First, the Japanese government who is losing credibility by the day, if not by the hour, among the Japanese population and the world at large over its (non-)handling of the nuclear and radiation crisis.
The Ministry of Education and Science has just created a new booklet for elementary schools, junior high schools, and high schools to be used in the new semester starting in September to teach children about "radiation", and what to do in a nuclear disaster like the one they've been having since March 11.
So let's take a look. What are the children supposed to do in the post-Fukushima age? Here's from Asahi Shinbun (3:02AM JST 8/14/2011) as to why this booklet has been created:
To give children the basic understanding of radiation
To prevent bullying of children from Fukushima in their new schools outside Fukushima [for those children lucky enough to get out of Fukushima]
To teach that radiation is emitted from radioactive materials like uranium, and that we may be exposed to radiation from natural sources as well as in medical treatments anyway
To teach them the effect of radiation in different dosage
To teach them that radiation is not contagious
To teach them to pay close attention to the announcements by the national government and municipal governments in the event of a nuclear accident and evacuate accordingly.
About the last point, many people did just that. They followed the government instruction on evacuation and ended up going where the radioactive plume went - north and northwest, then change direction and headed south from there. The government instruction, assisted by the nuclear experts back in March, was to go as far away from the plant, in any direction, as the strength of radiation decreases with the distance. What they forgot to tell the populace is that it was not a nuclear bomb that exploded in a flash but a broken nuclear reactor releasing a tremendous amount of radioactive nuclides in a plume.
Anecdotes of children from Fukushima being bullied were reported back in April and May, and the media made much of them. Whether they were true or another "baseless rumor" from the government, I do not know.
The booklet continues the government's position to confuse "radiation" with "radioactive nuclides", making it appear as if radioactive nuclides that exist in nature are no different from the man-made radioactive nuclides. (That will be another post.) I'm pretty positive that the booklet will have the illustration of the different level of radiation from different sources, rendering everything into numbers in microsievert and millisievert.
And here's the US government, telling farm supply stores, gun shops, military surplus stores and even hotels and motels to watch out for domestic "terrorists". The FBI brochures ask proprietors, clerks and others to watch out for "potential indicators" of terrorism. In the brochure "handed out to surplus stores by agents of the FBI in Denver in recent days", those "potential indicators" include, among other seemingly legitimate concerns:
Insist on paying with cash
Significantly alter appearances from visit to visit (haircolor, beard, dress)
Have missing fingers/hand, strange odors, bright stains on clothes
Make bulk purchase of the following items:
Weatherproofed ammunition and match containers
Meals Ready to Eat
Night vision devices, night flashlights
Cash is now a terrorist tool. Flashlight, too.
Never mind that, as the linked article points out, another branch of the same government, FEMA, tells citizens to store up on flashlights and matches in a weatherproof containers and ready-to-eat foods as part of disaster preparedness. So you go to a surplus supply store to stock up on these essential disaster preparedness items as recommended by FEMA, and you may become a "terrorist" according to FBI. Catch 22.