Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dr. Shunichi Yamashita, Radiation Advisor to Fukushima: "Fukusima Will Be World-Famous! It's Just Great!"

Dr. Shunichi Yamashita is a professor at Nagasaki University (molecular medicine and radiation research), who became one of the two advisors to Fukushima Prefecture in order to "educate" the residents throughout Fukushima about radiation after the Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident.

He is still the radiation advisor, though a movement started by irate Fukushima residents is gathering steam to demand the prefectural government to remove him from the position. Why are they angry at him now?

Because he epitomizes the government and government scholars who told them all along that the radiation from Fukushima I Nuke Plant was at a totally safe level, there was nothing to worry about, it was all in your head, foreign news media are lying, eat, drink, play, live as normal. It turned out to be anything but normal for Fukushima.

Immediately after the accident, he was sent by the government to major cities in towns in Fukushima to address the concerns of the citizens. He addressed them by saying radiation was nothing to worry about, it was all in their heads, Fukushima would be world-famous so they shouldn't miss this great opportunity, and the residents should stay put.

Some of his incredible remarks have appeared in the US media, including this one in Democracy Now (6/10/2011):

He says that mothers, even mothers exposed to 100 millisieverts, pregnant mothers, will not have any effect, health effect. Remember the number 100. Compared to that, the Soviet Union required a mandatory evacuation during Chernobyl at five millisieverts. This doctor is quoted as saying, “The effects of radiation do not come to people that are happy and laughing. They come to people that are weak-spirited, that brood and fret.”

Well, that and so much more.

The reference that the Democracy Now guest made in the program is part of his hilarious lecture about radiation and its effect on health, delivered on March 21, 2011 in front of the large, and worried audience in Fukushima City, 60 kilometers from Fukushima I Nuke Plant, 2 days after he was appointed as the official radiation advisor to Fukushima Prefecture.

Fukushima City is the same city where Greenpeace detected cobalt-60 on June 7.

Also recall that March 21 was is one of the days that saw a large spike in air radiation throughout Kanto and Tohoku region, for reasons still not disclosed.

From the lecture on March 21 in Fukushima City, toward the end, before the Q&A session:

Original Japanese audio
Japanese transcript of the event


The name "Fukushima" will be widely known throughout the world. Fukushima, Fukushima, Fukushima, everything is Fukushima. This is great! Fukushima has beaten Hiroshima and Nagasaki. From now on, Fukushima will become the world number 1 name [when it comes to radiation/nuclear incident]. A crisis is an opportunity. This is the biggest opportunity. Hey, Fukushima, you've become famous without any efforts! [a chuckle from the audience] Why
not take advantage of this opportunity? For what? Recovery.


First off, my sincere condolences for people who died in the earthquake and tsunami. We need to deal with the loss, and to recover from this nuclear disaster. I don't know how it [the nuke accident] will affect the nuclear energy policy of the national government, as the nuclear energy is the core of the national energy policy. But I can tell you this; the health effects are minimal. The only thing we need to keep an eye on is the amount of exposure of plant workers who are working with a do-or-die resolution. But we don't have to worry about the health effects of ordinary people.


And yet you are worried. Worried about whom? Women, pregnant women, and infants. We are responsible for the future generation. So, every radiation protection safety limit is based on the amount allowable for babies. Administering potassium iodide, deciding on the evacuation, they are all based on protecting children. Adults over 20 years old have very little sensitivity to radiation. Almost zero. That's the first thing you have to remember. Still, adults are the ones who worry the most. This is wrong. Especially wrong if you are male. You smoke and drink, and worry about radiation? Men don't have to worry. All we need to do is protect women, children, pregnant women and infants. If the situation deteriorates, pregnant women and children should escape. Men should stay put and fight for recovery. You [as Fukushima residents] are the descendants of people who produced the proud Byakko-Tai. You should have such a resolution.


To tell you the truth, radiation doesn't affect people who are smiling, but those who are worried. This has clearly been demonstrated by animal studies. So, drinking may be bad for your health, but happy drinkers are less affected by radiation, luckily. I'm not advising you to drink, but laughter will remove your radiation-phobia. But there's precious little information to scientifically explain the effects of laughter. So, please ask all your questions. This is not a lecture, it's a dialog between you and I.

If you understand Japanese, go listen to the audio file. About 43 minutes and 40 seconds into the audio, you can hear him say these things.

"Byakko-tai" members were boys aged mostly 16 to 17 but as young as 13 who fought to defend their lord's land (today's Aizu in Fukushima Prefecture) but chose to kill themselves rather than to surrender in the civil war that ensued after the Meiji revolution that brought down the Tokugawa Shogun government. Fukushima was on the side of Tokugawa.

Professor Yamashita was telling the Fukushima City residents to be like them in the battle with radiation.

His "non lecture" preceding the above is full of misrepresentations and some outright lies. I may translate that later, if I'm not too disgusted.

So, imagine the Japanese, particularly those in Fukushima Prefecture, who have been bombarded by the messages like this since March. A veritable brainwash, and it may be working, despite the effort by "outsiders" like Greenpeace.

Throughout Japan, mothers continue to accompany their small children to kindergartens, and fathers are too busy working. Just like in Japan before March 11, before the nuke accident. They sometimes frown on mothers and fathers who are considering withdrawing their children from kindergartens, saying "How they overreact! How silly!"


Anonymous said...

His non-lecture proves one thing: one can still talk in 2011 and make it sound as if it was said 100 years ago. Anachronistic (and a lot else). Japan is a highly developed country, but I always cringe when I hear the term "modern society" applied to Japan. It's still feudal, but in "normal times" one hardly notices.

Anonymous said...

I feel not at ease with your comment.

You talk about "brainwashing". So on one hand we would have this insane, inane guy, an official... and on the other side the innocent people, victim of "brainwashing".

I'm sorry, but from my point of view, both are part of the same system.

My point : it's just take a minimum education, and a minimum of common sense to reject the quote : "radiation doesn't affect people who are smiling, but those who are worried."

And I would add : especially in Japan, because people, in their flesh in 1945, had suffer from radiation.

You get my point ?

So 2 solutions :
-japanese people, in a whole, are totally stupid

-japanese people are still accomplice of a terrible system

First solution is absurd. Therefore, we have only solution number 2.

It's time for common japanese people to :
-reject the system

To this date, we have seen nothing.

They act just like sheep, waiting to be slaughtered.

It's impossible to feel pitty for people who clearly don't want to save themselves.

Anonymous said...

the guy is utterly insane. he needs to commit suicide if there was any honor left in japan.
we need an international crew in there to secure the place, the japanese are totally stupid.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Dr Yamashita was drunk. He held his lecture in Fukushima City, so he had to protect himself against radiation.

@ortospace said...

Thank you as usual for the great work.

As for prof. Yamashita, he made me remind of this (caution: dark humour)


Anonymous said...

Robbie001 sez:

Man, talk about making lemons into lemonade I bet this guy would be willing to let you drink treated reactor water to prove his point. He must be looking for future nuclear tourist dollars.

WE'RE #1!!!

WE'RE #1 !!!


Anonymous said...

"To this date, we have seen nothing."

That's not really true. You may have seen nothing as reported in the mainstream media, but there are people out there starting to fight. The event in Fukushima City where concerned parents met with sympathetic doctors was reported only by Kyodo News. Just because you don't see it, it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

doitujin said...

the "drink and you'll be okay" part is exactly like back in chernobyl (and then he tells people "what, you smoke and drink? how can you be worried about radiation then?!", an argumentation just too crazy to be true, i would normally think),
but now that really every normal person seems to be more or less concerned and critical in japan (what not only the newest results in anti-nuke polls, but also jp. message boards or mixi show all the time), how can they let "experts"(??) tell fairy tales only a least bit like this one? i know japanese somehow at least slightly have another way of thinking than europeans or usa people, but that... it's making me so sick... as it's an obvious lie, i wonder why it isn't treated like any other crime, but on the other hand, history has shown things like that may happen very often without punishment... so sick and criminal. it's like a kindergarten, what the government and "experts" do...

Anonymous said...

He hasn't understood yet that worldwide is speaking english and so for everyone worldwide there is a big FUCK in the name of poor Fukushima, although 99,99 percent people refrain from any uttering of this strange figure in names and languages.

Anonymous said...

I think this guy just lost his mind a bit. Good psychiatric care and a vacation far far away from Fukushima should help him toward a normal life.

Anonymous said...

sakenonda says
Beware now it's not only green tea japaneese alcoholic breverages have become so radioactive they ruin the brain of a brilliant politician in a few days of booze.

areyoume said...

@Anon at 11:04 PM
I'm a Japanese living in Tokyo. I see your point, but I think it's partly an afterthought.

The date of this lecture is March 21, when Tepco and government kept saying there's nothing to worry about, when we hadn't heard of anything like Sievert or Becquerel or cesium, when the nation's eyes were more fixed on the devastation in the areas hit by earthquake/tsunami, when we hadn't known how much mSv/yr is legally determined as the safety limit, when we hadn't known that the accident is this severe and contamination this widespread.

Then "an expert" came, and looking at his career, he did seem like an expert. Had worked at WHO, had done a lot of research in Chernobyl, and something like that.

You can't blame people who initially believed in him. Most of them regret it now.

doitujin said...

i just looked for the name by myself and actually, they seem to not take him serious at least now as i thought before:



(in jp)

they call this jerk "Mr. 100mSv"(non-translated) in fukushima and want him to be dismissed... well, but still there's so much other things unknown and covered up... what crazy times we life in.

Anonymous said...

Great! I hope the professor leads the way by relocating to Fukishima and enjoys the locally grown cuisine!

Anonymous said...

The professor's comments are actually carefully tailored to his target audience.

We are all brainwashed in school to believe anything that "experts" or "scientists" tell us. That brainwashing to worship science, known as "scientism" can be used to convince a populace of pretty well anything.

People are trained in the west to follow the group, and think what others think, and that is even more so in Japan. So an "expert" can lead a large group with "information" that may seem to outsiders as outrageous. Everyone is trained to think what they are told to think. When a recognized leader says to think something, the group will think it.

There is also the eastern religious angle. You have a group desperate for good news, and if someone tells them a "nice lie" that they will be "ok", then there is a strong tendancy to want to believe the lie. Furthermore, in eastern religion, the idea of "positive thinking" having a magical power to change the physical world is common. We see that eastern religious belief creeping into the west now with the New Age Movement (old witchcraft).

That concept of "think happy thoughts and it will be magically ok", plays to an eastern audience and their religious sensibilities. To westerners it just beggars belief that anyone could even suggest propaganda like that. But in Japan, it is not so outrageous where some people genuinely believe their mind power and positive thinking will change the physical world.

Anonymous said...

To a western audience some of the "good doctor" Ya-Im'a-Shitinya's comments seem laughable. But not to an eastern audience.

“The effects of radiation do not come to people that are happy and laughing. They come to people that are weak-spirited, that brood and fret.”

What the "good" Doctor is saying is that any mother who has a deformed child was thinking negatively. It is her fault that her child is not well. She deformed it with her negative thoughts. The same goes for those who die of radiation sickness. He blames their negative thoughts for their death. They are to blame, not experts like him who falsified safety records and skimped on maintenance at a nuke plant.

For an audience with a religious belief in mind power, this sort of propaganda is very attractive. Somehow through positive thinking, it will all be magically ok. But of course, those who are not ok, are then to blame for their own bad health, or deformity, or death.

Anonymous said...

Byakotai huh...
Didn`t they kill themselves because they saw that the Aizu castle was burnt, but actually not...?

Well, good analogy then. Do action based on false perception.

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