Yukio Edano, who as the Chief Cabinet Secretary (mouthpiece) in the Kan Administration appeared several times a day during the early days of the Fukushima nuke crisis to soothe and reassure the general public that everything was under the government control and that there was nothing to worry about, now says he only used the famous "No immediate effect on health" only 7 times in the press conferences which he says there were 39.
He is a lawyer by training, by the way.
Answering the LDP politician Seiichiro Murakami who questioned the inadequate government response in the early days of the crisis during the Budget Committee in the Lower House of the Diet on November 8, Edano responded:
I held 39 press conferences during the first two weeks of March 11. Of those 39, I said "There is no immediate damage to the body or the health" 7 times. Of those 7, I referred to food and drinks 5 times. I wasn't talking about the generalities and did not say there was no immediate effect. I simply said, repeatedly, that there was a standard set so that if one drank milk for one year that had radioactive materials in it there would be a damage to the health, and that there would be no immediate problem if one consumed such drink once or twice.
Clearly, Edano thinks everyone except himself is so dumb and forgetful that he can get away with it.
First, even if it was only 7 times that he said "no immediate effect, or damage", that was amplified by several orders of magnitude by the media and by the government experts who were on TV, radio, almost 24/7 in the early days.
Second, he most definitely did not say that the provisional safety standards were set so that if one consumed contaminated food or drink for one year there would be negative effects. He is now saying, "Oh didn't I tell you that? That was what the provisional safety limits were for, and I thought that was obvious to everyone, no?"
Third, he certainly did not say "once or twice" when he talked about the provisional safety limits. The experts that the government sent to TV stations in the early days did their best in propagating variations of Edano's "no effect" message, reassuring the general public.
Edano's excuse? "The government did not have detailed information on radiation levels."
In the Q&A in the Budget Meeting on November 8, Edano referred to the remaining one or two occasions where he used the phrase "no immediate effect or problem"other than about food and drink, and that is about the air radiation levels in the areas northwest of the plant. He said,
Eventually the areas northwest of the plant turned out to have high radiation levels. Regarding the high radiation levels in these areas, all I said was that they were not the levels of radiation that would affect [the health, or the body] in a short period of time; I didn't say [or mean] staying there long-term [and no effect]. Therefore, the radiation monitoring in the areas must be strengthened in order to confirm whether it would be OK to live there long-term, that's what I said.
Eventually?? That's a lie right off the bat. The national government, and the Fukushima prefectural government, knew from the very early days that the radiation coming out of Fukushima I Nuke Plant was significant, particularly in the northwest of the plant (they detected tellurium in the morning of March 12 in Namie-machi, for one) and they were well aware that the core meltdown may have happened, as Goshi Hosono, current Minister in charge of nuclear accident and then-PM assistant, openly admitted on TV (and no one said anything, and he was rewarded with minister job). Asahi Shinbun's "Trap of Prometeus" (translated posts by following the link) relates how different government agencies and the Self Defense Force were measuring, without telling the residents, the radiation levels all over Fukushima; in Namie-machi, the air radiation was over 100 microsieverts/hour, and the government, and certainly the spokesman Edano knew full well.
If he meant "short period of time", he certainly did not say that, and people continued to live in the areas, assured by his words and the words of the experts like Dr. Yamashita and his sidekick Dr. Takamura, who told the villagers in Iitate-mura that there was nothing to worry about and they could continue to live there with no problem.
But the LDP politician simply moved on in the Q&A, instead of pressing Edano on the issue.
If you understand Japanese, you can watch the Youtube video here.