special report

Comments from U.S. Embassy and British Chamber of Commerce on radiation danger to Tokyo

44 Comments

A Message to American Citizens from Ambassador John V Roos

March 16, 2011

Today our hearts remain with our Japanese friends who, after suffering this devastating tragedy just four days ago, have to undertake recovery and reconstruction and address the ongoing nuclear emergency.

We understand that many of you are anxious and have questions in the shadow of the Fukushima emergency, since we are in the midst of a complex, constantly changing, and unpredictable situation. In this fluid situation, our commitment to our citizens is to accumulate accurate information and assess it sufficiently in order to make important judgments.

Since the first reports of trouble with the reactors, American nuclear experts have worked around the clock to analyze data, monitor developments, and provide clear assessments on the potential dangers. While at times we have had only limited access to information, I am personally committed to assuring that our experts have as much access and information as possible, and the necessary resources to understand the situation. I have personally been deeply engaged in these efforts.

After a careful analysis of data, radiation levels, and damage assessments of all units at Fukushima, our experts are in agreement with the response and measures taken by Japanese technicians, including their recommended 20 km radius for evacuation and additional shelter-in-place recommendations out to 30 km.

Let me also address reports of very low levels of radiation outside the evacuation area detected by U.S. and Japanese sensitive instrumentation. This bears very careful monitoring, which we are doing. If we assess that the radiation poses a threat to public health, we will share that information and provide relevant guidance immediately.

The United States will continue to work around the clock to provide precise and up-to-date information supported by expert analysis to ensure the safety and security of our citizens and to help Japan in its time of great need. U.S. citizens in need of emergency assistance should send an e-mail to JapanEmergencyUSC@state.gov with detailed information about their location and contact information, and monitor the U.S. Department of State website at travel.state.gov.

BCCJ Members Update on Japan’s Nuclear Power station situation

March 15, 2011

Telephone briefing from Sir John Beddington, the UK’s chief scientific adviser, and Hilary Walker, deputy director for emergency preparedness at the Department of Health.

“Unequivocally, Tokyo will not be affected by the radiation fallout of explosions that have occurred or may occur at the Fukushima nuclear power stations.”

The danger area is limited to within the 30 kilometer evacuation zone and no one will be allowed to enter this area other than those directly involved in the emergency procedures currently being undertaken at both Fukushima 1 & 2.

Sir John went on to answer a series of questions including a comparison between Chernobyl and Japan. He said, “they are entirely different. Chernobyl exploded and there was a subsequent fire with radioactive materials being launched 30,000 ft into the air.” The maximum height of any Fukushima explosions would be no more than 500 metres.

“The amount of radiation that has been released is miniscule and would have to be in the order of 1,000 or more for it to be a threat to humans” This was confirmed by Hilary Walker.

Sir John went on to say that the Japanese authorities are doing their best to keep the reactors cooled and that this is a continuing operation. All workers on site dealing with the emergency are being fully decontaminated at the end of each shift.

When asked how reliable the information coming from the Japanese authorities was as to radiation levels he said, “this cannot be fabricated and the Japanese authorities are posting all the readings on the recognized international information sites which they are obliged to do. Independent verification shows that the data provided are accurate."

In answer to a specific question from the Head of the British School in Tokyo, Sir John Beddington and Hilary Walker said that there was no reason at all for the school to be closed unless there were other issues such as power outages and transport problems.

David Fitton, First Minister at the British Embassy in Tokyo moderated the teleconference and confirmed that a transcript of the briefing will be available on the embassy website.

BCCJ members are encouraged to check the embassy website regularly as well as the Chamber website and Facebook sites for the latest information.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

44 Comments
Login to comment

“Unequivocally, Tokyo will not be affected by the radiation fallout of explosions that have occurred or may occur at the Fukushima nuclear power stations.”

Then why the heck are the US Navy ships way out at sea so concerned?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Because their captains are not nuclear physicists?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Thanks for posting this, JT.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

thank you for posting also. I had just subscribed to STEP and had even sent an email to JapanEmergencyUSC@state.gov, but apparently im still not on their email list. Not really sure what the point was of filling out all those online forms. Perhaps i may be getting a call from the tax man soon...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

“Unequivocally, Tokyo will not be affected by the radiation fallout of explosions that have occurred or may occur at the Fukushima nuclear power stations,” says the intrepid Sir John Beddington.

"Radiation detected in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama; Kan blasts TEPCO's handling of crisis," says today's JT headline.

I say: "I don't know what Sir John is drinking, but I'll have the same, bartender.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sir John went on to answer a series of questions including a comparison between Chernobyl and Japan. He said, “they are entirely different. Chernobyl exploded and there was a subsequent fire with radioactive materials being launched 30,000 ft into the air.” The maximum height of any Fukushima explosions would be no more than 500 metres.

that comment is misleading. They're comparing feet with metres, and the 500 metres part isnt even a quote. How will the know how high the radio activity will go. they dont.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

ronaldk

Then why the heck are the US Navy ships way out at sea so concerned?

Because we in the Navy, especially in the nuke field, follow a very simple principle called ALARA: to always take steps to reduce all risks “As Low As Reasonably Achievable”.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Kamesennin - How will they know how high the radio activity will go. they dont.

But! I am sure 'they' have a better idea than you.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I posted this earlier on another thread: Below is a link to real-time data on radiation levels in Yokosuka, Sasebo, and White Beach (Okinawa). The radiation sensors are extremely sensitive as they were put there to measure any increases in radiation no matter how small when nuclear-powered US Navy ships and subs pull into port. Airborne radiation exposure is measured in nano-Grays per hour (nGy/h). You can see from the Yokosuka data that radiation went off the scale for a short period due to a plume that blew over Tokyo/Yokohama early this morning (time:0500-0700). Although it looks horrible, the highest radiation level recorded (even at a liberal estimate of 200 nGy/h) is only 1/7000 of the amount of radiation you would be exposed to during a standard chest/abdominal x-ray which hits you with 1.4 milli-Grays per hour (mGy/h) or 14000000 nano-Grays per hour (nGy/h). I hope these numbers and the site will give some of you peace of mind that the radiation situation isn't nearly as bad as some are making it out to be and that we're a long way away from having to consider evacuating the Kanto metropolitan area out of fear of a harmful/lethal radiation fallout.

h t t p : / / w w w . k a n k y o - h o s h a n o . g o . j p / r e a l - d a t a / s e r v l e t / c h o i c e A r e a (remove spaces)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"While at times we have had only limited access to information" That say it all. The US had no idea what was going on while the German, the French and the Australian immediatly understood the severity of the situation.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"While at times we have had only limited access to information" That say it all. The US had no idea what was going on while the German, the French and the Australian immediatly understood the severity of the situation.

You think that the French, Germans and Australians have access to info that the Americans don't? I sincerely doubt that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Thank you USNinJapan. Good info

Navy was right to move ships. General wind direction is western prevail. Hawaii is more danger than Tokyo

0 ( +0 / -0 )

“Unequivocally, Tokyo will not be affected by the radiation fallout of explosions that have occurred or may occur at the Fukushima nuclear power stations.” > Then why the heck are the US Navy ships way out at sea so concerned?

Just a guess, but I'd say that, unlike the residents of Tokyo, the ships were downwind of the plume. They had initially pulled as close to the shore as possible to reduce the round-trip time of their rescue helicopters, but the increased radiation that was detected forced them to move farther away. Unlike people on land, the people on the ship can't leave the area after their shift is over and sleep in an area free of radiation. They are going to be constantly exposed to a particular level of radiation for the entire time they are on-station. It behooved the task force commander to pick an exposure level that was acceptable for round-the-clock exposure and move his task force to a distance where that level could be maintained.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Australian PM Gillard told the nation on TV that Australians returning home from Japan need to check their level of radiation ONLY if they want to.In other words ,nothing serious.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

the rads are not high, people don't panic not yet.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You think that the French, Germans and Australians have access to info that the Americans don't? I sincerely doubt that.

Lol Americans have more info than anybody. Just by handling this situation Americans raised their ratings with me. I am starting loving them little by little.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

LoveUSA

LOL. Thanks Love. We'll keep trying. : )

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Yumimoto You are a very narrow minded person. Please tell me why, if the U.S. and U.K. are only concerned with the global economy, and not helping with relief efforts, why are rescue crews there? Why are billion dollar aircraft carriers stationed right off the coast? Why are personel possibly exposing themselves to radiation also? (according to you, levels are already too dangerous)Oh I am forgetting, you are nice and comfortable sitting somewhere spewing your nonsense and anti US/UK bull. Also why are organizations like Red Cross collecting donations and doing what they can to help also. Oh, I forgot that too, they are in it for the money. (obviously meant to be sarcastic)I have a lot of friends in Tokyo and they have been in contact with both embassies (SP) and have been assured that if they are in any sort of danger they will be contacted ASAP.I guess that is all for now, I just get tired of all the "anti" posts.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@All, just some info for posters, I'm not someone who does not know Japan and on this site ranting about things I know nothing about. I lived in Okinawa and Osaka for 16 years, have a Okinawan wife of 14 years, and just moved back to the U.S. Peace and best wishes to all.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If the USA/UK had any serious concerns about the safety of their citizens in Tokyo an evacuation plan would have been put in place long before the French backpedalled

0 ( +0 / -0 )

USNinjapan 2,

thank you for the useful site. If the numbers over there are accurate (which i assume they are), then there is absolutely no need to worry.

Btw, i am pissed off with how the international medias deal with this issue. The lack of professionalism among them is ridiculous. These comments from the U.S embassy and British Chamber of commerce are also extremely useful. Nothing in common with the irrational panic coming from the Germans and the French.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Btw, i am pissed off with how the international medias deal with this issue. The lack of professionalism among them is ridiculous.

You can start with the mother of all drama queens in CNN especially Anderson Cooper.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

To be honest, the media hysteria is probably more dangerous than the amount of radiation in Tokyo...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Oh come on, don't be silly... the radiation levels in Tokyo are as close to zero as can be. If you want to buy into the media overhyping that follows words such as "nuclear" and "meltdown", then that is your problem. Unless you live near the power plants, you have very little to worry about.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

To be honest, the media hysteria is probably more dangerous than the amount of radiation in Tokyo...

I have to agree with that. At the beginning of this crisis, i was really afraid with everything i was watching in international news, as well as reading in the articles. However, i feel much more secure now as i accessed rational sources by professionals (not propagandists though). Sensationalized titles such as "Nuclear Disaster", "Japanese Chernobyl" etc are ridiculous when they come from what it is supposed to be a professional source of information.

Btw, there is no mass exodus from Tokyo. My gf works in Narita airport so i can confirm that. Yes, many foreigners are leaving (especially Chinese and some Europeans) but thats a result of irrational panic.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The more I read over the last few days from as many sources as I could, the more I feel at ease. A lot of you are right, the foreign media has a lot to answer for.

One of the problems is that a lot of foreigners distrust the media here so they look to outside sources for information. But doing that just leads them to panic. Not to mention that I'm probably not the only one who has been getting frantic messages from concerned people overseas who are pleading me to escape the "deadly nuclear cloud" that is hovering over Tokyo. Some of the headlines around are incredible. One I saw started with "no escape from tokyo as ...."

Read the article making me think that everyone was in their cars on their way out. But my carpark is still full.

Anyway, is anyone surprised that the French ran away..... ?

So much disinformation. One guy called me assuming because I was an Aussie that I wouldn't be here because he heard that were had all been told to get out of Tokyo. News to me, and false according to the websites. Interesting in times like these . You get to see different sides of people, and it's been surprising.

But, as my wife says, she would be more panicky if she being Japanese were overseas somewhere in the same situation. Her mother would be yelling at her to come home too.

I've appreciated a lot of the informative comments and links on this page. Thanks.

We'll look back and learn about which sources are the most trustworthy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If there is anyone who has nowhere to go and can get to Hyogo i have room for one and could squeeze in a couple. If anyone knows where i can offer a safe place then please let me know.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So much disinformation. One guy called me assuming because I was an Aussie that I wouldn't be here because he heard that were had all been told to get out of Tokyo. News to me, and false according to the websites. Interesting in times like these . You get to see different sides of people, and it's been surprising

yasukuni -- I think you need to re-check your "facts". Appears you may be the one spreading false information. In fact, Australia has advised all its citizens in the Tokyo area to leave unless they must stay here for some reason. So, which side of you does that show?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A Message to American Citizens from Ambassador John V. Roos

The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the Department of Energy and other technical experts in the U.S. Government have reviewed the scientific and technical information they have collected from assets in country, as well as what the Government of Japan has disseminated, in response to the deteriorating situation at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. Consistent with the NRC guidelines that apply to such a situation in the United States, we are recommending, as a precaution, that American citizens who live within 50 miles (80 kilometers) of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant evacuate the area or to take shelter indoors if safe evacuation is not practical.

This is from an email from the US Embassy, the article is outdated as facts and the situation have changed greatly.

Take care folks.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Australia has advised all its citizens in the Tokyo area to leave unless they must stay here for some reason.

When/how was that communicated?

Directly from the embassy's website, prominently featured at the top of the page:

"ARPANSA advises that there is a small chance of contamination at very low levels for Australians who were in the Fukushima area at the time of the incident. The risk of health effects from exposure at these low levels is considered very low to negligible. Australians who were in the affected area at the time of the incident should continue to follow the advice of Japanese authorities.

For those Australians in Japan but outside the affected areas, based on current information, ARPANSA advises that they are extremely unlikely to be contaminated and the health risks are negligible. As the situation develops, all Australians in Japan are strongly encouraged to continue to follow the protective measures recommended by the Japanese Government"

I'm fairly sure the Japanese government hasn't recommended that all citizens leave Tokyo if they can.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

yasukuni "Anyway, is anyone surprised that the French ran away..... ?" The French were the first who decided to leave because France knows Areva's MOX used in the Fukushima plant is extremely dangerous, more than any other nuclear substances.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

On the other way, the Japanese government is downplaying the seriousness of the situation to avoid chaos because they also know how bad MOX is.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Antonios_M "Nothing in common with the irrational panic coming from the Germans and the French." And you are obviously in irrational denial or trying to misinformed people. The French and the German were right since the beginning.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

While l keep hearing people on hear say the US and UK arnt worrying and its all an overreaction, this is what the head of the US Nuclear COmmission has told a Congressional committee. Maybe getting information from numerous sources isnt bad, take what the Japanese are saying and what the foreign media is saying and meet in the middle, one side is under stating and the other overstating. And while the risks in Tokyo are aparently minimal people cannot be critisied for ensuring their own personal safety (and no lm not one that has left l just dont blame the ones that have). "US officials have concluded that the Japanese warnings have been insufficient, and that, deliberately or not, they have understated the potential threat of what is taking place inside the nuclear facility, according to the New York Times. Gregory Jaczko, the chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, earlier said he believed that all the water in the spent fuel pool at reactor 4 had boiled dry, leaving fuel rods stored there exposed. "We believe that radiation levels are extremely high, which could possibly impact the ability to take corrective measures," he told a Congressional committee.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Professionalism with CNN? No way. Scavengers who feed on the dead carcasses. Th money sharks, some reporters and journalists network well to create chaos; this is their bread and money. Sanjay Gupta (reporting from Fukushima?), Anderson cooper and wonder why Amanpour Christina is not here -does that ring a bell anyone?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

From the Australian Government SmartTraveller website: Because of continuing disruptions to transport, communications, power and other infrastructure, school closures and continuing aftershocks, Australians in Tokyo and affected Prefectures, who do not have a need to be there, should consider departure. It is for the same reasons that the Australian Government is authorising the voluntary departure of dependants of Australian officials from Tokyo.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Jkanda at 07:59 AM JST - 17th March. wonder why Amanpour Christina is not here -does that ring a bell anyone?

Amanpour was flying over Sendai few days ago. I really don't think these reporters, as well traveled as they are, realize the full extent of the damage and carnage this earthquake and tsunami caused. The helicopters should be put to better use. Even I understand that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Anderson Cooper yesterday-Akita. Today at Tokyo. Wonder if he's ready to go home? After three days, can someone please tell him that it's "Daiichi" instead of "Daiyachi"??

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Thanks for leaving Anderson Cooper. Thanks for creating the rumor that workers at the troubled plant was leaving. I can imagine what treatment he would have received from the J-authorities. Hope at least he will drop a 1000 yen note as donation. He can do it at the local combini or at the airport. What a waste of fuel from these CNN crowd. Have more respect for Paris Hilton than these 'yadayadayada' crowd.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The US government is now asking citizens to move out of a 80km radius:

The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the Department of Energy and other technical experts in the U.S. Government have reviewed the scientific and technical information they have collected from assets in country, as well as what the Government of Japan has disseminated, in response to the deteriorating situation at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. Consistent with the NRC guidelines that apply to such a situation in the United States, we are recommending, as a precaution, that American citizens who live within 50 miles (80 kilometers) of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant evacuate the area or to take shelter indoors if safe evacuation is not practical.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think a good indicator something is wrong is when the US decides to move military families (not the service member) out of the country.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

CNN has a story with the beginings of families leaving Japan

0 ( +0 / -0 )

CNN should change their business model story tellers; not news agency.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Interesting that the NRC claims they would require evacuation up to 50 miles (80 kilometers) if this happened in the USA. The Union of Concerned Scientists say that "If there was a reactor accident in the United States, the emergency preparedness measures that would directly protect the public, including evacuation planning and potassium iodide distribution, are limited to a 10-mile radius" The Wall Street Journal reports that the US nuclear industry also questioned necessity of 50 miles.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites