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'Radiation divorce' enters Japanese vernacular

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“Radiation divorce.” A year ago that would have been gibberish. Now it’s all too meaningful.

You probably get the idea, even if you’ve never heard the expression. In brief, husband and wife disagree so irreconcilably over how dangerous radiation is to children that the marriage breaks up, the fearful party (usually but not always the wife) spiriting the kid(s) away to a new radiation-free domicile and starting anew.

Aera (Jan 16) chronicles some case histories. Miki, 29, fled with her three-year-old daughter after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami fatally damaged Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Her husband stayed home; he had a job he couldn’t leave. For six weeks she stayed with relatives in Tokyo and Tochigi.

Then she went home, feeling guilty about imposing and about leaving her husband on his own. But was home safe for the little girl? The government issued assurances that the radiation levels posed no danger even to children, but outside experts said otherwise. Who was right? How was a layperson to judge?

One day she and her husband ran into the husband’s boss on the street and the two men joked about people like Miki who were terrified of radiation. Miki looked at her husband with new eyes. “I’m raising a family with this man?” she thought. “His child’s life is at stake and he’s making jokes?”

Some days later, the child developed nosebleeds for no apparent reason. Did that have something to do with radiation? She recalled hearing somewhere that there might be a connection. Again her husband laughed at her. “Well, that’s it,” she thought. The next day she and the child were on a plane to Sapporo. In September, the couple filed for divorce.

To stay or to go? It’s an agonizing decision, Aera says, and it confronts families not only in the immediately stricken zone but as far away as Tokyo, where radiation is less but not nonexistent. Some families pull up roots and relocate, only to find that relatives, friends and jobs left behind are irreplaceable. Others, like Miki’s, are split down the middle.

Shigeru, 38, fled Sendai with his seven-year-old son. At first, his partner, the boy’s mother, was with them. They drove first to nearby Yamagata Prefecture, where stores were open and supplies were available. Shigeru’s partner figured her first responsibility was to stock up on food and distribute it to people back in Sendai, where it was scarce. She left the child with Shigeru, who refused to go back.

In April, Shigeru was transferred by his company to Tokyo. He took the child, whose mother remained in Sendai. There followed a period of uncertainty, with a lot of back-and-forth movement between Sendai, Tokyo and Kyoto, where the boy was in the care of his grandparents. Slowly the situation solidified, with separation written into it. Whatever his partner may think, Shigeru is convinced Sendai is too dangerous for the child. The family remains split, with few prospects of reuniting.

© Japan Today

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74 Comments
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You are right Miki. Your husband is an idiot!

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

It's never about the toothpaste, or in this case, the radiation.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

agreed!!!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Absolutely barking mad.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This is just the straw that broke the camel's back.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

In the months that followed the disaster there was a lot of confusion and misinformation. Many people, rightly or wrongly, did go to the worst-case-scenario and make decisions accordingly, based on the information they had available to them at the time. I remember freaking out myself at one point and taking off to Osaka for a few days to see how things panned out.

But no parent I know of did it to be dramatic, or were irrational. Everyone was simply scared of the unknown. My husband took 4 days off work and came with us and we had an impromptu holiday and visited relatives we hadnt seen in years. It was great, and we discussed the situation at great length and came to a conclusion together over what we should do in the longer term. Had he laughed at me and ridiculed my fears for our childrens safety, I would have been on the first plane back home and never come back. If you cant rely on your spouses support in a situation such as this, when can you?

Miki good luck to you. You did the right thing getting shot of this loser. May you find someone who treats you and your child well and respects your right to protect her.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

In these brief cases it is clear that the parent reacted responsibly for the safety of the child. Those who believe that companies and local governments have your best interests at heart are suckers. If the couple cannot not agree then it's fair enough that it result in a divorce.

HOWEVER.....because of Japan's backwards family court and divorce laws we as bloggers simply cannot celebrate the rational thinking of the spouse that took off.

It's a death sentence on top of a death sentence. One for the person who was radiated. Two, the left behind parent has ABSOLUTELY ZERO access to his / her child and quite possibly will end up paying child support for a child they may never have access to for more than 15 years. You'd have a better chance robbing a bank cause the max in only 7 years.

I have no problem with the reasons for divorce. Divorce rate is high here. We don't like the refrigerator at he same temperature = BOOM Divorce.

What's wrong is punitive action handed down by the family court. They'll never claim it's punitive but nothing hurts more than having your child taken away and THE COURT itself denying access to the child.

Hopefully, a savvy lawyer will find a way to take TEPCO to court for such divorce cases. It would be hard to prove though. TEPCO's monster lawyers will grab at straws to avoid having any responsibility for that.

TEPCO: You claim your family went through extreme hardships and you experience depression and stress that resulted in a divorce. Did you go to the doctor? Did you have any tests done? Was there anything to indicate that you suffered from depression or stress documented? How often did you make love to your wife? You worked all the time, isn't that correct? You ignored your wife, didn't you? Technical studies done here at TEPCO show that depression and radiation have no connection. We tested 100 of our top employees and none of them with their ridiculous salaries experienced any depression.

Case closed.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

The Japanese are being led down the path of ignorance! There are studies to suggest that low level radiation exposure leads to cancer and heart problems yet the Japanese government have raised limits.Monitoring systems have and are failing to control the dispersal of radioactivity from the damaged nuclear sites. In fact the problem is being ignored on purpose.

Is it any wonder that most Japanese do not take the matter seriously when there is a campaign of disinformation leveled against factual information in this country?

Also,causal link between nosebleeds and radiation sickness is not being acknowledged in news articles.

However, pictures of bald sickening Japanese will not be so easy to hide in the future as the numbers become legion.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Hang on a minute, before everyone says Mikis husband is an idiot or a loser, where does it state where home for them actually was? One would assume that it was somewhere close to Fukushima but we dont know that she wasnt just freaking out too much, as yet again, we dont get the necessary info in the article to judge it properly.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

It's hardly reasonable to blame TEPCO for these bonkers paranoid nutters.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

There is a guy who moved his family to Okinawa because of the fear of radiation, in his case however the concerns are real and not imaginary by any means, his daughter has kidney disease and exposure to any radiation is potentially fatal for her. His wife initially was against the move, not wanting to move to Okinawa, but has adjusted and now is grateful for the move.

Sometimes people have to make choices, but for the health and well being of their children being safe rather than sorry is the smarter plan of action. However that being said, I do believe that SOME people are being overly cautious and need to do more research before taking anything the government says at face value.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Hang on a minute, before everyone says Mikis husband is an idiot or a loser, where does it state where home for them actually was? One would assume that it was somewhere close to Fukushima but we dont know that she wasnt just freaking out too much

Given that she "escaped" to Tokyo and Tochigi, it would be reasonable to assume that the place she was coming from would be closer than these - i.e. Iberaki, or Fukushima, both areas known for their contamination.

HOWEVER.....because of Japan's backwards family court and divorce laws we as bloggers simply cannot celebrate the rational thinking of the spouse that took off.

I understand what you are saying netninja, and I totally agree with you. But not all cases of divorce wind up with a left-behind parent, in fact the majority dont. It is only the ones that end up with this issue that we all hear about.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Divorce is another unfortunate side effect of our importation of American culture. Children need two parents to be raised properly. Divorce should not be allowed when children are part of the picture.

-20 ( +3 / -23 )

@Nicky Washida All cases end up like that because it is the law. Whether or not the divorced couple chooses to be amicable is a different story. However it is very clear that one party has WAY more control than the other.

Family courts enforces child support but NOT visitation. That's all they have the power to do. Japan's bureaucracy is powerful therefore collecting / garnishing wages is easily done. However forces visitation is of no concern to the people who separated the family in the beginning .

Of course Nicky you are my favorite blogger here. You come with the truth all the time. I would love to be wrong and if someone would say....Look!!! Here!!! This case the judge forced visitation. Perhaps some day JT will have a face to face confab over a nice cup of Earl Gray. I'll sit at your table.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Well, Miki's husband is an idiot not for wanting to stay but for partnering with his boss to make fun of his wife.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Even if there was no radiation, these divorces would have happened anyway.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"There are studies to suggest that low level radiation exposure leads to cancer and heart problems . . ."

And there are studies that indicate low levels of radiation do not lead to the problems you mention.

It's not as cut and dry as many make it out to be just by virtue of bandying about the word "radiation."

Radiation is nothing to mess around with. But at the same time, a reasonable assessment of a given situation is paramount. Many, if not most, of the information I've seen shared both in FORUMS like this and BLOGS (which are articles written largely by amateurs for random perusal -- and possibly comments like ours in a FORUM section) leans heavily towards bouncing-off-the-stratosphere, aluminum-foil-hat, bat-s#it-crazy misinformed paranoia reminiscent of hysteria during the 1950s~60s portion of the Cold War in America.

To be sure, there's a lot of good information available out there that is quite accurate. But when it comes to Japanese Internet content, the VAST majority of information is disseminated via those very same blogs written by amateurs that I mentioned earlier. And the VAST majority of the information shared in those blogs is grossly incorrect -- almost to a criminally liable degree.

And that's the garbage that gets spread by word-of-mouth, to the dismay of reasonable people the world over.

Some of the utter nonsense that my Japanese friends and coworkers have brought to me from the Japanese Internet has been enough to make me spit coffee upon hearing.

While it's easy to condemn this "Miki's" husband for not taking her concerns seriously, without knowing more details behind the story, I'm inclined to take her umbrage at his supposed inability to prioritize for his family with a very large grain of salt.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Her husband was indeed an idiot, especially to joke about his wife with the boss right in front of her, but 'radiation divorce' is also idiotic. No doubt we'll be hearing about it for quite some time, though, even though if a Japanese person want's to know what 放射 is in English they won't know the answer in most cases.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@Nicky and @NetNinja, as always I appreciated your thoughtful and thought-provoking comments. Thank you.

From first-hand experience I can certainly identify with parents like Miki and am not surprised that there should be a certain number of “radiation divorces”.

At the insistence of my wife, we returned to Japan after having left following the nuclear disaster only to find out that the Kanagawa Board of Education had admitted to serving cesium-tainted beef to thousands of elementary school students, with some having eaten it on numerous occasions.

(Here is a document from Kanagawa BOE listing days, menu iitems, schools and amounts of the beef served, in Japanese http://www.city.yokohama.lg.jp/kenko/syoku-anzen/1-2/gyu2-02.pdf).

After hearing that I certainly wanted to bail with the kids, but my Japanese wife who before 3/11 had avoided eating most imported food on safety concerns oddly didn't seem very concerned about radiation contamination — so here we stay.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Good post LRFAgain. You reminded of an article that appeared in Nature magazine last April about the aftermath of Chernobyl,

As early as 1991, an IAEA study found psychological effects to be "wholly disproportionate to the biological significance of the radiation". This study placed a high priority on providing accurate information about radiation health risks to affected populations. But 15 years later, the UN Chernobyl Forum Report still concluded that Chernobyl's impact on mental health is "the largest public-health problem caused by the accident to date". Misperceptions, and inefficient compensation, have led to widespread fatalism and feelings of victimization among locals. Resulting rises in alcohol consumption and smoking may well have done more damage than radiation exposure (see Nature 471, 562–565; 2011). The failure to solve social and psychological problems relates not only to a lack of effort (at Chernobyl, vastly more has been spent on physical remediation than on public engagement), but also to the intractability of the problem.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

kurisupisuJan. 23, 2012 - 08:59AM JST

The Japanese are being led down the path of ignorance! There are studies to suggest that low level radiation exposure leads to cancer and heart problems yet the Japanese government have raised limits.

Can you give us the links to the studies?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Yubaru Jan. 23, 2012 - 09:17AM JST

There is a guy who moved his family to Okinawa because of the fear of radiation, in his case however the concerns are real and not imaginary by any means, his daughter has kidney disease and exposure to any radiation is potentially fatal for her. His wife initially was against the move, not wanting to move to Okinawa, but has adjusted and now is grateful for the move.

But Coal-burning power plants are a major source of power in Okinawa, releasing radioisotopes, soot and arsenic into the environment - all a danger to a sick child.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Both Miki and her husband are idiots - he for joking about her in front of her boss, her for being so hyper concerned about radiation that she destroyed her child's chance of a normal family life.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

if a Japanese person want's to know what 放射 is in English they won't know the answer in most cases.

We learn English in high school.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

j4p4nFTW,

Divorce is another unfortunate side effect of our importation of American culture. Children need two parents to be raised properly. Divorce should not be allowed when children are part of the picture.**

Listen very carefully to what you are. Also, govts have no business in peoples relationships.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

And there are also libraries with free J-E/E-J Dictionaries.

FREE online translation sites(some PC even have it pre-installed), PDA, smart-phone apps, etc.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Nicky Washida All cases end up like that because it is the law. Whether or not the divorced couple chooses to be amicable is a different story. However it is very clear that one party has WAY more control than the other.

Agree again netninja. I think we are definitely on the same page here. All I am saying is that it is wrong to assume in all cases of divorce here that one parent is cut off from the child. However as you ryightly point out it is generally entirely at the whim of the custodial parent (usually the mother) and that is wrong. You have my full support on that one!

Of course Nicky you are my favorite blogger here. You come with the truth all the time.

Really??! Awww! God bless ya netninja! Believe me though - I can BS with the best of them when I want to! ;)

@Piltdown Man: I understand completely the situation you are in and you have my sympathy and support. Its incredibly hard to know what to do for the best for your family and your children, isnt it? Especially with so much contradictory/missing/incomplete/skewed information out there. My husband and I have agreed to keep reviewing the situation every few months as new information comes to light. He fully supports me should I decide to take the kids out of Japan for a couple of years although of course that is the last thing he wants me to do, but I have come to the conclusion for now, based on our location, lifestyle, family circumstances and so on, that I really do believe in my heart that taking the children away from their Dad for an extended period of time will do them more harm in the long term than the highly limited exposure to radiation they are getting now. But this is just based on our circumstances and I would never criticise or ridicule anyone else for making a different decision to us.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Maybe it was one of those fake embarrassment laughs you always hear here.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I have not been cut off from my two younger kids, but I do not get to see them much due to other circumstances.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

better safe than sorry!

1 ( +5 / -4 )

The idea to blame the divorces upon the accident or radiation is ridiculous. Basically, I'd call it escapism. They might be the final triggers, but they are definitely not the reason. The reason is a dysfunctional relationship among partners where there is no mutual sense of respect as equals. It depends on the individual case which one is to blame (or both). It is not specific to specific cultures, as it exists everywhere. Divorce is certainly not an import in Japan.

The crisis which began last year is nothing but a trigger for the unfolding of private crises. It didn't change any fundamental rules. It only brought things to light, which had been hidden all the time before (the wrecked state of marriages or the nuclear industry). Whether it is a dysfunctional marriage or a dysfunctional relationship between the government and the industry on one side and the general population on the other side. Nothing new, just more visible.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

govts have no business in peoples relationships.

You get married by submitting a form to a government building. Same for divorced.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

"Resulting rises in alcohol consumption and smoking may well have done more damage than radiation exposure"

"may well have done"? This is hardly scientific language. It's speculation. Most people in a position to study the effects of nuclear power or obtain money to do so are funded ultimately by the nuclear power industry. Research on the health consequences of radiation has been historically consistently biased. Read the article entitled Science with a Skew.http://www.japanfocus.org/-Gayle-Greene/3672

Whatever the physical consequences of exposure to radiation, there are clearly harmful mental consequences as well. But objective research on the physical consequences is quite rare.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@Star-viking

Can you give us the links to the studies?

It's easy to look it up in google, but here are several that I have found: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionizing_radiation http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CancerCauses/OtherCarcinogens/MedicalTreatments/radiation-exposure-and-cancer

And I quote from cancer.org:

But there is no threshold below which ionizing radiation is thought to be totally safe.

So as far as your comment about Miki at fault at "she destroyed her child's chance of a normal family life", would you rather have her grow up and greatly increase her chance of having a short or miserably painful life instead?

Information dessimination regarding the direct as well as long-term effects of radiation has been proven time and again by the Japanese government and TEPCO to be inadequate.

Hotspots, irradiated logs used for cooking fires, radiation-laden pollen, gravel with radiation used to build buildings and other radiation-related news have been popping up time and again here in JT, but so far, a total lack of real action from either the government or TEPCO has been quite obvious.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The crisis which began last year is nothing but a trigger for the unfolding of private crises

I would have to say there is a strong element of truth in this. Taking Mikis ex as an example, if he is the kind of guy who would ridicule his wifes very real concerns for their daughters health, he doesnt seem to me to be the kind of guy who has never acted like a total dick up to this point.

For us the reverse happened. With 3 kids, busy jobs etc we sometimes felt like we were pulling in different directions from each other but when the sh1t hit the fan, there was no question, we were 100% together and pulling each other through it. The whole experience has definitely made us stronger.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

The whole area should be evacuated. Americans during Three Mile Island moved out. That any Japanese stay at all in this day and age is stunning testament to the understanding .

The requirement to move was undeniable and the refusal to understand from the husband unconscionable. But perhaps this is due to a major lack of education regarding science.

I redid high-school chemistry recently and learned about the uses of radiation and the different types. When it comes to kids though, they are still growing and cells affected by anything could lead to health issues later on. Why would anyone take a chance like that? Sure, depending on the radiation it could be okay, but even I would want to move. Do I want to be checking every little thing?

The husband needs to believe in himself that he can get another job. His life is not his job. He had a choice between his family and his job and he chose his job.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@Nicky and PiltDown Man. This month there was a conference at Yokohama Pacifico for a Nuclear Free World. NetNinja was there. In addition to the main events there were many other confabs (Self-Organized Events) on a number of topics. It was impossible to attend them all.

There were many people from Fukushima there. You wouldn't believe how much was achieved in that 2 Day Conference. I dare not try to retell their personal stories, the testimonials I heard. So I'll sum in up in a nutshell. Devastation, Pain, Fear, Confusion and Doubt. TEPCO wants all those people to be confused. Not disclosing accurate information to concerned families is a crime in itself.

PiltDown Man I wish you had been there. Japanese culture is funny at times. Especially with the interesting expressions they like to coin. However what I saw that day is no laughing matter. I can see how the events of 3.11 could rip a family apart. We are humans, the people living around Fukushima never expected that on 3.11 they'd be dealing with a nuclear disaster. The most difficult daily decision most of us have is what's for dinner.

Then it became "What CAN we eat for dinner?" TEPCO makes black on black crime look small. Here we nuke our own people, take away EVERYTHING from them and then try to deny it. I can go back to Harlem now. It wasn't so bad come to think of it.

Anyway, the stories, this radiation divorce.....it's just the tip of the iceberg. It's very human to break down. Be strong...nah you can't. We can't endure this and we shouldn't have to. Those people at TEPCO are misguided monsters. Their moral compasses are off by 180 degrees.

Japan needs it's finest attorneys for this. Attorneys who will take on the case for the love on their nation. So far I haven't seen anyone step to champion the cause.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Elvensilvan Jan. 23, 2012 - 02:29PM JST

It's easy to look it up in google, but here are several that I have found: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionizing_radiation http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CancerCauses/OtherCarcinogens/MedicalTreatments/radiation-exposure-and-cancer

And I quote from cancer.org:

"But there is no threshold below which ionizing radiation is thought to be totally safe."

So as far as your comment about Miki at fault at "she destroyed her child's chance of a normal family life", would you rather have her grow up and greatly increase her chance of having a short or miserably painful life instead?

I will answer you using the fuller version of the quote from cancer.org:

"Most studies on radiation and cancer risk have looked at people exposed to very high doses of radiation in the settings above. It is harder to measure the much smaller increase in cancer risk that might come from much lower levels of radiation exposure. Most studies have not been able to detect an increased risk of cancer among people exposed to low levels of radiation. For example, people living at high altitudes, who are exposed to more natural background radiation from cosmic rays than people living at sea level, do not have noticeably higher cancer rates.

Still, most scientists and regulatory agencies agree that even small doses of ionizing radiation increase cancer risk, although by a very small amount. In general, the risk of cancer from radiation exposure increases as the dose of radiation increases. Likewise, the lower the exposure is, the smaller the increase in risk. But there is no threshold below which ionizing radiation is thought to be totally safe. "

So no, the child will likely not have a greatly increased risk of cancer.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Divorce is another unfortunate side effect of our importation of American culture. Children need two parents to be raised properly. Divorce should not be allowed when children are part of the picture.

Once again someone failing to take responsibility for their actions. Some Japanese have a very bad habit of blaming other countries for their own woes. This is a fine example.

While it would be nice for kids to grow up with two loving parents in a good relationship, not reality though for many. I think it is worse for the kids to see two parents in a bad relationship than for a kid to be raised by a single parent.

In the case of Miki, 3/11 is a convenient excuse. I doubt all was happy before and she saw this as her opportunity to jump - and perhaps not be judged to harshly for it. She could have easily moved and stayed married. Tanshinfunin is a huge thing here for families. Blaming 311 for the divorce is sick. I hope dad gets to see his kids, I hope Miki has a job and I hope the kid recovers for being bounced around the freaken country!

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

@Star-viking

True, it may be harder to detect, and may not have any increase in cancer.

But as you have said yourself:

the child will likely not have a greatly increased risk of cancer

So which means that even a small chance is present. Thing is, as I stated in my previous post:

"But there is no threshold below which ionizing radiation is thought to be totally safe."

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Not all areas of Fukushima Prefecture and Fukushima City have low levels of radiation. There are many hot spots with levels greater than 100 microsieverts per hour and inside the exclusion or no-go zone are even higher.

Cancers caused by radiation are very difficult to detect and usually will take years to appear. There are many opposing views about developing cancer when receiving less than 100 millisieverts per year. Equally, it can be stated there no levels of radiation which can really be considered safe.

If the chance of children developing radiation cancer was zero before the disaster, then it certainly has increased to zero plus something. But even the experts can't predict the eventual outcome. At Chernobyl, its agreed there were radiation cancer cases but there's disagreement over the numbers.

If I had been living in Fukushima with young children prior to the disaster, I certainly would have left in weeks and not months.

Both the government and TEPCO have been opaque with the truth.

Some children measured for internal radiation showed a presence, and at whatever level it might be, I would consider that a major concern.

There are those who are so pro nuke they will support it, regardless of the situation. You don't have a nuclear disaster, the biggest in the world since Chernobyl and don't have some effects from it.

People in Fukushima are eating foodstuffs with radiation at 8 times the national level.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

A single,childless foreigner,20 years in Japan at my local gym bailed thru the threat of radiation.Went to China,but is there a difference ?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A scientific survey discovered that in the eastern part of Fukushima prefecture, soil levels of cesium-137 exceeded 2,500 becquerels per kilogram, which would leave food production in the area "severely impaired."

In two studies published last November in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers identified "hot spots" where the radioactivity levels were highest as well as the areas that were most safe.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

but my Japanese wife who before 3/11 had avoided eating most imported food on safety concerns oddly didn't seem very concerned about radiation contamination

Yep, that's the strangest thing isn't it?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@Star-viking

Thank you very much for the information. Cheers :)

3 ( +4 / -1 )

i wish people knew how small Japan is! There is no place to run to when there is something such as airborne radiation. The only sustainable solution to all this is to call it quits from relying on nuclear energy

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Divorce is another unfortunate side effect of our importation of American culture.

j4p4nFTW -- that is a ludicrous post. But, even if remotely correct -- which I hope for Japan's sake it is not, since it implies that Japanese have competely sold out their own historical values -- divorcing for reasons related to radiation is completely a Japanese "side effect" of years of TEPCO and the government ignoring obvious safety warnings and people like yourself willing to just blindly accept what they were spoon fed. This is a tragedy, and instead of trying to blame others for it, you'd be better served by working to make sure those families you claim to value so much have a support system to help them stay together.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I think although foreign culture could in some way contribute to actions such as divorce, but to totally blaming it is just too simple. For all we know, problem might have been brewing long before the disaster, only made worst while coping with the aftermath. however, fear could change people in some way or another. or at least contribute to the action. to us, it might be funny or odd for Ms Miki to divorce her husband just because the husband wasn't on the same wavelength with her on the safety of their child, but to her, who might have faced the disaster firsthand, it is serious business. but to blame other thing for the base of the divorce, that is a bit too much. from what I read, it is a case of misscommunication or lack of it

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"There is no place to run to when there is something such as airborne radiation."

And the melodramatic fearmongering continues unabated.

Sigh . . .

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

sf2k sorry to inform you that this is the reality of the japanese "The husband needs to believe in himself that he can get another job. His life is not his job. He had a choice between his family and his job and he chose his job."

1 ( +1 / -0 )

“His child’s life is at stake and he’s making jokes?”

That is the attitude of the government.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I think although foreign culture could in some way contribute to actions such as divorce

How??

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Elvensilvan Jan. 23, 2012 - 05:03PM JST

True, it may be harder to detect, and may not have any increase in cancer.

But as you have said yourself:

"the child will likely not have a greatly increased risk of cancer"

So which means that even a small chance is present. Thing is, as I stated in my previous post:

"But there is no threshold below which ionizing radiation is thought to be totally safe."

But you said:

"So as far as your comment about Miki at fault at "she destroyed her child's chance of a normal family life", would you rather have her grow up and greatly increase her chance of having a short or miserably painful life instead?"

How does a small chance of an increase in cancer equate to a greatly increased chance of getting an aggressive cancer?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

warnerbroJan. 23, 2012 - 02:07PM JST

"Resulting rises in alcohol consumption and smoking may well have done more damage than radiation exposure"

"may well have done"? This is hardly scientific language. It's speculation.

I'm afraid that's incorrect, scientific language used qualifiers to denote the certainty of the statement. In most scientific papers you'll find words and phrases such as "unlikely", "probable", "highly certain". In the quote above "may well have done" conveys that the lifestyle factors mentioned do have deleterious effects on health, but they do not have the facts to hand to state their certainty.

Most people in a position to study the effects of nuclear power or obtain money to do so are funded ultimately by the nuclear power industry. Research on the health consequences of radiation has been historically consistently biased. Read the article entitled Science with a Skew.http://www.japanfocus.org/-Gayle-Greene/3672

The problem with that article is this, first it uses largely one example as making the point for nuclear industry having undue influence in research. It fails to mention that the author of its highlight piece, Dr Alice Stewart, admitted that the results she came up with were not statistically significant ( Reference: Stewart, Alice; Kneale, George (1978). "Low-dose radiation". The Lancet 312 (8083): 262–263)

The part on the "Kinderkrebs in der Umgebung von Kernkraftwerken" Study fails to mention:

Taking all internationally available studies together, there seems to be no increased leukaemia risk for all children below the age of 15(13 - 15). Thus, an elevated risk among 0-4 y old would mean a lower risk among the 5-14 y old. That is exactly what can be seen based on German data.

AND

'it is, therefore, necessary to consider carefully whether each of the positive results may be due to chance, or to socio-economic/environmental differences, or to the direct presence of the installations'. These considerations are still valid. The KiKK study points in the direction of the 'presence of the installations', but clearly no explanation for a causal relation between any chemical or physical risk factor and the observed risk is possible based on the KiKK-study results.

Reference: THE "KINDERKREBS IN DER UMGEBUNG VON KERNKRAFTWERKEN" STUDY: RESULTS PUT INTO PERSPECTIVE, Bernd Grosche, Radiation Protection Dosimetry (2008), pp. 1-4 Available at: http://www.nuclearconsult.com/docs/information/risk/health/RadHealthKIKKCancerStudy.pdf

There is a lot more wrong with the article - but my two examples above point to the slanted reporting in the article.

Whatever the physical consequences of exposure to radiation, there are clearly harmful mental consequences as well. But objective research on the physical consequences is quite rare.

Agreed on the former, disagree on the latter. There are is a lot of independent university research on the matter of physical consequences. It can be found in countless scientific journals.

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Blair HerronJan. 23, 2012 - 08:36PM JST

@Star-viking

Thank you very much for the information. Cheers :)

No probs Blair - Thanks!

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Actually the LNT theory is not universally agreed on. Both hormesis http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiation_hormesis and LNT http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_no-threshold_model, are recognized theories that remain unproven, but have backers on each side, and from reputable backgrounds. LNT is the agreed international standard, based on the precautionary principle. Me, I am going with hormesis. Never felt healthier in my life.

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ElvenSilvan,

So as far as your comment about Miki at fault at "she destroyed her child's chance of a normal family life", would you rather have her grow up and greatly increase her chance of having a short or miserably painful life instead?

Okay, here's what you don't get: there is ionizing radiation EVERYWHERE. We are constantly exposed to it, and we still get to live long lives nonetheless. The fact is also that populations who live at high altitudes are exposed to much more of it than the rest of us, and they don't suffer more from cancer than others. In fact, they generally tend to have less cancers and healthier, longer lives.

There is no direct correlation between the frequency of cancer and the level of background radiation, and the radiation increase resulting from Fukushima outside the evacuation zone is barely a fraction of the level of background radiation that was already present, the level remains below that measured in higher altitudes.

A lot of activities also lead to more radiation exposure. Eat a banana? Radiation. Go into a building made of concrete? Radiation. You have granite tiles in your workplace or home? Even more radiation.

The reality is that the increased risks from low doses are completely theoretical, because the increased risks, if there are any, are so negligible that we cannot find them out no matter how many studies we make. On the other hand, a divorce that may lead to a reduced standard of living and moving to a place where your kid knows no one has a lot more risks to negatively affect their lives. Kids may be traumatized from the resulting social isolation and the atmosphere of fear that their parent lives in. The lower standard of living may force them to live in neighborhoods where they are more likely to be victim of bullying or crime, to get addicted to drugs or simply make it harder for them to get an education and so a good job later in life.

Someone who is willing to take all these risks for their kids in order to avoid a potential, unproven risk that, even if it exists, is negligible is a fool. That's like fearing hypothermia because you think your house's temperature is too cold, say 19 Celsius, so you chop a wooden chair in a pile and light it on fire inside your house to warm yourself.

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Contests to Mimi San for making wise decision! My family have left for now the country after march 11 due to the fact there was melt down and it was reported of explosion.. I know plentyof people who stayed back and I think people are more with attitudeof "shoganai " the fact. Is radiation isleaked and as a mother I would doanything to protect my child. In the next 10 yrs we will see increase in side effect from fukushima . Those people who have the means have send their family to Okinawa... and I truly believe the government did not release more info to avoid panicky that decision will affect people later. We can not judge people for theo decision but the media at that time around the world were giving outmoded info than my family could get inside japan

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I am not surprised with divorces I would walk away too if my hubby was not supportive for our child sake

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@NETNINJA.. so sorry.. i can't listen to anything you say anymore.. after that childesh tirade you posted at the Superbowl news post.

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Why risk a child's well being? I am with Miki, leave if you can. The government and TEPCO have both proven that they cannot be fully trusted. So again, why risk it.

If the husband was unable or unwilling to address her fears and worries, then he must accept her decision to relocate. That simple.

We don't have kids, but if we did, we would be gone to the US to avoid issues with the food chain in Japan.

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Staying in a contaminated area is like playing russian roulette, maybe the chamber is empty, maybe is is^nt. If it is in anyway possible to relocate to an unpolluted location even if it means hardship for a while, is it not better to do so rather then take a risk with a childs health, It is a parents duty to do everything possible to keep their child safe even if seperat

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Can't blame parents from reacting...old school probably would've kept it going right on, 'for the children's sake' as they would put it. These days it's tough to blame anyone. Leave it to individual preferences. Japan sure has changed from it's past. THis place needs a major revamp with a government that tells the absolute truth to it's people, or commits seppuka..old school government should come back...wish Mishima was alive..best damn president Japan could've had. When the women remember they had a Tomoe Gozen, and men remember they had nature as their ally, they might also remember that it was Perry who needed Kerosene Oil..Japan has lost more of it's rich spiritual heritage than one can imagine. Meiji must be weeping.

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tmarie, in some culture, women asking for divorce or divorcing their husbands almost unheard of in the past 20 years, but with cross culture influence from other developed nations or western countries where women are aware of their rights and what not, more women in Asian countries are aware of their rights (or lack of it). However, to just blaming the foreign culture as the root of all evil, to me is not right. If you know who you are and how you were brought up, whether the foreign culture 'invaded' your country or otherwise, you will do what is best for yourself. cultures, social backgrounds are the thing that made us, us. if old traditions would only hamper development or harm you, why stick to it.

and human beings are known to do things that is out of ordinary for many reasons. in the end of the day, one should be responsible for his or her action.

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I think although foreign culture could in some way contribute to actions such as divorce

How??

By introducing concepts such as "free will", "equality" and "human rights". You have to admit, putting them into practice in Japan usually pisses off all kinds of facists.

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Fidaruzki, I understand where you are coming from but it seems wrong to "blame" western society for giving women enough power to be able to walk out of an unhealthy situation. If anything, that is a positive thing.

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This is nothing new.People from Nagasaki and Hiroshima,even today,carry a stigmatism,wherein ,no one will marry them,lest they have hibakusha in their familiy.They do not want offspring with a person who may have inferior genes. Hibakusha ,are born,even today,so...... Generally speaking,if theyve moved out of their hometown,they lie about where they are from.

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owh dear, tmarie, I think there is a misscommunication in my earlier statement. I did not blame the foreign culture for every act. what I meant was, although there are some influence in making the decision (i.e change of attitude, or change of way of thinking after being exposed to foreign cultures) people should own up and start saying, yes it is I making this decision and I would not blame the sky or God or the air I breath for that decision.

and by saying foreign cultures, it does not mean cultures from the western countries alone. Although my country is in Asia, my culture and the cultures of people around me are not the same as in say Japan or Korea or China or Indonesia. Yes we are Asian, but we only shares few values or cultures.

And the cultures from these Asian countries inflatrated to other Asian countries as well. and people have cross cultures within the Asian countries as well.

It's hard to say that cultures are bad and mine are the best because it might be the best for locals but not to the foreigners and vice versa.

about the women's liberations or self preservations that people always deem to be western influences, it just for example. Am not saying it is wrong for women to stand up for their own survival or rights. I merely echoing what some member of the my society felt about women being able to stand up, find jobs and being independent.

I would be mad if women would just stand there and take the beating from their husbands or boyfriends just because the culture says women should be obidient and submissive. But at the same time, they need to say, yes am walking away from this marriage because I hate the treatment, not because some foreign ideas influenced me to break up the family so I can be free.

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This is why ACCURATE and UP TO DATE information is important to disperse to the public. Many important decisions and families depended on info being given to them by the government so they could make the best decisions for themselves.

That's why, on the other thread about the govt. not wanting to create a panic thus withholding information, I can't agree with what they did.

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If you're. Trapped in a marriage, any reason is good enough i guess.

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@ j4p4nFTW

Divorce is another unfortunate side effect of our importation of American culture.

Is divorce more unfortunate that spending an entire life unhappy; is it better than infidelity? Perhaps a positive side of this set of disasters is that it is galvanizing people more; forcing them in to leaving their mediocrity even just briefly and taking a leap they never would have otherwise.

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What "outside experts" did this Miki person consult? I hope it wasn't the Western media like Germany's Spiegel who made a nice profit by featuring a serveral-month-long campaign of misinformation and exaggeration of the dangers of the Fukushima accident - after all, the more catastrophe, the more attention. There was a leaked document from the Spiegel offices informing the journalists that advertising prices will be raised after Fukushima happened and that good news isn't of interest during that time.

Or, did Miki listen to Greenpeace who had their very own interest in painting the situation in the darkest colors possible? After all, they also need attention as it generates money and memberships for them.

This Miki strikes me as a somewhat too gullible person who panics too quickly. If she really believed the blood was caused by radiation, I will also have to call her downright stupid, because for such a severe level of radiation induced sickness to occur, the child would have had to play next to molten core for a couple of minutes.

It is sad to see a family torn apart, but the husband has my sympathy in this case. He should look for a more grown-up person if he wants to marry again.

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@kchoze Thank you. Please be assured that there are still people out there who think like you, even if the vast majority of people choose to believe in esoteric feelings rather than common sense.

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For the effects on children in and around Chernobyl Try a search on YouTube.

We should all bear in mind that nuclear radiation is still being released at Fukushima by nuclear reactions stii occurring....

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