Saturday, August 25, 2012

#Fukushima Governor Requested TEPCO to Say "No Health Worries" After Reactor 3 Explosion

(Ah, but you don't need to believe it, because that's what TEPCO recorded in the video. "TEPCO lies", remember? They must have fabricated the scene.)

From Jiji Tsushin (8/24/2012):


Fukushima Prefecture requested TEPCO for "No health worries" PR after Reactor 3 explosion?


TEPCO announced on August 24 that it was highly likely that officials of the Fukushima prefectural government requested [TEPCO] to make the public announcement that "there are no worries on health" when the Reactor 3 building had a hydrogen explosion on March 14 last year. The Fukushima prefectural government says, "There is no concrete information, and the investigation is difficult."


In the video footage of the teleconferences that TEPCO has made public, a TEPCO employee is heard saying "There has been a request from the governor of Fukushima to insert the words in our press release to say there will be no worries of damage to health judging by the radiation levels that have been measured." When this particular scene was reported in the media, Governor Yuhei Sato denied he had ever said it, and asked TEPCO to investigate the matter on August 10.

I think it's more likely that it was not TEPCO who didn't want the free and open access to all the video recording.

Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato once said he was the most famous governor in the whole world thanks to the Fukushima nuclear accident.

Friday, August 24, 2012

#Radioactive Japan: Miyagi, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Chiba to Have Final Disposal Sites for Highly Radioactive Ashes from Garbage Incineration, Sludge

Goshi Hosono's Ministry of the Environment is on the sudden offensive against citizens and residents of Kanto and Tohoku, again.

According to the Yomiuri Shinbun article, the Ministry of the Environment is already talking with the officials in the municipalities in three prefectures to built final disposal sites in their cities and towns.

As the wide-area disposal of disaster debris winds down as it is now widely revealed that there is simply not enough debris to widely distribute, Mr. Hosono looks desperate to do something so that he can claim he has made people "share the pain".

From Yomiuri Shinbun (8/21/2012):


Final disposal sites for ashes from contaminated garbage to be built in the land owned by the national government in four prefectures


Concerning the disposal of ashes from incinerating the contaminated garbage and of contaminated sludge as the result of the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident, the Ministry of the Environment has decided to build a final disposal site in the land owned by the national government in each of the four prefectures, Miyagi, Tochigi, Ibaraki, and Chiba.


The locations will be selected by the end of September and announced.


Since the start of the nuclear accident, a large amount of ashes and sludge with high concentration of radioactive cesium has been generated at garbage incineration plants, water purification plants and sewer treatment plants in Tohoku and Kanto regions. The waste with more than 8,000 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium is to be disposed of by the national government. As of August 3, the amount of such waste is 42,575 tonnes in 9 prefectures [including Tokyo].


The Ministry has decided to utilize the land owned by the national government in the four prefectures where particularly large amounts [of ashes and sludge highly contaminated with cesium] have been generated and the storage space is hard to find. In Miyagi, Tochigi, and Ibaraki, the Ministry has already held meetings with officials in local municipalities in an effort to finalize the plans.

So, the local officials have been talking with the Ministry for some time. I bet they haven't said a word about it to the residents.

Who said "Render unto Caesar"? Render unto TEPCO the things which are TEPCO's.

#Radioactive Japan: Final Disposal Site for Highly Contaminated #Fukushima Soil and Debris May Be on Southern-Most Tip of Kyushu

(UPDATE) IWJ Kagoshima will netcast a protest against building the final disposal site in Minami Osumi-cho in Kagoshima, from 1:30PM today in Japan (August 25, 2012).

Japan Times says "Goshi Hosono denies nuke disposal report", but the title is not quite reflecting what it actually is. It is more like "Goshi Hosono doesn't deny nuke disposal report, does say it is not yet official."


It makes absolutely no sense, but since when anything that the Japanese government (or any government these days) does make any sense?

TBS News reported that there has been a secret talk between the national government and the local officials in Minami Osumi in Kagoshima Prefecture to create the final disposal site for the radioactive waste from Fukushima Prefecture, 1,500 kilometers away from Fukushima.

The town of Minami Osumi has 9,000 residents and untouched, pristine mountains and the ocean.

Summary from TBS/JNN News (8/23/2012; link may not last):

A strong candidate for the final disposal site for the soil contaminated with radioactive materials from the Fukushima nuclear accident has finally been revealed, and it is the mountains in Minami Osumi-cho in Kagoshima Prefecture.

The national government has already been talking with the town's leaders.

Minami Osumi-cho is about 1,500 kilometers away from Fukushima I Nuclear Power plant, population less than 9,000. The town's industries are agriculture and fishery.

[In the map to the right, "A" is where the nuke plant is located, and "B" is Minami Osumi-cho.]

Decontamination work has been on-going in Fukushima Prefecture to remove radioactive materials from the nuclear accident. Currently, the soil removed in the decontamination is stored in temporary storage locations in the municipalities in Fukushima, but the residents do not want the storage sites in their midst.

The national government plan is to store the contaminated soil from decontamination in temporary storage locations in the municipalities. It will then be transferred to interim storage facilities inside Fukushima Prefecture, and within 30 years it will be removed to a final disposal site which is to be created outside Fukushima.

Mayor Idogawa of Futaba-machi, Fukushima:
"We can't even begin to negotiate [over the temporary storage] unless it's necessary, safe, and [the contaminated waste] is moved outside Fukushima."

Mayor Morita of Minami Osumi-cho, Kagoshima:
"No, we haven't been formally approached by the national government yet." [The keyword here is "formally", in my opinion.]

Governor Itoh of Kagoshima:
"No, no word from the national government. We have no room to accept, we have no intention to accept." [The problem is that it's not up to the governor; it's on the municipal level.]

Residents of Minami Osumi-cho:
"It's difficult, but we can't just say no." [Why not?]
"I don't want it here, but someone has to do something for the people in Fukushima..."

A government source telling TBS/JNN:
"Minami Osumi-cho is the one and only, largest final disposal site candidate."

The latest from TBS (8/25/2012; link may not last) is that this final disposal site is modeled after the storage site for low-level rad waste from nuclear power plants in Rokkasho-mura in Aomori Prefecture. The municipalities around Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant are welcoming the prospect of the final disposal site outside Fukushima, according to TBS.

What the article doesn't say is that the rad waste in Rokkasho is probably far, far less contaminated than the waste from "decontamination" in Fukushima Prefecture.

The most logical place for the final disposal site for contaminated soil and debris from Fukushima is Fukushima, close to Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, but since when the Japanese have been logical? You are not supposed to even suggest that it is a logical place.

Browsing through the tweets from Professor Yukio Hayakawa, he is being attacked for dare suggesting Fukushima Prefecture is contaminated.

Instead, the talk, if TBS/JNN is correct, is to transport all the contamination by sea to a small town on the southern tip of Japan mainland 1,500 kilometers away.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tuesday Protest Against TPP at PM Official Residence Features Fake "Prime Minister Noda"

Taking the advice (or taunts) from Friday protest organizers, people have started to do their own protests outside the narrow (and at this point meaningless) "single issue" protest on Friday at the Prime Minister's Official Residence in Tokyo.

Here's one of them, "Against TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership)", a NAFTA equivalent being pushed by the United States and involving countries around the Pacific Rim.

The first protest was held on Tuesday August 21, 2012, and will be held every Tuesday at the PM's Official Residence. On August 21, over 300 people gathered, made speeches, staged a short comic play with "Prime Minister Noda". A good enough start.

(screenshot from the video at Yasumi Iwakami's IWJ)

"Prime Minister"'s mumbling is incomprehensible mostly because of the mask he wears, but it doesn't matter. The real prime minister's rationale for rushing to join TPP is also incomprehensible to most Japanese (other than big businesses) anyway.

In the meantime, the Noda administration has been busy "wagging the dog" - with territorial disputes with the neighboring countries - and trying to fan the nationalistic hysteria of some sort. Whether anyone bites (other than the irascible governor of Tokyo and irascible boy-wonder mayor of Osaka City), we'll see.

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: 57-Year-Old Worker from Affiliate Company Died of a Heart Attack, Not Related to Radiation Exposure, Says TEPCO

TEPCO says the worker's heart stopped, but they do know it's not because of radiation exposure he got by working at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant for a year, at 25 millisieverts.

Remember, unless it's an acute radiation sickness, it's not because of radiation.

Also remember how the workers (both of TEPCO and of affiliate companies) massage the radiation exposure levels by various methods, whether they do it voluntarily or are told to do so, while TEPCO on a corporate level maintains plausible deniability by pretending not to notice.

From articles in Mainichi Shinbun (here, here, and here):



The man started working with 5 others to install storage tanks for contaminated water from 9AM on August 22, in full face mask and protective clothes. At about 9:50AM he was resting in the rest area as a precaution against heatstroke, but he complained of feeling ill. At about 10:35AM, another worker found him lying on the floor unconscious.


He started working at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant in August last year. August 22 was his first day back from the 1-week vacation. His radiation exposure on August 22 was 0.03 millisievert, and cumulative radiation exposure was 25.24 millisieverts (provisional).



TEPCO announced on August 22 that a man working at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant suffered a cardiopulmonary arrest and was taken to a hospital in Iwaki City by ambulance. According to the Fukushima prefectural police, the 57-year-old man died in the afternoon on August 22. TEPCO says, "We do not know how [or why] he collapsed, but it is not from radiation, judging from his radiation exposure level."



TEPCO announced on August 23 that the male worker (age 57) who died after the work at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant had an acute myocardial infarction.

(And no one dies inside the plant compound...)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

19,507 Bq Radioactive Cesium from a Man in Fukushima Who's Been Eating Shiitake Mushrooms with More Than 140,000 Bq/kg of Cesium

Mind-boggling numbers, but I'm sure they will be dismissed as "no effect on health" because the man is in his 70s.

Another man was found with 11,191 becquerels. Their wives were also found with high levels of radioactive materials in their bodies.

Why? They have been eating food that they grow.

From Mainichi Shinbun (8/22/2012; link added) reporting the news that the health section at Asahi Shinbun reported in early August:

内部被ばく:自家栽培の野菜食べ 福島の男性2人

Two men in Fukushima with internal radiation exposure from eating home-grown vegetables


A survey by the Tokyo University Institute of Medical Science has revealed that two men in their 70s in Fukushima Prefecture who have been eating home-grown vegetables that are not sold to the market have internal radiation exposure with relatively high amount of radioactive materials, exceeding 10,000 becquerels. One of them has about 20,000 becquerels, which would translate to 0.85 millisievert [internal] exposure in one year. It is still lower than the internal radiation exposure limit from food (1 millisievert/year) set by the national government. Dr. Masaharu Tsubokura, who conducted the survey, says, "It may not be the level that would affect health, but I would like people to test the food they grow before eating them."


One of the two men lives in Kawamata-machi, and the other lives in Nihonmatsu City. They were tested for internal radiation exposure by using the Whole Body Counter to measure radioactive cesium (cesium-134 and -137) in their bodies in July and August this year. The man in Kawamata-machi was found with 19,507 becquerels, and his wife was found with 7,724 becquerels. The man in Nihonmatsu City was found with 11,191 becquerels, and his wife 6,771 becquerels. For all of them, it is assumed that they have ingested radioactive cesium released by the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident through food.


The husband and wife in Kawamata-machi have been eating shiitake mushrooms they grow on the logs from Namie-machi [in Fukushima Prefecture], bamboo shoots harvested near their home, and dried persimmons. From the mushrooms, over 140,000 becquerels/kg of radioactive materials [cesium] was found. The couple in Nihonmatsu City has been eating the vegetables given by the couple in Kawamata-machi.

Shiitake logs from Namie-machi... It seems no one bothered to tell them that Namie-machi is probably more heavily contaminated than some of the towns closer to the Fukushima plant. Being in their 70s, their news sources are likely to be the traditional media such as newspapers and TV.

Kawamata-machi is located just west of Iitate-mura, another heavily contaminated location in Fukushima.

Dr. Tsubokura says in the original Asahi article that these levels of internal radiation exposure are seen in Belarus.

However, one of the strange things I've noticed since April 1 this year when the new safety standard of 100 Bq/kg of radioactive cesium was put in place is that people in general don't care much about food contamination any more. It was a big deal, literally up until March 31, the last day under the provisional 500 Bq/kg safety level. If a food item was found with double-digit cesium per kilogram, people were worried.

But now, with the safety limit of 100 Bq/kg and the detection limit of 20 bq/kg using NaI scintillation survey meters (which I think is too high for comfort), less and less people care if a food item is found with, say 60, 70 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium. It doesn't make a headline news any more (though it is duly reported in the media).

Instead, they worry about a nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture, boy-wonder mayor of Osaka, Friday "single issue" protests at the Prime Minister's Official Residence in Tokyo.

They are good ways to not have to deal with the issues at hand, which remain, in my personal opinion, radioactive materials from the nuclear accident in the environment and how to deal with them.

#Antinuclear Japan: Nearly 90% of Public Comments on National Energy Policy Are "Zero Nuke"

That's the number from analyzing 7,000 comments from the public on the national energy policy. 80,000 more to go.

The committee members who have been analyzing the public comments have already started to stress the importance of "quality" over the "quantity".

From Mainichi Shinbun (8/22/2012):

パブリックコメント:原発ゼロ支持9割 7000件分析

Support for "No nuclear plants" 90% of the 7000 public comments analyzed so far


On August 22, the national government disclosed the result of the analysis on the public comments that it received regarding the formulation of a new national energy policy, and said that about 90% of the comments supported "zero nuclear power plant".


It was reported in the committee to analyze the national [citizens'] debate.


7,000 comments out of 89,124 comments have been analyzed so far. 81.0% favor "zero nuke plants immediately", 8.6% favor "zero nuke plants over time". Only 4% favor or support nuclear power plants.


Commissioners expressed their opinions, such as "We should pay more attention to qualitative analysis and thought process, rather than the numbers", and "National debate for two months (in July and August) is just (too short to) discuss [the policy] fully".


In the next meetings, the committee will consider how to utilize the opinions from the public comments and opinion surveys in a form of public discussions using focus groups. The result of the analysis will be reported to the Energy and Environment Committee of the national government. The aim is to reflect [these opinions] on the "Energy and Environment Strategy", which will decide the future reliance on the nuclear power plants.

If the commissioners actually said that, it is quite laughable. If they think that the public thought about nuclear power plants and nuclear power generation only in July and August this year, they must be from a different planet.

Besides, these commissioners are supposed to be the experts in the field of statistics. What do they care about "qualitative" aspects? Looking at the list of commissioners, they are professors at prominent universities in Japan whose fields are law, political science, political economics, media, communications. I see. They must know how to massage the messages then, and that's "qualitative".

OT: Presenting "TOTUS" ...

Or "Teleprompter Of The United States".

The photo is from from Reuters Gallery. I saw it on Drudge Report.

"A teleprompter obscures U.S. President Barack Obama as he speaks during a campaign event at Capital University in Cleveland, Ohio August 21, 2012. Obama is on a two-day campaign trip to Ohio, Nevada and New York. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque"

(Wow, Reuters... TOTUS got major.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

(UPDATED) Prime Minister Noda to Meet Friday Protest Organizers for 20 Minutes Today (August 22, 2012)

(UPDATE) Ooops I missed it while my PC crashed... From what's reported, it looks there was Naoto Kan in the meeting. Messrs. Kan and Noda let the organizers of Metropolitan Coalition Against Nukes speak for almost the entire time, and in the end Mr. Noda made some remarks.

What's interesting is the entry in the Prime Minister's Office's website:

August 22: Former Prime Minister Kan to meet citizens' group and others

Nothing about PM Noda meeting the same people.


I'm surprised that Prime Minister Noda bothered to keep the promise of meeting the "representatives" of anti-nuclear protests.

Select members of Metropolitan Coalition Against Nukes will meet with the prime minister on August 22, 2012 from 2PM to 2:20PM, and they will hold a press conference from 3:30PM.

As if they still matter, but they seem to think so. Mr. Noda may not think so, but he will pretend they do and carry on a charade - after the meeting, he will claim he will have done all he can to persuade the other side, but alas we agree to disagree, I as the prime minister of Japan have to protect the citizens' way of living.

The Prime Minister's Office website is supposed to do a live netcast of the 20-minute meeting, here:

There will be a protest outside the Prime Minister's Official Residence at the time of the meeting (IWJ Channel 5). IWJ's Channel 6 will cover the press conference by the organizers after the meeting, at 3:30PM.

The leadership election of the Democratic Party of Japan will be on September 21, by the way. Mr. Noda may not be the prime minister after that date, and the DPJ may not be the ruling party after the next election which is supposed to be held "soon".

Jiji Tsushin just reported that it was former-Prime Minister Kan who persuaded Prime Minister Noda to meet the organizers, or so said Shu Fujimura, Chief Cabinet Secretary, during the regular morning press conference.

#Radioactive Japan: Food Items Exceeding City's Safety Limit Fed to Schoolchildren in Aizu Wakamatsu City in Fukushima

Let's all repeat the familiar refrain now: "There is no effect on health."

Officials in Aizu Wakamatsu City, in the Aizu region (or the western third) of Fukushima Prefecture, are so certain that they say so, without "immediate" between "no" and "effect".

The lunches with the contaminated food items had already been served and consumed in the 1st semester of the school year (April - July). One of the same items were also served in school lunches in Koriyama City in Fukushima, in Nakadori (middle third of Fukushima) where radiation levels are much higher than Aizu.

Irony is that two items that exceeded Aizu Wakamatsu City's safety limit of 10 Bq/kg were from outside Fukushima - soybeans from Miyagi and pickled plums from Gunma.

From Fukushima Minyu, local newspaper in Fukushima (8/21/2012):


School lunches in [Aizu] Wakamatsu used food items that exceeded the city's safety limit


It was disclosed on August 20 that the food items that exceeded the city's safety limit of 10 becquerels/kg for radioactive cesium had been used in the school lunches served in schools in Aizu Wakamatsu City in the first semester. The food items were frozen soybeans from Miyagi Prefecture, and pickled plums ("umeboshi") from Gunma Prefecture, and contained 16 becquerels/kg and 17 becquerels/kg of cesium respectively. They were both among items purchased from the Prefectural School Lunch Association (in Fukushima City), and they were substitutions which somehow escaped testing.


The same frozen soybeans have been confirmed to have been used in school lunches in Koriyama City whose own safety standard is also 10 Bq/kg [of radioactive cesium]. The Aizu Wakamatsu City Board of Education has asked the Fukushima Prefectural School Lunch Association to improve the testing. The Board plans to notify the parents at the beginning of the second semester [= usually the beginning of September], and hopes to gain their understanding that it was not the level that would affect the human body.

In a way, Aizu Wakamatsu City is better than most schools in Tohoku and Kanto regions for testing individual items instead of mashing the whole serving and measure, which will not isolate items with high radioactivity.

As many in Japan have noted since the start of the nuclear accident last year, the school lunch program, which in many schools in Japan is mandatory, has always been a dumping ground for substandard or excess food inventories. It has been a profitable business for food distributors with long-term contracts with the School Lunch Association, a public-service (quasi-government) corporation that have provided jobs to many who "have descended from heaven (government positions)". So why change, even after the worst nuclear accident in the country?

If you recall, about this time last year, the mayor of Yokohama (who was by the way the president of BMW Tokyo) ignored the plea from the concerned parents and kept feeding the city's school children with beef that may have contained radioactive cesium that exceeded 500 Bq/kg (provisional safety limit until April 1, 2012). I guess she couldn't pass up a great deal - bargain price on Tohoku beef which used to sell at a premium before the Fukushima accident.

If you also recall, Professor Kunihiko Takeda wrote a poetic post for his blog in early September last year, soon after radioactive materials in food items, particularly for children in school lunches, began to catch people's attention. He was attacked for "fear-mongering". He had been pleading the adults to protect children. In vain, I'm sorry to say. Professor Takeda wrote in his post in September last year (my translation, from my post on 9/5/2011):

A girl doesn't talk...

She doesn't talk. With her clear eyes she looks at everything her mother does. At her side, a boy with bright eyes is excited with the train just passing by.

A middle-aged man shouts. Why can't I sell contaminated vegetables? I took great pains growing them. What about our livelihood?

The girl doesn't talk. She quietly eats her school lunch as it is served. Even if the vegetables are contaminated, she takes in the radioactive materials because she trusts adults.

The angry middle-aged man, with the help of the governor and the board of education, shipped the contaminated vegetables that were sold as foodstuff for the school lunches, and he made the living. The government and TEPCO pretended they didn't know, and the media was afraid to report.

The girl who didn't talk is now sick in bed. Who could have saved this girl who didn't talk?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Chiba Produce Fair in Thailand - "All-Out Offensive to Sell Chiba Pears", Says Sankei Shinbun Article

According to the article, wealthy Thais were snapping up pears grown and harvested in Chiba for as much as 1,000 yen (US$12.67) a piece.

The event in Bangkok was attended by the governor of Chiba Prefecture, a former popular TV actor with little acting skills.

Wealthy Thais will be snapping up peaches from Fukushima, too.

From Sankei Shinbun (8/19/2012; part):

県産ナシをタイで売り込め! 現地スーパーで千葉フェア

"Let's sell our pears in Thailand!" Chiba Fair in the supermarket in Thailand


Kensaku Morita, governor of Chiba who's visiting Thailand, attended the "Chiba Fair" at a Japanese supermarket in Bangkok to promote the popular produce from Chiba including pears. There are other countries already in the fruit market in Thailand. Chiba Prefecture plans to target the wealthy Thais to push Chiba's high-quality pears which are still in small supply in Thailand.


"Chiba Fair" is being held for 5 days at a subsidiary of AEON (headquartered in Chiba City) in part of Bangkok where the wealthy people live. In the special corner in the supermarket, various products from Chiba are displayed, including fruits, vegetables, and fresh fish.


On August 19, they cut up a whole tuna from Choshi on the stage near the special corner, and Governor Morita himself took the stage. He promoted the pears, saying "Chiba has the No.1 pears in Japan. Please try today, and see how delicious they are." He then handed out the pears grown and harvested in season in Shirai City.


The pears at the Chiba Fair were expensive, at nearly 1,000 yen per pear due to the seasonality, types of pears, and method of transportation. But there were customers who were buying them. The local importer says, "There will be a demand as gifts, even if they are expensive."

According to Chiba Prefecture's website, pears in Shirai City were tested in July this year to see if they contained radioactive cesium. The results were:

Monitoring test using the germanium semiconductor detector: ND (detection limit 2.2 Bq/kg for cesium-134, 2.5 Bq/kg for cesium-137)

Simple screening test using NaI scintillation survey meter (from 17 locations): ND (detection limit 17 to 19 Bq/kg)

Zero information on the volume (or weight) of the samples, how densely they were packed to be tested, and how long they were tested. (I guess the officials think citizens are dumber than them.)

AEON Group is headed by the older brother of the vice prime minister Katsuya Okada.