Monday, September 10, 2012

#Radioactive Japan: Radiation Exposure Offers Many "Educational" Opportunities for Children

Exactly one and a half year since the start of the nuclear accident on March 11, 2011, this is where Japan stands. All the lip service to "protecting children" or "children are our future" is, well, lip service.

The mayor of a big city in Kanagawa Prefecture declares eating food containing radioactive cesium in the school lunches is part of children's education. A large city in Fukushima Prefecture in the highly contaminated Nakadori (middle third) refuses to install air conditioning systems in the city's public schools because children should not miss the opportunity to learn about global warming. A city in Tokyo has just started feeding children with milk from Fukushima for their school lunch program. A professor in a college in Shizuoka Prefecture with the PhD in tourism sends her students to Fukushima to buy Fukushima produce and goods to dispel "baseless rumors".

It is worse than the worst that Professor Kunihiko Takeda of Chubu University feared exactly a year ago, with his short poetic prose titled "A girl doesn't talk"; he pleaded with teachers and educators to do all they could to protect children. His plea has fallen on totally deaf ears, and here we are. This has got to be the end.

First, for Takao Abe, Mayor of Kawasaki City in Kanagawa Prefecture, making children eat food that has been proven to contain radioactive cesium of Fukushima origin is nothing but highly educational, and the parents should just shut up (Tokyo Shinbun 9/5/2012):

Mayor Takao Abe said during the regular press conference on September 4 that it was important for children to learn that they were living in dangers, and that he would continue to use the frozen oranges from Kanagawa and canned apples from Yamagata that were found with radioactive cesium in the school lunches in the elementary schools in Kawasaki City, emphasizing the educational aspect of using food [known to be contaminated with radioactive cesium].

According to the city's inspection, 9.1 Bq/kg of radioactive cesium was found in the frozen oranges [from Kanagawa], and 1.6 Bq/kg in the canned apple [from Aomori]. However, since the levels are below the national safety limit (100 Bq/kg) the city has been serving the frozen oranges in the school lunches since April this year. The city will start using the canned apple in September.

When asked about Yokohama City and Kamakura City not using the frozen oranges, Mayor Abe responded, "It is a mistake to teach children to be afraid of such a trivial level [of radioactive cesium]." He further commented, "On the road, there is a danger of being hit by a car. A total stranger may stab you. Do you teach children not to walk past a stranger?"

There are parents who are not convinced, but to them, the mayor said, "Don't be a chicken."

Mayor Abe was born and raised in Fukushima, by the way. But that has nothing to do with anything, right?

Koriyama City in high-radiation Nakadori of Fukushima Prefecture refused to install air conditioning systems in the city's schools because it was important for children to suffer to learn about "ecology" (tweet from one of my followers, about an NHK program on the topic):


They don't allow installation of air conditioning systems in schools in Koriyama City. It was talked about in the meeting with TEPCO in June. The city's Board of Education also said [to the parents], "We want children to learn ecology." From the video. The Koriyama City Assembly, TEPCO, and Board of Education all turned down the petition from the parents who worried about their children in the radiation contamination and the severe heat of the summer.

When the Japanese say "ecology", all they mean is "energy-saving to prevent global warming". Global warming.

Then, it is more important for Fuchu City in western Tokyo to help Fukushima recover from the "baseless rumors" than protecting children from potentially contaminated food; or good deal with a major milk supplier (Snow Brand Megmilk) cannot be ditched (the link goes to a page with the handout from the Board of Education). The latter, more likely. So, starting September 10, Fuchu City's milk from Snow Brand Megmilk will contain milk from Fukushima, in addition to Kanagawa, Chiba, Tochigi, Gunma, Iwate, Miyagi, Yamagata, Aomori. In for a penny, in for a pound, or literally, "Eat poison, lick the platter that serves the poison".

And lastly, Professor Akane Okubo got her PhD in tourism (I never heard of such a thing until I checked her bio), and teaches at Fuji Tokoha University in Shizuoka Prefecture while she continue to work for the research institute of Japan Travel Bureau (JTB), one of the largest tour operators in Japan. In the past, she worked for another tourism outfit (Jalan). How does she educate her students? By sending them off to Fukushima to buy up produce and goods in Fukushima to counter "baseless rumors". She must have gotten a lucrative grant from the national government for her "research". From Yomiuri Shinbun (9/10/2012):


Professor Okubo said, "It is important for the student to listen to the local people and to think about what they can do. We would like to do any small thing to help dispel baseless rumors."

Now that's unintentionally funny. "Japanese university students" and "think" clearly don't go together.

The pace of descending into deeper and deeper lunacy seems to be accelerating in Japan. Maybe this is what people must have felt like in the 1930s, right before the last world war.


Anonymous said...

That car road accident analogy is a very common one, used by ignorant people who have no real understanding of the world around them. I hear people tell it to me all the time. Interesting to see proof that it doesn't matter what country they're from - they all share the same stunted cerebral functions.

The situation we're in is worse than people feared, but still exact in accordance with my expectations of humans. And I don't take any pride or superiority in that. It's effectively psychological and physical isolation, and it's extremely frustrating.

Lord Metroid said...

People do not realize the severity of the situation. This is an example from my facebook roll:

My friend, a guy with academic background proclaimed yesterday he is going to henceforth eat rice grown in fukushima. So far 12 of his friends(also with academic background), likes it.

I asked if he isn't afraid of cesium contamination but he replied he is not as the food is properly tested.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Properly tested? I guess for him and many others, using 5 to 10 second per bag testing with detection limit of 25Bq/kg is very reassuring.

Forex market said...

This post is so informative and makes a very nice image on the topic in my mind. It is the first time I visit your blog, but I was extremely impressed. Keep posting as I am gonna come to read it everyday!

Anonymous said...

Here's a story you're unlikely to see in Japan: "School uses Japan government's inept response to Fukushima crisis as opportunity to teach students to QUESTION AUTHORITY."

What have you taught your kids today? Take them to the demonstration on Friday. This is the most important lesson they can learn.

Anonymous said...

On a positive note, the fact that there are plenty of idiots in Japan who are consuming Fukushima food products help reassure me that the food I see labeled from Kyushu and Hokkaido might actually be from those places. No need to cheat when there appears to be a market for the cesium laced foods from Fukushima. Darwin would understand.

Anonymous said...

On car accident analogy: eating contaminated food is akin to walking on the street rather than designed places for pedestrians: you increases your chances of being hit without any reward in exchange. This is in contrast to walking out of your home to go buying food: you risk being hit by a car but you take home the food, so of course you would not lock yourself in your home.

Anonymous said...

Humanity has reached a new low. This "educator" should have his credential stripped from him, and he be taken out and whipped with radioactive ramen noodles. Sorry, I don't know what else to say, the absurdity leaves me speechless.

Anonymous said...

Off topic: PM Noda bypassed the parliament and appointed Shunichi Tanaka at the head of the new NISA (NRC). An exemplary lesson of democracy and respect for the spirit and substance of the law. (Jiji press Sep 11, 17:55)
I am expecting that the main function of new "regulatory" body will be to amend regulations in such a way that npps can be operated as the utilities wish. Glorious examples from its predeccessor, the NISA, include allowing npps to operate on top of active faults, lowering the required level of cooling water to whatever Tepco can pump, wristslapping utilities for failing to abide to regulation and so on...

Anonymous said...

The desperation level is beginning to show. The Mayor feels he has no choice but to feed Fukushima radioactivity to his school children.

This is his first error.

Then he feels he must justify this action with a faulty line of reasoning
proving he is nothing more than a pawn in the government.

Whether he is ignorant or willful in the lie is irrelevant. He has proven himself not to be a leader.

Every other leader in Japan will have a choice to make; either conform to the nuclear pressure; fight it; or give up their leadership post. I would hope these elders would have enough pride and enough wisdom to fight for the truth and fight for what is right for their people, but alas this post shows this is not always going to be the case.

Anonymous said...

Interesting thoughts in french about this suicide :

Anonymous said...

Haha, "properly tested".

I was laughed at when I expressed concerns to various people about Australia testing its fish for radiation. They expressed undying trust and certainty that all countries must absolutely be reliably testing for radiation, and that we are most undoubtedly completely safe. They also believe that even if countries aren't testing, all radiation is the same and it "won't affect us anyway" because "Japan is far away" and that any significant effects "won't happen in our lifetime".

I tried researching information on whether Australia actually does test their fish. If I recall correctly, all I found was some people on a forum complaining that Australian fisheries don't test their fish for radiation. What a shock.

A few days ago, I read an article about a huge bluefin tuna caught near New Zealand, suspected of carrying radiation from Fukushima. If I read correctly, the article said they cut some up for research, then ATE SOME and DISTRIBUTED THE REST TO BE EATEN BY CONSUMERS - BEFORE TESTING.

I think this proves just how much people are underestimating radioactive contamination. They knew it was likely contaminated and still ate it.

Regarding car accident analogy... it relies on the same "safety standard" based on chance-of-occurrence statistics. It's not representative of anything and certainly isn't reliable. Obviously, in the case of ingesting radiation, it's completely irrelevant.

Ingesting radiation reminds me of an idiot over at the Ex-pat Cafe forum who constantly makes me want to smash my head against a wall. He repeatedly insinuates that anyone concerned about radioactivity is an utter conspiracy nut, and has even argued that there's nothing wrong with ingesting man-made radioactive nuclear waste, simply because it's "less than natural radiation in our stomachs".

On the subject of "academics"... my personal experience with academics is that they are particularly small-minded, over-confident, egotistic and ignorant. The purpose of school education isn't to pass on important information or educate people to be intelligent, it's to shape them into mindless worker ants who follow the line drawn for them. Forget all the prestige of academia, that's just there to perpetuate the illusion.

Education systems are intentionally designed to accommodate people who cheat, or are good at bending over. The ones who bend over are incapable of thinking out of the box, and the ones who cheat don't care about anything but themselves.

Finally, I'd like to point out that systems like Facebook's "like" feature are manipulating people without them realizing it. If many people "like" something, it makes everyone who sees it beileve that it must be true or good. They brainwash themselves to agree, just to fit into their social groups. They don't realize that their reaction is based solely on that someone "liked" it. They don't know the reasons behind the "like". It's yet another example of humans being shallow and superficial.

Anonymous said...

The problem with any kind of testing is they usually leave it up to those who would be economically damaged if the testing comes out badly.

Do you think a cattle farmer would reveal if one of his cows comes up with mad cow disease? Of course not. He is out of business overnight.

So why would a fisherman reveal that his fish has radiation? Or a farmer reveal that his milk has radiation? Of course they won't. And so they'd rather believe that it does not contain radiation, so they don't have it tested.

It's a delusion that allows them to trade tainted goods for money. It's the same delusion that allows a Mayor to claim radiation is good for kids.

If the airplane mechanic wasn't really sure if he was able to fix the control system on the plane - but sent it out anyway without testing it, and then the airplane crashed and killed hundreds, then the mechanic would be prosecuted - he knows this, that's why he tests, every time.

The problem with radiation is that the problem won't manifest for many years, and won't be traceable back to a specific event. If 100 or 1000 of these children die of cancer from this school food 20 years from now, this Mayor is sitting in his retirement home feeling like he did a good job, when in reality he did a terrible thing.


Anonymous said...

"Education systems are intentionally designed to accommodate people who cheat..." Well said, amen to that. Search the title "Deliberate Dumbing Down of America", and you may find more validation for your observation.

"The problem with radiation is that the problem won't manifest for many years, and won't be traceable back to a specific event." Depending on the level of exposure, the symptoms may manifest as early as 1 year after the exposure,and up to 25 years before cancer starts to show up. There are reports of Japanese children (8-9yrs old) already developing thyroid cancer. Radioactive substances carry isotopic signatures that can trace them to their sources, so I heard...

Greyhawk said...

In my country the only people who call each other "Chicken" are children or adults with mental problems. I was stunned that a grown man in a position of political power would tell reasonable parents "don't be chicken" by not wanting to feed their children radioactive food. Is there something wrong with Mr Abe? There will definitely be something wrong with children who grow up eating radioactive food. They will not live to an old age. They will die before their time is due. When one is driving a car one drives in a way not to have an accident. Eating food that is known to be radioactive is like trying to cause an accident. What stupid things to say.

m a x l i said...

@Forex market, you said: "This post is so informative and makes a very nice image on the topic in my mind..."
This post does not make "a very nice image" in anyone's mind, unless he/she/it is a machine; and since you are a machine, you don't even have a mind. But you are correct that "this post is so informative", and I would like to add: to important and serious to allow disruption for the readers by a stupid machine. So you better shut up, or someone has to pull the plug on you and to ditch you at a scrap-metal place!

Anonymous said...

Stupid thing about walking on the road is dangerous analogy is that children or parents have a choice of not walking, if they so choose. School lunches, children have no choice.

Anonymous said...

And this is why I no longer live in Japan ...


Anonymous said...

Snow Brand Megmilk catch phrase at the top of their web page: 未来、ミルクの中にある, "The future, it is in the milk". Thinking of where Fuchu milk comes from, kind of ominous. Relatively recently Snow Brand was involved into a few scandals related to using tainted milk; can they be trusted to provide non contaminated milk to schools?

Anonymous said...

Parents have a choice to give them lunch boxes though.
They will possibly looked upon like alien creatures from outer space but still.

Anonymous said...

In some wards in Tokyo, parents are only allowed to provide lunch boxes for their children if they make the exact same meals as on the school menu. Not very much of a choice, when you consider the slim chance of finding all the necessary ingredients from non-Kanto/Tohoku sources...

Anonymous said...

absurdities on top of absurdieies, not to mention lunacy...

and Mr. Tepco wants to restart reactors at Fukushima Daichi!

good luck with that Mr. Skull and Bones Death Cult (Yale Graduate)

kuma shutsubotsu chuui said...

@Anonymous 3:16 PM

Re: box lunches. It's not just some wards of Tokyo where kids are allowed to take a boxed lunch to school ONLY if the menu is the same as the school lunch. The case is the same where I live, in a rural area several hundred miles away.

sakuramane2004 said...

I have been waiting for this to become public. I also posted this info on fukushima diary so I thought i would post it here if you are interested.
We are fighting the city of Yokosuka and Zushi over serving these oranges. Finally, i left Japan. We “obtained” some of these oranges from a school and had them tested. We got 11.9bq/kg of combined cesium. see our flyer . Me talking with the city officials in yokosuka pt. 1
there is also a part 2
we handed out thousands of flyers
what happened in my kids class? 1st graders force fed oranges

in the 4th graders class kids arre allowed to have seconds

Anonymous said...

OT: The nuclear protestor who was killed in India was a fisherman named Anthony Raj. If anyone can find an address for the family, please post it.

m a x l i said...

@Beppe, you said: "Parents have a choice to give them lunch boxes though."
Yes, the advantage of home-made radioactive crap is - it is made with love by mum or dad and brings out a smile in the kids.

Anonymous said...

"The future is in the milk", huh. There's suddenly a lot of references to the "future". They just forget to mention that it's going to be a very bleak, mutated future, filled with pain, suffering and death. Shame they won't be around to experience it.

I think they need to be a bit more honest with their slogan. Something like this, perhaps:


People in general are always ignoring the lessons of the past and present, and looking towards a future that they want to believe is bright. They let themselves be manipulated so easily, and doom themselves to repeat the same stupid mistakes.

If there was an undeniable worldwide disaster, most people on the planet would just curl up and die, muttering to themselves in denial that it can't possibly have happened because we are superior to lowly jellyfish.

Anonymous said...

"On the road, there is a danger of being hit by a car."

Yeah, that's why most sane people go to great lengths to teach their kids to stay out of the road and respect cars as the killing machines they can be.

"A total stranger may stab you. Do you teach children not to walk past a stranger?"

Yes, you're damn right I teach my kids to stay away from strangers in general and specifically strangers with weapons. I also teach them not to eat toxic materials whenever possible even if it's "just a little bit" that some ballonhead bureaucrat claims is good for them.

It doesn't matter how tasty antifreeze is for some reason people get all upset when they find it in their favorite wine, too bad Fukushima didn't just leak antifreeze everywhere.

Anonymous said...

In France, a very interesting speaker, Franck Lepage spoke about the "popular politic instruction", with lack in education. Quickly, if you can be a master in science and work in a concentration camp, that mind that the school system is a fail, because it don't teach you the difference between good and evil.
In my country, France, some family have a traditional politic instruction, but the huge majority grow up with the influence of the television and the school alone. And finally their is an obvious difference between the person who believe every thing from the government and the persons who try to verify before to believe.
I think it is an important think that most people lack because they had a sheep education: lessons about the necessity to think and not believe blindly.

Anonymous said...

Hi maxli, I know it is not perfect but, for example, my school-age child does not drink milk at school and milk at home is from Kyushu. Probably better than the Snow Brand blend. I hope.

Anonymous said...

Desperate. In denial. Delusional. Self-destructive. Downward spiral.

Haku for a government out of control, short on conscience and running out of options. The innocent, especially the children are often sacrificed.

m a x l i said...

@Anonymous at 3:35 am, when you say, you know it is not perfect, you probably got my point. And I agree, when you can have a choice between alternatives, go for it! In this case distance gives you an indication which alternative is probably better. Unfortunately they are already incinerating slightly radioactive waste on Kyushu, if I remember correctly - that might dampen your hopes a bit. And there is more: In a country where politicians, doctors and mayors say a bit of radioactivity is good for you, you need very big trust to believe that your milk really comes from kyushu based on what it says on the package.

If I would live in your country, I would not only worry about my kid's milk, but I would mobilise all people I can, so that 1 million people will (peacefully) occupy the government buildings in Tokyo day and night - until the government stops all nuclear power plants, stops incineration of radioactive rubble or waste, evacuates more people from contaminated areas, gives all evacuees a full compensation and all needed help, outlaws agricultural activity in contaminated areas, outlaws mixing of contaminated and non-contaminated food, puts all necessary resources into securing Fukushima-Daiichi, brings those responsible for ruining your country to justice...which means basically, you need a new government.

If everyone worries only about his milk or his problems, nothing will change, and you and your kid will still be fed radioactive food in ten years time (if you are lucky) and it will become much worse.

I know I am demanding a lot, and this is shockingly hard for you. But the key to change for the better or for worse is in Japan and it will have consequences for the rest of the world

Anonymous said...

This information is incredibly sad. It makes me seriously question whether Zen Buddhism inculcates unnessessary submissiveness, although I do realize dojen relieves anxiety. This sounds like genocide against ones own people. I know the Japanese are known for stoicism, but were I Japanese I would have already left the island. It's incredible that a people that showed so much courage in surviving the disasters of Hiroshima and Nagasaki would choose this path of denial. Nonetheless, I am not Japonese, so ultimately it's difficult to say what I would do were I a member of that culture. Helen Berg

Anonymous said...

There is a case of thyroid cancer in a young person in Fukushima.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely right, it's quite demanding but at the same time it is also the minimum that should be done if one wanted things to be arranged in fairness.
In practice I need to strike a balance between protesting for all this nonsense, earning some income and minimizing risk for my own children. The latter includes trips to Kashiwa to check out the milk for contamination by myself from time to time.

Michael Karnerfors said...

Do you think they should teach children to fear cars becase > 5000 get killed every year in traffic in their country?

Do you think they should teach children to fear rain because 20 000 of their countrymen was killed by water in a great tsunami?

Do you think they should teach children to fear bananas because they contain 120-150 Bq/kq beta radiation from Potassium-40?

Do you think they should teach children to fear their own bodies, because of the radioactivity they themselves habor from Carbon-14 and Potassium-40... about 50 Bq/kg?

Then why should they fear oranges at puny 9 Bq/kq? A bag of kitty litter(!) is "hotter" than that.

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