Monday, March 12, 2012

US Scholar Living in Japan Is Fed Up With Selfish and Irrational Japanese Who Refuse to Accept Disaster Debris

Brookings Intitute's nonresident fellow and former Washington Post writer Mr. Paul Blustein derides the Japanese for their irrational fear of radiation and joins Cyndi Lauper in scolding the Japanese for refusing to accept and burn the disaster debris in their neighborhood.

In the article commemorating the one-year anniversary of the disaster, the resident of Kamakura City writes in Washington Post (emphasis is mine),

... That spirit has faded, however, as divisions have erupted over nuclear power. The national discussion of the country’s reliance on atomic energy has degenerated into farce as many people have become increasingly — and irrationally — preoccupied with how radiation from the crippled Fukushima Daiichipower plant might affect them. Large segments of the population are so petrified, and so militant in their fear, that most local governments outside Tohoku are refusing to accept for burial some of the millions of tons of rubble left by the tsunami. (And I’m talking about the remnants of smashed buildings and vehicles in other prefectures, not junk from the nuclear plant’s vicinity.)

In a town near where I live, officials rejected the debris, saying that even if the radiation emissions were zero, local farmers and fishermen might suffer from huu hyou higai — financial losses due to baseless rumors — just as many Tohoku producers are already. So much for kizuna.

So much indeed. Most Japanese hate that word now. He doesn't seem to realize that people he criticizes as "irrational" know fully well that the remnants of smashed buildings and vehicles are not from the nuclear power plant but earthquake and tsunami debris in Miyagi and Iwate, and that as the debris lied along the coast of Miyagi and Iwate the nuclear power plant had several explosions that spewed out a large amount of radioactive materials that deposited on top of the debris. For most of the country outside southern Tohoku and Kanto, the radiation levels of the debris are much higher than their background.

He probably doesn't know (or care) that these debris may be contaminated with chemicals and oil, soaked in seawater, and that the municipal incinerators for household garbage may not be equipped to handle such debris. Or the fact that the debris with 100 becquerels/kg of cesium will result in ashes with 3300 becquerels/kg of cesium, which have to be buried in the disposal sites which often are located near the water source or the agricultural land with inadequate facilities to trap and clean the radioactive runoff.

He doesn't seem to listen to the heads of the municipalities in the disaster-affected Miyagi and Iwate who do not want the debris to be shipped outside their cities and towns.

Details too minor, I suppose.

Then he goes on to scold the citizens for not trusting their government and experts:

The hysteria about radiation reflects a breakdown in trust, as witnessed by endless media accounts quoting people who doubt the government’s monitoring of food and soil. This is lamentable; although officials disingenuously played down the possibility of a much worse accident at Fukushima Daiichi in the first days after the quake, reputable experts affirm the government’s major claim: that health risks are minuscule except in areas very close to the plant.

You can read the entire article at the Brookings site, here.


Anonymous said...

That man's no "scholar". The Brookings Institution is not a school or a university, but the most powerful think-tank in the US.

Neoliberal scumbag is neoliberal scumbag. Apart from the fact that this man is a guest in Japan (I'm sure Japanese politicians and execs agree with him) his comments are extremely offensive.

What it boils down to though, is that the 1% think they have a right to nuke us now; the integrity of the environment, our health and our children's health are just another commodity for the rich to play with. It was always this way but Fukushima dramatises it like nothing else.

Neoliberalism is thus exposed for the fascist ideology it really is; the rights of the rich to make money trumps democracy, the rule of law and now even the right to live without being irradiated. Christ!

misitu said...

If you live as a guest in a country not your own, you have the right to comment only inasmuch as its citizens demand you do.

And even then you would accede with the greatest reluctance and you would phrase your comments with modesty and delicacy.

To offend your hosts is inexcusable, and in most foreign countries, all of those with a tradition of hospitality, would go unremarked because we know our guest is one of a few and, so, vulnerable and weak.

For a guest to speak out immoderately is foolish, insensitive, and unpardonable.

Paul Blustein, please think again. You have damaged yourself more than anyone else by writing thus.

Anonymous said...

Yes Paul, wouldn't it be nice if everyone would agree with you? And pretend that everything is as it used to be? How inconvenient that not everyone has the same opinion!

Anonymous said...

he can suck my cock while I sit on thhhheeee toilet

steve the jew said...

from the flowers of edo to the flowers of fuku.

Anonymous said...

As if the Japanese gives a shit what he has to say. I know I don't!

By the way, I just noticed that the header font color is fixed. Looks better now.

Chibaguy said...

This individual is an observing intellectual the most. If it is not in a book or something they are familiar with they just observe and opine. These individuals contribute nothing to the conversation as they cannot understand facts in real time. I doubt this individual would understand the difference of radionuclides and damage.

As for Cindy Lauper, who knows why her handlers let her speak like this if it wasn't for just monetary reasons!?

I guess they are both in the same boat.

Anonymous said...

So much of Fukushima will be uninhabitable for decades that you could easily park a mountain of Miyagi and Iwate debris there. It would be clean before the land under it ever is. Park the stuff there if you have to move it. Burn it over the next 30 years. It makes NO SENSE to move it all the way to Kitakyushu and take the risk of even a little contamination!!!! IDIOTS.

Brooking Institute IDIOTS too.

Japan government can't get its act together enough to do anything more than pad the pockets of politicians, waste management companies and transportation firms.

What a circus. It's a wonder North Korea doesn't attack them and take over.

Anonymous said...

I can understand people's reluctance entirely for having the debris burned and/or burried anywhere near them. The lack of compassion - whether guest or not, whether scholar or not - of the author is dumbfounding at best.

In general, however, what indeed are the alternatives for the debris? Are there any? (Sorry if it's been widely discussed and I just missed it.)

Anonymous said...

Thank you Misitu for your comments. You reflect the polite and gentle spirit associated with the best of Japanese culture. While I do not agree with the author of this pro-nuclear article, you provide valuable insight and polite response/guidance to him.

Anonymous said...

I believe local tsunami-hit communities have voiced a desire to build facilities to burn debris locally which would actually provide work for local economies; but the Japanese government is pushing to have debris sent all over Japan which helps companies who will do the shipping. In other words, as has been the case from day one, the Japanese government has its own agenda and ignores the disaster-hit communities' ideas. Have I got it right?

Anonymous said...

he is as imbecile as he looks. Poor puppet of nuclear interests, he became a weapon to kill children with radiation without behing capable to see it. Or he is a criminal.

Anonymous said...

debris don't need to be burned, they should be place in the contaminated land where people should not be aloud to go. Burned debris radionuclides smokes are inhaled by children, it kills or debilitate them. How can some readers agree with a solution that will harm childs is behond my comprehension.

Anonymous said...

The debris can be kept where it is. It is not hindering reconstruction. It is in low lying coastal areas that should not be reconstructed. They did not pile this stuff up on Mainstreet, They put it where it wouldn't bother many people. In fact, that might be the problem. If they made smaller piles in more areas, nobody would notice it. KOBE HAD ALMOST THE SAME AMOUNT OF DEBRIS IN A MUCH SMALLER AREA. KOBE TOOK CARE OF ITS OWN DEBRIS ITSELF! And in that case, there was no extra radiation involved. This issue is a red herring to hide the government's failures. Many areas, even in Sendai, have dropped below tide level. They could grind the debris and use it to fill areas that have sunk. What are they going to to, tear down mountains to fill those places in? Use the debris. There is no reason to send it to Kyushu and Okinawa, places that definitely will get more radiation than they've gotten already from this material. This is an excuse to spend government money, bribe local officials. You have got it right, mate, this is a way to spread money to construction and trucking and incinerating companies. In fact, they are going to avoid getting local permission by sending some of it cement companies in Saitama to burn and put in cement. The mayor and governor can say yes or no or sit quietly and wet themselves. It makes no difference. The national government is sending it directly to the plant. And paying the plant to take it. And letting the plant put it into cement.

Anonymous said...

That bloke from Brookings is only in Japan for a year on fellowship. He doesn't have to give a damn what happens here and he obviously doesn't. He has no skin in the game here.

Dr. Bob said...

Have to agree with those who say leave it on the low-lying land where nothing should be rebuilt. Moving it around is mind-bogglingly costly and wasteful. I can only see this as a ploy to pump money into the "decon industry." Reconstruction is already a failed idea. Where there was subsidence, you cannot rebuild. Where there was inundation, you cannot rebuild. It's simple. Someone has to tell the elderly who want everything put back the way it was before that it is not going to happen. The affected areas along the coast ought to be left fallow. 現実を認めよう。

Anonymous said...

So, we have two Americans, Paul Blustein and Cyndi Lauper, who are so desparate for fame and attention.

One is a quasi scholar only in nominal sense from a rigid minded nominal think tank called Brookings Institute. Another one time popular singer in youth who's been on downhill, no one cares her singings any more.

I call on the Japanese municipal governments to send their share of the contaminated debris to these two people, plus one organization.

Mr. Paul Blustein and Brookings Institute
(address on the bottom of the page)

Cyndi Lauper
(phone and address of her recording agents )

Nancy said...

Brookings claims to be non-partisan but generally supports conservative causes and at the very least slobbers all over whatever US corporate masters want. In short most people with a clue in the US dismiss them as full of crap.

BTW Brookings has been peddling nuclear power and the "renaissance" for a while.

Bluestein has been bragging about eating Fukushima produce for months. He's a hack, an obnoxious hack who would use anyone to make a point. This follows what has been going on in the US media for weeks. The Health Physics Society who already have a track record of peddling pro-nuke junk have been quoted ad-nauseum in US print media in articles trying to downplay the risks of Fukushima and a game of blame the victim against the evacuees.

As someone who lives in the US this kind of thing really makes me angry. It is propaganda and we seem to have little ability to squash it. It isn't how most people here think. At least comments on those kinds of articles was heavily against the claims put forth. People are not buying the BS.

Hopeless said...

I've given up on japan. There is no hope. everyone is in denial. common sense does not exist. Three monkeys rule: no one wants to see, hear or talk about the reality of the malaise that hangs over the country. I've got my family out; now just formulating my own exit strategy, then it'll be sayonara and good luck to this nation of sheep, bleating (silently) down the road to oblivion

Atomfritz said...

"That man's no "scholar". The Brookings Institution is not a school or a university, but the most powerful think-tank in the US."

These "think tanks" are actually media spin doctors whose task is to turn around the public opinion to what their sponsors want.

I am not sure whether the "re-education" after WW-II was that arrogant and offensive.

One has to remember how reluctant the Japanese people were, as they had first-hand knowledge of the destructive nature of nuclear energy, and how the US-controlled Yomiuri media empire turned the spin around pro-nuclear.

If the Japanese leaders had any spine, they'd quickly build some nuclear bombs just to attain the real independence of a nuclear power and then kick out the American military, medial and economic occupants that got them into this nuclear mess and now are preparing the big cheap sellout of Japan to foreign "investors".

(I fear politicians with spine have been extinct in Japan and Germany for quite a long time now...)

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't he live near an incinerator?
We should expect high rates of cancers and radiation diseases near them, no way to avoid it.

Anonymous said...

As you wrote, the only way to live in a country living in denial (no see, no hear, no talk about contamination) is to become a monkey. I can't do that and I am veyr happy to have left Japan as well with my family. Mafia and the devil are simply ruling the country.

Bruno said...

Atomfritz, please don't reinfore the differences between the Japanese/German people on the one hand and the people of the US on the other.
We, the peoples, are all on the same boat.

In view of the fact that Fukushima produce remains unbought on the supermarket shelves, I think the propaganda of those think tanks will backfire. Their insulting claims will only make it easier to recognize their propaganda for more and more people.

I have a suggestion: Let's expand the texts about Japanese disaster debris on Wikipedia:

The facts arevamirpal::laprimavera mentioned in hist article are all missing there. Would it be ok to add your text to Wikipedia, arevamirpal?

A new Wikipedia article about this important topic would be even better.


Atomfritz said...

Bruno, it's the imperialism and racism of governments (and their owners) that produce differences between people.
As the so-called "American way of life" is ecologically disastrous it is important that people rid themselves of what they actually don't need. This by far not only includes nuclear plants.

And, I personally never met any American who was near as belligerent as the USA govt/industry/media complex.
I just meant governments and mass media all over the world should emancipate from American hegemony.

Regarding Wikipedia: I don't see a reason why LaPrimavera would object to be quoted as source.
The Wikipedia article you mention hasn't been updated substantially for half a year now. Just make a start :-)

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't be surprised if the top TEPCO managers have large estates, possible even several. Dump it in their backyards. I'm sure they won't be so selfish as to say no.

Anonymous said...

Goshi Hosono, Minister of the Environment, keeps saying 33 kilos of debris per person in Japan. Let him and his ministry's employees bring back the debris and burn it in their backyards. Mr. Blustein can do the same.

Oh except they'll have to inhale all the smoke.

Anonymous said...


"Let's expand the texts about Japanese disaster debris on Wikipedia" ... is an excellent idea.

Can anyone add a sub-head like this:

"Famous People and Organizations Who Publicly Support Incineration of Nuclear Disaster Debris and Wider Dispersion of Hot Particles"

and let people add the names like Paul Blustein, Cyndi Lauper, Brookings Institution , and JP government officials such as Goshi Hosono

Anonymous said...

The news would be so much easier for the average person to understand if the word 'Jew' was placed in front of the names of any Jews.

"Jew Paul Blustein derides the non-Jewish Japanese for their irrational fear of radiation and joins Jew Cyndi Lauper in scolding the non-Jewish Japanese for refusing to accept and burn the disaster debris in their neighborhood."

See? It's much easier to understand now.

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