I have no idea who this person is, but his tweet on Friday set up a weekend of praising and adoring foreign media (again) among many Twitter users when it comes to reporting on the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident.
His tweet says the most (literally) incredible thing:
"It is reported all over the world that the top of Reactor 3 Containment Vessel has broken off. Only Japan hides it"
And he links Al-Jazeera's article on July 24, 2013 about steam rising from the top floor of Reactor 3.
I looked and looked, but I couldn't find anything remotely referring to what he says. The word "containment vessel" is not even mentioned in the article.
But I think I've finally figure it out. It's the third sentence in the article which is nothing but the short summary of what TEPCO announced in the recent press conferences and what was being reported in Japan (emphasis is mine):
"The steam has raised concerns about the damaged reactor, but TEPCO said no significant changes occurred, including in the levels of potentially cancer-causing radioactivity the broken reactor is releasing."
This person who tweeted decided to translate the word "broken" from the original verb "break": "Separate or cause to separate into pieces as a result of a blow, shock, or strain". In his mind, it must mean something has been broken off (like a tree branch, or a bone). Further, he decided what has been broken off must be the Containment Vessel top (whatever that means).
And people are retweeting this tweet, clearly without bothering to read (or unable to read) the original English article, and exclaiming "How the Japanese media lies!" "We can rely on only foreign media to tell us the truth!"
All I can say is that it may be actually a good idea to make TOEFL English proficiency test as a requirement not just for career bureaucrat candidates but for graduation from colleges, or better yet, from high schools.
"Broken" reactors are the ones at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant (Reactors 1-4), damaged by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami, suffered core melt with part of the corium dropped down to the floor of the Containment Vessels, reactor buildings half-wrecked, water injected into the reactors leaking to the building basements.
So far, the original tweet has 929 retweets and 276 favorites. Not too bad, but enough to make me despair. I had to write a tweet to tell people they are lied to, but it only has 113 retweets.
Then, along came the July 23 BBC News video, which is being tweeted furiously as well. After TEPCO finally acknowledged on July 22, 2013 that the contaminated groundwater may have been leaking into the open culvert inside the silt fence in the plant harbor, foreign media, including BBC, started to report on this leak.
However, to many, many Japanese, BBC was the first one to break the news (not true), and if only Japanese media reported it before the July 21 election (they did) things might have been different!
What's more, they look at the BBC News clip that someone put the Japanese caption on, and are horrified. "Look! The steam rising from the reactors is so vigorous! I didn't know things are this bad!"
Uh...this is vigorous? So I looked at the video.
Vigorous steam or smoke rising, yes, from Reactors 1, 2, 3, 4 right after the explosion on March 14, 2011. BBC uses the old footage of the accident extensively as it narrates the news about the most recent steam rising from Reactor 3, without telling the viewers that these images are from 2011.
BBC may have thought that by now everyone knows these images of reactors are from 2011, right after the accident. Well clearly not so in Japan. They think that's how it is right now at the plant because that's how BBC reports it, and accuse Japanese media for not telling them the truth.
However, in the video, when the announcer says (14 seconds into the video),
"And yet today, for the second time in a week, steam is seen rising from the Reactor No.3..."
what do they show? The video of vigorous steam escaping from the blowout panel hole of Reactor 2, in March 2011.
For the narration
"and TEPCO can only guess where the steam is coming from"
they show huge steam coming out of half-wrecked Reactor 4 while water is being injected from the boom of a Putzmeister crane. That's also March 2011.
Does BBC ever show the steam rising NOW, in July 2013, from the top floor of Reactor 3? Yes, for two seconds, from 1:11 to 1:13, but the BBC announcer says:
"And at the same time that it finally acknowledged the water leaking problem..."
Water leaking problem? Over the 2-second video clip of Reactor 3 steam?
The news ends with reference to the workers at Fukushima I Nuke Plant:
"The numbers of the workers at the plant exposed to levels of radiation that could cause cancer was not 175 as previously reported but more than one thousand nine hundred, or 10% of total work force"
It not only parrots erroneous Asahi Shinbun's article that doesn't bother to say it is about "equivalent dose" on thyroid, but goes further by eliminating the reference to the thyroid altogether, making it sound like it is about effective dose for the overall body. The equivalent dose of 100 millisieverts on thyroid would be 4 to 5 millisieverts in overall effective dose.
This BBC reporting is being praised as "truth telling" by the Japanese. Go figure.
Whenever I can, I still watch the live press conference given by TEPCO. Journalists who attend the press conference, whether they are independent journalists like Ryuichi Kino or mainstream-media journalists from Asahi, Yomiuri, or even NHK, ask tough questions these days, as they are much more knowledgeable than they were in the beginning of the nuclear accident two years ago. Many of their tough questions have led TEPCO to finally acknowledge the dire situations at the plant, and this groundwater leak is one of them. As to the foreign media, I've seen Japanese reporters from AP, Reuters asking uncomfortable questions to TEPCO.
But many Japanese firmly believe only foreign media like BBC will tell them the truth about radiation and about the nuclear accident. Some of these people worship foreign "experts" who visit Japan from time to time to warn them with their dire warnings on nuclear contamination, simply because their warnings are very dire.