The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Tokyo Not Fit For Human Habitation

This mother followed a doctor’s advice to evacuate from Tokyo due to the ill health of her daughter following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. The doctor told her that 9 out of ten of his child patients in metropolitan Tokyo had reduced white blood cell counts due to exposure to radioactivity and that if they moved away some of them might recover. Many other families have evacuated from Tokyo but this has not been covered by the press. She speaks in English with an English transcription below the Japanese transcription.
“I am standing here to tell you that the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe is not over. I evacuated to Kansai three years after the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident. Where do you think I evacuated from? I evacuated from Tokyo. Do you know that Tokyo has serious radioactive contamination? Tens of millions of people in East Japan live with radioactive contamination now.
My daughter was 5 years old at the time of the accident She was a cheerful and active girl. But after one year since the accident, her health conditions became bad and she was troubled by strange symptoms.
She told me, “Mommy, I feel so bad, I have no power, My hands hurt, my legs hurt, my body hurts!” In fact, my daughter became so sick that she could not live a normal life at all.
At that time I met a doctor who was working with the issue of radiation exposure in the metropolitan area. He said, if sick children are moved to the west away from contaminated eastern Japan, some of them might recover health.
According to his examinations after the accident, the number of white blood cells of children living in the metropolitan area was decreasing. And he added that neutrophils among white blood cells were particularly badly decreasing. And as we found out later, our two children also had the same condition. Today, the doctor is saying that for every ten children in Tokyo, nine of them have below standard numbers of neutrophils.
When I consulted the doctor about my daughter, he clearly stated that she was affected by the radiation exposure.
And he gave me advice to move my daughter
In any case, I tried to move my sick daughter out of Tokyo. Whenever we stayed in a place where there was no radioactive contamination, she became very well. But when we returned to Tokyo, she became sick again. We did not have the option to stay in Tokyo, we just fled from Tokyo and came here.
Living in East Japan means living with many radioactive materials, and it is not a place where people can live in good health.
So, as evacuees from eastern Japan, we are calling for evacuation to West Japan. Our existence here is not broadcasted on the radio nor published in newspapers. So, I am telling you about it now.
After the accident, we were told that radiation was not a problem and health damages would not occur. But it was not true. Many of us have evacuated from East to West due to various health problems. Many people are getting sick today in East Japan. People are dying without noticing that it is due to radiation. Many Japanese can not face this nuclear catastrophe.
Now my daughter is 12 years old. She’s healthy and enjoys everyday life. She has good friends and says she wants to continue living here forever.
My daughter wrote this , It says she wants to stay here with her friends forever.
She is very afraid that nuclear power plants now get restarted and may have another accident. If that happens, she will have to move away from here again. If another nuclear accident happens, she knows that she can not live in this country anymore.
And accidents are not the only ones that threaten her. This is a basic issue but after the accident, our government has not confined radioactive materials to one place.
On the contrary, our government has a policy of diluting toxic radioactive waste by mixing it with water, cement or other materials, and making it look harmless.
And the Japanese government now allows incineration of highly contaminated nuclear waste of up to 8000 Bq/kg, 80 times as high as before the Fukushima accident. It’s all to reduce the enormous amount of nuclear waste. But as conscientious scientists say, we should never burn radioactive materials. It should never have been allowed.
We don’t seem to be able to stop this crazy, irresponsible way of our government.
I hope that my daughter can live in her beloved country where she was born and raised. Please try to know what is going on in Japan now.
We are telling the world that the nuclear disaster is far from being over.”
In addition Dr Shigeru Mita closed his medical practice in Tokyo in 2014 and left the city, declaring it “not fit for human habitation” when he found that all his child patients of 10 years old and under had reduced neutrophils and other illnesses due to “chronic internal exposure to low dose ionising radiation”:



January 29, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | , | Leave a comment

South Koreans still distrustful of Japanese fish products after nuclear meltdown

SEOUL, Jan. 26 (Yonhap) — A majority of South Koreans favor banning the import of Japanese fishery products, a survey showed Friday, underscoring lingering safety concerns about possible radioactive contamination.
Radioactive water leaked following the meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011.
The Consumers Union of Korea polled 1,023 adults across the country last year, and the results showed 55.3 percent want stronger import restrictions. Another 37.2 percent said the restrictions should be “very heavy.”
   The results of the survey were released by opposition lawmaker Choi Do-ja, who obtained them from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.
South Korea prohibited imports of agricultural and fish products from Fukushima and its adjacent areas after radioactive leaks following the 2011 tsunami disaster in Japan.
In 2013, Seoul took a stronger measure to ban imports from fisheries in eight other Japanese prefectures near Fukushima.
Japan took the case to the World Trade Organization, accusing South Korea of discriminating against its exports. The ruling is scheduled in the first half of this year.
According to the survey, 45.5 percent want a complete import ban on all Japanese foods, while 39.6 percent said they want at least a full ban on select products from certain prefectures.
Results showed that 55.3 percent of South Koreans are not buying fish products from Japan. Other shunned items included agricultural products (56.3 percent), dairy products (52.8 percent), cosmetics and processed foods (37.5 percent) and other manufactured goods (35.3 percent).
Among people who said they either do not buy Japanese fishery products or have cut back on such purchases, 79.2 percent said the reason was because they do not feel safe. In addition, 59.2 percent said they will not buy fish from Japan even when there is no trace of radioactive contamination.
The biggest concerns from radioactive exposure included cancer (42.4 percent), newborns with deformities (30.4 percent) and hereditary disease (13.4 percent).
“It has been seven years since the Fukushima accident, but people are still worried about fishery products from Japan,” Rep. Choi said. “There has to be more effort to allay these concerns through imports limits and thorough inspection of radioactive traces in foods.”

January 26, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Experts doubt lifting of Japan food ban

Concerns linger about imports from nuclear radiation area
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.

January 11, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , | Leave a comment

Population Oscillations OR Collapsing Ecosystem

From Majia’s Blog :
The ongoing collapse of King Salmon in Alaska is once again in the news:
Nathaniel Herz (2017, Dec 29). Southeast Alaska’s king salmon are disappearing, and fishermen are grappling with the consequences. Anchorage Daily News. Available
…There’s some sense that climate change could be causing a “regime shift” and a long-term change in ecosystems, said Peter Hagen, deputy director of a federal fisheries laboratory in Auke Bay, near Juneau.
“There’s a whole question: Is this a new normal? And I don’t think we’ve determined that yet,” Hagen said.
But Hagen and Adkison, the fisheries professor, both pointed out that salmon have proven to be resilient. Fossil records show that big population changes are typical, Adkison said.
“In the salmon business, we’re used to these dramatic fluctuations in productivity,” he said. “If I had to bet, I would favor the short-term fluctuation and I would expect them to eventually rebound. But the current numbers are really low.”
I’ve been following the (reported) acceleration of excess mortality events among animal populations. Here is my 2012 post on the King Salmon that “went missing” that year:
In 2013 I created a compilation of news headlines and links addressing what I called “anomal anomalies,” as documented here in this 2013 post:
Polar bears, walruses, salmon, sardines, starfish, etc. These and so many other marine and land animal populations experienced precipitous declines due to “inexplicable” wasting syndromes and odd infections that began being reported in great number in 2012.
[when I checked on bee and bat declines I discovered that the Wikipedia article attributes the rapid decline in bats from white fungal disease to 2012 here. In contrast, bee “colony collapse disorder” was named in 2006]
Every animal population imperiled has no doubt suffered in complex ways from human engineering and thoughtlessness, including experiences of habitat loss and rapid deterioration of remaining habitats due to the synergistic effects of countless environmental assaults.
Still, I find it more than coincidental that the acceleration of mass mortality events became markedly evident in 2012.
Fukushima’s ongoing and UNPRECEDENTED RADIOACTIVE CONTAMINATION of the ocean and the general dispersal of industrial pollutants by the Japan’s terrible 2011 tsunami ARE STRANGELY ABSENT from most all news coverage of marine welfare.
Yet, ALL THE SCIENTIFIC DATA available, including data generated by the US Geological Survey and the CTBTO, documented widespread fallout contamination in North America.
Scientific models on ocean dispersion predicted a plume of radioactive contamination would reach North America and add to the coastal fallout from precipitation by 2013. This prediction was tested and found to be true in San Diego, CA.
Fukushima’s ongoing dissemination of radioactive contamination has lessened since 2012 but it has not ceased.
I’m sure that Fukushima isn’t the only source of radioactive contamination from artificially engineered radio-isotopes such as Cesium-137 and Strontium-89 but it is the largest known.
Might it represent a tipping point in ocean life? That question will probably never be answerable empirically because not enough research is investigating impacts.
What is clear however is that the accelerated decimation of animal life on earth will not occur without grave human losses as well. It is my belief that when we destroy the eco-system upon which we depend, we are destroying ourselves.
Unfortunately, our capacity to grapple with the spectre of our destruction is impeded by our capacity to rationalize.
The idea of “population oscillations” is the rationalization deployed most often to account for the dislocations in ecological life observed by scientists and everyday people in touch with their environments.
Populations don’t simply oscillate by chance. Numbers drop and decline in relation to the contingencies of system-environment interactions. Precipitous declines typically result from amplifying feedback loops, often resulting from either over-population or some dramatic change in the environment, such as a sudden and unprecedented onslaught of marine contamination.
Bioaccumulation: Cesium is One Among the 1000 Radionuclides Unleashed by Fukushima Bioaccumulation:
Contaminated Water at Fukushima Daiichi Majia’s Blog:
Will Fukushima Daiichi Kill Vast Swathes of Ocean life Majia’s Blog:
Endless Atmospheric and Ocean Emissions Majia’s Blog:
Humanity’s End Foretold in Destruction of Oceans: Majia’s Blog: Humanity’s End Foretold in Destruction of Oceans
Compromised Oceans mean Compromised People: Majia’s Blog:
Radiation plumes headed to N. America Majia’s Blog:

January 3, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Fukushima Fiction Film: Gender and the Discourse of Nuclear Containment

By Rachel DiNitto
This article examines the systems for designating and containing both the contamination from the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant (NPP) accident and the fear of radiation. This discourse of containment appears in the cinematic images of two fiction films: Land of Hope (Kibō no kuni, 2012) and The Tranquil Everyday (Odayaka na nichijō, 2012). I look at the films’ portrayals of the female characters who struggle to confirm and assess radiological danger in so-called “safe” zones. When they voice their fears and challenge the illusion of safety, they themselves are contained and made invisible by the diagnoses of radiophobia, hysteria, and paralyzing fatalism.
Keywords: Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, 3/11 fiction film, gender, radiological danger, radiophobia, containment
In the aftermath of the nuclear meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in spring 2011, the Japanese government and plant owner Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) sought to contain the disaster and to allay the fears of citizens. These measures of containment took tangible, visible form as words, actions, images, and physical objects: the various designations for the evacuation areas, no entry signs, fences, barriers, protective gear, masks, and government assurances of “no immediate health risks” (tadachi ni eikyō wa nai).1 Yet the danger itself—radiation spewing from the plant—remained invisible. Hence these signifiers had to overcompensate for our inability to perceive the nuclear threat by attempting to mark the boundaries of the invisible. In doing so, they sought to grant a sense of security that turned out to be as false as the myth of safety surrounding Japan’s nuclear program itself.
This article examines these systems of nuclear signification, specifically this discourse of containment, as it appears in two works of post-disaster Japanese cinema: Sono Sion’s Land of Hope (Kibō no kuni, 2012) and Uchida Nobuteru’s The Tranquil Everyday (Odayaka na nichijō, 2012).2 The systems of nuclear signification are at work in both of these fiction films as characters attempt to assess the level of danger even though they are outside the official designated no-go zones. Land of Hope is set in an area designated as an evacuation zone where danger is identified, and by extension, safety ostensibly reassured. However, when the characters leave the disaster area, the boundaries become much harder to identify, with some markers disappearing altogether. Two of the characters in Land of Hope leave the disaster area, and The Tranquil Everyday takes place entirely outside of the affected zones. In these so-called “safe landscapes,” the majority of characters in the films unquestioningly accept the government assurances of safety. However, those few who do ask questions—primarily female characters—are left to make their own judgments about the dangers of radiation, which neither visibly mark the landscape nor are visibly marked by the signage and warnings of the disaster zone.
Uchida Nobuteru, the director of The Tranquil Everyday stated his desire to focus on women after seeing their fear and the reactions to them on the internet.3 His producer, Sugino Kiki, who also plays Saeko in the film, concurred saying: “after the disaster, the voices of women, who are deeply aware of the disaster’s impact on daily life, were hardly heard in society at all.4 Uchida’s film focuses almost exclusively on women, and Sono also emphasizes the plight of the daughter-in-law in Land of Hope. When the women in these films challenge this system of safety by voicing fear and doubt, they are marked, and the threat they represent is defused when they are inscribed within the language of nuclear containment. The women’s actions set them apart from their communities, and they are further distanced by another set of signifiers—radiophobia, hysteria, and paralyzing fatalism—medical and psychological discourses used to contain dissent and deny responsibility in the post-nuclear accident climates of Hanford, Chernobyl, and Fukushima.
Kristina Iwata-Weickgenannt argues in “Gendering ‘Fukushima’: Resistance, Self-Responsibility, and Female Hysteria in Sono Sion’s Land of Hope” that while the gender stereotypes in Sono’s film make “his anti-nuclear criticism more socially acceptable,” he reinforces the social limits on anti-nuclear protest that has been marked as female, and undercuts the credibility of his characters and his message about the need to rethink the nation’s support for nuclear power.5 Iwata-Weickgenannt is interested in how the gender bias in Land of Hope subverts the film’s ability to function as an anti-nuclear critique.6 In this article, I further Iwata-Weickgenannt’s arguments about the gendered response to the Fukushima disaster by considering how danger is marked both inside and outside the disaster zone, and how the public marking of radiation in non-disaster zones is itself a dangerous act that must be contained lest it compromise the shared public desire for a belief in safety. While the signifiers within the disaster zone work to make the nuclear threat visible, signifiers outside the zone render invisible anyone who questions this myth of safety.
Although there are male characters in these films, some of whom are also ostracized, the focus is on women and children. By limiting the subject in this way, these films dramatize the shift in Japanese society that turned the nuclear situation into a domestic drama.7 The government and TEPCO refused to take responsibility for this national problem, turning it into a dilemma for private individuals to solve through personal decisions about whether to evacuate, where to live, what to eat, etc. Hideaki Fujiki critiques this very logic of choice that was forced on residents in post-disaster Japan where the government has implemented “a decontamination program that nudges the residents to choose to remain in the 1-20mSv areas rather than leave.8 This privatization of risk shifts responsibility for the disaster away from the government to individual residents.9 In these two films, the private choices regarding the presence of radiological danger become problematic when they mark a shared public space that is assumed to be safe.
Before turning to a summary of the films, I comment on their place within the body of post-disaster cinema in Japan. The vast majority of films about 3/11 are documentary, including a large number of amateur works as well as those made by established filmmakers, such as Funahashi Atsushi, Kamanaka Hitomi, Fujiwara Toshi, Mori Tatsuya, and Ian Thomas Ash.10 Fictional 3/11 films have been criticized by filmmakers such as Funahashi for misrepresenting the truth of the situation, and have courted controversy for their use of panoramic footage from the disaster area that has been deemed disrespectful.11 A full exploration of both the reason for the small number of fictional 3/11 films and the above criticism is beyond the scope of this paper, but the answer may also be a question of economics and viewer expectations. As early as 2012 it was said that “novels dealing with the disaster do not sell, movies do not draw audiences, and TV shows have low ratings.” 12 Sono’s film was primarily funded with money from the UK, Taiwan, and Germany, and Uchida talked about the difficulty of finding funding in Japan.13 Do the economics of mainstream cinema preclude fiction films about the disaster, or are Japanese viewers uninterested in film as social critique, as Sono himself suggested?14 Additionally, documentary filmmakers have exercised a level of ethical restraint that has kept them from depicting problems in the disaster area due to the demand for respect for their subjects that the medium imposes.15 This ethical restraint in documentary cinema may hinder representations in fiction films as well.
I am interested in the fictional 3/11 film specifically because the limited representation of the disaster in non-documentary cinema has not been reproduced in other fiction-based media, such as literature and manga, which have flourished in the wake of the disaster. My focus with these films is on those characters who live outside the disaster zone, and perhaps it is the representation of less easily identifiable victims in so-called “non-disaster” areas, or the discord within post-disaster communities that presents a challenge for cinema. I argue, however, that these films successfully depict a post-nuclear disaster environment in which the characters struggle to assess danger in the face of challenges such as the invisibility of radiation, the unknowability of that danger, and the desire of their communities to believe in government assurances of safety. Below is a brief summary of the films.
Land of Hope starts with an earthquake that triggers an explosion at the local NPP. Mr. Ono, a cattle farmer, has part of his property cordoned off by the authorities who are setting up a 20km evacuation zone around the affected plant. Ono’s neighbors are evacuated to shelters, but some of his property lies just outside the perimeter. Ono orders his son Yoichi to leave the area and take his wife Izumi with him, since she is of childbearing age and should not stay in the irradiated environment. The film follows both Yoichi and Izumi as they struggle to relocate, and their former neighbors the Matsuzaki family, who are adjusting to life in the shelters. When Izumi finds out she is pregnant, she sees danger all around. Yoichi is harassed at work for the actions his wife takes to protect herself. Meanwhile, Mr. Ono is pressured by the authorities to leave his home, since he and his wife are the only residents left in the area. The film ends with Mr. Ono killing his cattle, himself, and his wife. Yoichi and Izumi escape to a seemingly safe area only to find out that it is irradiated as well. This final scene makes the title of the film deeply ironic.
The Tranquil Everyday also begins with an earthquake and nuclear accident as it follows the lives of two women. Yukako and her husband Tatsuya live next door to Saeko, the mother of a young girl, Kiyomi. The two women struggle to understand the deluge of information about the nuclear disaster and to keep their families safe. Saeko’s efforts to ensure her daughter’s safety at school are blocked by a group of mothers who ridicule her and deny her fears about radiation. Hounded by hate mail and crank phone calls, abandoned by her husband, and unable to keep her daughter safe, she is driven to an attempted double suicide when her daughter gets a nosebleed. Yukako smells the natural gas that Saeko left running in her apartment, courageously saves them, and then supports Saeko’s efforts to regain custody of her daughter. Yukako reconciles with her husband, who realizes her fears are real, and the story ends with him proposing they try again to have a baby. The final scene is of them packing up their apartment to move to an undisclosed location.
Depicting the nuclear environment
As visual media, these films signal the presence of an irradiated environment by means of visible markers: fences and cordoned zones, no entry signs, protective gear, masks, and numerical readings on beeping Geiger counters. In Land of Hope the nuclear environment is represented as a space that is physically blocked off and separated. The residents encounter innumerable “no entry” signs (tachiiri kinshi) and police blockades (image 1).
In one scene, the Ono family watches as the authorities construct a fence across their land, and a later scene shows the town bisected by these fences (image 2), a shot that references the real-world consequences for towns like Namie that were divided by the designation of no-go zones.16
At times the characters try to break through these barriers, sometimes successfully, like the Matsuzaki’s son who is trying to help his girlfriend return to the area of her parental home, or the Onos, who cross the barrier to care for their neighbor’s dog. In another scene, Mrs. Ono, who suffers from a form of dementia, wanders through the town while her husband frantically searches for her. Although these characters enter the zone with no protection against the radiation, there is also no explicitly voiced fear of it. The film seems to be asking: if the Ono’s have no need for protective gear in their home or on their land, why would they need it only feet away on the other side of the no-go zone? It is not only the Onos, but the town officials trying in vain to convince the Onos to evacuate, who are seen traveling around the area in regular clothing, not even wearing masks.
Although it is questionable how much protection masks can provide from radiological danger, the non-wearing of them in these scenes works as a performance of safety that is puzzling. Mr. Ono is deeply skeptical of the government’s assurances that life is safe on his side of the barrier, yet he does not take any measures to protect himself and his wife from the radiation. Although he does send his son and daughter-in-law away, Mr. Ono chooses to remain and die on his ancestral land. Cinematically these scenes of characters roaming the no-go zone without protection send mixed messages: is it dangerous or not? The only scenes in which characters in or near the no-go zone wear protective gear are those of the authorities who construct the fence across the Ono’s land and evacuate their neighbors (image 1). Besides this, the film does not indicate that the characters in or near the zone are in any danger of being irradiated, in effect treating these visible barriers, and by extension the evacuation zones they mark, as meaningless. Although the messaging in some of these scenes is unclear, ultimately the film shows how the construction of barriers and zones serves only as false reassurance, and does not provide any real protection from radiation that in reality cannot be contained.
The questioning of these barriers and their designated zones references real world criticism of the Japanese government’s evacuation orders. The Japanese government instituted a system of concentric circles as a means of demarcating areas for evacuating residents based on their distance from the plant, rather than use the knowledge from Chernobyl and US nuclear testing that showed the “uneven and patchy” nature of radiation fallout.17 The government decision to delay until March 23 (12 days after the disaster) the release of the SPEEDI (System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information) data that would have taken into account wind and weather patterns is one example of the failure of the concentric circle model of evacuation to accurately reflect the dangers on the ground. Some residents fleeing the radiation unknowingly moved into zones of higher contamination, a situation that could have been avoided or ameliorated by the release of this data and by extending the unsafe zones accordingly.18 Additionally, the government decided to raise the annual exposure dosage that is considered safe, subjecting citizens to 20 times the normal risk for those within the designated zones. Those outside these official areas were not given support to evacuate, despite the fact that many were in areas of higher radiation according to SPEEDI data.19
In contrast to the situation in the evacuation zones, both fiction films emphasize the fear of radiation on the part of characters who reside in areas that are supposedly safe. These safe areas are unmarked because they are outside the official zones, and hence the danger is harder to identify. The spread of radiation beyond the visible markers/boundaries of the no-go zones is a source of anxiety for the characters in Land of Hope and The Tranquil Everyday. I focus on the women in these films who distrust reassurances that the radiation will not spread, and who question the government’s ability to protect them. In the face of an invisible threat, they rely on information found on the internet and on their own readings of radiation levels around them to confirm their fears. When these women take action to protect themselves, as described below, they create their own markers of safety and danger in an unmarked landscape, and are harassed and ostracized for doing so. When the women’s decisions about their private lives mark the shared, public space as unsafe, the community perceives them as a threat.
In Land of Hope, Izumi’s fears peak after talking to a young mother at the hospital who tells Izumi the doctors found cesium in her breastmilk even though she is not from the disaster area and has been very careful (image 3).
In one scene, Izumi imagines the world outside as filled with red gas—as the invisible dangers of radiation are made visible and given names like cesium (image 4).
She runs home, gets out her Geiger counter, and tapes her windows shut. Unclear of where the boundaries are, Izumi attempts to create her own “safe zone,” blocking out the dangers of the world around her by isolating herself; she seals off her apartment and wears protective gear, regardless of whether she is indoors or outside. The film includes scenes of her walking down the city streets and shopping in the supermarket dressed in full protective gear, as the residents stare in amazement and resentment (image 5).
Not only is Izumi’s response seen as extreme; her husband Yoichi is harassed by his coworkers who see Izumi’s actions as an insult to the town. When Izumi first tapes up their apartment she tells Yoichi that moving there was meaningless because they are still exposed to the dangers of radiation. When he counters that the government says it is OK, she yells that they are fighting an “invisible war.” Her comment functions as a self-conscious reference in the film to the very lack of visibility of nuclear threats.
The nuclear crisis plays out in Sono Sion’s campy, over-the-top style. But the naturalistic, albeit melodramatic, Tranquil Everyday portrays an even more extreme response to the radioactive environment. This film is set exclusively in areas that should be safe since they are outside of the official evacuation zones, but the dangers of contamination are seemingly ever present. In The Tranquil Everyday, Yukako and Saeko experience the disaster simultaneously, and the film cuts back and forth between the two to show their parallel experience. Both women watch their TVs in horror, research radiation on the computer, and try to convince their families to take safety measures by wearing a mask. The women live next door to each other, and Uchida sets their lives on a collision course.
Yukako, who is childless and works at home does not feel the social pressure on Saeko, who has to make choices about sending her daughter to school and allowing her to play outside, as she deals with the effects of state and institutional policies on perceptions of radiation and daily life. Saeko’s public choices to protect her daughter—making her wear a mask and bring her own lunch to school—are met with resistance and rejection by the community of other mothers at the school (image 6).
Saeko’s (and to some extent Yukako’s) predicament is reminiscent of the Chernobyl survivors Adriana Petryna describes who are trapped by large scale scientific studies in two “undesirable and potentially hazardous moral-conceptual states. . . The first is denial or amnesia (‘nothing happened here’). The second is a state of constant exposure to unpredictable unknowns.”20 Surrounded by mothers who seek to maintain their belief in the visible markers that indicate their safe remove from the radiation, Saeko is confronted by the narrative of “nothing happened here.”21 This narrative combines with the lack of official markers of danger to allow the mothers and school officials to maintain a status quo ignorant of the radiological dangers.22 Yet, armed with some knowledge from the internet and a Geiger counter, Saeko and Yukako know that they are in “a state of constant exposure to unpredictable unknowns.” In one scene, Yukako panics and runs into the school yard passing out masks and talking about the effects of radiation on children after the Chernobyl accident. She is taken away by the police—her protest criminalized and silenced. Saeko, powerless to change the world around her and hounded by community pressure to conform, takes extreme action when her daughter gets a nosebleed. The nosebleed is the only visible, physical effect of radiation seen in either film. It has been a controversial visible marker of radiation exposure in post-Fukushima Japan, as seen in the uproar over Kariya Tetsu’s inclusion of a nosebleed scene in the popular manga series Oishinbo.23 The scene comes after his protagonist visits the ailing NPP, and both locals and government officials criticized Kariya for spreading “harmful rumors” about radiation levels in the disaster area.24
In an act far more extreme than Izumi’s donning of protective gear, Saeko turns on the natural gas inside her apartment and tries to kill herself and her daughter. This attempted double suicide by an invisible gas—a poison produced by a utility company—works as a symbolic death by radiation. Saeko and her daughter both live, thanks to her neighbor Yukako’s intervention. But Saeko, a single parent, loses custody of her daughter, and it is hard to imagine that she will return to a normal life with Kiyomi. Life as she knew it is over. She pays a very high price for having publicly voiced her fears. 
Gender and radiophobia
Both films turn into domestic dramas of women becoming unhinged by their fears of radiation, fears that other characters in the film do not share (at least openly), because the systems of nuclear signification indicate that no danger is present. Living outside the evacuation zones, the decision to protect oneself becomes entirely personal and beyond the scope of either government or TEPCO responsibility. Yet, because the resistance offered by Izumi, Saeko, and Yukako threatens the normative discourse of safety, they must be contained by another set of barriers, namely a series of diagnoses. In Land of Hope, Izumi’s ob-gyn tells Yoichi that she suffers from hōshanō kyōfushō (radiophobia) and that it could negatively impact her pregnancy. In The Tranquil Everyday, Saeko gets hate mail which labels her as a radiophobic, neurotic nuisance (hōshanō noirōzē meiwaku), not as someone with valuable information to share or whose voice in the public debate should be countenanced (image 7). When Yukako is taken away by the police, one of the mothers calls her “strange” (okashii), a comment on her non-normative, “disturbed” behavior. 
Kristina Iwata-Weickgenannt makes the connection between Izumi’s diagnosis of “radiophobia” and the post-Fukushima bashing of “anti-nuclear activists as ‘hysterical.’”25 But these associations have a history that is not limited to the Fukushima accident. The term “radiophobia” was coined by Ukrainian health minister Anatolii Romanenko “to describe unwarranted fear and panic among populations” due to “chronic informational stress,” and the diagnosis was assigned to radiation victims after Chernobyl as a means to avoid taking “public responsibility” for the illnesses caused by the NPP disaster.26 Even before this syndrome was officially named, those living downwind of American nuclear testing, especially women, were told by Public Health Service officials “that their ‘neurosis’ about the fallout was the only thing that would give them cancer, particularly if they were female.” Manifestations of radiation sickness were attributed to such neuroses and labeled “housewife syndrome.”27
Saeko’s attempted double suicide can also be attributed to a “paralyzing fatalism.” Petryna references this term in relation to the WHO 2005 Chernobyl report that argued that “persistent myths and misconceptions about the threat of radiation have resulted in ‘paralyzing fatalism’” “among those living in affected areas.”28 Petryna objects to these “moral claims” about the survivors, and argues instead that they have been “overlooked by science.”29 However, in The Tranquil Everyday there is no such counter argument to defend Saeko’s actions. She is portrayed as a victim of this “paralyzing fatalism” that drives her to attempt a double suicide with her young daughter (image 8).
Sharon Stephens reminds us that this gender bias runs throughout the nuclear industry: the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) has never had a woman on their commission, and the public has been long portrayed in terms of the stereotypical feminine characteristics of irrational, uneducated, emotional, and at times hysterical behavior.30
Beyond this medicalization, Saeko is further contained or discounted by the social pressure that forces conformity, a dynamic that has been documented in the disaster area. Research by Slater, Morioka, and Danzuka reveals the ways that the “micro-politics” of the family can put pressure on Fukushima mothers, especially those in farming communities, to remain with their children in the contaminated areas as part of their duties to their husbands, mothers-in-law, and extended families.31 The fears of radiation expressed by these mothers are labeled “damaging rumors” (fūhyō higai), discrediting both the words of dissent and the speaker.32 The label of “rumor” is one means of blocking the “leakage of doubt and fear” in the contaminated area.33 Slater, Morioka, and Danzuka also discuss the ways that women who express their fears of radiation are pathologized as having an “unstable and unreasonable nervous personality type.”34 These women’s concerns were dismissed as “irrational fears” and they were labeled as “crazy” (atama ga okashikunatta).35 When Saeko has her confrontation with the mothers at the school, they accuse her of spreading “damaging rumors.” Just as the words and images of safety “contain” the radiation, these diagnoses and labels “contain” these women and defuse their threat.
The pressure on Saeko comes from the mothers at her daughter’s school, but even these mothers are shown as harboring their own fears about radiation. One of the mothers who works at the supermarket talks to Yukako about another mother (Saeko) who was bullied at the daycare, expressing her own uncertainty about what to do. Yukako tells her to wear a mask but to tell others it is for a cold, advice she takes later in the film. Noriko, the most outspoken of the mothers, is married to an employee of the electric company and seems distressed after a hushed cell phone conversation with her husband. Noriko silences others but may be unable to express her own anxiety and perhaps even dissent. The research of Slater et al. reveals this community silencing, and The Tranquil Everyday paints a muted, yet nuanced picture of women both applying pressure to conform and feeling that same pressure themselves.36
Although both films depict the societal pressures on women, neither portrays women finding supportive communities in which they can express their concerns about radiation. In The Tranquil Everyday, Saeko would seem to have found support in Yukako, but the film ends with Yukako and her husband packing up to move away. Sugino Kiki commented that the film is not about who is right or wrong, but about allowing the expression of a range of opinions, something she feels is lacking in Japan.37 In The Tranquil Everyday the women may have equal opportunity to voice their opinions, but they do not all suffer societal censure for having done so. Noriko’s group is not silenced or ostracized in the same way or to the same degree as Saeko, Yukako, or Izumi are. Some opinions are socially acceptable, while others are not. Documentary filmmaker Kamanaka Hitomi puts a different spin on the difficulties these women face in speaking out. She argues that Japanese women “are not trained to speak out” and “have not yet grown into their voices.”38 The silencing of women in these films is not a function of the gender of the filmmakers. As mentioned earlier, Sugino had a large role in the making of The Tranquil Everyday, and there are instances of women speaking out in films like Ian Thomas Ash’s A2-B-C. If anything, the films portray the various societal pressures that shut down women or limit the topics on which are allowed to speak.39 This runs parallel to the ways in which anti-nuclear protests in Japan are gendered female, but are also depoliticized due to the emphasis on so-called domestic concerns such as children’s safety.40
Uchida Nobuteru, director of The Tranquil Everyday, talked about how he saw his film as expressing the desire to return to an everyday normalcy that had been stolen by the Fukushima accident.41 However, both films show the impossibility of such a return. If areas like those in The Tranquil Everyday are unsafe, how can areas around the plant and in the disaster zone possibly be safe? The films depict an irradiated environment that is all around and is not contained by the visible barriers of evacuation zones and no-entry signs, questioning the government’s rhetoric of containment and the myth of safety surrounding nuclear power. Both argue for a wider circle of victimization and in doing so, cast doubt on the government’s decision to move residents back into the former no-go zones.
Additionally, these fiction films depict a social environment where “the indeterminacy and unknowability of radiation effects is the rule.” In this environment the female protagonists are confronted with the fabricated amnesia of “nothing happened here,” all the while fearing they are in a state of “constant exposure” to danger. None of the women have any viable options to protect themselves or their children (born or unborn). To use Petryna’s words, they are forced into a “moral calculus of risk.”42 As domestic dramas, these films depict the erasure of government culpability and the shifting of responsibility to individual citizens. Although The Tranquil Everyday nuances its scenes of public silencing, in failing to show any women who are anti-nuclear activists, members of support networks, or citizens whose contribution to public discourse is valued, both films depict, and do little to counter, existing stereotypes of women’s roles in post-Fukushima accident Japan. Women like Saeko remain isolated and silenced.
Acknowledgments: The author would like to thank University of Delaware and the Association of Japanese Literary Studies conference at Pennsylvania State University for the opportunity to present this research at an earlier stage. I also thank the reviewers for their insightful and helpful suggestions.
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary, Edano Yukio used this phrase on March 16 after explosions at reactors 1, 2, and 3 and a fire at number 4. He repeated this phrase on seven occasions. See Noriko Manabe, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Protest Music After Fukushima (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015), 49. Also see Manabe for a list of officials who said the conditions were safe post-meltdown. Manabe, 125. Edano’s “tadachi” (immediate) was nominated for buzzword of the year. Manabe, 139.
See the trailers here and here
Odayaka na nichijō:Uchida Nobuteru, accessed October 6, 2017.
“Intabyū: Odayaka na nichijō,”, December 20, 2012.
Kristina Iwata-Weickgenannt, “Gendering ‘Fukushima’: Resistance, Self-Responsibility, and Female Hysteria in Sono Sion’s Land of Hope,” in Fukushima and the Arts: Negotiating Nuclear Disaster, ed. Barbara Geilhorn and Kristina Iwata-Weickgenannt (London ; New York : New York: Routledge, 2017), 114.
Iwata-Weickgenannt, 120.
In Land of Hope, the patriarch Mr. Ono is a major exception to this gendered response, but he remains in an area that is clearly marked in relation to the contaminated zone. This article focuses primarily on the problems women encounter well outside of the no-go zones. See Iwata-Weickgenannt for more on the male characters in Land of Hope.
Fujiki notes that the standard for a ‘safe area’ in post-3/11 Japan is one affected by less than 20mSv of radiation, but the ICRP advises such a high level as acceptable only in “exceptional cases.” 1mSv is the normal standard. Hideaki Fujiki, “Problematizing Life: Documentary Films on the 3.11 Nuclear Catastrophe,” in Fukushima and the Arts: Negotiating Nuclear Disaster, ed. Barbara Geilhorn and Kristina Iwata-Weickgenannt (London ; New York: Routledge, 2017), 92.
Fujiki, 92. For more on the 3/11 disaster and privatization of risk, see Majia Holmer Nadesan, Fukushima and the Privatization of Risk (Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).
See for example Funahashi’s Futaba kara tōku hanarete = Nuclear Nation (2012), Kamanaka’s Surviving Internal Exposure (Naibu hibaku o ikinuku, 2012) and Little Voices from Fukushima (Chisaki koe no kannon – sentaku suru hitobito, 2015), Fujiwara’s No Man’s Zone (Mujin chitai, 2012), Mori’s 311 (2013) and Ash’s A2-B-C (2013).
I am thankful to Ryan Cook for this information. Sono was criticized for using such footage. For more on Sono, see Iwata-Weickgenannt, “Gendering ‘Fukushima’: Resistance, Self-Responsibility, and Female Hysteria in Sono Sion’s Land of Hope,” 112.
Genkaiken and Iida Ichishi, “Joron hajime ni,” in Higashinihon daishinsaigo bungakuron, ed. Genkaiken (Tokyo: Nan’undō, 2017), 11.
Odayaka na nichijō:Uchida Nobuteru. For more on the distribution of these documentary films, see Fujiki, “Problematizing Life: Documentary Films on the 3.11 Nuclear Catastrophe.”
For more on Sono’s comments see Iwata-Weickgenannt, “Gendering ‘Fukushima’: Resistance, Self-Responsibility, and Female Hysteria in Sono Sion’s Land of Hope,” 110–12. She also suggests that the influence of the nuclear village has restricted the fictionalization of 3/11 in Japanese cinema.
Fujiki, “Problematizing Life: Documentary Films on the 3.11 Nuclear Catastrophe,” 106.
Namie was divided into three evacuation zones. “Fukushima’s Namie Sees No-Go Zone Designation Lifted,” The Japan Times Online, April 1, 2013.
Sarah Phillips, “Fukushima Is Not Chernobyl? Don’t Be so Sure,” Somatosphere: Science, Medicine, Anthropology (blog), March 11, 2013. Philips questions why the Japanese government did not apply the knowledge from Chernobyl and US nuclear testing about the “uneven and patchy” nature of radiation fallout in order to map the evacuation zones “according to the actual radiological data.” The concentric circle model is standard for nuclear evacuation zones.
The Japanese government released this data to the US military on March 14, nine days earlier. Phillips.
The Japanese government raised the acceptable level for annual individual radiation exposure from 1mSv pre-3/11 to 20mSv after the disaster. Phillips; Gabrielle Hecht, “Nuclear Janitors: Contract Workers at the Fukushima Reactors and Beyond,” The Asia-Pacific Journal 11, no. 1.2 (January 14, 2013); Vincenzo Capodici and Shaun Burnie, “Reassessing the 3.11 Disaster and the Future of Nuclear Power in Japan: An Interview with Former Prime Minister Kan Naoto,” trans. Richard Minear, The Asia-Pacific Journal 14, no. 18.1 (September 15, 2016); Adriana Petryna, Life Exposed : Biological Citizens after Chernobyl (Princeton University Press, 2002), xxiii.
Petryna, Life Exposed, xxvii.
Petryna, xix.
Yukako’s husband Tatsuya is also silenced by his boss who uses similar arguments to dismiss Tatsuya’s request for a job transfer to Kansai, saying the government has assured us the radiation will do no harm.
Lorie Brau, “Oishinbo’s Fukushima Elegy: Grasping for the Truth About Radioactivity in Food Manga,” in Fukushima and the Arts: Negotiating Nuclear Disaster, ed. Barbara Geilhorn and Kristina Iwata-Weickgenannt (London ; New York: Routledge, 2017), 177–98; Eiichiro Ochiai, “The Manga ‘Oishinbo’ Controversy: Radiation and Nose Bleeding in the Wake of 3.11,” The Asia-Pacific Journal 11, no. 25.4 (June 23, 2014).
Filmmaker Funahashi Atsushi spoke in Kariya’s defense. See Funahashi Atsushi, “’Oishinbo’ no hanaji mondai: teki o miayamatte wa ikenai,” Hafinton posuto, May 12, 2014.
Iwata-Weickgenannt, “Gendering ‘Fukushima’: Resistance, Self-Responsibility, and Female Hysteria in Sono Sion’s Land of Hope,” 122–23.
Petryna, Life Exposed, 160, 177. See Petryna’s quote from forensic psychiatrist Oleksandr Tolkach about the implementation of this new term and its use in solving “all emerging social problems” (177).
Carole Gallagher, American Ground Zero: The Secret Nuclear War (Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press, 1993), xxx. I am grateful to Norma Field for this reference.
Petryna, Life Exposed, xv; For more on the application of this diagnosis to the Fukushima accident, see George Johnson, “When Radiation Isn’t the Real Risk,” New York Times, September 21, 2015, sec. Science. Johnson quotes a medical physicist who argues: “It was the fear of radiation that ended up killing people.”
Petryna, Life Exposed, xv.
Sharon Stephens, “Bounding Uncertainty: The Post-Chernobyl Culture of Radiation Protection Experts,” in Catastrophe & Culture : The Anthropology of Disaster, ed. Susannah M. Hoffman and Anthony Oliver-Smith (Santa Fe, NM: School of American Research Press, 2002), 110. The nuclear industry has a bias against women, but according to the Gender and Radiation Impact Project, “the harm to girls and women is, overall, roughly twice that of boys and men.” “Gender and Radiation Impact Project,” accessed December 12, 2017. I am grateful to Norma Field for this reference.
David H. Slater, Rika Morioka, and Haruka Danzuka, “MICRO-POLITICS OF RADIATION: Young Mothers Looking for a Voice in Post–3.11 Fukushima,” Critical Asian Studies 46, no. 3 (July 3, 2014): 494–95.
This is the same term that was used in the Oishinbo controversy.
Slater, Morioka, and Danzuka, “MICRO-POLITICS OF RADIATION,” 497–98.
Slater, Morioka, and Danzuka, 503.
Slater, Morioka, and Danzuka, 505.
As mentioned above, Yukako’s husband Tatsuya is also silenced.
“Intabyū: Odayaka na nichijō.”
Anastasia Smith, “KJ 81 Online Special: Filmmaker and Activist Kamanaka Hitomi,” Kyoto Journal (blog), accessed December 4, 2017. I am grateful to Norma Field for this reference.
Women activists were allowed to distribute pamphlets about the dangers of radiation as long as they did not include the words “nuclear energy.” For more see Slater, Morioka, and Danzuka, “MICRO-POLITICS OF RADIATION,” 502–3.
For more on the social limitations on female anti-nuclear protest in Japan see Iwata-Weickgenannt, “Gendering ‘Fukushima’: Resistance, Self-Responsibility, and Female Hysteria in Sono Sion’s Land of Hope,” 114–16.
Odayaka na nichijō:Uchida Nobuteru.
Petryna, Life Exposed, xxiv.


January 2, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

90Sr specific activity of teeth of abandoned cattle after the Fukushima accident – teeth as an indicator of environmental pollution

strontium 90.jpg


90Sr in cattle teeth was determined after the Fukushima accident.

90Sr was efficiently incorporated into the teeth at development stages.

90Sr specific activity of aqueous extract was higher than that of soil.

Water soluble 90Sr was incorporated into the cattle and accumulated.

Sr transfer is eliminated compared to Ca in the migration route.


90Sr specific activity in the teeth of young cattle that were abandoned in Kawauchi village and Okuma town located in the former evacuation areas of the Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FNPP) accident were measured. Additionally, specific activity in contaminated surface soils sampled from the same area was measured. (1) All cattle teeth examined were contaminated with 90Sr. The specific activity, however, varied depending on the developmental stage of the teeth during the FNPP accident; teeth that had started development before the accident exhibited comparatively lower values, while teeth developed mainly after the accident showed higher values. (2) Values of 90Sr-specific activity in teeth formed after the FNPP accident were higher than those of the bulk soil but similar to those in the exchangeable fraction (water and CH3COONH4 soluble fractions) of the soil. The findings suggest that 90Sr was incorporated into the teeth during the process of development, and that 90Sr in the soluble and/or leachable fractions of the soil might migrate into teeth and contribute to the amount of 90Sr in the teeth. Thus, the concentration of 90Sr in teeth formed after the FNPP accident might reflect the extent of 90Sr pollution in the environment.

December 23, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Japanese Embassy Promoting Fukushima Sake in London, UK

Did they inform those people that this sake is made from Fukushima contaminated rice, that no matter how delicious it tastes there is no safe level of radiation, that internal radiation is much more harmful than external radiation?
Of course they didn’t.
Three Days of a London Ecstatic for Fukushima Saké: The London Fukushima Saké Fair Event Report
In the plot full of excitement at sake of Fukushima
A PR Event in London to Highlight Fukushima’s Fifth Year Running With The Most Gold Medals From the All-Japan New Saké Awards
The Fukushima Saké Fair, a public relations event to create buzz for Japanese sakés from Fukushima Prefecture, was held during the three days from October 17th through the 19th, 2017, at venues throughout London, including the Halls of Parliament, famous for Big Ben, and the Embassy of Japan.
More than 480 persons attended the event over the course of the three days. Faces red with delighted intoxication were seen here and there, tasting Fukushima saké, which had, for the fifth year running, acquired the most gold medals at the All-Japan New Saké Awards.
In addition, a Fukushima Night was also held at two Japanese restaurants within London: Tokimeite and Yashin Ocean House. Among the participants were those who remarked that the Fukushima sakés were the best Japanese sakés they had ever imbibed, happily drawing a close on the great success of the Fukushima Saké Fair event.
Negotiations Among Importers and Six Saké Brewers Within Fukushima
Lively discussions were had at the Fukushima Saké Negotiations, held on October 18th, among the participating saké brewers and the local restaurants and alcohol wholesalers.
Interest in Japanese saké is on the rise in London. Many persons are taking note of quality Fukushima sakés, and among the sommeliers and alcohol wholesalers present at the event were comments such as how the Fukushima sakés were full-bodied and crisp, how well they would accompany meat dishes, and how they should be carried by those restaurants and wholesalers. More than 100 negotiations took place. The expectation is that, moving forward, there will be many more Fukushima saké transactions in the market.


December 15, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Japanese Foreign Minister’s Gimmick to Promote Fukushima Contaminated Produce

Japanese Government won’t stop at anything to promote Fukushima’s contaminated produce to its people so as to calm their fears and to the foreign markets so as to make them lift their imports restrictions on Eastern Japan produce.
Boris Johnson downs a can of peach juice from Fukushima given to him by Japanese minister to prove goods from the nuclear meltdown zone are safe
Boris Johnson was handed Fukushima fruit drink by Japanese minister Tarō Kōno
He downed can in three gulps as an act of solidarity, saying: ‘Very good. Mmmh’
Many countries – including the US and China – still ban imports from the area
Nuclear plant in the prefecture suffered huge meltdown after earthquake in 2011
Boris Johnson has downed a can of peach juice from an area of Japan that suffered a triple nuclear meltdown in a bid to show its produce is safe.
The foreign secretary was handed the Fukushima fruit drink by Japanese foreign affairs minister Tarō Kōno, who brought it with him on his visit to London. 
A nuclear plant in the prefecture suffered a huge meltdown after an earthquake in 2011, causing a release of radioactive material that led to over 50 countries banning imports of food from the area.   
The foreign secretary was handed the Fukushima fruit drink by Japanese foreign affair minister Tarō Kōno, who brought it with him on his visit to London. Pictured: He downs the can
A nuclear plant in the prefecture suffered a huge meltdown after an earthquake in 2011, causing a release of radioactive material that led to over 50 countries banning imports of food from the area. Pictured: Boris with Kono at the Foreign Office in London yesterday 
But Boris didn’t seem to mind as he delightedly gulped down a small can of peach juice, captured on video and published to Twitter by Kōno yesterday. 
Smirking after swigging the drink, Boris mutters: ‘Very good… Mmmh.’ 
He then takes a good look at the can before going for gulp number two.
Again the juice meets his approval, with the foreign secretary declaring: ‘Yum! I need it.’
He then takes a final swig and utters yet another ‘Mmmmh’ before putting the can down, presumably empty. 
Kōno explained in his tweet: ‘British FM Boris Johnson drinking peach juice from Fukushima, showing the products from Fukushima are safe.’
Pictured: Boris finishing off the juice
Many countries – including the US and China – still have restrictions on Fukushima produce in place following the disaster
But as part of efforts to persuade the world that the area’s goods are perfectly safe, many Japanese politicians have munched on its food and gulped down its drinks. 
In 2011, however, MP Yasuhiro Sonoda rather fluffed the PR exercise by visibly shaking as he drank water collected from the Daiichi nuclear plant in Fukushima.  
Boris Johnson swigs can of peach juice from Fukushima
Foreign secretary drinks down gift from Japan’s foreign minister in attempt to show food and drink from region is safe after triple nuclear meltdown
“Yum.” That was foreign secretary Boris Johnson’s verdict on a can of peach juice from Fukushima – a ‘gift’ from his Japanese counterpart, Taro Kono – during their meeting in London this week.
The moment, captured by Kono on his smartphone, was intended to prove that food and drink from Fukushima is safe, almost seven years after the triple nuclear meltdown.
While some countries have maintained restrictions on food from the region – a major producer of peaches – the EU said this month it would ease import restrictions on agricultural items and seafood that were introduced after the March 2011 disaster.
More than 50 countries and regions imposed import curbs on Japanese produce after the disaster, and about half – including China and the US – still have them in place.
“Very good … Mmm,” Johnson pronounced, studying the label on the can for good measure.
He polished off the sweet drink without incident, no doubt to the relief of his Japanese guests. But attempts by other politicians to use food and drink to prove a point, or simply ingratiate themselves with voters, have left a bitter taste.
During a BSE scare in Britain in 1990, the then agriculture secretary, John Gummer, unsuccessfully tried to feed his four-year-old daughter, Cordelia, a burger made with British beef.
In recent years, Ed Miliband and Theresa May proved that encounters with the food of the masses – in his case a bacon sandwich, in hers a cone of chips – are best kept out of the public eye.
May’s predecessor, David Cameron, had set a poor example by choosing to tackle a simple hot dog with a knife and fork.
Japanese politicians of all stripes have taken up the cause of Fukushima produce.
In 2011 Yasuhiro Sonoda, then a ruling party MP, visibly shook as he gulped down a glass of decontaminated – and perfectly safe – water collected from inside two reactor buildings at Fukushima Daiichi.

December 15, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Many children diagnosed with thyroid cancer after 3.11 disasters, families still worried

Nearly 80 percent of respondents in a survey by a group supporting children diagnosed with thyroid cancer in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster say they remain worried about the cancer, despite the prognosis for those who receive appropriate treatment being good.
The survey was conducted by the 3.11 Fund for Children with Thyroid Cancer, an independent, not-for-profit organization providing support for child patients of thyroid cancer and their families. It was sent in August to 67 households of people who were living in Fukushima Prefecture at the time of the outbreak of the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant in March 2011 and whose medical expenses the fund has helped to cover. A total of 52 households responded — a response rate of about 78 percent. Twelve of the respondents had received treatment themselves, while seven were fathers and 33 were mothers of those who had been treated.
A total of 40 respondents, or 77 percent, said they remained worried. When asked specifically what they were worried about, 23 people said “a relapse,” nine each cited “metastasis” and “health status in general,” while five each said they were worried about “pregnancy and childbirth” and “finding a job and working.”
Among children, some worried about cancer testing being scaled back. A total of 28 respondents called for the status quo to be maintained, while another 17 respondents called for the testing system to be enhanced. None said it should be downsized.
“Excessive diagnosis” has been blamed in the past for the large number of thyroid cancer patients in the wake of the nuclear disaster, but when given space to write their own opinions, some respondents were supportive of testing from the perspective of early detection of cancer, saying, “It’s better than finding out too late,” and “If a person has cancer, they’ll feel better if it’s removed.”
The fund’s representative director, Hisako Sakiyama, commented, “There’s a need to listen to what the afflicted people and their families want, and to hear what problems they are facing.”

December 10, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

No way to find hot spots with dosimeter at 1m from the ground

Special thanks for their very important work to Kurumi Sugita of the Fukushima 311 Voices Blog and to Mr Yoichi Ozawa of the citizen’s measurement group named the “Fukuichi Area Environmental Radiation Monitoring Project“.
We have published several articles in this blog saying that to protect the population the Japanese goverment should take into account the soil contamination as well as the radiation dose in the air.  The policy to open the evacuation zones and encourage the population to return to live there (with the end of financial compensation and relocation aid) is based only on the airborn radiation dose measurements (the evacuation order is lifted when the radiation dose is under 20mSv/year).  We have been saying that this is very dangerous, even  criminal, for the air radiation dose rate (indicating the amount of radioactive dose received by a person within a certin period time) is useful with a well-identfied fixed source of radiation, but is not adequate to reveal the overall environmental contamination after a nuclear accident. It doesn’t account for the internal radiation exposure induced health hazards (note 1).
Now we would like to point out another problem related to hotspots: it is nearly impossible to find hotspots by the usual measuring practice of the airborn radiation dose rate (in sieverts per unit of time).  To illustrate this difficulty, we are translating here a Facebook post of Mr Yoichi Ozawa of the citizen’s measurement group named the “Fukuichi Area Environmental Radiation Monitoring Project“.
Here are the radiation dose rates, captured vertically above a highly radioactive substance (“black substance” or “black dust”) of 4,120,000 Bq/kg, measuring 79 μ Sv/h.
Below are measurements at different distances from the ground.
5cm:9.112 μSv/h
50cm:0.630 μSv/h
1m:0.251 μSv/h
Nov 30 2017.jpg
Conclusion: it is impossible to discover micro-hotspots right under your feet when you walk around measuring radiation doses at 1m of distance from the ground.
Measuring device:
Aloka TCS172B
Measurements carried out by Mr Yoichi Ozawa.
For 0cm from the ground, Aloka TCS172B, which cannot measure over 30µSv/h, was replaced by Polimaster PM1703M and Radex RD1706. The value is the average of the measurements of these two devices.  
Here is the video of the measurement.
As we can see from the graph above, the value in terms of Sieverts decreases drastically with the distance from the ground. At 1m, which is the usual reference height to measure the radiation dose rate, the value becomes very small even with the soil of over 4 million Bq/kg, which is absolutely enormous (note 2).
Some readers might be familiar with the image of a Japanese citizen measuring  radioactivity with a device at about 1m from the ground. This practice, almost unknown before the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, has become widespread among citizens, although it has become rather a rare practice nowadays as many people have more or less become accustomed to live with radiation. Besides the fact that it is hard to live a life worrying about radiation around the clock and some people prefer to stop thinking about it, this “normalisation” of radiation is strongly enforced by a governmental security campaign. One of the methods employed is to focus on the external irradiation risk, neglecting the internal irradiation risk, by spreading the knowledge and data only in terms of the radiation dose in the air (measured by Sieverts), at the expense of other measurements such as the radiocontamination density in soil (surface contamination density in terms of Becquerel/unit of surface).
One of the now well-known problems of radiocontamination of the environment is that the contamination is not homogeneous, but dispersed with what is called a hot spot. This is a serious problem for the population, as the absorption of radioative particles contained in these hot spots can cause internal irradiation related health damage. And as we see above, it is extremely difficult to detect these hotspots, from 1m and above, even with the extremely highly contaminated substance such as “black dust”.
It is widespread belief among the public that if the value of the airborn radiation dose at 1m from the ground is under 0.23µSv/h (note 3), it is safe. This value, diffused by the authorities as well as by media, is indeed applied as the lower limit to carry out decontamination work.  Yet, as we have seen, even with the extremely highly contaminated substance such as “black dust”, at 1m, the radiation dose is only 0.25µSv/h, that is to say, only slightly over the limit of the 0.23µSv/h, which is believed to be the “safety level”.
It is unfortunate to say that for most of the residents taking the measurements of the airborn radiation dose by themselves, the values they observe have become rather an “encouraging” factor to continue living there or to return to live, than an alarming factor, as these values do not reveal but rather conceal the presence of hotspots which can cause internal radiation exposure induced health damage.
It is difficult to find hotspots anyway.  So when the soil contamination is high (see the concentration maps in this blog, for Namie, Minamisoma), it is better to keep the zone closed, continuing to aid the evacuated people.
Note 1: In opposition to the external radiation exposure which occurs when the human body is exposed to an external source, the internal radiation exposure is an exposure from inside the body due to the incorporation of radioactive particles through ingestion, inhalation or adhesion to skin.
Note 2: This extremely high level of contamination is understandable, for what is measured here is the infamous “black substance” or “black dust”, a kind of Cyanobacteria, about which we invite you to listen to podocast of Marco Kaltofen with English transcription.
Note 3: In fact, the 0.23µSv/h value is problematic in itself.  This is based on the 1mSv/year value following the ICRP (International Commission on Radiological Protection) recommendations on the public health.  However,  the 0.23µSv/h value is not the result of a simple division of 1mSv by 365 days x 24 hours. The calculation of 0.23µSv/h presupposes that people stay inside for 16 hours/day and that the radiation is reduced by 60% because of the building structure.  Then, the background of 0.04µSv/h is added. (1000µSv÷365÷(8 + 〈16×0.4〉) + 0.04  But in the real life in rural areas such as Fukushima, people spend more time outdoors.  Besides, some recent research has shown that in some cases the radiation dose can be higher indoors than outdoors because of the infiltration of hot particles. Thus, the reality is much more complex to apply uniformly the value of 0.23µSv/h as a safety threshhold. Lastly, many people in Fukushima were victimes of the initial exposure right after the accident. For such population, any exposure, whatever the quantity is, is to be avoided.

December 1, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Testimony of a mother who evacuated from Tokyo

Listen to her testimony (in English).
She evacuated from Tokyo to Kobe in west Japan to protect her daughter.
The contamination does not stop at the Fukushima department border. Tokyo is also contaminated.


Transcription (note 1):
I am standing here to tell you that the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe is not over.
I evacuated to Kansai (note2), three years after the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident.
Where do you think I evacuated from?
I evacuated from Tokyo!
Do you know that Tokyo has serious radioactive contamination?
Tens of millions of people in east Japan live with radioactive contamination now.
I have a daughter who was 5 years old at the time of the accident.
She became very sick one year after the accident.
In fact, my daughter became so sick that she could not live a normal life at all.
However, when she stayed in a place where there was no radioactive contamination, my daughter became so well. But when we returned to Tokyo, my daughter became sick again.
We did not have the option to stay in Tokyo, we just fled from Tokyo and came here.
Living in east Japan means living with many radioactive materials, and it is not a place where people can live healthily.
We are calling for evacuation to west Japan.
We are evacuees from eastern Japan.
Our existence will not be broadcasted on radio waves or published in newspapers. So, I am telling you about it now.
After the accident, we were told that radiation was not a problem, health damages would not occur.
But it was not true.
Many of us have evacuated from east to west due to various health problems.
Many people are getting sick today in east Japan.
People are dying without noticing that it is due to radiation.
Many Japanese can not face this nuclear catastrophe.
Please try to know what is going on in Japan now.
We are telling the world that the nuclear disaster is far from being over.
Note 1: We thank Ms Yoko Chase for her proofreading of the text prepared by Ms Yoko Shimozawa.
Note 2: The region in west Japan, including large cities such as Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe.

November 28, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

New Study: Over a Trillion becquerels of Fukushima radiocesium fell on Hawaii

University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Oct 31, 2017
Fukushima-derived radiocesium fallout in Hawaiian soils… This study estimated the magnitude of cesium deposition in soil, collected in 2015-2016, resulting from atmospheric fallout… Detectable, Fukushima-derived 134Cs inventories ranged from 30 to 630 Bq m-2 and 137Cs inventories ranged from 20 to 2200 Bq m-2… This research confirmed and quantified the presence of Fukushima-derived fallout in the state of Hawai’i in amounts higher than predicted by models and observed in the United States mainland…
The Hawaiian Islands were expected to get minimal, below 10 Bq m-2 or lower, of Fukushima-derived fallout…
Fukushima-derived soil radiocesium concentrations, were greater than anticipated based on model-predicted Pacific atmospheric dispersion rates…
Maximum estimated values of 134Cs fallout on the islands of Hawaii and O’ahu constrained by precipitation and data from sites with less than 70% canopy cover were obtained by linear interpolation of all measured soil cesium concentrations, resulting in 134Cs fallout ranging from < 60 to 1000 Bq m-2 [According to this study, “The Fukushima-derived fallout… 134Cs to 137Cs ratio was 1:1” — therefore 137Cs fallout from Fukushima was also 60 to 1000 Bq m-2, making the total radiocesium 120 to 2000 Bq m-2. Compare this to the study’s previous statement that “The Hawaiian Islands were expected to get minimal, below 10 Bq m-2 or lower, of Fukushima-derived fallout”]…
Using the conservative values and integrating over the whole area with rainfall above 200 mm, we estimate that the island of Hawaii received 1.50 x 10^12 Bq [1.5 Trillion Bq] of 134Cs and 137Cs, each isotope contributing 50%, between March 19 and April 4, 2011…
Atmospheric dispersion models predicted the majority of the plume to travel a more northern route over the Aleutian Islands… however, suggesting that the Fukushima-derived aerosol plume may have taken an alternative southern path. Our radiocesium fallout inventories are comparatively higher than those estimated and measured in North America. Previous research that used whole-water wet deposition to predict ‘its fallout in North America estimated up to 180 Bq m -2 in Alaska, 46 Bq m -2 in California, and 29 Bq m -2 in Washington State…
This is the first study to our knowledge studying Fukushima-derived fallout in the Pacific Islands…
Fukushima-derived radiocesium fallout in Hawaiian soils

November 28, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | 1 Comment

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

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.

November 25, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima’s Radioactive Legacy

From Majia’s Blog

Did you see the article by Jeff McMahon in Forbes covering research by Dr. Shin-ichi Hayama, a wildlife veterinarian studying Fukushima’s contaminated monkeys:

Jeff McMahon (2017, October 30). Three Ways Radiation Has Changed The Monkeys Of Fukushima. Forbes,

The Japanese macaques show effects associated with radiation exposure—especially youngsters born since the March 2011 meltdowns at the Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, according to a wildlife veterinarian who has studied the population since 2008… [The three changes include]:

Smaller bodies

Smaller heads and brains

Anemia: “The monkeys show a reduction in all blood components: red blood cells, white blood cells, hemoglobin, and the cells in bone marrow that produce blood components.”

Findings expressed in graphs show clear correlation between level of exposure and biological problems, such as a reduction in white blood cells.

Perhaps even more concerning is the lack of recovery observed by Dr. Hayama:

“We have taken these tests from 2012 through 2017, and the levels have not recovered. So we have to say this is not an acute phenomenon. It has become chronic, and we would have to consider radiation exposure as a possible cause,” Hayama said.

You can read the full study and previous research:

Shin-ichi Hayama, Moe Tsuchiya, Kazuhiko Ochiai, Sachie Nakiri, Setsuko Nakanishi, Naomi Ishii, Takuya Kato, Aki Tanaka, Fumiharu Konno, Yoshi Kawamoto & Toshinori Omi (2017) Small head size and delayed body weight growth in wild Japanese monkey fetuses after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 3528 (2017) doi:10.1038/s41598-017-03866-8Kazuhiko Ochiai, Shin-ichi

Hayama, Sachie Nakiri, Setsuko Nakanishi, Naomi Ishii, Taiki Uno, Takuya Kato, Fumiharu Konno, Yoshi Kawamoto, Shuichi Tsuchida & Toshinori Omi (2014) Low blood cell counts in wild Japanese monkeys after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster Scientific Reports 4, Article number: 5793 (2014) doi:10.1038/srep05793

Two other studies that have documented biological effects from Fukushima radiation exposure include the following:

A. Moller, A. Hagiwara, S. Matsui, S. Kasahara, K. Kawatsu, I. Nishiumi, H. Suzuki, K. Ueda, T. and A. Mousseau (2012) ‘Abundance of Birds in Fukushima as Judged from Chernobyl’, Environmental Pollution, 164, 36-39.

A. Hiyama, C. Nohara, S. Kinjo, W. Taira, S. Gima, A. Tanahara, and J. Otaki (2012) ‘The Biological Impacts of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident on the Pale Grass Blue Butterfly’, Scientific Reports, 1-10.

No one really knows what is going to happen in a nuclear waste land. There are so many uncertainties and contingencies but one thing is certain and that is that increased levels of radionuclides in air, water, soil, and food disrupt the established patterns of life upon which we depend.

Read also :
Chernobyl Birds Have Smaller Brains
monleys 30 oct 2017

November 6, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | 1 Comment

WTO panel rules on Korea’s ban on Japanese seafood



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