes, achieved little. A day later, Japan cut South Korea from a white list of favored trade partners, drawing retaliatory measures from Seoul.

“We expect to exchange views on various issues between Japan and the ROK, such as the issue of former civilian workers from the Korean Peninsula,” Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement, using the initials of South Korea’s official name, the Republic of Korea.

The Beijing talks would reaffirm Japan’s “close bilateral cooperation” with South Korea, as well as trilateral ties with the United States, the ministry said.

Since the Bangkok meeting, Seoul has urged a “cooling off period” and Japan approved shipments of a high-tech material to South Korea for the second time since imposing export curbs in July.

Nevertheless, the dispute is far from over.

South Korea warned this month it may consider revoking a military intelligence sharing pact with Japan, though an official at the presidential Blue House said on Tuesday no decision had been taken.

Seoul has also raised concerns about Japan’s handling of contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear plant, a South Korea official said, though it may not bring it up in Beijing.

South Korea and other countries have restrictions on imports of produce from areas around the Fukushima site where three reactors melted down after an earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

NOT SO NICE FACE

While both sides have moderated their public statements, observers do not expect any major breakthroughs this week.

“I don’t think Japan is going to show a nice face to Seoul this time,” said one former Japanese diplomat familiar with the government’s position.

Japan believes South Korea’s economy is hurting more in the trade row, and “doesn’t mind waiting for further concessions from Seoul,” said the ex-diplomat.

Citing national security, Japan in July restricted exports of some key materials used in chips and displays made by South Korea firms, threatening to disrupt the global supply chain.

Later this month a decision to remove South Korea from Japan’s list of trading partners with fast-track access to a number of materials is scheduled to go into effect.

South Korea has responded by removing Japan from its own trade white list, and South Korean consumers are boycotting Japanese products and avoiding travel to Japan.

There also has been no progress in resolving the issue that triggered the latest chill in relations – a series of South Korean court rulings that ordered Japanese firms to compensate South Koreans forced to work for Japanese occupiers.

“I don’t think we can expect a big change in the situation as a result of tomorrow’s meeting because the forced labor issue is at the root of the deterioration in ties and there hasn’t been any new development regarding that,” said Kyungjoo Kim, a professor at Tokai University in Tokyo.

https://kdal610.com/news/articles/2019/aug/20/less-bluster-but-no-compromise-seen-as-south-korean-japan-ministers-meet-in-china/929015/?refer-section=world

 

August 22, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Strawberry shipments start from formerly evacuated Fukushima town

From the Yomiuri Shimbun, a pro-government media… All part of the continous propaganda media campaign by the national and local governments, to incite the people to buy and eat claimed-to-be-safe Fukushima products.

 

fjjklmlm.jpgFukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori, right, and others taste freshly picked strawberries in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, on Monday.

 

 

August 20, 2019

IWAKI, Fukushima — Strawberries started being shipped Monday from Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, a town that was given an evacuation order following the nuclear power plant disaster in 2011, although the order was partially lifted this April.

To mark the occasion, authorities and guests were invited to a strawberry tasting event and a tour of a strawberry cultivation facility in the town.

The facility, measuring about 28,800 square meters, was built in the town’s Ogawara district after the disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. It is operated by a semipublic company sponsored by the town.

The facility is installed with waist-high planters that allow workers to stand up when working.

The latest computerized equipment to control room temperature, water temperature and water volume makes it possible to grow strawberries throughout the year.

Two machines to assess radioactive material in fruit were also introduced at the facility.

About 10 tons of strawberries are scheduled to be shipped from the facility this fiscal year. The operator intends to increase the annual shipment to 100 tons in the future.

https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0005950919

August 22, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

South Korea lawmaker Rep. Kim Kwang-soo calls for import ban on processed foods from Fukushima

I am glad that some politician do feel his duty is to protect the health of his countrymen, I just wish there were more like him…
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August 20, 2019
South Korea should restrict imports of processed foods from Japan’s Fukushima region as radiation has been found in shipments, an opposition lawmaker said Monday.
 
South Korea banned all seafood imports from eight Japanese prefectures near Fukushima in 2013 on concerns over their radiation levels in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown. But no import restrictions have been put on processed foods from the areas.
 
Citing data from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, Rep. Kim Kwang-soo of the minor opposition Party for Democracy and Peace said radiation has been discovered in 16.8 tons of processed foods imported from the eight prefectures, or 35 shipments, over the past five years.
 
The figures were 10 tons (11 shipments) in 2014, 0.1 ton (six) in 2015, one ton (six) in 2016, 0.3 ton (four) in 2017, 0.4 ton (six) in 2018 and 5 tons (two) for the first half of this year.
 
South Korea imported 29,985 tons of processed foods from the Japanese prefectures between 2014 and June this year. Imports, which came to 3,803 tons in 2014, increased to 7,259 tons last year. In the January-June period of this year, imports reached 3,338 tons.
 
“It is urgent for the government to take necessary action against processed foods from the eight Japanese areas since they pose a serious risk to public health,” the lawmaker said.
 
No import restrictions have been imposed on the processed foods, though a recent ruling by the World Trade Organization (WTO) has allowed Seoul to retain the import ban on 28 kinds of fish caught in the eight prefectures, he said.
 
In response to a complaint from Tokyo, the WTO ruled in April this year that Seoul’s measures do not amount to unfair trade restrictions or arbitrary discrimination.
 
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said it sees no problem with imports of processed foods from the eight Japanese prefectures because the Japanese government submits inspection certificates and thorough checks are conducted at local quarantine offices. (Yonhap)

August 22, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Radiation Levels Big Concern as Japan Preps for 2020 Olympics

August 13, 2019
The 2020 Olympics are set to take place in Japan, but there is a growing concern about the safety of those heading overseas. In the time following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan saw the release of harmful radioactive pollutants or radionuclides, such as iodine‑131, cesium‑134, cesium‑137, strontium‑90, and plutonium‑238.
This resulted in radioactive contamination throughout northeastern Japan, but after eight years, members of the local and central government have said that the radiation is no longer a concern. Unfortunately, that’s not entirely accurate. The steps taken by the government to make the environment safer are viewed as effective by some, but there is far more to the story. According to The Diplomat, the radiation hasn’t entirely disappeared from the environment. Instead, it’s been moved to other locations.
One such process of decontamination has actually consisted of collecting and removing radioactive pollutants. The radionuclides are then placed in black vinyl bags, which, in theory, should impede the risk of rescattering residual radioactivity. The report continues by providing evidence of this process. There are currently mountains of black plastic bags, filled with contaminated soil or debris, that can be seen in many parts of Fukushima.
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Eat and cheer. I say what a shame, but the rice made right next to the pile of radiation contaminated soil. It is not a bad reputation and I can not eat it because I am scared.#Fukushima nuclear accident#Radiation pollution
Unfortunately, this fix of sticking the radionuclides inside the bags only appears to be a temporary solution that will ultimately need to be addressed once again. For example, some of the vinyl bags are now starting to break down due to the build-up of gas released by rotten soil. Plants and flowers have also started to grow inside the bags. With nowhere to expand, these plants are breaking through the bags and exposing the radioactive materials to the atmosphere. At this point, it is far more likely that the weather will distribute the radionuclides once again.
Additionally, there have been countless monitoring posts installed throughout Fukushima, which display the current atmospheric level of radiation. Measurements are taken from different locations and then combined to create an average level for the city. According to these posts, the levels of radiation have significantly fallen.
That being said, The Diplomat reports that there are currently no monitoring posts in the forests and mountains. These areas make up 70 percent of the Fukushima prefecture, but the radiation levels are not being monitored. The other concern is that the monitoring posts only measure gamma rays and ignore radionuclides, which are very harmful if swallowed or ingested.
With the Olympics approaching, the belief is that the radiation is lowering and that the athletes will not be in danger. However, reports by The Diplomat paint a far more troubling picture. Will the events proceed as planned, or will adjustments have to be made as 2020 nears?

August 16, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

European Commission crooks willing to sell out our health!

Praise be the Korean government which stood to protect their people’s health over hanky-panky  economics, unlike many other governments.
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European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, left, and European Council President Donald Tusk, second left, sit at the table with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, at the start of their working lunch on the sidelines of the G-20 summit at the International Exhibition Center in Osaka, Japan, on June 27, 2019.
EU likely to ease restrictions on Japanese food imports
June 27, 2019
OSAKA (Kyodo) — The European Union said Thursday it expects to remove restrictions on some Japanese food imports, including Fukushima Prefecture-grown soybeans, amid receding concerns about radiation contamination linked to the 2011 nuclear disaster.
According to the Japanese government, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe the requirement for radiation inspection certificates is likely to be canceled. The two leaders were meeting a day before the start of a two-day summit of the Group of 20 major economies in Osaka.
The European Commission expects the lifting of the requirement to be finalized as early as this fall after it obtains the approval of member countries.
The change impacts food products from Iwate, Tochigi and Chiba prefectures, as well as seafood from Miyagi, Ibaraki and Gunma prefectures, a Japanese government official told a press briefing. The testing requirements would also be lifted for some types of mushrooms.
The move will follow the European Union’s lifting of a ban on rice produced in Fukushima in 2017.
In the meeting, in which European Council President Donald Tusk was also present, Juncker and Abe also discussed the need to reform the World Trade Organization and geopolitical issues including North Korea and heightened tensions in the Middle East, the official said.

June 27, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Nuclear washing machine for soil decontamination?

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Technology to clean radioactive contaminated soil
Tuesday, June 18, 15:14
Japanese researchers say they have developed technology to clean soil contaminated by radioactive fallout from accidents at nuclear power plants.
Waseda University Professor Masahiko Matsukata and his team developed the technology.
The technology involves removing the contaminated particles of soil by adding a special chemical to high-pressure water that is used to clean the soil.
The researchers say their technology needs less electricity and chemicals than conventional methods, reducing costs by more than two-thirds.
Large volumes of soil affected by the fallout from the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident have been removed during decontamination work in Fukushima Prefecture.
The government aims to bring the soil to intermediate storage facilities and lower the concentration of pollutants or recycle it so that the amount of soil for final disposal will be reduced.
The Waseda team plans to use soil from such intermediate storage facilities in testing its technology before it can put it to practical use.
Matsukata said the team has proven that its technology can reduce the volume of contaminated dirt at low costs. He said he aims to further test the technology and put it into practice in the affected areas.

June 20, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | 1 Comment

Children and Youth Thyroid Cancer Cases in Fukushima and East Japan

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By Mari Inoue
June 17, 2019
OurPlanet-TV, an alternative media, is probably the only media in Japan that has been closely monitoring thyroid cancer cases among children and youth in Fukushima and East Japan.
It is sad to learn that thyroid cancers among children outside Fukushima Prefecture are already reported. OurPlanet-TV reports that 9 thyroid cancer cases were already found among children in Tokyo and 7 cases each in Saitama and Kanagawa Prefectures, and 6 cases in Miyagi Prefecture, according to the data from “3.11 Fund for Children with Thyroid Cancer”, an NPO that provide financial aid to families of children who were 18 or younger at the time of the nuclear accident in 2011.
 
Info on 3.11 Fund for Children with Thyroid Cancer is here: https://311kikin.org/english
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June 19, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Fishermen Release Flatfish Fry

Flat fishes mostly feed at the bottom of the sea close the coast, where the highest radioactive pollution has accumulated…..
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June 10, 2019
Iwaki, Fukushima Pref., June 10 (Jiji Press)–Fishermen in Iwaki in Fukushima Prefecture in northeastern Japan began releasing young flatfish into the sea from Hisanohama Port in the city on Monday.
The release came after a new prefecture-run facility for raising flatfish fry was completed in Soma, another city in Fukushima, in 2018. The previous such facility was destroyed in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, which also led to an unprecedented triple meltdown accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s <9501> Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
About 100,000 juvenile flatfish, about 6 to 9 centimeters in length, were released into the Pacific Ocean amid rough weather on Monday.
A total of about one million young flatfish will be released from ports around the prefecture by the end of June, bringing the number of released flatfish up to the pre-disaster level for the first time in nine years.
Before the 2011 disaster, fishery products from Fukushima were prized for their taste and sold for hefty prices at places such as the now-defunct Tsukiji wholesale food market in Tokyo.

June 17, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment