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Kyoto rejects ceremonial bonfire wood from Iwate over radiation fears

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“If you eat one kilogram of the bark and absorb it all into your system, it is still negligble,” Ootsura Niwa, honorary professor of radiation biology at Kyoto University, told the Mainichi Shimbun.

Do YOU believe this guy?? I don't.... 10~20 years from now those who get cancer will be told: "Sorry, your cancer is related to poor lifestyle, nothing to do with radiation"

-1 ( +8 / -8 )

Good on you kyoto!

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

It's good they had their own bon fire. Try to put closure. Pine not the best wood for a fire of any kind.

Niwa, a member of the International Commission on Radiological Protection, added: The decision, which demanded meaningless cleanness, has trampled on the feelings of people in disaster areas.

Ootsura Niwa honorary professor of radiation biology at Kyoto University. Not really your choice now, is it dude?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Oh no! Now we can no longer call the citizens of Kyoto Japanese! They have rejected the hive! And for what? Do these people not understand that even in the face of possible radiation contamination, the most important thing is to recognize your assimilation into the hive? Resistance is futile. Your weapons of reason will be defeated and you will contribute to the overall destruction of this once great nation like the rest of us! Silly Kyoto-ites!!!

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Bottom line: If you inhale zero cesium, it's healthier. If kyoto exposes its citizens to ANY radiation without needing to, they would be acting improperly. Individuals have the right to expose themselves to whatever degree of radiation they choose, but not to make that choice for the people around them.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Kyoto's city office said it had received about 2,000 telephone calls and e-mails criticizing the bonfire organizers for their action and accusing them of helping spread "harmful rumors"

I wonder how many of those 2000 calls were from people employed by TEPCO, given the history loading emails and such from the Kyushu Power co.

-1 ( +7 / -9 )

Yes, those "harmful rumors," previously known as "groundless rumors," sure do cause economic damage. This whole firewood fiasco was interesting to watch unfold.

It started out as acceptance of the wood, then rejection as many Kyoto residents complained. Then they suddenly were overloaded with complaints about the rejection. From who? I'd like to see the area code of those who demanded they use the firewood. I'm guessing it's from people in Iwate and perhaps members of a nationalistic political group like the Soka Gakkai.

Then as they tested it and found over 1,000bq/kg of cesium in the wood silence fell among the pro-Tohoku protesters. Even the mayor of Rikuzentakata finally said 'that's enough' of the issue. A bit red in the face, I presume. Especially after making such a big fuss over claiming they are radiation-free.

This scenario reflects many parts of Japanese society right now. The indignant denial of contamination to protect reputation. The nationalistic support from the wings. The eventual discovery of said contamination. And then the public announcement of "lt's safe" from a scholar despite the scientific results.

Rinse hands and repeat.

0 ( +5 / -6 )

@bluewitch, et al: do YOU actually know what you are talking about? Is there any science or simple facts behind what YOU say?

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Well, tokorabam, let's hear you science first.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

This is old news -

What happened to the unified spirit, I was seeing after the earthquake ?

Where did that go ? Did it evaporate already ?

Kyoto is supposed to respresent japan. It should take the cesium risks just like all japan is facing. I GUESS THE KOOL AID IS GONE !!!!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

If you eat one kilogram of the bark and absorb it all into your system, it is still negligble, Ootsura Niwa, honorary professor of radiation biology at Kyoto University

No one would be eating it, Professor.

But breathing in dispersing cesium particles in the air, into the lungs, might be an issue...

This scenario reflects many parts of Japanese society right now. The indignant denial of contamination to protect reputation. The nationalistic support from the wings. The eventual discovery of said contamination. And then the public announcement of "lt's safe" from a scholar despite the scientific results.

That's a big 10-4.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

This decision is an absolute disgrace and based on nothing scientific. And has had a severely negative impact on the people of Rikuzentakata who have already lost so much.

And no, it's not people from Tepco who has been complaining it's people who genuinely care about people who have lost so much.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Easy solution/compromise = take the bark off the wood.

Radiation is a sensitive issue for Japan once again. But what do you do with these radioactive particles? At least the radioactive iodine is mostly gone now (never truly gets to 0 radiation).

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Forget about radiation, the bon fire causes air pollution. Why not have some form of heat and light generated by green technology instead?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I feel so sorry for of the victims but Tepco burn in hell ASAP!!!

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

This decision is an absolute disgrace and based on nothing scientific.

The context is a ritual to welcome home spirits of the dead. Choosing pure materials is necessary to honor these spirits. Do you really want to pass on radioactive elements to dead spirits?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The families of the 2140 people who died do and that's good enough for me. They've lost everything yet have managed to keep their dignity throughout it all. The mayor was elected a few weeks before the disaster, his wife's body was discovered a few weeks later. He kept going and he kept the peoe going. Many of whom are starting to suffer from PTSD, this is one further problem that they have had to deal with. 5 months after and they still have to suffer.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Logical decision they have put people's health as highest priority.

Nothing more.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

I hope the people of Kyoto are not buying foodstuffs from Tokyo - they will have far higher levels of radiation than Iwate, This was a pretty insensitive thing for the Kyoto authorities to do, considering what Iwate people went through on March 11. And as another poster commented, bonfires are not really the way to go this summer - it will just add to the smog.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

No radioactive substances were detected. You opt not to believe it. That's your choice. You won't be able to eat or drink much because you won't believe the test results were accurate.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Heda_Madness:

This decision is an absolute disgrace and based on nothing scientific.

So you're saying the test that found cesium was not scientific? An absurd statement.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I think that their decision to not accept the wood was a wise one considering the circumstances. Anyway, you should never force a gift on someone or tell them how to use it.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@presto345

No radioactive substances were detected. You opt not to believe it. That's your choice. You won't be able to eat or drink much because you won't believe the test results were accurate.

And YOU do? Do you actually believe everything MY government tells you to do? Because in my 30 years born and raised here, I simply DON'T. Too much corruption, lies and deceit going on. Money over people's lives. Profit over children's lives. So, again, Do YOU believe what "they" tell you?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Not scientific as In such a small amount will not affect health. Disagree then please find me a scientist who will support you.

I wonder how many of the people who made this decision are smokers? And worried about the effects of this..?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

BlueWitch:

" Do YOU believe this guy?? "

Of course not. We should not believe an honorary professor of radiation biology at Kyoto University, we should believe anonymous xJT commentators and their 1-line comments. A no-brainer.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

@presto345

No radioactive substances were detected. You opt not to believe it. That's your choice. You won't be able to eat or drink much because you won't believe the test results were accurate.

And YOU do? Do you actually believe everything MY government tells you to do? Because in my 30 years born and raised here, I simply DON'T. Too much corruption, lies and deceit going on. Money over people's lives. Profit over children's lives. So, again, Do YOU believe what "they" tell you?

@BlueWitch

Well, YOUR government is MY government as well. I have been here for 40 years! Sometimes I believe them, sometimes I don't.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

My reasons for not believing what professors do say here in Japan is that basically, they don't receive money from private organizations/ companies, but from projects from the government. Their researches and the very existence of many of the labs, especially in grad schools, depends very much on how much they'll be able to suck from the government. That's why if certain government official gets in contact with the professor and tells him what is not desirable to say, and what is better for the people to hear, even if it is not 100% correct,the professor has no choice but to follow. If you remmember how some Todai professors argued and assured us that no meltdown will possibly occur, because of the specific strucutre, and there's no way radiation to spread further than the evacuation zones, you'll understand what I'm talking about. I'm ex-grad student and have seen how dependable on government money are the labs out there.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

My reasons for not believing what professors do say here in Japan is that basically, they don't receive money from private organizations/ companies

So you prefer if they take money from corporations to proof the corporations view, etc ditto for political groups that HIRE researchers to proof what they want.

Not saying either is better but each earn their pay to give "wanted" results. How about scientists paid by tepco, etc to show them favourable.

True faceplant.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Iwate people can feel bad all they want, but I suggest they redirect their blame to the proper targets -- TEPCO and Fukushima. Kyoto has every right to reject things from that region, and good on them for doing so; you shouldn't expose your people to risks simply because not doing so might hurt others' feelings.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@WilliB

Of course not. We should not believe an honorary professor of radiation biology at Kyoto University, we should believe anonymous xJT commentators and their 1-line comments. A no-brainer.

Yes, right, because everyone that graduates from a prestigious University is worth believing and trusting. They are the ELITE, the supreme intelligent, above us. Yeah. They are always right. The radiation is all in our minds. The Nuclear disaster is not really a disaster, just a big lie. TEPCO is an honorable corporation and the government is loyal and caring of our people. Yes, WilliB, I guess you are right and we are all wrong.

So when someone told me that the biggest Monsters in Japan graduated from Tokyo University, I guess that statement was nothing but a lie. Nice to know Foreign People in this Forum are way smarter than the dumb local folk who knows nothing about our country.

Thank you for your support!

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@BlueWitch

Well, YOUR government is MY government as well. I have been here for 40 years! Sometimes I believe them, sometimes I don't.

No worries, the government is in NO way wrong according to WillliB, we all shall trust our government and show loyalty and respect and keep quite as good japanese citizens.

出る杭は打たれる。

The nail that sticks out gets hammered.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

BlueWitch

the biggest Monsters in Japan graduated from Tokyo University

Yea, having to work with Todai people is nauseating. I understand that Todai ranks high in Japan, but globally it is not a university of particular distinction. Todai research is referenced with a rather low frequency -- and it isn't just a language problem.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"If you eat a kilogram of the bark it is still Negligible" Honto? You know, there's still a lot of people in the world that believe smoking does not create cancer, yet they keep smoking, for every general evaluation, there is another one that will eventually disagree, just like this forum. I rather be safe now than sorry later ;-)

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Hmm though they could test it with a Geiger counter if they are worried about it

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

and left only one of the 70,000 pine trees that once lined its scenic coastline standing

A sacred tree!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@soundandthefury

Yea, having to work with Todai people is nauseating. I understand that Todai ranks high in Japan, but globally it is not a university of particular distinction. Todai research is referenced with a rather low frequency -- and it isn't just a language problem.

Yeah I know, they think they are like know-it-all gods that people need to believe in everything they say no matter what. It's repulsive at how low they would go and claim things like: "Drinking plutonium is safe!" and other garbage like that. But hey, they do have tons of Followers/Apologists defending them, even scanning forums to make sure people don't post anything damaging against them. It's called monitoring and censorship.

After all, we are supposed to believe the ELITE because they know everything and they graduated from prestigious Universities, who are we to cast doubt about them? I guess as we can do is to keep quite and bow to them~

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@BlueWitch

who are we to cast doubt about them? I guess as we can do is to keep quite and bow to them~

Yea, that is the attitude, or it certainly was after 3/11 on Japanese networks when Todai (nuclear apologists) and Kyoto University professors made sure that we understood that it was not a meltdown. Everyone just sat there and took it. And I have been in the situation before, and have been chastised for trying to use reason as a mode of conversational discourse against a fallacy (though a fallacy from a Todai man).

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@soundandthefury

Yea, that is the attitude, or it certainly was after 3/11 on Japanese networks when Todai (nuclear apologists) and Kyoto University professors made sure that we understood that it was not a meltdown. Everyone just sat there and took it. And I have been in the situation before, and have been chastised for trying to use reason as a mode of conversational discourse against a fallacy (though a fallacy from a Todai man).

Right, because these ELITE university graduates are demigods, brilliant and I will gladly place my life in their sacred hands. This is the message the Apologists in this forum are making sure to spread everywhere. Common folk like ourselves are to bend down and take it, keep quite and bow. Why? because they are from such prestigious places like Tokyo University, Todai University, Kyoto University, Waseda University, Keio University. Sure, I'll trust everything they say and drink plutonium before going to sleep every night from now on. I wonder if they can send me some cesium samples as well, so I can add a new flavor to my children's meals.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I understand there would be serious scepticism of some Japanese academics, particularly after they toed the govt. line and stated that things were "only 1 % as bad as chernobyl...no meltdown will occur" after the disaster. But, folks this is Iwate - Tokyo/Shizuoka goods/produce have been far more affected by radiation than Iwate. Check out the NHK doco of the areas affected after the nuclear explosion - the plumes did not head up north, they headed south, east and west in general.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@ BlueWitch

prestigious places like Tokyo University, Todai University, Kyoto University, Waseda University, Keio University

Yea, I don't know how many times I have had to bite my tongue when someone tells me -- and usually with great pride -- that they went to one of these places. "Todai is like Harvard, Keio is Ivy League", No, they are mid-ranking schools by international standards.

cesium samples as well, so I can add a new flavor to my children's meals.

I commend you for speaking up as a concerned mother. I hope that more mothers stand up and demand honesty.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

stedGees! Bluewitch is a very passionate young lady. Even if radioactive particles were detected in the wood, which they weren't, the risk to health is virtually nil cos of the limited exposure. You get blasted with more radiation sitting in front of your TV or computer.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

"If you eat a kilogram of the bark it is still Negligible" - So have him eat a kilogram of the bark to prove his statement.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Disillusioned

You get blasted with more radiation sitting in front of your TV or computer.

Your ignorance on this matter was just displayed for all to see. External exposure to radiation such as your TV/Monitor is not even remotely the same as internal contamination by radioactive particles. If you are internally contaminated you will be continuously exposed until the radioactive particle has spent most of its energy which, depending on what radionuclide it is, can be a very long time. Also depending on the radionuclide type (iodine, cesium, uranium, strontium, plutonium, tritium, etc) your body will affected in different way.

External exposure and internal contamination cannot be compared. This is what the lying media did from day-1 after the Fukushima incident began.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

No matter what Kyoto bonfire organizers or city officials thought of the gift, from a humanitarian standpoint they should have smiled graciously and accepted it with thanks. Switch the actual pieces for the bonfire if necessary to allay health concerns, but an outright rejection is unimaginably rude under these circumstances. .

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@ssway

Also depending on the radionuclide type (iodine, cesium, uranium, strontium, plutonium, tritium, etc) your body will affected in different way.

If you have 15 minutes to spare, please take a look at this video, it's a huge relief that there are some actual "scholars" that really care about people and give priority to their health, especially to the little children. The Professor in this video has my respect. Kudos to him~

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9sTLQSZfwo&feature=related

@Disillusioned

stedGees! Bluewitch is a very passionate young lady. Even if radioactive particles were detected in the wood, which they weren't, the risk to health is virtually nil cos of the limited exposure. You get blasted with more radiation sitting in front of your TV or computer.

I am indeed!!! I have 4 children (one on the way!) that I have to protect. The last thing I want is to serve my loving children and husband irradiated food~ I don't want them to get sick just because our government refuse to tell us the truth and give out real data about which products are contaminated and such. So lying, mislabeling, deceiving the people in order to make profit...? in the name of what? MONEY.

soil decontamination, health monitoring, testing, etc. = ¥¥¥¥¥

0 ( +2 / -2 )

In response to some posters who think no radiation was detected in the wood, here is a quote from Yomiuri news:

The company found 1,130 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram on the surface of the firewood.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@horrified

In response to some posters who think no radiation was detected in the wood, here is a quote from Yomiuri news:

The company found 1,130 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram on the surface of the firewood

Thank you for your post, here I give you a link to the Mainichi Shinbun article related to this story. It's in Japanese but there is a small icon-link on the bottom right that can translate into English.

http://mainichi.jp/select/photo/archive/news/2011/08/12/20110812k0000e040090000c.html

0 ( +2 / -2 )

from a humanitarian standpoint they should have smiled graciously and accepted it with thanks. Switch the actual pieces for the bonfire if necessary to allay health concerns, but an outright rejection is unimaginably rude under these circumstances. .

typical response from someone in Japan. We understand that honesty is not a Japanese value, but just think about all of the labor involved in transferring the wood and covering up the wood, and then what do you do with radiated wood, and so on.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

"but just think about all of the labor involved in transferring the wood and covering up the wood, and then what do you do with radiated wood, and so on."

Their first mistake was outright non acceptance of the first batch of pine which didn't show any radiation. Kyoto should have had it retested by independent experts and, if clear, followed through with the burning. If the samples did show unacceptable levels, offer it either as a return or promise to store them in a protected location as a memorial to the victims. There is no substitute for problem solving. Of course Kyoto is not famous for its humility either. :).

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The idea of burning radioactively contaminated wood anywhere is just so unbelieveably dumb.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Lizz: "Their first mistake was outright non acceptance of the first batch of pine which didn't show any radiation."

Not at all. It's a little something called precaution, and obviously a well based decision.

"Kyoto should have had it retested by independent experts and, if clear, followed through with the burning."

Why should they pay tax dollars (or yen) to do so? because it will make the people of Iwate feel better?

"If the samples did show unacceptable levels, offer it either as a return or promise to store them in a protected location as a memorial to the victims. "

Iwate should do that themselves. Heck, they could start a similar ceremony this year to mark the occasion, whether the would is contaminated or not.

Given the lies that have been spouted since this began, there is no reason to think ill of Kyoto for this save pride.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Disillusioned

The contaminated wood effects will depend on the particle emission. Even a fire alarm is radioactive, but it emits beta particles, which are harmless at a few centimetres. These are alpha particles. They go kilometres. About as different from lightening as the lightening bug.

@BlueWitch

Thank you so much for the Dr Kodama youtude video. Japan is SOL right now and this is so impossible for one country to handle. There should be an international effort coinciding with the reduction of nuclear elsewhere. I don't know how this can possibly be fixed. I'm not making sense, I'm still shocked.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Disillusioned

hmm... I"m wrong. the alpha are also measured in centimetres, so it would be about proximity to the wood as it falls from the atmosphere after it is burned as ash on other things. Cancelling the fire was the right thing to do regardless.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"Their first mistake was outright non acceptance of the first batch of pine which didn't show any radiation."

You can understand the significance of the gesture of people in Rikuzen takata, including their wish to reduce the environmental impact of debris disposal, and what the pine trees meant to them, but someone in the local government needed to think with their heads not their hearts before setting themselves up for this situation. Haven't they heard of nemawashi? Sound people in Kyoto out before everybody in Rikuzentakata got the idea that the wood was going to Kytoto, get expert advice, do all the groundwork first. And have a backup plan!

And anyway, I know this is Japan, but since when was accepting a gift an obligation? Sure, they can think about it, but if there's any doubt say sorry, but no thanks, and express their solidarity for people in the area some other way. Preferably a practical way, but that's up to the people of Kyoto to decide themselves. Public health is supposed to bow out to irrational feelings of hurt on the supposed "refusal" of a gift? When there's a public health risk on the scale of this nuclear crisis, public officials have a DUTY to act on the basis of protecting public health. Enough of the emotional blackmail! I often bash Japanese bureaucrats for their caution, because it seems based on avoiding risk at all costs, but this is one case where they're absolutely right.

The howls against Kyoto are totally misdirected - people should point it at TEPCO who have created this situation in the first place, rather than setting one town against another.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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