Saturday, May 14, 2011

Professor Kunihiko Takeda: "Teachers, Wake Up and Protect Children from Radiation!"

Professor Kunihiko Takeda of Chubu University is a nuclear scientist known these days as one of the "nuclear sceptics" in Japan (he has been a "global warming sceptic", too), though he was a proponent of nuclear energy until mid 2000s when the government loosened the safety standards.

He has been highly critical of the government response to the Fukushima crises - Fukushima I Nuke Plant and radioactive contamination of air, water, soil, and ocean.

He's particularly angry, as any decent human being would, about the Japanese government's strange, bureaucratic willingness and insistence on exposing small children to the high level of radiation (20 millisieverts/year).

Here's his blog post on May 14 on the topic. I don't know and I haven't checked the factual basis for his comments, and the opinion expressed is his. (It's my quick translation, not necessarily literal. the original Japanese post is here.)

Kindergartens, primary schools turned into the places to receive radiation

I am calling out to teachers again.

Do you think your job is to teach children according to the daily curriculum?

Your duty is not "to teach according to the daily curriculum" but to educate children in the true sense of the word and help them grow healthy. And first and foremost in today's Fukushima, Kanto, and Miyagi, your duty is to protect children from radiation exposure.

Wake up!!

Pay attention not to the provisional instruction from the Ministry of Education but to the law (that says 1 millisievert per year, and children are 3 times as sensitive to radiation as adults). You are in the position to protect children's health.

School lunch:

I hear that they use "cabbage, bean sprouts, cucumber, asparagus and beef from Fukushima" in school lunch in Yokohama City [in Kanagawa Prefecture].

What are they thinking?

It is good to help farmers in Fukushima, but that does not mean children should be forced to eat "contaminated vegetables". There should be other ways to help farmers.

People in charge of school lunch would say "it is safe", but that simply means "it is under the safety limit". If there is a bunch of spinach grown in Fukushima, and another bunch grown in Akita displayed side by side in a supermarket, would a mother pick Fukushima spinach?

Adults can choose what they eat, but children cannot. People in charge of school lunch should protect children like mothers would.

Use of school yard:

On April 14 in Kanagawa, iodine-131 was detected at 48,000 becquerels/square meters, and cesium-134 and cesium-137 were detected at 53,000 becquerels/square meters each on the surface of the soil with small gravels.

One month from the accident, radioactive materials had fallen on the ground, on the grass, and in the dust in the air as the soil gets kicked up.

Children are shorter in height than adults, and they play on the school yards. External radiation from the yards, and internal radiation from the dust they inhale. Children's radiation exposure is much bigger than that of adults.

But schools don't stop the use of the school yards.

They have school gyms. They could wash the floor and the walls of the gym clean to drastically reduce the radiation.

Why do school teachers want to expose children to radiation?

School events:

An increasing number of schools are going to places with even higher radiation levels for school athletic events, extracurricular activities, and school trips.

It is only natural for parents at this time not to want to have their children go to places with high radiation. Teachers should worry about the children's health instead of worrying about "breach of contract", "it had been planned before the accident" or "Ministry of Education would be upset if we cancel the event".

"If we cancel the event, it will inconvenience the other party", they may say. But which is more important, the inconvenience of the other party or the reduction of radiation exposure for children?

Swimming pool:

As usual, just like last year, the school athletic event will be held. As usual, just like last year, children will clean the school's swimming pool.

It looks like "as usual, just like last year", but there is one big difference.

That is, school yards and the water in the swimming pools weren't contaminated with radioactive materials last year. For children, radioactive materials are a poison.

Why do you take children to a poison? "We can't see a poison" say schools, but that's not what grown-ups should be saying.

Children doing push-ups on the dusty school yards. Their lips almost touch the dirt that has radioactive materials. If you are a teacher seeing this and if you don't think there's anything wrong with it, you'd better quit right away. You do not have aptitude to be a teacher.


After the Chernobyl accident, Germany disposed of cows [?] as beef that contained cesium-137 would not be fit for consumption and the half-life [of cesium-137] was 30 years even if the meat was burned.

In Switzerland, which was further away from Chernobyl than Germany, they fed cows and sheep with hays from the previous year, and moved sheep to the uncontaminated western state of Fribourg.

In Japan, they moved cows from near the Fukushima Nuke Plant to all over Japan, to 24 different prefectures. Germany and Switzerland adhered to 1 millisieverts per year. Japan is saying "you have to put up with radiation".

[Contaminated] milk is dangerous. In Chernobyl, thyroid cancer in children was caused largely by drinking milk tainted with radioactive materials.

Many mothers are suffering.

Schools that say "mothers are overreacting" are violating the law. Teachers, please study the law on radiation protection, and "clearance level". 20 millisieverts [per year] is in violation of the law.

Children in Kanto and southern Tohoku has already suffered a serious internal radiation exposure in March. They need a break [from radiation], even for a short while.

Please, they need a break!

(4PM, 5/4/2011)


It is said that there is no longer a primary school, or secondary school in Japan, where teachers are kind-hearted, straight-forward, and respected like they used to.

The society has changed, and parents do not respect teachers. Certain activities of the Teachers' Union may have something to do with it.

And now, schools are organized like a military organization with the Ministry of Education at the top commanding the schools and the schools receiving the orders.

But all these are the "adults' problems", and children should not suffer the consequence.

No matter how crooked the society is, no matter how harsh the treatment one receives, it is the human spirit that rise against it.

(Speaking of the Teachers Union, the incumbent Minister of Education, Yoshiaki Takagi, is a former union activist at Mitsubishi Heavy Industry's Nagasaki Shipyard.)


areyoume said...

Thank you very much for putting this up! I almost tried to send you an email to ask you to translate this (but didn't, cos I know how busy you are).

Hope said...

Thank you EX-SKF, you are a true hero for posting this information. (I suspect that is your actual photograph that we always see at the top of your webpage.)
The world is horrified by the decisions to expose children to excessive levels of radiation on the playground. I thought that public shaming would have halted this practice by now. I was so glad that some parents collected schoolyard dirt and sent it to the officials.
I hope that the schools are not really using contaminated foods for school lunches!!!! The playground radiation was simply unacceptable to begin with so I can't force my mind to imagine that anyone would ever feed the children contaminated foods!!! The inference that the schools may be telling parents that they are 'over-reacting' is infuriating. What a nightmare it must be to have a child living in that area right now and have no official or teacher honest enough to have compassion for your fears for your own child!
I believe that if the reactors in the US have a melt down, our officials would do the same as yours. Just look at the way they took radiation monitors out of service when they detected higher levels of radiation - and the way they turned off all monitoring in the US.
If officials are doing this to show the world that the problem is not bad - well they are failing completely because we see that the officials are more toxic to life than the contamination. If the reason is that there are no schools for these children to attend - surely any official worth his title could find alternatives.

davepowers said...

No matter how crooked the society is, no matter how harsh the treatment one receives, it is the human spirit that rise against it.

one can only hope

thanks ex-skf for all your work

areyoume said...

I'm a Japanese living in Tokyo. It seems to me that the government is trying very hard to make the whole nation into "ONE BIG FUKUSHIMA", spreading throughout Japan contaminated cows and pigs, contaminated fruits and vegetables, contaminated debris, and so on, saying that they are "under the safety limits," which themselves are untrustworthy. They can't stop the air and water from flowing around, but they can and they should stop whatever is "on the ground" from moving out of Fukushima prefecture. Why wouldn't they do that?

Government even forced Emperor and Empress to have lunch of Fukushima food during their stay in Fukushima pref. for the visit to one of the evacuation sites. They were also "forced" to buy lots of Fukushima vegetables and fruits to take home (I would say it was "forced" under the pretense that they were willing to do that.) Shame on governer of Fukushima and PM Kan for utilizing them for foolish propaganda!

Anonymous said...

Its over. Enjoy what is left. Sorry. "Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may die". Its over. Radiation is everywhere, as is greed. Our food and water is contaminated. Even the rainwater is contaminated. While I have been appalled at American TV for not reporting the seriousness of this nuclear disaster.....I can now understand ignorance is I watch people around me go on as if nothing Fukushima is just another lost Super Bowl or something...Because I do not want to die and leave my daughter here alone, I will take precautions such as NOT buying fresh from anywhere but locally, if not local, rinsing with clay to "remove" radioactive fallout the least. Incredible how we managed to make it so far as a human race, only to let greed, etc.... steal away what could have really been a paradise. Sorry kids.

Anonymous said...

Robbie001 sez:

@ areyoume

The Soviets used the same food chain dilution/dispersion tactics after the Chernobyl accident. It is helpful to spread the cancer risks across the country it makes it harder to pin down cancer clusters and categorize health effects. People who develop health issues outside of the contamination zone will be used to offset people who have issues inside the zone.

"See, everybody got more leukemia not just the people near Fukushima".

gen said...


I am in Nagiaya visiting family in Nagiya for a mont and a half. I came across Professor Tekeda through my wife, Japanese native, who fund this site when we were searching for radiation information.

Unfortunately it is not in any other language.

Thanks for translating this talk or us. We have Ben looking for up to date information but it is hard to find. We see radiation daily levels in paper but they duffer from the site attached so we rare a bi confused.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Nagoya only measures at one location once a day (Kita-ku Tsuji machi) at 34 meters high. They didn't bother to measure at 1 meter until June 13.

Professor Takeda's blog says some one in the official capacity measured the radiation near the TV tower in Sakae-ku in Nagoya and it was 0.15 microsievert/hour.

Since no other location in Nagoya is being measured, there's no way of telling. So-called "hot spots" are cropping up in prefectures very far from Fukushima, so Prof. Takeda's number is quite possible.

There's a site where you can request the measurement by volunteers.

I think I posted some volunteer network sites on my Japanese blog. I'll post when I find them.

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