The "cold shutdown/accident is over" declaration by PM Noda on December 16 must have been a signal that unleashed the cold shutdown of intelligence in many parts of Japan. Here's one from Saitama Prefecture.
Sayama City, known for its "Sayama-cha" brand green tea, has been suffering as high levels of radioactive cesium continue to be detected from its teas. As if to help the city and dispel "baseless rumors" that are scaring the consumers from buying Sayama tea, Saitama Prefecture has just started forcing school children to gargle with powdered Sayama tea as an effort to instill good behavior in preventing cold and flu.
Problem: radioactive cesium has been detected from green tea grown in Sayama, some exceeding the national provisional limit of 500 becquerels/kg by a wide margin. In fact, it is rare to find Sayama tea without any radioactive cesium.
The latest testing done by Saitama Prefecture shows continued detection of radioactive cesium from almost all teas grown in Sayama.
Nonetheless, parents of the children who goes to school in Saitama received the notice like this:
Gargling with Sayama-cha
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation in the matter of educating our children. It is the time of the year again to do the gargling using Sayama tea to prevent influenza, and the powdered tea has been distributed [to the school]. Catechin, one of the main ingredients in green tea is said to prohibit the influenza virus. Therefore, our school will conduct "Let's gargle with Sayama tea" event as follows. We ask for your understanding and cooperation.
As an aside, the powdered Sayama tea distributed this time has been tested at a testing laboratory and confirmed safe.
1. Purpose of "Let's gargle with Sayama tea"
By doing the gargling using Sayama tea every day, to prevent the influenza infection, to form a desirable health habit, and to have a healthy, cheerful school life.
2. How to "Gargle with Sayama tea"
1) All children must each bring a cup to school to be kept in the classrooms: The cups are to be kept inside bags that children will bring, and children are to take the cups home over the weekend, wash them well, and bring them back to school the following week.
2) Each classroom is to have a supply of powdered Sayama tea: The classroom teachers are responsible for the storage and safe keeping of the tea.
3) All children will continue to gargle with Sayama tea once a day: After the PE classes and playing outside, children are supposed to dissolve powdered Sayama tea with tap water to make the solution, and gargle.
3. Please have ready:
A cup for gargling (cup made of plastics so that it doesn't easily break)
A bag to put the cup in.
"Let's gargle with Sayama tea" will start on Thursday December 15. We apologize for any inconvenience, but please have the cup and the bag ready by then.
The whole thing reads like an extremely cynical joke.
"To form a healthy habit" with radioactive cesium tea powder?
"Apologize for inconvenience" of being party to subject their children to the known radioactive risk?
And insistence on tap water. Many public schools in Japan only allow tap water for drinking, for educational purposes. It was fine until March 11.
A dumb bomb exploded over Japan, for sure. Or maybe this is one of the effect of radiation exposure. I wonder what the parents did in Saitama Prefecture.