Sunday, June 10, 2012

1,000 US High School Students to Do Volunteer Cleanup, Tree-Planting in #Fukushima, Miyagi, Iwate, Ibaraki and Observe Japan's Recovery

Following the footsteps of the students from Middle Tennessee State University, 1,000 high school students from across the United States will be volunteering in the disaster affected Tohoku, in Fukushima, Miyagi, Iwate, and Ibaraki Prefectures. Activities will include clean-up and planting trees, according to the Japanese government foundation who invited them.

From Japan Times (6/10/2012):

1,000 U.S. high school students to start volunteer work in tsunami zones

Around 1,000 high school students and youths from the United States will visit the Tohoku region in three groups from Sunday to carry out volunteer work in four disaster-hit prefectures at the invitation of the Japan Foundation.

Each group will stay in the country for a fortnight and engage in various exchanges with locals in Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima and Ibaraki prefectures, according to the foundation, which specializes in cultural exchanges.

Participants in the program will come from 40 schools across the United States, including areas affected by natural disasters in the past, including Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The last group will arrive in late July.

Some of the students are from the former schools of two young American teachers killed by the March 2011 tsunami — Taylor Anderson from Virginia and Montgomery Dickson from Alaska — who were teaching English at schools in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, and Rikuzentakata in Iwate. Those students will visit both cities, which were devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake.

All those taking part will also visit Kobe to witness the city's recovery from the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake.

The above Japan Times article doesn't say much about the students' activities beyond "cultural exchanges", but the Foundation's press release does.

Kyodo News (Japanese) had a PR press release from the Japan Foundation, a government corporation under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in April this year announcing the event. According to the PR release the project is called "Kizuna strengthening project". The high school students from all over the US will visit Miyagi, Iwate, Fukushima, Ibaraki, and stay for 2 weeks and do volunteer works (cleaning, planting trees, etc.) and mix with local residents in various activities to experience how the recovery is taking place. The first batch of students will stay in the region from June 10 to 23, the second batch from July 1 to 14, and the third (and the last) one from July 8 and 21.

The Foundation and the ministry behind the Foundation are hoping that these young impressionable students will return to the US and start disseminating the positive, happy images of Japan's wonderful recovery from the earthquake and tsunami disaster of March 11, 2011 to "counter baseless rumors and further the understanding of the situation in Japan by the US citizens" (my translation, from their PR piece).

I almost forgot - this "Kizuna strengthening project" will invite the total 10,000 high school and college students from the US and Asia-Pacific region over 1 year period.

For your information, the original meaning of "kizuna" in Japanese is a "rope that ties down the legs of a horse so that it cannot escape". Some say it is to tie down a cow.

(H/T flyingcuttlefish for Japan Times article)


Anonymous said...

Great. I hope they enjoy their future health issues. We'll be looking forward to seeing positive, happy images of their deformed children.

Now send them to Chernobyl to do the same thing. I'd like to see what kind of positive, happy images they get from there.

Anonymous said...

Does nobody understand that ALL of the area they are planning to visit would qualify as a Radiological Controlled Area in the US and that persons under the age of 18 are not permitted by US regulation to be in a Radiological Controlled Area.

Parents, this is NOT the place to send your kids to do volunteer work. It is dangerous based only on what the Japan government HAS already discovered/revealed to date. I can only imagine that the true danger is even higher, as the Japanese seem to still not be doing anything about the very hot black dust that seems to be a result of bioaccumulation in places like MINAMI SOMA (where the Japanese government reportedly was sending the MTSU students).

If you are hoping for healthy grandchildren, do not send your teenage kids to this part of Japan. It is not worth the risk.

Anonymous said...

They would do a lot more good, and be a lot more safe, if they instead came to Japan to protest the restart of the nuclear reactor at Fukui.

Any committed anti-nuke demonstrator who can pay their way to Japan will find a place to sleep and food through their fellow demonstrators. Just get here.

Japan's continued use of nuclear power is not only Japan's business. As the Fukushima disaster proved, it is EVERYONE's business. It is a global issue, and global input should be considered.

This summer is especially critical, as this is the first time in decades that Japan has been completely free of nuclear power. The government and industry are using the threat of summer electricity shortages to justify a restart of one of the reactors. Peaceful discussions and demonstrations have had no influence to date. The government refuses to listen to the will of the people.

Japan's people (and the world) need your help. They need it in Japan. And in Japan it is most needed either at the Ooi nuclear plant in Fukui or in front of the Prime Minister's residence in Tokyo.

Please come and help stop the madness. We need YOU.

Anonymous said...

It's silly how they refuse serious offers of help from other countries, but allow students to come over and "help". If they really wanted help, they'd accept all the help they can get.

Despite what the students' personal intentions may be, they are being used to perpetuate the illusion of safety and happiness. It's a PR stunt, plain and simple.

This whole thing reminds me of how governments recruit soldiers to fight for them in wars (or convince people to be guinea pigs for their experiments).

They appeal to young, naive people by making them think they're doing something for the good of humanity. If they make it back in one piece and start having health problems, the government just ignores them.

Those people end up feeling betrayed, disillusioned, in denial and in disbelief that their own government would ever do such a thing to them. They never seem to realise that they're being used, and usually end up committing suicide.

Now, imagine if we had these 1000 students protesting the cover-up of the dangers of radiation. Wouldn't that actually help? That's what we really need.

Imagine if they went there to prove that Japan is in serious trouble. Do you think they'd even be allowed into the country? I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

Boycott the above spammer.

Anonymous said...

Ignorance is bliss the American households . Let Darwin do his job here , it is inevitable.

Anonymous said...

Guess this is another "Japanese" medical experiement with carbon based lifeforms. Then the 1000 students can be "tracked" medically back in the USA with HEALTH CARE. Then the end results will be scientifically compared.
Since exposed to radiation as a teen, my daughter and grandchildren have health issues with daughter has cancer, offspring with some birth defects--jaw size, autoimmune diseases. the same will happen to the "test subjects." The parents need to look at the children of Chernobyl..because THEY are doing the same.

Chibaguy said...

What they should do is teach these kids how to read and interpret a gieger counter where they live and have them use the same gieger counter in Japan. This would help them with an opinion. Especially, send them to Koriyama and let them walk around. Stupid is as stupid does.

Anonymous said...

Just goes to show how completely STUPID AmeriKan kids really are.

Anonymous said...

These 1,000 must have been lured by Japan's big air fare give away. There seems to be no local (Tennessee) news coverage of the hazards of the restricted zone.

For continuity it might be good to post a link at the bottom of this article to the earlier article on the same topic...

ALSO - The president of that University,
Sidney A. McPhee, is on TWITTER at!/presidentmcphee

if you would like to tweet him your thought....

Anonymous said...

The PR campaign is in full swing I expect to see lots of pro-nuc propaganda based on these students happy fun time feel good visits. This is probably going to produce 10,000 "know it all's" who will think their closely controlled visit represent reality in the exclusion zone. Everybody is acting like a major earthquake and tsunami are total anomalies instead of facts of life. I wonder what will happen if one of the the big quakes they predicted for the future happens in the middle of this PR stunt?

Anonymous said...

What if they run into one of the many anti-nuke protests or confrontations?
I can just imagine it!

Anonymous said...

Once they've been used and done their bit for propaganda, you can bet the cameras will never shine upon them ever again.

This whole situation is annoying as all hell. Being the only person with foresight in a large group of people is very frustrating. I've been warning people about going to Japan since the disaster, but everybody simply ignores my warnings and goes there anyway. It's like they firmly decide "I want to go to Japan" and nothing can stop them.

They seem to believe that nothing bad can possibly happen to them, or that the governments would have told us or have evacuated if the situation was truly severe. All I can do is sit and wait for the time when I can say, "I told you so"... again.

The worst thing about being right about the future is that it can't be proven and nobody wants to believe it because they all want to believe that they are 500% in control of their own fates. Ironically, it's that kind of belief that makes their future predictable.

Anonymous said...

The students from Tennessee should have signed up for a Whole Body Counter scan at Oak Ridge before leaving. That would have shed some light on the increased radiological burden "clean-up" volunteers face.
What is the Japan Foundation and ministry?
Who are these 1000 children?
Risk/Reward? Your daughter's reproductive health vs. a trip for 2 weeks doing voluntary clean-up work in a contaminated area where children go to school wearing dosimeters.
Let's pretend this is a good idea.

Anonymous said...

Propaganda (1928) by Edward Bernays:

"THE conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.
We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society."

And about this...

"The propaganda system of the first World War and this commission that he was part of showed, he says, it is possible to "regiment the public mind every bit as much as an army regiments their bodies." These new techniques of regimentation of minds, he said, had to be used by the intelligent minorities in order to make sure that the slobs stay on the right course." --Noam Chomsky

Anonymous said...

They must be hated by their parents.

Jeremy Lynesw said...

is this a karma thing for Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

Anonymous said...

god will protect those that believe in his grace. if you die then you are a non-believer and deserve what you get.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon June 11, 2012 8:49 AM

Since EVERYONE dies then NOBODY believes

Wally P. Taylor said...

cancer has been cured

jeff said...

The parents that allow their children to go to this death trap should be prosecuted for negligence and stupidity in that order.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...

god will protect those that believe in his grace. if you die then you are a non-believer and deserve what you get."
June 11, 2012 8:49 AM

Yes, all those little kids that died in the Tsunami deserved what they got.zzzzzzzz...
Wake up. God is supposed to be omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. WTF was he doing on 3/11, having a nap?
You deserved to be punished by your God. Maybe, you will be. Dont keep us posted.

kintaman said...

This just goes to show how ignorance and susceptibility to propaganda is not limited to anyone race or country. We humans are all equally simple and easily fooled by those we are meant to trust.

We all must unite and take down those that are running this horror show of a world. Stop fighting amongst ourselves and remove these psychotic monsters.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Indiana high school students to Iwate:

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous June 11, 2012 12:52 AM:

Would it really be a good idea to come to Japan as a foreigner and take part in Japanese anti-nuclear demonstrations? Technically, we foreigners don't have suffrage in your country and therefore we have no right to take part in your democratic decisions and in the shaping of public opinion.

If in fact many demonstration tourists appeared in your anti-nuclear protests, the Japanese press would attack and discredit the protesters even more. I'm afraid if you don't find enough Japanese protesters, you/we are out of luck.

Kind regards

jimbojames said...

I bet they're being compensated even beyond the free trip or capped at $1,000 for a two-week stay. I'm betting they're going to be studied their whole lives to see if a fortnight is too much.

Anonymous said...

Believing in "god" isn't much different from believing in government. People like to feel guided, important and taken care of.

By their logic, if "god" and/or the government screws you over, then you must have deserved it. That way, they don't need to determine the truth for themselves.

m a x l i said...

Anonymous on JUNE 11, 2012 9:33 AM said:
"Since EVERYONE dies then NOBODY believes"

Any true believer always sees anyone else dying, but never experienced himself being dead, so he must be right in his belief!?

Anonymous said...

Volunteer Cleanup? Are they Serious?? They need men in protective suits to clean up that mess!! I guess they already ran out of clean-up crews over there so now the Japanese want to use foreign volunteers. Crazy!!

m a x l i said...

I wonder if those tree-planting students will be back next year to strip off the same trees' bark and pull off their leaves.

m a x l i said...

Anonymous on JUNE 11, 2012 11:47 AM said:
"Would it really be a good idea to come to Japan as a foreigner and take part in Japanese anti-nuclear demonstrations?"

I think, Anonymous is making a good point here. If there are a few easily recognisable foreigners mixed under a japanese mass demonstration, then you can expect for tv-cameras to zoom in onto their faces, and it will be commented in Japan and among nuclear lobbyists around the world, that what we see is not the japanese people expressing their will, but a campaign initiated, controlled and financed by foreigners (or even international spies or terrorists or something like that at work).

This is not coming out of my phantasy, since I already had the "pleasure" to read nuclear lobbyists in my country commenting photographs of japanese anti-nuke protests that way.

Anonymous said...

Looks like our comments about bringing foreign protesters have hit a nerve with some people who read this blog.

Assuming the comments were not prepared by shills, and that their concerns are heartfelt, let me explain why foreign protesters is actually an excellent idea.

The Japanese government already knows that the locals are against nuclear power. The demonstrations are mostly Japanese. Japan does have about 2M foreigners, so you will see some there anyway. A few hundred more will blend easily.

Remember above all that Japan's use of nuclear power is a GLOBAL issue. Fukushima has affected the world. If the media wants to question any of the "foreign" protesters, this simple assertion "Fukushima did global damage and is now a global issue" would be so deflating for the Japanese government, who have been trying so hard to hide the truth from its people.

The Japanese government feels they can control the locals. They know they cannot, however, control the sentiments of outsiders. It was the foreign press that first exposed their misdeeds in this crisis. It was the foreign embassies that gave the first calls for their nationals to leave Tokyo. The Japanese government cares very much about what people from OUTSIDE japan think about them. And they care very much that these thoughts will make it back to the Japanese people and derail their pro-nuclear train.

Similarly the Japanese protesters themselves would be invigorated to know that there were people from outside Japan who understood, agreed, and would act with them. Remember, Arnie's book has been a science best seller here for months. Not only would the foreign protesters make instant life-long friends, but they would be providing a boost to the morale of thousands of protesters who feel their voices are not being heard. We want to be heard by foreigners. We want to be supported by them.

If you have strong anti-nuke sentiments and are willing to protest and demonstrate for a few weeks this summer, please come to Japan. You will not only get an authentic cultural experience, but you will meet and bond with people who could become new life-long friends. This is an excellent time for earth-loving people to visit Japan and do something about nuclear power.

Stand up. Fukushima is a GLOBAL issue.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the link to the Indiana students story. The gee whiz all expenses paid trip tone of the story is unsettling. More so, the comment by one of the students- "My parents think I'm going to come back with an arm growing out of my head" Kayla said.
Student exchange programs can be very valuable learning experiences. Sending children to do volunteer work in this Kizuna Project is appalling.
Have the parents been given any information about the potential hazards? Will the kids get to stay with their peers and talk about what it's like to go to school wearing a dosimeter, worry about playing outside, worry about the food eaten, the sadness they feel...?
Probably not.
Shameful that this PR excursion is planned, promoted, and viewed as acceptable adult behavior.
Sad that there are willing participants.
No one organized exchange programs to Chernobyl in 1987.

doitujin said...

"They will spend the first part of their trip at the Hiraniwa Mountain Retreat, where they will attend lectures on the earthquake and tsunami, as well as spend some time kayaking, fishing, doing some volunteer work for the local forest area, and taking a trip along the coast on the Sanriku train."

exactly what one should do at a place like that.....

"Needless to say, some of the parents are a little concerned.
“My parents think I’m going to come back with an arm growing out of my head,” Kayla said."

but sending them anyways, great....

(from arevamirpal::laprimavera's 2nd link

as some random students without special training whose stay there is in addition interrupted by trips to Tokyo and Kyoto won't be able to do any professional or valuable clean-up work whatsoever anyway, this completely paid 2-week-stay is so fishy, i can't get it how anybody could ever agree to this, who are they recruiting, hardcore japan otaku?

Anonymous said...

PR stunt: All expenses paid.
Worldwide disaster: All expenses cut and pocketed.

Priority fail much?

I still think it's kind of sad that in all of these kinds of situations, the most we can do is protest/demonstrate while the people running the show walk all over us.

That Star Press article is sickening. Taking advantage of naivety, as I thought. The comments are also filled with people dancing over the "great opportunity".

Are you ready? 1... 2... 3! *DOUBLE FACE PAAAAAAALM*

Anonymous said...

The article linked above seems to say that the students will be in Iwate, Kyoto and Tokyo. If I remember correctly, fallout in Iwate was not as bad as Fukushima, Miyagi, Ibaraki, and Chiba. It was about the same as central and western Tokyo. Not safe for sure, but nothing like the MTSU students going to Minami Soma.

Iwate-bound travelers would be well advised to make sure their government sponsors do not arrange any last minute detours to Fukushima.

Also, be sure to bring plenty of 3M N95 respirator masks for the times when you are working outside. And make sure (1) the students know how to put them on, and (2) the students understand that they are not to be shared or re-used. One mask, one person, one work shift.

Anonymous said...

Iwate's hot spots are the levels of Chiba.

Even if the students are going to northern Iwate, hopefully least contaminated in Iwate, the only way to get there is through Fukushima Prefecture and Miyagi Prefecture, by train.

Anonymous said...

"Needless to say, some of the parents are a little concerned.
“My parents think I’m going to come back with an arm growing out of my head,” Kayla said."

Soooo despite whatever misgivings they have, these parents are still going along with it? Where are their brains????

Those of us who know what's going on have a responsibility to at the very least, try and get the word out in whatever way we can.

Our governments (Amerika, Japan and whoever else) are clearly complicit in all of this and don't give a damn what happens to children as a result of their, at BEST, gross negligence and incompetence.

On another note, does anyone remember how (I believe this was WWII) the Amerkan gov allowed the Japanese gov to conduct experiments on Amerika POW's as long as Japan agreed to share their 'research data'? Your government doesn't give a shit about you or your children and it NEVER WILL.

TechDud said...

@Anonymous June 11, 2012 8:49 AM
God cares about ALL of HIS children.

m a x l i said...

@ Anonymous on JUNE 11, 2012 2:57 PM

Everything you say sounds reasonable. To be more clear, I would encourage every foreigner, who thinks about taking part in anti-nuclear demonstrations, to go there and take part. I only wanted them to be prepared that they may be getting more attention than the rest of the crowd and better think twice about how they present themselves and how they behave.

And by the way, I didn't mention bananas, airplanes or CT-scans, so I am not a shill.

Anonymous said...

Intetesting, you did mention bananas, airplanes and CT-scans at the end of your post. The pro nuke people like to google those words less than 24 hours old whereever used. Now they are going to get paid $1. There contract is set fourth that the posters get paid $1 for every article that mentions airplane and bananas. ( just teasing)

TechDud said...

...and when they get home, there's more cleanup to be done!

Major Court Ruling Forces Nuclear Waste Disposal Review
"The decision will send the Nuclear Regulatory Commission back to square one to determine the safety and consequences of allowing nuclear reactors to produce and accumulate radioactive nuclear waste, including the potential environmental effects of the failure to develop a geologic repository.

“This is a game changer,” said Geoff Fettus, senior project attorney in the nuclear program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “This forces the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to take a hard look at the environmental consequences of producing highly radioactive nuclear waste without a long-term disposal solution. The court found: 'The Commission apparently has no long-term plan other than hoping for a geologic repository.’”"

m a x l i said...

Anonymous on JUNE 12, 2012 8:01 AM said:
Intetesting, you did mention bananas, airplanes and CT-scans at the end of your post...

My 3 Dollars did not show up yet. Do I need a contract first?

Anonymous said...

Freelance journalists - here's a project for you.

Accompany the american kids everywhere they go. Participate with them. When they dig, you dig, When they clean up debris, you clean up debris.

Wear a 3M N95 mask at each event. After each event, put the mask in a ziploc bag. Label it.

When finished, send all the masks to Marco Kaltofen or other impartial researcher for testing.

Report the true exposure each of these kids got during their trip.

Anonymous said...

Here's another one!
Despite Risks, US Woman Teaches Near Japan Nuclear Meltdown

Anonymous said...


All I can think of is "natural selection at work".

Anonymous said...

This is embarrassing, how could you write something so horrible. For your information, I was one of the students who was part of the Kizuna project. It was wonderful and those rumors are untrue. The Japanese people are taking precautions. If you haven't gone there and experienced it, then you probably shouldn't say anything. Oh and the word Kizuna, actually means bond. I think you best get your Japanese straight before you tell others what it means.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Sorry, young thing above, I wasn't born yesterday, and Japanese is my native language.

Unknown said...

We cannot avoid the natural disasters. All we can do is to be prepared. There are times that we need professional help to clean the damage.
Utah disaster cleanup

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