Thursday, April 28, 2011

Japan's Minister of Education to Koriyama City: "You Make Me Look Bad" (My Very Liberal Translation)

The Minister is not too happy about Koriyama City removing the radioactive surface soil from the school yards to reduce radiation for the kids.

The public officials in Koriyama City in Fukushima are doing something to proactively protect children by removing the big source of radiation (soil in the school yards) that could harm them gravely. A very rational and compassionate thing to do, though it's just too bad that Fukushima I Nuke Plant continues to spew out radioactive plume far and wide and Koriyama's effort may be in vain in short order.

But it still seems infinitely better than letting the children play outdoors based on an arbitrary number (3.8 micro-sieverts/hr) picked by the national government for this emergency.

But what does the Minister of Education say about this effort? He effectively says to Koriyama officials "Don't be ridiculous. We've told you it is safe at 3.8 micro-sieverts/hr. You're overreacting, and you're making me look bad by implying 3.8 micro-sieverts/hr is not safe for small children!"

From NHK News Japanese (4/28/2011; now my more formal translation):


Japan's Minister of Education and Science Takagi commented on the effort by Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture to remove the surface soil in the school yards in the city's public schools in response to the TEPCO Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident, and said "Outdoor activities are possible without replacing the soil and sand," and called for a calm and rational response [to the crisis, the radiation level?].

福島第一原発の事故を受けて、福島県内の一部の学校で屋外での活動を取りやめているなか、郡山市で は、これまでの調査で放射線量が比較的高かった小中学校と保育所の合わせて28か所で、校庭などの表面の土を取り除く作業を行うことにしています。これに ついて、高木文部科学大臣は閣議のあとの記者会見で、「郡山市の独自の判断だが、土や砂を入れ替えなくても、政府が目安として示した1時間当たり3.8マ イクロシーベルト未満の放射線量なら通常の屋外活動ができる。3.8を若干超えても、1日1時間に収めれば屋外活動ができる」と述べました。そのうえで、 高木大臣は「大事なのは継続的に放射線量の測定をしっかりやることだ。学校の先生に線量計を持ってもらい、安全性の確保を心していくことが重要だ」と述 べ、冷静な対応を呼びかけました。

Some schools in Fukushima Prefecture have stopped outdoor school activities. Koriyama City is planning to remove the surface soil from the school yards of 28 elementary schools, middle schools, and nursery schools that have had relatively high levels of radiation. Minister Takagi said in the press conference after the cabinet meeting, "It is Koriyama City's own decision. However, as long as the radiation level is below 3.8 micro-sieverts/hour which is the guideline provided by the government [his Ministry, actually], children can engage in the normal outdoor activities. Even if the radiation level slightly exceeds 3.8 micro-sieverts/hr, they can engage in the outdoor activities as long as the activities are limited to 1 hour per day." Takagi added, "What is more important is to continuously measure the radiation level. School teachers should be fitted with dosimeters, and they should secure the safety [of the pupils]", calling for a calm and rational response [from Koriyama City].


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your coverage of Japan's nuclear nightmare. I too am troubled by these arbitrary safe 'limits' yet I understand the governments dilemma because wherever the line is drawn readings are going to be at 90% or 110% of the safe level and there's not a lot of difference between them.

Of some concern to me were the radiation reports
on the work force at Fukushima #1. 30 workers were reported to have already received over 100 milliseiverts. Can you find out more about this?
I ask because if that level was reached in the first month or so and TEPCO's plan requires 6 to 9 months to bring the reactors under control how can they possibly keep cumulative exposure for the current workforce under the 250 milliseivert limit?

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

I will try to find out more. From what information I have, one way to deal with it is not to record the radiation received by the workers.

As to the safety limits, instead of changing them, they should have stuck to the same, safe numbers as before, and explain the emergency situation.

Robyn said...

As a mother this makes me so angry! He's worried about his reputation rather than the safety of these children! These poor makes me so sad thinking about what they are being exposed to. :(

Thank you so much for keeping us all informed. The lack of coverage by US media is alarming and I try to visit your blog every day to stay informed.

Anonymous said...

Robbie001 sez:

I thought I'd post a link to an article on Toshiso Kosako a Japanese government nuclear adviser who just resigned his post because he didn't agree with the lax attitude the government is taking towards public radiation safety. He specifically mentions the education ministry in his criticism. As far as I'm concerned this man is as brave as the men working to stabilize Fukushima for being one of the few officials to speak out. I'm sure he'll be rewarded by being blackballed in his future career most whistleblowers endure that treatment or worse.

"He urged the government to stiffen guidelines on upper limits on radiation levels the education ministry recently announced as allowable levels for primary school grounds in Fukushima Prefecture, where the radiation-leaking plant is located.

The guidelines announced by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology are inconsistent with internationally commonsensical figures and they were determined by the administration to serve its interests, he said."

I posted the link above in another thread where I questioned if the story was true because I couldn't find the original story. I've since found it so I guess it is true

Other news outlets that have mentioned it I hope this story gets more exposure in the future. The problem is in the nuclear power industry is "if you aren't with us your against us" I can see this former official being held up to ridicule in the future. If Toshiso Kosako runs into national censorship he should speak to the German press. I think they would be very receptive to any insights he could provide and they wouldn't filter his message.

Oops said...

I don't know if this is of interest, but there is someone that is going to many of the Japanese schools and taking radiation readings. Here is the YouTube channel:

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