Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Rejoice! Mito City Board of Education Declares Swimming Classes Are Safe at City's Schools

Sometimes, it makes one wonder why he/she should care about people in Japan, and I had one such moment when I read this article by Tokyo Shinbun.

Schools in Mito City in Ibaraki Prefecture, just south of Fukushima Prefecture, have started PE classes using swimming pools.

From Tokyo Shinbun (6/29/2011):


The Board of Education in Mito City [in Ibaraki Prefecture] measured the radiation in swimming pool water at 32 elementary schools and 13 junior high schools in the city on June 27. The water was from tap water, and there was no radioactive materials detected. Safety of the water thus assured, the city's Board of Education issued the notice the same day that the schools may start the swimming classes.

 二十八日は、二十二の小学校、三の中学校で水泳授業がスタートした。笠原小では新たに購入した高圧洗浄機で念入りにプール内やプールサイドを洗い 流すなどして、今月上旬から準備を進めていた。気温三〇度近い晴天の下、プールに飛び込んだ同小六年の竹内康君(12)は「すごく気持ちいい。水泳をした かったのでよかった」と笑顔だった。

On June 28, 22 elementary schools and 3 junior high schools started the swimming classes. In one of the elementary schools, they've been preparing for the pool opening by washing the pool and the poolsides with a high pressure washer since the beginning of this month. A 6-grader boy was all smiles, after diving in the water on a hot, sunny day, "It feels great. I've been wanting to swim, so this is great."


According to the city's Board of Education, there are some parents who don't want their children to use the swimming pools even after the safety has been confirmed. If parents don't want swimming classes for their children they can submit the requests to the schools, and the Board will accept such requests. There are already several schools with parents requesting that their children do not participate.


According to the Ibaraki prefectural Board of Education, 42 municipalities out of 44 in Ibaraki have already started the swimming classes or are about to start. Hitachi City is waiting for the national standard to be set for swimming pools, and Kita Ibaraki City has decided not to hold swimming classes.

Good for Kita Ibaraki City.

The key is this: by default, swimming classes are on, for everyone. The parents have to submit a request to not have their children participate in the swimming classes.

"Yes, you can refuse to participate in the swimming classes. Now, DO YOU REFUSE?"

Or "Yes, you can refuse to participate. Your child's grade in PE will be 1, lowest grade, because without participation we have no way of grading him/her."

Or both. Sadly. That's Japan, and very a regimented educational system under the Ministry of Education and Science, with prefectural and municipal Board of Education as the Ministry's extension, even in this unprecedented nuclear accident that has spread a large amount of radioactive materials all over the northern hemisphere and even some in the southern hemisphere.

School schedules and events must be maintained at all costs.


Anonymous said...

The people of Japan will learn to rebel against authority or they and their children will die. It's as simple as that.

Nor is it just Japan. In the US, the truth is most people believe all the garbage that's fed to them and do what they're told, even if it means walking off a cliff. Just look at the morons walking through the TSA scanners/cancer-makers with their children. Oblivious.

Anonymous said...

Not sure I understand: if it is true that they measured it and it is true to be clean, why would you not want to go into the pool? Of course school classes are on for everyone. It's probably more dangerous playing football on the dusty ground than going into the pool.

There is certainly risk out there, but where do we draw the line of what behavior is reasonable and what isn't? Do you want schools to be stopped completely, relocated. No classes for anyone who doesn't want them?

@ortospace said...

First: thank you EX-SKF for your work, I always read you with much interest.
This time though your comment seems a little bit off the mark. I agree with Anonymous: *if the results are not falsified* probably swimming is safer than playing football or baseball in the fields that will be radioactive for a long time...

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Well, for one, I don't see much harm in skipping the swimming classes or for that matter the entire school year this year. Two, water may be safe but not necessarily the poolside or surrounding areas. One school did power washed it, but no info on others. Three, why not opt-in, instead of opt-out, branding the parents and children who don't want to be in the pool as "overreacting" crazy people? Four, why should it be the job of the Board of Education to mandate so? Since when have they become the nuclear radiation experts?

Giving low grade for not participating in PE classes out of concern for radiation allegedly happened in Fukushima Prefecture already.

But if they want to pretend everything is back to pre-March 11, there's nothing I can say. Summer high school baseball tournaments have started, they are playing in the dirt fields, just like they always do every year.

Anonymous said...

"School schedules and events must be maintained at all costs."

True. A private school in Tokyo held its annual athletic meet in the heatwave in Taito-ku, Tokyo on June 29, resulting in 16 female students aged 14 to 18 falling ill due to the heat. They had to be taken to hospital by ambulance, and the athletic event was canceled in one hour. The school expressed regret.

The highest temperature in Tokyo on June 29 was 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit), humid, no wind. Japan's Meteorological Agency advises people not to engage in athletic activities if the temperature is over 30 degrees Celsius.

No matter. School events must go on.

Anonymous said...

I am a concerned parent as well, but the swimming pool is not high on my list except in heavily contaminated areas. But the risk in the water or at the pool side is no different than in front of people's houses near the school. So yeah, let's skip school… and do what instead? Can't play outside because that's the same problem as being at pool & school. So let's stay indoors in front of TV and A/C on this year? How about next year, think that the situation is better then?

The problem is that there is no escaping from it unless you actually move away. Until then you might just as well do things as normally as you can. Because being there and "being careful" is hardly possible unless you lock yourself in indefinitely at which point you may just as well move away because your life will be hell.

Masher1 said...

And there you have it, The guinea pig paradox... As this goes on and on how many Japanese will get the fact that their lives are now a great big lab experiment? The fools with a keen interest in using nuclear weapons have been very carefully measuring and logging the mess. Just as was done after Chernobyl. The nuclear 'Club' is keen to get a real world measuring tool for computing the results of the coming big show. How much is enough,How much is too much and as it goes on how many percentage points of our worldly population is realistically killable using radiation.

Sad times brought about by sick and twisted men of evil.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that when the pool it's not used by the kids, they don't cover it(not here in Edogawa-ku-Tokyo). And now, it's the rainy season(a mix of cesium, strontium,..).In fact, It has just start to rain now(3pm) and the forecast are the same for the next 7 days.And sometimes, they even get a mouthful. School holidays starts on the 20th of july.

Anonymous said...

"And now, it's the rainy season (a mix of cesium, strontium,..)"

AFAIK there is no significant contamination in rain water at the moment. If you know otherwise, references please. And even if there was, as said before, pool or no pool, you'd face the same situation everywhere. And then unless you'd drink the rain or pool water, what would be the health effect?

Anonymous said...

"There is no significant contamination in rain water at the moment."
The people of Japan must, by now, understand that their health, and that of their families, is not a primary concern of the government and so they must be skeptical when they are told that somethings is 'safe'. Like the green tea that exceeds limits set on radiation is declared 'safe' because of economic concerns or the need to appear to have everything under control (saving face) and deny liability. Fukushima produce - 'safe' again. Contaminated playgrounds are ...'safe'. So being told swimming pools are safe and will remain so despite continued radiation releases from Fukushima is not very comforting.

The contamination of rain water changes every hour as Fukushima continues to pour radioactive gases into the air and the wind changes direction -sometimes carrying radioactive gases and dust out to sea, sometimes carrying them over land and the humidity rises and falls. I don't see how an uncovered pool could not be contaminated by now or how it would not collect more contamination over time (dust alone).
Studies have proven that any exposure to radiation increases risk so however contaminated the pool is - it is an increase in risk. The kids do swallow water and they absorb water through the skin. There are indoor activities that raise pulse and respiration. Younger kids might benefit from Nintendo WII or Sony Playstation games that have them simulate tennis, bowling, Frisbee, dancing etc. Or the non-electronic equivalent. For older kids, some schools in the US have been using stationary bicycles and weights and floor exercises like low impact aerobics. Is it hard to make it work indoors? Probably. Destructive to indoor floor surfaces? Probably. It certainly isn't ideal. Is it necessary to expend effort and make accommodations to protect the health of children living in the area? yes. We jump through hoops and go out of our way to protect children - or at least we used to. I don't know how people who cannot afford to leave the area can deal with this - the government isn't interested in helping them (your child receives a low grade - and perhaps less Strontium and Cesium - if you don't let them swim?). Prayers for the people of Japan. Hope

Anonymous said...

If we would have significant contamination in rain water, like we had in March, then we would easily observe rise of environmental radiation after rainfall. We don't, so even without official reassurance we can assume "There is no significant contamination in rain water at the moment."

Children who played in rain water in April 1986 in affected areas were examined by means of a whole body counter. The children showed no difference in values compared to children who did not play in contaminated rain water. Almost no radioactive substances are absorbed via the skin, I am being told by competent sources.

Anonymous said...

".. because without participation we have no way of grading him/her."

.. and because we are of the rigidity, and plan on trying to smash you with it in the future, as we have tried in the past, we offer no other option ..


fixed it for 'em

Anonymous said...

Thankfully, children don't immerse themselves in rainwater. In the pool, the children will get water in their mouths, eyes, nose etc. This is not the same as skin on a clothed child getting slightly wet in the rain. Just because measurement of rain water is not continuous doesn't mean contamination is not continuous or that contamination only shows up on important days - unmeasured water is not the same as 'safe' water and in this case - the pool will be collecting water from rain and contaminated dust from wind over many many days - unlike rain water. There have been at least two night time 'explosions' or large, uncontrolled ventings of fumes at night - was the pool/rain water measured the following day to evaluate the fallout? Who would take chances with a child's long term survival/health? Hope

Anonymous said...

"There have been at least two night time 'explosions' or large, uncontrolled ventings of fumes at night"

No, those weren't explosions or large ventings, try researching a bit.

Fredrick said...

Golden days never come back ! :(

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