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Japan rejects U.N. call to stop returns to Fukushima

47 Comments
By Kimimasa Mayama

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Japan's government lifted its standard for the acceptable level of radiation to 20 millisieverts per year from 1 millisievert.

When all else fails, simply move the goalposts.

26 ( +31 / -5 )

radiation just not playing ball. Can't argue with it. Can't bargain with it

1 ( +5 / -4 )

From 1 millisievert per year to 20 millisieverts per year?

For reference sake, the US average yearly exposure per person is estimated at around 6.2 millisieverts per year.

https://www.epa.gov/radiation/radiation-sources-and-doses

16 ( +16 / -0 )

But, but, but, the great leader Abe was adamant in his Olympic bid to the IOC that, “Everything is under control.” Perhaps he meant to say, “Under media control.”

26 ( +28 / -2 )

The work of citizen scientists of Safecast doing more than the typical government sellouts

9 ( +10 / -1 )

With Tokyo being as crowded as it is, the government should lead by example and move the capital and all government agencies up there. Real estate is super cheap. The world is watching.

18 ( +20 / -2 )

When all else fails, simply move the goalposts.

Well when the goalposts were placed wrong to begin with moving them is a reasonable reaction.

https://www.momtastic.com/webecoist/2013/01/22/hot-spots-earths-5-most-naturally-radioactive-places/

Guarapari, Brazil Radiation levels are highest at Guarapari’s beaches, a popular seasonal tourist attraction, where readings of up to 175 mSv (millisieverts)) per year have been measured.

> Ramsar, Iran This city and county on the southern coast of the Caspian Sea is famous (or should we say, infamous) for having the highest levels of natural background radiation on Earth: 250 mSv per year! Studies on the approximately 2,000 people living in the highest NBR (Natural Background Radiation) areas show slightly lower rates of lung cancer – an unexpected result considering the elevated levels of radioactive radon gas in their homes.

> Yangjiang, China It’s estimated that residents in the most highly affected areas of Yangjiang live with annual NBR exposures three times the world’s average. A series of studies on people living in Yangjiang’s highest areas of natural background radiation dating back to 1970 indicated the mortality of residents from cancer was at or lower than that of residents in control groups living in areas with average exposure.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

That's embarrassing raising the bar by *20 times. And then claiming the UN has only one side of the story? The other side is desperate to save face and avoid paying compensation from a blundering utility that's propped up by tax payers some of whom happen to be pleading for compensation not an ultimatum to move back to a toxic area.

2020 international media are going to have a field day.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

I sincerely hope the gov. is not playing with people's and especially children's lives. This will be a very sad part of history some day and it will be PM Abe's own doing. DO THE RIGHT THING, Mr. Abe! You CAN still right your wrong but the clock is ticking

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I wonder if the senior executives of TEPCO would like to set an example by moving there, with their families, of course. That would alleviate people's fears. Of course, if they didn't, it might be interpreted another way . . .

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Wow, just WOW from one to twenty that is a 2000% INCREASE!!!

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

I think it is fine to move back. I would not drink the water though.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

But Japan's government rejected the criticism, saying Tuncak's comments were based on "scientific evidence and demonstrable facts that could fan unnecessary fears about Fukushima," a foreign ministry official told AFP.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Dom, because there are natural hot spots does not make it safe, it just means that they are as unsafe as human created hot spots. What matters is independent scientific evidence of the impact of long term exposure to the developing child, when they are at their most vulnerable (not that it is exactly healthy for an adult).

Political and financial considerations are being allowed to over ride the safety of the citizen, when safeguarding the populace is the first priority of a government in justifying its legitimacy to rule.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Well if it's not safe I hope it's not so deadly that there is no-one left to make them accountable.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

How high was the Hiroshima and Nagasaki radiation before people moved there and made it the bustling cities they are now? I am aware these were airbursts and radiation dissipated faster, just curious. Thank you.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Apperantly the UN always knows better. Why would the goverment play with our lives? If something happen then they are in deep trouble. It’s been 7 damn years already. People want to go home. Some didn’t even want to go when the disaster happen. If we die then that’s our problem. It’s our land and home. Nobody or the goverment can force people to go back. It’s the people decision to decide to go back or not. UN can only advise and warn the people.

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

If we die then that’s our problem. It’s our land and home. Nobody or the goverment can force people to go back. It’s the people decision to decide to go back or not.

That's all fine and great but is it okay to put young children in a risky place like that? Why would we put our 'land' over our children in terms of priority?

9 ( +10 / -1 )

What's up with the "unnecessary fears about Fukushima"...seems to me they are very well founded and very "necessary" fears.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Does anyone else see shades of Minamata hovering over this? J-Gov in the pockets of industry denies there is a problem, then keeps pretending everything is all right until enough victims have died to prevent the survivors from being able to fight a punitive lawsuit.

Better to have a generation or two of children dying of leukemia than for the Dear Leader and the honourable gentlemen of Tepco (who told us it was only steam for a week, remember?) to lose face over this most unfortunate incident.

I'm not especially religious, but I really hope there is a hell for these despicable vermin. They certainly won't be punished in this life. Just lie back and count your silver.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Beyond the question of whether the new level is safe, what is the guarantee that even the 20 milliseivert level is held to? The goal is to stop the financial support of these people, and the data will be whatever it needs to be to achieve that.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

You can see that someone financially can not stand ... let's earn money, which turned out to be dangerous, wanted and earned ... but pay now for the consequences, it tries to get out .. What does it mean 20 mSv / where does it measurement? . On the surface of the earth? 1 meter above the ground, 5 meters above the ground, and maybe under the ground and where the water is deep. .. ?? . this digit does not say anything about real security, because if you look at the ventilation ducts in these houses, for example, it can turn out that there is only radioactive waste that will fall into your home next time you hit the next hurricane ... The worst part is that you "scientists" have secured this dilemma for the next 35,000 years ...

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

“”One-sided information” is a usual cliche the Japanese government uses when an unpleasant truth is made obvious. And truth is that the affected areas are not fit for human habitation. Note that the government did nothing to bring the radiation level down (which would be impossible) but “lifted its standard for the acceptable level of radiation to 20 millisieverts per year from 1 millisievert.” Needless to say, a bureaucratic maneuver will not suddenly make the affected area safer.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

The Abe Cabinet is right to reject these unfounded rumors. UN is once again bullying Japan. I am angry with the undemocratic UN organization.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

Here is the press conference by U.N. special rapporteur Baskut Tuncak:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzRJjf1vQjM

One interesting question by a press was "What do they [Japanese government] based on to say that [20 mSv per year] was a safe level?" His answer was that he did not know and she should ask Japanese government. He does not think it is necessary to study Japanese side to make a recommendation to revise Japanese standard.

I do not trust Japanese government in general, but at least in this case, their complain against him as "one-sided information" seems justified.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I wonder if the senior executives of TEPCO would like to set an example by moving there, with their families, of course. That would alleviate people's fears.

No, it wouldn't. More uninformed whining would take its place and nothing would change.

Dom, because there are natural hot spots does not make it safe, it just means that they are as unsafe as human created hot spots. What matters is independent scientific evidence of the impact of long term exposure to the developing child, when they are at their most vulnerable (not that it is exactly healthy for an adult).

And by reading the link (or even just the quotes I posted) it can be seen that they HAVE studied the people that live in those MUCH higher levels for years and the SCIENTIFIC evidence is that they have LESS cancer and are otherwise just as healthy as people who don't live there.

Political and financial considerations are being allowed to over ride the safety of the citizen

No, irrational fear is being allowed to override science.

That's all fine and great but is it okay to put young children in a risky place like that?

That is for the parents to decide. Does the government prevent people from feeding their children an unhealthy diet? Make them force their children to exercise? Force them to wear sunscreen?

seems to me they are very well founded

But science says they aren't well founded no matter how it seems to some people.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Because Japan is too damn proud and won't admit its not as knowledgeable as other experts are! Bloody stupid and pathetic as usual!

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Beyond the question of whether the new level is safe, what is the guarantee that even the 20 milliseivert level is held to? The goal is to stop the financial support of these people, and the data will be whatever it needs to be to achieve that.

When it happened, Japan refused help from the USA. Had they accepted, it would have been cleared up quicker.

But 16 billion dollars in donations also conveniently went missing and as a result, even today, some Fukushima residents are STILL living in government temporary housing.

Wake up Japan!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

In the wake of the Fukushima disaster, Japan's government lifted its standard for the acceptable level of radiation to 20 millisieverts per year from 1 millisievert.

UN or not. This was scandalous and Japan must be internationally shamed for that.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Norwegean were evacuated from Fukushima with direct flight to Norway. One of the main problem was that the radiation level in Norway were higher. Shall we evacuate the whole Norway? What do you suggest. Even the radiation level in the city of Tokyos Shopping center is higher. The same their should we evacuate Tokyo?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

daito_hak:

This was scandalous and Japan must be internationally shamed for that.

It's not scandalous since the new standard has been in public for years ever since the incident. It's not like something that has been intentionally hidden and suddenly discovered by the righteous UN.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Its the same with how they didn't tell anybody the truth from the beginning and how dangerous everything was. The whole 'ganbare nippon' and work to build their economy, military, revise the constitution, and other agendas, is worth sacrificing a few people. I believe a lot of them play ignorant and know damn well the agenda is. That is the their whole kamikaze mindset anyway and nothing has really changed much. Sacrificing for the overall goodness of humanity is a good thing, if the intentions are good, but I am afraid their motives are not for the overall whole of humanity, but for only japan and the japanese, and if foreigners help them with accomplishing their goals, its more beneficial for them. I can see clearly how they have mapped everything out.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I sincerely hope the gov. is not playing with people's and especially children's lives. This will be a very sad part of history some day and it will be PM Abe's own doing. DO THE RIGHT THING, Mr. Abe! You CAN still right your wrong but the clock is ticking

The government in Japan have been palying with peoples and childrens lives since march 2011, and no Abe will not do the right thing... denial, hypocracy, lying and saving face is the only strategy these people have.

Someone mentioned Minamata also here, the parallels are very similar, lie , victimize, and bully until those that have been seriously affected are dead. That is Japan.

By the way, thyroid cancer in children in the Fukushima area is off the charts but that is all covered up and denied..

4 ( +6 / -2 )

spellcheck: i meant 'playing'

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Main thing government is not forcing anyone to return and actually give people wider choice.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

But Japan's government rejected the criticism, saying Tuncak's comments were based on "one-sided information and could fan unnecessary fears about Fukushima," a foreign ministry official told AFP.

Sadly, this is all to common in Japan, and I've seen it far too much in the short time I've lived here. Only Japan knows what's right for Japan, even when it flies in the face of logic and their own OCD-level risk aversion.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

All hail LDP !!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I wonder if the senior executives of TEPCO would like to set an example by moving there, with their families, of course. That would alleviate people's fears.

No, it wouldn't. More uninformed whining would take its place and nothing would change.

Dom, because there are natural hot spots does not make it safe, it just means that they are as unsafe as human created hot spots. What matters is independent scientific evidence of the impact of long term exposure to the developing child, when they are at their most vulnerable (not that it is exactly healthy for an adult).

And anyone reading the link (or even just the quotes I posted) would see that they HAVE studied the people that live in those MUCH higher levels for years and the SCIENTIFIC evidence is that they have LESS cancer and are otherwise just as healthy as people who don't live there.

Political and financial considerations are being allowed to over ride the safety of the citizen

No, irrational fear is being allowed to override science.

That's all fine and great but is it okay to put young children in a risky place like that?

That is for the parents to decide. Does the government prevent people from feeding their children an unhealthy diet? Make them force their children to exercise? Force them to wear sunscreen?

seems to me they are very well founded

But science says they aren't well founded no matter how it seems to some people.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

What is the other side of 20 times the allowable radiation dosage? Huh? Lingering diseases and death?

Poor widdle radiation interfering with the cashola

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

What is the other side of 20 times the allowable radiation dosage? Huh? Lingering diseases and death?

Well at between 20 and 40 mSv/yr over 10 to 20 years there was less cancer and fewer congenital malformations. But who would want that?

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2477708/

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Apperantly the UN always knows better. Why would the goverment play with our lives? If something happen then they are in deep trouble. It’s been 7 damn years already. People want to go home. Some didn’t even want to go when the disaster happen. If we die then that’s our problem. It’s our land and home.

No, i think you know better than some gaijin UN expert for sure. Btw, how far from Dai Ichi are you living now that you have moved back Hiro?

The Abe Cabinet is right to reject these unfounded rumors. UN is once again bullying Japan. I am angry with the undemocratic UN organization.

Gambare, i think you should take a stance and relocate from the safety of Australia to near Dai ichi too. That would be a great way to show your patriotism and shut down all the pesky gaijin critics on JT. Sounds good?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Just measuring radiation in certain areas and then removing vegetation or washing houses doesn’t mean that an area is safe!

Why not?

Many areas of contamination once cleaned may be dangerous once again.

Everytime there is a rainfall, wind or the incineration of radioactive waste then the radioactive elements are spread around the environment and may be ingested by animals and humans.

Radioactive substances being bioaccumalative are able to concentrate in bones and certain glands in the body.

Setting yearly exposure limits means little when contamination vectors are myriad.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

How can a country concerned about its deteriorating population be willing to risk the lives of her future generations (children) for political and economic growth by lifting radiation standards by 20 millisevert? This is gonna be disastrous

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Radioactive substances being bioaccumalative are able to concentrate in bones and certain glands in the body.

Setting yearly exposure limits means little when contamination vectors are myriad.

Studies in area with higher (and constant) contamination vectors at levels much greater than Fukushima have shown no detrimental effect.

How can a country concerned about its deteriorating population be willing to risk the lives of her future generations (children) for political and economic growth by lifting radiation standards by 20 millisevert?

Maybe because numerous scientific studies have shown that even at 20 mSv/year there is no risk.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The German government recommended Japan to lower acceptable levels of exposure to back to 1 mSv/year in the Human Rights Council last year, however, Natural Radiation Exposure often exceeds 1 mSv/year in South Germany.

http://odlinfo.bfs.de/DE/themen/wo-stehen-die-sonden/messstellen-in-deutschland.html

1 ( +1 / -0 )

One rule is always true, the lower the better.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

One rule is always true, the lower the better.

No, that isn't always true.

Drinking too much water can kill you. But don't drink enough and it can kill you too. Too high oxygen causes problems and too little will kill you. The same is true of hundreds if not thousands of things.

As to radiation, studies of a set of apartment buildings in Taiwan that were unknowingly built with radioactive steel (giving the residents an average of over 20 mSv/year) showed LESS cancer and LESS congenital malformations. So MORE radiation seems to be BETTER, to a point.

We know extremely large doses are dangerous and can be deadly. But there is very little data on low doses and with most effects of radiation taking a long time to show up it is hard to distinguish non-radiation effects from radiation effects. It is also hard to factor out environmental and lifestyle factors that we know effect cancer rates (the most likely radiation effect).

But, the above mentioned study plus a study of lung cancer rates versus radon levels in the US and studies of people living in areas of India, Iran and Brazil with radiation levels of 100 mSv/year or more seems to show either no effect of low doses or even a beneficial effect called hormesis.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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