Saturday, March 9, 2013

#Radioactive Japan on 2nd Anniversary of #Fukushima Nuclear Accident: "Beyond-Nuclear" Demonstrations (Same Old, Same Old)

Nothing has really changed after the nuclear accident on March 11, 2011.

2 to 3 months after the March 11, 2011 disaster, just when the extent of radiation contamination became known - sewer sludge, ashes from garbage incineration exceeding 8,000 becquerels/kg - some people and organizations started the events of "beyond-nuclear" demonstrations, with celebrities and activists on stage telling the audience how they oppose nuclear energy.

It was not really about Fukushima or the residents of Fukushima, not really about radiation contamination and what to do with it; it was this beautiful concept of life without nuclear power. Then-LDP Secretary General and current Minister of the Environment and son of Shintaro Ishihara called "beyond-nuclear" movement a "mass hysteria" in June 2011.

I didn't think much of the moniker, "beyond-nuclear" or datsu genpatsu 脱原発, from the beginning.

About a year later, starting in March 2012, a group started the protest in front of the prime minister's office to oppose the restart of nuclear power plants. It's a "single issue" movement, the organizers said. The Friday protests were extensively covered by independent journalist Yasumi Iwakami. The movement fizzled after the organizers met with then-Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, and disdainful remarks from the organizers for the protest participants drew criticisms.

Meanwhile, food contaminated with radioactive cesium continued to be sold throughout Japan, so-called "hot spots" in Kanto and Tohoku regions remained mostly untouched, people continue to live in the contaminated middle-third of Fukushima Prefecture for one reason or another (job, children don't want to leave, etc.), and people are returning to the more contaminated ocean-third of Fukushima as the government promises them extra compensation money if they return. There has been a curious lack of coverage even by the independent journalists of contaminated food and wide-area disposal of disaster debris.

Two years later on March 10, 2013, people are still doing the same "beyond-nuclear" protest.

Here's from Hibiya Park in Tokyo, as tweeted by @noiehoie:

It's certainly a lot of people. It is as if I were back in September 2011.

I did like those local protests against particular politicians, though. The one against Yukio Edano in Saitama stood out.


Today's Tokyo, Sky Tree, from this tweet. A windy, hazy day:


Anonymous said...

And after the demonstrations, the vote for LDP. They are just wihtout a clue and hopeless.

Anonymous said...

The vote was NOT for the LDP as is reported. The LDP had just about the same share of the vote as always. What happened is a classic tale of Divide & Rule, with too many fractious opposition parties splitting themselves into ruinous shards. This allowed the LDP to ride back to power, claiming aLandslide victory. This is BS. The Senkaku debacle was part of the process led by Ishihara who was late to join Hashimoto in making an alternative of sorts to the LDP. The surprise date of the election caught them all off guard, as planned, and LDP came in by default. Now with strutting and jawboning the LDP has clawed back some points for the Nikkei and everyone ghinks he is a genius. Sad.
Still I am glad the LDP are in power to take the heat when it all comes crashing around them. They are the true architects of Japan's predicament and should be there to take the heat.

Anonymous said...

At least the so-called demonstrations are something, versus nothing.

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear there was a lot of people at the demonstration. Today as I walked out from home my eyes started aching and weeping (pollen) and I had to quickly head back.

Vyse Legendaire said...

Doesn't it look not so much like a demonstration, but rather a concert or a show?

You get the feeling that people feel they are against nuclear just by imagining a 'beyond nuclear' world, I guess the wish for 'something for nothing' applies well to all first-world peoples eh?

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

I think these demonstrations on the day like that (with sandy loam in Kanto plain swirling and mixing with ultra-fine particles from China) is rather negative something, instead of something. You'd be better off not being outside.

When I saw the above two pictures, I remembered a photo of a lot of people outside near a JR station or something, listening to politicians right after the Fukushima reactors blew up. Election campaign, and you are supposed to be outside and listen to the campaign speeches.

The above event was planned long time in advance, so sandy loam or not, pollution or not, they just do it. Accidents cannot detail schedule.

Vyse, yes, it's all in your head. Just close your eyes and imagine. And keep closing your eyes.

Anonymous said...

3 meltdowns/fuel fires in a country the size of california=no more country, disagree? Go Fkn live there, prove it you shtt talkin' snivelkng Lil shtt's. You can't have the equivalent of at least 3 nuclear reactors explode and not have less contamination released and less land contaminated than ckskn Cher effing noble. /DUMB /PROOOOVEN!

Anonymous said...

I think the movement is good, no matter the outcome. It's unfair to dismiss them as irrelevant. These things take time. If you expect a radical change or impact overnight, I think you are more naive than what you accuse the beyond nuke people to be.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

I am not looking for radical changes. I am looking for small changes like saying no to contaminated rice, fruits, fish, stopping feeding school children with contaminated food, patiently cleaning up the hot spots in Kanto, and think for themselves instead of adoring the experts and celebrities to guide them. But these people refuse to see the contaminated reality, and look to the horizon while stepping on a pile of shit. Instead of cleaning the shit off their shoes, they just walk on, holding their nose.

Two years is not overnight, either, and Japan's first anti-nuclear movement was in the 1950s. It's been failing a long time.

Anonymous said...

laprimavera, the tests conducted in schools show that the kids are not getting contaminated food, not even in Fukushima Prefecture, at least not beyond 1-2 Bq of cesium per day. There is just too much food monitoring going on at this point, including dozens of independent labs. Just check the results Greenpeace is getting from fish in Chiba, for example.

The problem would be if the stop cutting budgets for the tests, or if people keep using wild mushrooms or other products that are banned.

Anonymous said...

I mean, the problem would be if "they start" cutting budgets for the tests, etc..

jmdesp said...

Is the threshold really as low as 1-2 Bq of cesium ? This is seriously ridiculous. They must be on purpose not testing alpha radiation or they would throw out any sea food given the level of 210Po and 210Pb contamination all seafood on earth anywhere has.

pubmed is full of scientific studies about the level of 210Po that occurs everywhere.
Specifically here is a small review about the bioaccumulation of 210Po in marine organisms ; I'd like to point out that seaweeds are reported as significantly accumulating it :

Here's a study about food in Japanese supermarket in 2007/2008 showing there was more activity of 210Po in Japanese food than Potassium, with a total activity from both at around half a millisievert a year (0.47mSv):

The scaremongering about any amount of radioactivity, however small, and the associated huge level of stress and anxiety that has been inflicted on all Japanese in the last 2 years is really utter nonsense.

Anonymous said...

jmsdep, the limits for food contamination are 100 Bq/Kg of radioactive cesium for general food and 50 Bq/Kg for infant food. But since around 50% of the food in Japan is imported to begin with, and around 10% of the land in Japan was contaminated to a high level (over 10,000 Bq/m2 of both Cs-137 & Cs-134), in the end only around 5% of the food distribution chain was affected to a detectable level (I'm being too general but it should be around that precentage.)

Now, mushrooms and fish from the east coast, etc., are showing higher levels (between at least 10 and 100 Bq/Kg and up), but most of those items are banned, so they don't end up in school lunches.

Whatever the reason, a lot of schools have implemented their own monitoring with germanium detectors and they are only getting not detection after not detection. Some ingredients may be contaminated, but the total detected in school menus is overwhelmingly below 1 Bq/Kg. This is also confirmed by the Whole Body Counter exams conducted in Fukushima Prefecture, which show that the levels of internal contamination are going down steadily since the end of 2011. Since a chronic intake of radioactive cesium produces a progressive accumulation of these isotopes in the body, the daily intake has to be under 1-2 Bq per person per day, otherwise an increase in internal contamination would have been detected.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Anon at 9:01AM, thanks for bringing up the food supply in Japan. Japan imports 60% of food as "calculated by calories" that the Ministry of Agriculture does almost singularly in the world. Imported oils and butters with high caloric numbers distort the number.

If you calculate by the amount produced (like the rest of the world), 80% of vegetables and 100% of rice are domestically produced and consumed (the latter thanks to extremely high tariffs on foreign rice). Overall ratio of domestic food supply goes up to 66% if calculated by the amount produced, instead of calories.

Anonymous said...

Fresh vegetables and rice are mostly local (though since two years ago you can buy Chinese and Australian rice too, I was surprised when I started seeing those on the shelves) but a lot of meat, fish, fruits or ingredients in processed food are imported or, in case of fish, caught in seas far from the coast.

About oils and butters distorting the numbers in calories, I'm not so sure. Of course oils are highly caloric, but without a reference to the amounts imported that fact alone is not enough to discard the calories-based calculation. You wrote a post about those statistics, let's see if I can find it.

Anonymous said...

I just got this one:

Are 生産額 calculations based on price or weight?

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Thank you anon at 5:40PM, I was looking for that all over...

Look at page 3 on this PDF:

Anonymous said...

Great, so one of the statistics is based on calories (39% self-sufficiency) and the other on market price (66%). No data on weight which is the one we could use to calculate the Bq/Kg.

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