Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Professor Yukio Hayakawa of Gunma University Is Under Attack

from his own university.

He was reprimanded by the university president for his "insensitive and inappropriate" remarks about "disaster victims" in Fukushima on his Twitter and blog, and is threatened with "disciplinary measures" that include termination from his position.

There are four types of "disciplinary measures" for public employees like Hayakawa: termination, suspension without pay, pay cut, and reprimand. He already got the last one.

He is the one who put out the radiation contour map from the very early days of the disaster. He is very much politically incorrect, not afraid to say things as they are.

Professor Hayakawa tweeted the entire reprimand live, after warning the university that he was tweeting live.

Hayakawa decided to hold a press conference this afternoon (December 8), changed his mind and decided to have an open lecture instead and booked the classroom. The school disallowed his booking, because the reservation didn't go through the proper channel. So he decided to have an open house in his office.

Then the head of the department came and forbid him to have an open house in his own office, but somehow that must have gotten resolved, and Professor is speaking with the media.

Tokyo Shinbun, Kyodo News, Yomiuri, TBS, and IWJ (Yasumi Iwakami) are there right now, live on USTREAM, here.

(And here's the link to the video recorded live.)


Karl-Friedrich Lenz said...

I strongly disagree with Prof. Hayakawa's views about the dangers of low level radiation.

However, as a professor at a Japanese university myself, I am not impressed favorably by the idea that he needs permission from the university to have and voice an opinion, even a wrong one.

While the university president has threatened disciplinary measures, I am not sure why you would want to rewrite that in "threatened with termination" in your blog post. I think "threatened with disciplinary measures" would be more exact.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

OK, "disciplinary measures" including termination.

Lili said...

Karl why don't you stand up and help him if you are so concerned about the welfare of Japanese citizens?

Jesus do real men even exist anymore in Japan? I see very few lately that are willing to protect their families.

Marc Sheffner said...

A quick scan of the official letter of reprimand from the uni president to Hayakawa reveals that he is being reprimanded for continuing to use Twitter to disseminate his "inappropriate remarks" after having been warned not to do this. It is not clear the president himself considers Hayakawa's remarks "inappopriate", but he has received complaints from citizens and the Min of Ed about Hayakawa's remarks which pose the question of "appropriateness" because Hayakawa is a paid employee of a national university, i.e. his salary is paid by the state/taxpayers.

In addition, the letter states (presumably quoting the contract of employment) that speech or action that brings the university into disrepute or damages its honour is forbidden (本学の名誉若しくは信用を失墜する行為)を禁止する就業規則の規定), a wide-ranging, catch-all clause that depends on how who interprets "damaging the reputation".

It does look like stifling debate, but then, is stimulating debate one of the purposes of Japanese universities?

Are employers not permitted to rule what their employees may or may not say or do? Yet if one allows that they have that right, then when and how can someone like Hayakawa make his announcements?

Marc Sheffner said...

Does whether Hayakawa's opinion is right or wrong come into the matter, as far as the uni prez, the Min of Ed and the general public are concerned? Or is, "A lot of complaints have been received, therefore something must be done", the long and short of it?

David Ulvog said...

@Karl-Friedrich Lenz: Under the disciplinary rules, if a professor is given a reprimand and then continues to exhibit the same behavior or take the same actions, then next step is not a slightly higher punishment, such as reduction in pay or rank, but termination. Thus, yes, the university is now attempting to terminate his employment.

arclight said...

"because Hayakawa is a paid employee of a national university, i.e. his salary is paid by the state/taxpayers."

japanese education is a mix of corporate and state funding with an emphasis on corporate! in fact japan has no independant charity or educational establishment..

so the corporations that fund the university might not like what he has to say! never mind the taxpayers that read and enjoy his blog!

lets take this one step more....

the corporations that fund and support the university with jobs etc are connected to the different departments, so the nuclear sciences department is funded by....... a nuclear company, dont know which one, cant be bothered to find out, doesnt matter.. does it?

so in short marc.. do you agree with the icrp model of dose measurement? just wondering?

Karl-Friedrich Lenz said...

@Mark Sheffner

Yes, the aspect that people have complained certainly plays a role.On the other hand, deciding on disciplinary measures by the standard of if there are complaints or not would remove the ability to say anything about controversial topics.

Atomfritz said...

I had to think about the video of the communist students posted here recently.

Looks as if the japanese education system is part of the suppression of independent thinking and brainwash the Japanese people into mindlessly sycophantic, but functional work robots.

In such a system it is a factual crime to express different opinions.
Who even dares to tell the truth, proving that the governmental mafia puppets are lying, puts himself into danger that one of the syndicate bosses says "Off with his head!".

Of course nowadays more subtle methods to silence disobedient democratic people are preferred over assassination.

Maybe this is the reason why the majority of the Japanese men seem to have no balls?

Anonymous said...

Looks as if the [insert nationality here] education system is part of the suppression of independent thinking and brainwash the [insert nationality here] people into mindlessly sycophantic, but functional work robots.

Anonymous said...

Fascism anyone?
Let's take another step back away from democracy, and fire this 'government employee' for his use of free speech.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I've been trying to keep up with everything and viewing this blog since March. Can you help me recall what the professor's tweets were about concerning low level radiation? He cautions against being in such an environment or thinks low level exposure is OK? Thanks

Anonymous said...

Never mind. I found it.

Anonymous said...


I see you are a professor of German and European Law. I also note you say in a recent blog post

Lenz Blog out of the pro-nuclear advocacy business

Dec 08 2011 Published by Karl-Friedrich Lenz under Nuclear energy

Having reconsidered my position on nuclear energy for the last couple of days, I have decided to get out of the pro-nuclear advocacy business.


Anonymous said...

Dr. Karl-Friedrich Lenz said "I strongly disagree with Prof. Hayakawa's views about the dangers of low level radiation."

I find it ironic that a professor in LAW gets away in Japan for making pro-nuclear leaning statements in public, but someone who actually has a somewhat relevant background on the topic gets in trouble for making statements that go against the nuclear industry.

Perhaps we should ask Aoyama Gakuin University about this?

Futureisnow said...

The one's who say it's safe are good, all the other ones are conspirationnists. Despite Japan effort's to make the internet silence, some "criminals" are tweeting.
How can we admit that a fukushima worker can talk ?
How can we admit that people can talk ???
How can we admit that a scientist or a teacher which is not pro-nuclear can work ???

In France, some greenpeace activists get inside, undercover, 2 nuclear power plant, to demonstrate that the so-said security was bullshit.
One of the young UMP tenor (the party who elected Sarkozy) tweeted that they should have been shot to death on sight ! A lot of french agree in comments on various newspaper. :( He have been fired now, but it show what they think and how they comunicate

In every forum, you have now people who are strongly for the nuclear system, and troll as hell.
You have scientists who say absolute lies, as in the "american spectator", see the article here.

Hopefully, some people make a tremendous fantastic job on the net, to keep everyone informed, to analyse, save, collect data, to help the others.
a good exemple is arevamirpal::laprimavera ;-)

a very ironic thing is that, your nickname, taken far away before the Fukushima disaster, begin with Areva :D
That's the only "Areva" pages i'm glad to read twice a day :D

Anonymous said...

It's getting mighty embarrassing being pro-nuke these days. Everything the pro-nukes arrogantly dismissed with a condescending laugh has occurred, and more. Well, ha fucking ha ha.

Yes, cut your losses while you can Mr. Lenz or you'll end up a laughing stock like MIT's Josef Oehmen. I don't think he will ever be able to live down his foolish "gone viral" pro-nuke internet writings soon after the Fukushima Daiichi incident was spinning out of control.

LMSchmitt said...

@Mark Sheffner: "Hayakawa is a paid employee of a national university, i.e., his salary is paid by the state/taxpayers."
/Not Directly True/.
All national universities are now public corporations which are financed mainly by the government. Professors at such institutions are not public officials anymore and their salary is paid by the employer, not the state; professors at such institutions are not part of the state anymore. They are just employees with lesser job protection similar to employees at other corporations.

arclight said...

so in short marc oops sorry marc should have been to @karl!! though it was obvious... sorry for any confusion..

ampontan said...

This hero of the groves of academe, speaking truth to power, is now getting worked over on the Interet because of a Tweet in which he clearly said the farmers in Fukushima should be killed before they kill him with their radioactive food (15 April tweet).

They just arrested a guy for Tweeting a threat to kill the Kitakyushu mayor for allowing the incineration of debris, but he was just a lowly clerk at a consumer electronics mass merchandiser.

It seems as if Herr Professor benefits from a double standard.

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