Thursday, April 12, 2012

Asahi's Weekly Magazine Apologizes (Sort of) for Spreading "Baseless Rumors" on Water in Koriyama City, Fukushima

After one year of spreading the "radiation is no big deal" meme to the general public in Japan, one MSM in Japan (Asahi) is caught by another MSM (Yomiuri) for spreading the "drinking water is highly contaminated" meme which has mostly died down even in the alternative, "sensational" net media.

They are behind the curve.

From the triumphant Yomiuri Shinbun (4/12/2012):

福島県郡山市が、「週刊朝日臨時増刊 朝日ジャーナル」(3月9日発売)の記事について、「水道水から放射性セシウムが検出されたと誤解を与える恐れがある」などとして、週刊朝日を出版する朝日新聞出版(東京都)に文書で抗議していたことが12日わかった。

It was revealed on April 12 that Koriyama City in Fukushima Prefecture had sent a letter to Asahi Shinbun Publishing (Tokyo) protesting the article that appeared on the weekly magazine "Shukan Asahi Extra - Asahi Journal" March 9, 2012 issue as "misleading, as if radioactive materials had been detected from the drinking water [in the city]".


The article, based on the magazine's own investigation, says 95 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium was detected from the drinking water in Koriyama City, and 48 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium from the drinking water in Iwaki City. The Koriyama City government says no radioactive cesium has been detected since March 28, 2011 according to the city's tests. The city's water department sent the letter of protest on March 29, 2012 by certified mail, asking for clarification of the intent of the report and how the reporting was done, and demanding correction because the article "would cause fear among city's residents and people who evacuated outside Fukushima, and encourage baseless rumors".


Iwaki City also sent a letter on March 16, asking for the details such as the date the water was collected and the location. According to the tests by the city's water department, radioactive materials have been ND (not detected) since April 4, 2011. However, as Asahi later published the follow-up article saying there was no problem with the drinking water, the city decided not to protest, saying that the chance of city residents misunderstanding the Asahi article was slim.


The Shukan Asahi's editorial department says, "The article reported the result of our actual measurement using the simplified measurement kit. However, we would like to take the opinion from Koriyama City very seriously."

A simplified measurement kit can be attached to a scintillation survey meter to show becquerels of items tested, like this one from Horiba. Asahi used this Horiba's kit, as you can see here.

I don't know how Asahi did the test so I cannot comment. I do know, from the Horiba's pamphlet, that the detection limit is high (100 becquerels/kg for soil testing and 200 becquerels/kg for rice testing in the background of 0.1 microsievert/hour). The system like this may have worked under the provisional 500 Bq/kg limit to screen out the food contaminated with more than 200 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium.

However, the distrust for the official numbers and MSM in Japan is such that some people are totally willing to believe Asahi's numbers measured using the simple add-on kit and the scintillation survey meter from Horiba instead of the official numbers obtained from the germanium semiconductor detector, and they are accusing the cities for "lying".


Atomfritz said...

Aren't 95 Bq/kg in potables safe anyway? ;-)
Others, as HCR_OPCOM, then Fukushima Diary and even Enenews, reported of tap water glowing blue in dark... ;-)

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@Atomfritz, plleeeaaasssee don't go there..

Atomfritz said...

@ LaPrimavera
Don't worry, I sometimes visit satiric or real-satiric sites, like the former, just to have a laugh. Note the semicolon in the ;-)

But none of the former sites reaches the quality of famous satire magazine
Big recommendation!
(german site, full of allusions and idioms, computer translaters don't work well)

Anonymous said...

I see 2 blue people laughing.
Try this..

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