Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Nuclear Fatigue Setting in Japan After 10 Months

That's the feeling I get from the two recent events I'm following. It is the feeling of "Let's just forget about it, there's nothing we can do anyway", which has served the country, for good or bad, for centuries.

First, there was a face-to-face interview (1/10/2012 Japan Time) by independent journalist Yasumi Iwakami of the Minami Soma City woman who's been documenting her health problems since the summer of 2011. Emiko Numauchi, aka "Numayu", happened to be a cheerful, forward-looking ex-high school teacher who said she intended to live until the age of 120 and that she was comfortable with "causes unknown" for her health problems. The video of the interview is not yet on the archive at Iwakami's website, but there are many tweets of people who viewed in Japan in real time.

This "Togetter" captures not just her remarks but the comments by Shinzo Kimura, radiation specialist who has appeared in many NHK documentaries on radiation contamination in the aftermath of the Fukushima I Nuclear Plant accident. On Ms. Numauchi's health problems, Kimura says, "stress, stress, stress, and stress":


It is an immune disease caused by stress. Teeth, nails, hair falling off, that's auto-immune disease. So is skin inflammation. Time-lag [?]. It is not caused by radiation, but she is still a victim of the nuclear accident. There's individual difference. There may be some effect of radiation exposure.


Difference in radiation levels. I passed through Minami Soma City back in March. High levels of radiation. If you lived in that area it is possible that the radiation exposure has something to do with [the health problems]. Depending on where you live, if the radiation level is low, it is possible that the problems are caused by stress.


We cannot explain the mechanism of auto-immune diseases. For example, Mr. Iwakami can tolerate a lot of stress. You cannot tell from a person with high tolerance for stress. There's individual difference. A rabbit may die of loneliness. It's possible for humans. To say stress [is causing these health problems] is appropriate.


It is an auto-immune disease. Stress can cause kidney diseases. It is highly possible. If you don't think it is stress, then collect data and determine. Internal radiation exposure [is assessed] by counseling [??]

I won't know the exact details of what Kimura said in the program until I view the video yet to be uploaded. But from other tweets the above seems to summarize what he did say.

Does he make sense? If you live in areas with low radiation levels and you have health problems starting to happen after March 11, 2011, then these problems are caused by stress. If you live in areas with high radiation levels, it is probably still stress causing these problems.

Never mind that Ms. Numauchi kept saying she was far more stress-free after she quit her job as a public high school teacher.

There are so many tweets that outright bash Ms. Numauchi for speaking out. They say she is a disgrace to Minami Soma City, that she only thinks of herself (huh?), that she's a liar.

The second event that I think people in Japan may be resigning to whatever fate they think they will get is the efforts to hold anti-nuke plant referendums in Osaka and Tokyo. Citizens' groups in Osaka collected 50,000 signatures in no time, exceeding the required number of signatures to hold a referendum in Osaka Prefecture. In contrast, only one-third of the required number of signatures have been collected so far in Tokyo.

The latest meme from some of the anti-nuke plant people on the Twitter is this: "If we do hold a referendum on whether to stop all nuke plants and we lose, then the pro-nuke people will be all the more powerful and we won't be able to do anything to stop them. So, let's not do the referendum."

So it is all or nothing. If the anti-nuke plant referendum is defeated, that will be the end of their movement. That's just so Japanese. I personally think there are more pressing issues like radiation contamination being spread by the government, but why not scare the political class and show them that the citizens are not there just to collect taxes from? And if you lose once, so what? Why should it be the end of everything?

But surveying the tweets, message boards, blogs, and comments on the blogs, it does look like it's back in March/April 2011 again. The memes are "It's all due to stress, isn't it?", "We need nuclear power plants after all", and "If we lose the anti-nuke plant referendum, that's worse than doing nothing, so let's do nothing". "Nothing we can do now, the accident happened already." Ah the Noda administration has nothing to fear.

One of my teachers at my college was a French professor specializing in linguistics and in teaching Japanese to foreigners. He said the Japanese language pronunciation is one of the least "viscous" of all languages; as soon as the sound leaves one's lips, it falls off to the ground. It does not have a staying power. In contrast, the French language is very "viscous". The sound projects further forward. He was talking in terms of how to identify and learn the characteristics of a language so that one could learn faster.

But I think this nature of the Japanese language does shape how the Japanese people respond to events like a nuclear accident. No staying power. It is rather amazing that it lasted 10 months.


mike in tokyo rogers said...

"I personally think there are more pressing issues like radiation contamination being spread by the government"... Precisely!

no6ody said...

The pro-nukers have already been shown to send shills into town meetings to support building and operating nuclear plants, even on this very website. It would not surprise me in the least to find that many of these 'twitterers' are working for the T3Pco. After all, there is no a law against requiring your employees to send tweets supporting the corporate line, or even hiring people to do so. Unethical, but not illegal.

Anonymous said...

Don't give up.
I don't buy your characterization of Japan as a give up type of place. Please continue your efforts and I will also.

Anonymous said...

@anon 3:54PM, Japan is precisely that type of place.

Anonymous said...


When there is a huge crisis, people desperately hang on to what they have. They believe that if they just shut up and don't stick out, "the terrible thing" out there is not going to get them. "The terrible thing" can be a murderous tiger, an abusive parent, a cruel boss, a sniper, or it can be something a bit more abstract: unemployment, ostracism, imprisonment.

But that is not how things actually work.

Most Japanese just desperately want things to continue as they did. They won't! Old solutions do not work. Holding onto the old way won't help.

Ms. Numauchi is worthy of emulation. She is a brave woman. It IS both radiation and stress. How can you not be stressed if your world and your body are falling apart?

The equivalent of the situation is not the abusive father who will hit you if you contradict him and be nice to you if you're quiet. No, no. The equivalent is hanging off a cliff. There is no long-term stability in such a situation -- you MUST do something.

If you give up, you die.

Chibaguy said...

Having lived in Japan and being married to a Japanese woman, I concur. Japan is that type of country. People are collectively closing their eyes and ears and hoping everything returns back to normal. They literally are ignoring science and history re Chernobyl. Things will be normal for a while but when cancer rates start soaring in children people might start to understand they were utterly lied to. Whether they will take action then is another question.

It took me 4 months to convince my wife that Japan is in real danger. After a while she started to studied about Chernobyl and woke up. She said if she was married to a typical Japanese male she would have thought everyone is just OKAY.

This is why this blog is so vital. There are people out there and here trying to wake the sleeping.

Anonymous said...

How do you say "shouganai" in French?? "C'est la vie" is a bit different (and sounds more viscious")...

Buddhism and "shikata ga nai mentality" may explain it...GANBATTE with your blog... I lived many years in Japan and follow this blog to know about the radiation in Japan...

the major newspapers and media are controlled by TEPCO...the Japanese Government depends on Tepco...TEPCO owns Japan, Japanese citizens, and Japan´s history...pathetic...what are the Japanese citizens doing? Rebelling against TEPCO or "shouganai" attitude...always this love-hate relationship with Japan...

Anonymous said...

"There are so many tweets that outright bash Ms. Numauchi .. "

There is an internet phenomenon that can not be discounted. It's that of the professional troll.

They do exist and they take up the task with a sense of relativism. Their mission is simply to upset the apple cart, any cart, and tee-hee to themselves as they watch others grow upset.

I have seen them in many places on the net, AND THEY TAKE PRIDE IN THEIR WORK !

They take pride, and have a strong work ethic !


Anonymous said...

For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.

farfromhome said...

Unfortunately, Japan is just that kind of place.

Where to start...

We lived in Japan late 2004-early 2007, went back to the US and could not wait to come back! In early 2010 we came back. But immediately we notice that things were not quite as rosy as we had remembered, in fact we found our eyes being opened up to the real Japanese culture. As a good friend put it, 'it is just a veneer'.

We found out about tatemae in a business/housing setting. It was completely acceptable to lie and deceive us because we were foreigners and basically have no rights in Japan.

Then 3/11 and the ensuing nightmare and finding out that the GOJ will protect corporations and image before citizens. We studied and remembered what we had been taught about WWII and things started to 'come together' - indeed a veneer. The Japanese are elitist and isolationists. I have to wonder if the notion of their race being supreme/superior isn't factored into any of this. Does the government somehow believe that Japanese are less susceptible to the effects of contamination or is it just that the effects will be so far down the road that they can just get away with it. Is it because people are so stupidly busy with their facebooks and Iphones and 'me'-ness that they won't take the time to look at reality?

Now before you jump all over that, just know that my heart aches as I have very dear Japanese friends who are aware but feel so incredibly trapped - just like Ms. Numauchi, and are already beginning to close the door to the rest of the world because they feel powerless. It is awful to see this and not be able to truly help them as they shut me out too! I see them giving up.

I even tried to share food and rice, but nothing was as good as 'Japanese'. I kept getting told that Japanese food 'is' superior and just tastes better it is too hard to switch. I even shared that in the US we do have a decent amount of 'organic' food. This was met with skepticism. But I guess if your whole life you are taught that everything Japanese is the 'best' you can never even legitimately accept anything else - it is beyond maddening to me!

What can they do, they are Japanese, and this is their plight.

Anonymous said...

Did you already sing the Requiem? Ready to hear it now.

Anonymous said...

And on the concept of singing the Requiem, can you tell me what the professional trolls I mentioned above can be singing about ?

This could be an entertaining answer.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Rex tremendae. Singing the praise of the government the lord.

But from what I've read, those are not professional trolls.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Listening to "Domine Jesu" of Requiem. Excellent fugue of 4 part-chorus. It was so difficult to learn this one. I like it when the orchestra hussles. Wiener Philharmoniker, mit Herbert von Karajan, dirigent.


Anonymous said...

The problem is that this kind of internal radiation slowly saps your strength until you have none left. It makes it nearly impossible to protest your fate.

You just fade away.

Anonymous said...

Could you please relay to anyone concerned that the German anti-nuke movement took 30 years to reach their goal. And they took to the streets in great numbers, again and again, literally battling the government & police, not just some signatures on petitions that nobody will ever look at anyway. They also set up a political party... the rest is history. Sure, they could have stopped 29 years ago because things didn't work.

Ulrich said...

Even if low level radiation cannot cause autoimmune disease, perhaps it can trigger it. I'm sure there is no study investigating whether low level radiation can trigger rare diseases that exist in the person without symptoms waiting for something to trigger them.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@anon at 12:21AM, I summarized your comment and tweeted in Japanese. Thank you.

About Shinzo Kimura, many people have expressed a sense of something amiss or changed about his remarks and the way he said them. I'll wait for the video upload (if that happens, I hope it's not only for Iwakami's paid subscribers..).

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the Karajan. Sad, but somehow comforting to share this over the radioactive profundo lacu.
Looking forward to the video upload, not having any success here.

CaptD said...

11 Months and counting!

The Japanese people and many of those of the rest of the World,
... wait in fear because of what TEPCO and the Japanese Gov't.
... are trying to make money instead of stopping this Eco-Disaster...

That is the bottom line and no amount of Nuclear Baloney (NB) type
... "reports or reviews or Nuclear theory" makes that any better.

Do any of US actually know what the situation is on the ground?

I sure don't, but I know that because TEPCO has lied, concealed data
... and played the Japanese People's SAFETY down, while trying to save
... TEPCO profits instead, we all have much to fear from THEM!

If someone told me 10 MONTHS ago that I would be sitting on the edge
... of my chair, and blogging to save the Japanese people from their Utility
... TEPCO & their Gov't. overseers I would have thought they were crazy!

CaptD said...

It is obvious to me that the Japanese Gov't and TEPCO are trying to DELAY, any real action so that they can put the Japanese people back to sleep on this issue while saving shareholder value!

If the Japanese people really knew the true cost of Fukushima, the people would demand CHANGE and that is something that those in Government want to avoid at all cost!

What will determine the total cost of this "Trillion Dollar" Eco-Disast­er?

Please feel free to add your comments and or estimates to this list:
 Decommissi­oning costs
 Loss to all other radioactiv­e decontamin­ation caused by this Disaster.
 Loss of revenues by Tepco
 Loss to TEPCO's share holders caused by radioactiv­ity
 Loss of Japanese personal income caused by radioactiv­ity
 Loss to Japanese businesses caused by radioactiv­ity
 Loss of all Japanese health costs related to radioactiv­ity
 Loss due to unusable Japanese Land related to radioactiv­ity
 Loss due to Japanese housing caused by radioactiv­ity
 Loss of Japanese Property Values caused by radioactiv­ity
 Loss of fishing grounds caused by radioactiv­ity
 Loss of manufactur­ing caused by radioactiv­ity
 Loss to the value of the Yen caused by radioactiv­ity
 Loss to other Utilities caused by Fukushima'­s radioactiv­ity
 Loss to Japans credit rating caused by Fukushima'­s radioactiv­ity
 Loss to the Japanese peoples Lives because of radiation

Anonymous said...

"Rex tremendae. Singing the praise of the government the lord.

But from what I've read, those are not professional trolls. "

Your reply is quite to the point. Many of the trolls are only inspired to a point, as if their remnants of sanity are wearied by the task, again.

Many of them are convinced of their superiority so do not feel to extend courtesy or respect. If you are able to understand the nukers w/their belief that plutonium weaponry trumps all other considerations, maybe you will understand that superiority.

You will fail in that attempt, and that is why the word 'fail' is so central to their formulations.

They are dead-ended duds.

12:21 AM,
your point is ever the point.

maxli said...

@anonymus at 12:21AM, thank you for your good comment, I had similar thoughts in mind. Yet, to say the anti-nuke movement in Germany by now would have reached their goal is maybe somewhat to optimistic. It is an ongoing and continuing struggle. The german government of that time decided in 2001 to let nuclear power run out over time, meaning any specific reactor would be allowed to produce electricity (and lots of money of course) for 32 years since beginning of it's operations to be switched off afterwards. Because most reactors were from ancient times already, it would have meant a relatively quick end to nuclear power.

Meanwhile the big energy producers did little to develop a new energy future for Germany, instead they were very busy, turned every wheel and pushed every button, to turn around public opinion and to put a new government in power, which would be more in their favour and ready to throw the nuke-exit decision into the waste bin. By the end of 2010 the nuke industry finally succeeded, when the government of chancellor Angela Merkel signed a paper giving the nuclear reactors far longer time to run.

This situation remained only a few month, then Fukushima happened. I don't know if Angela Merkel genuinely realised the horrendous dangers of nuclear-power production or she simply felt she couldn't stay in power against the anti-nuke opinion of the vast majority of the german people. Now the situation is: we have a somewhat faster exit from nuke again. Germany is officially exiting from nuclear power for a second time, but people expressing their opinion against nuclear power or against the dumping of nuclear waste in their homeland are still getting beaten up, peppersprayed and arrested by police. Now we have a timed plan to switch off nuclear reactors one by one, which will be completed by 2022, if not...

And here it comes: Until 2022 is plenty of time to turn around politics again or even to have a Super-GAU like in Japan. The nuclear mafia is more busy then ever to spread their stupid lies and manipulations massively in every channel. Reporting about Fukushima in mainstream media is very close to zero. Without the internet and websites like this one here (thank you 100 times!) I would not get much information.

What we need to parade the nuke psychopaths naked and to take apart their lies is facts, facts, facts. If you are a japanese doctor, a midwife, you have farm animals or are otherwise able to spread data (statistics, photos, videos) about what is different in Japan since Fukushima to the rest of the world, we all can end this madness much faster everywhere. Talk to people you trust! Find ways to act! Use the internet! Protect yourself!

Nuke people have all the money in the world, are powerful, without feelings of responsibility, regret or empathy. But you have one advantage - they are stupid, you are not. Use this advantage!

Anonymous said...

"Does he make sense?" (regarding the comments by Kimura, radiation specialist on NHK)

NO. As a witness to decades-long severe auto-immune disease of a family member (DNA diagnosed, multiple autoimmune conditions), all together the symptoms described by the Fukushima blogger Emiko Numauchi cannot be dismissed as a simple autoimmune response from stress.

1. Auto-immune diseases can be verified with a simple blood test. Typically a specific 'antigen' is identified.

2. It is possible radiation exposure weakens body's immune system. But Emiko and her friends in Fukushima report multiple spontaneous teeth enamels chipping, water-filled blisters forming outside the skin within a few minutes of red rash, sudden gushing nose bleed.. These are not typical chronic autoimmune symptoms. Emiko would have lost total mobility by now, IF it were indeed acute autoimmune disease because the joints are the first things to be affected.

3. No legitimate medical professionals would speculate diagnosis of someone whom he or she never met before, never examined.

4. No legitimate medical professionals would divulge information of a patient or non-patient to the public, especially on a national media.

Mr. Kimura is a mouth piece of NHK and national propaganda. He deserves his license revoked.

Anonymous said...

In reply to farfromhome @ Jan 10, 2012 5:51 PM:

There is a timely piece at Asia Times Online:
Overcoming the 'Japanese only' factor
by Victor Fic


It might provide insight for other people ...

farfromhome said...

Thank you Anon 11:46.

Here is another piece that I happened upon after 3/11 - by Debito!
The costly fallout of tatemae and Japan's culture of deceit

I have since shared with many gaijin to help them understand what they are experiencing.

I even discussed this article at length with a Japanese friend. She was not surprised, but rather confirmed that the article was accurate. She felt that I was not wise for being an honest person!

Anonymous said...

Ultraman, have you looked at the evolution of Mycoplasma Pneumonia during 2011.
Obviously someone could say with the impact of the tsunami, there are many more people in weaker situation (accomodation and so on), still difficult to put the increase only on that and stress (and 2012 first weeks are still pending to be published...)

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@anon at 3:09AM, yes I have, and I posted that and other charts from the same government source showing several sigmas away from the norm, and I was accused of "fear-mongering". LOL.

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