Dr. Shunichi Yamashita is a professor at Nagasaki University (molecular medicine and radiation research), who became one of the two advisors to Fukushima Prefecture in order to "educate" the residents throughout Fukushima about radiation after the Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident.
He is still the radiation advisor, though a movement started by irate Fukushima residents is gathering steam to demand the prefectural government to remove him from the position. Why are they angry at him now?
Because he epitomizes the government and government scholars who told them all along that the radiation from Fukushima I Nuke Plant was at a totally safe level, there was nothing to worry about, it was all in your head, foreign news media are lying, eat, drink, play, live as normal. It turned out to be anything but normal for Fukushima.
Immediately after the accident, he was sent by the government to major cities in towns in Fukushima to address the concerns of the citizens. He addressed them by saying radiation was nothing to worry about, it was all in their heads, Fukushima would be world-famous so they shouldn't miss this great opportunity, and the residents should stay put.
Some of his incredible remarks have appeared in the US media, including this one in Democracy Now (6/10/2011):
He says that mothers, even mothers exposed to 100 millisieverts, pregnant mothers, will not have any effect, health effect. Remember the number 100. Compared to that, the Soviet Union required a mandatory evacuation during Chernobyl at five millisieverts. This doctor is quoted as saying, “The effects of radiation do not come to people that are happy and laughing. They come to people that are weak-spirited, that brood and fret.”
Well, that and so much more.
The reference that the Democracy Now guest made in the program is part of his hilarious lecture about radiation and its effect on health, delivered on March 21, 2011 in front of the large, and worried audience in Fukushima City, 60 kilometers from Fukushima I Nuke Plant, 2 days after he was appointed as the official radiation advisor to Fukushima Prefecture.
Fukushima City is the same city where Greenpeace detected cobalt-60 on June 7.
Also recall that March 21 was is one of the days that saw a large spike in air radiation throughout Kanto and Tohoku region, for reasons still not disclosed.
From the lecture on March 21 in Fukushima City, toward the end, before the Q&A session:
Original Japanese audio
Japanese transcript of the event
The name "Fukushima" will be widely known throughout the world. Fukushima, Fukushima, Fukushima, everything is Fukushima. This is great! Fukushima has beaten Hiroshima and Nagasaki. From now on, Fukushima will become the world number 1 name [when it comes to radiation/nuclear incident]. A crisis is an opportunity. This is the biggest opportunity. Hey, Fukushima, you've become famous without any efforts! [a chuckle from the audience] Why
not take advantage of this opportunity? For what? Recovery.
First off, my sincere condolences for people who died in the earthquake and tsunami. We need to deal with the loss, and to recover from this nuclear disaster. I don't know how it [the nuke accident] will affect the nuclear energy policy of the national government, as the nuclear energy is the core of the national energy policy. But I can tell you this; the health effects are minimal. The only thing we need to keep an eye on is the amount of exposure of plant workers who are working with a do-or-die resolution. But we don't have to worry about the health effects of ordinary people.
And yet you are worried. Worried about whom? Women, pregnant women, and infants. We are responsible for the future generation. So, every radiation protection safety limit is based on the amount allowable for babies. Administering potassium iodide, deciding on the evacuation, they are all based on protecting children. Adults over 20 years old have very little sensitivity to radiation. Almost zero. That's the first thing you have to remember. Still, adults are the ones who worry the most. This is wrong. Especially wrong if you are male. You smoke and drink, and worry about radiation? Men don't have to worry. All we need to do is protect women, children, pregnant women and infants. If the situation deteriorates, pregnant women and children should escape. Men should stay put and fight for recovery. You [as Fukushima residents] are the descendants of people who produced the proud Byakko-Tai. You should have such a resolution.
To tell you the truth, radiation doesn't affect people who are smiling, but those who are worried. This has clearly been demonstrated by animal studies. So, drinking may be bad for your health, but happy drinkers are less affected by radiation, luckily. I'm not advising you to drink, but laughter will remove your radiation-phobia. But there's precious little information to scientifically explain the effects of laughter. So, please ask all your questions. This is not a lecture, it's a dialog between you and I.
If you understand Japanese, go listen to the audio file. About 43 minutes and 40 seconds into the audio, you can hear him say these things.
"Byakko-tai" members were boys aged mostly 16 to 17 but as young as 13 who fought to defend their lord's land (today's Aizu in Fukushima Prefecture) but chose to kill themselves rather than to surrender in the civil war that ensued after the Meiji revolution that brought down the Tokugawa Shogun government. Fukushima was on the side of Tokugawa.
Professor Yamashita was telling the Fukushima City residents to be like them in the battle with radiation.
His "non lecture" preceding the above is full of misrepresentations and some outright lies. I may translate that later, if I'm not too disgusted.
So, imagine the Japanese, particularly those in Fukushima Prefecture, who have been bombarded by the messages like this since March. A veritable brainwash, and it may be working, despite the effort by "outsiders" like Greenpeace.
Throughout Japan, mothers continue to accompany their small children to kindergartens, and fathers are too busy working. Just like in Japan before March 11, before the nuke accident. They sometimes frown on mothers and fathers who are considering withdrawing their children from kindergartens, saying "How they overreact! How silly!"