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No. of tainted cattle shipped around Japan nears 1,500

160 Comments

A scare over radiation-tainted Japanese beef deepened Thursday with the number of cattle thought to have been contaminated and shipped around the country rising to nearly 1,500, reports said.

As many as 1,485 beef cattle in nine prefectures are thought to have been fed straw contaminated with radioactive cesium before being sent for slaughter and processing nationwide, the Yomiuri Shimbun said.

The straw contamination is a result of the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant and has been spread through trading of the tainted feed among farmers in regions beyond Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate, where the problem is believed to have originated.

Straw from Iwate Prefecture showed radioactive cesium readings 43 times the government limit, according to local authorities.

The animals had been shipped to 45 of Japan's 47 prefectures as of late Wednesday, according to tallies by Jiji Press and other media, and some of the meat has already been consumed.

The contamination surfaced earlier this month when elevated levels of radioactive cesium were found in beef from cattle shipped from a farm in Minamisoma, a city near the nuclear plant.

On Tuesday, the government banned shipments of Fukushima beef, four months after the March 11 quake and tsunami sparked reactor meltdowns at the nuclear plant.

Under fire for its handling of the quake aftermath, the government has faced accusations of negligence over its failure to establish centralized testing of farm produce, having lifted earlier bans on some items.

Tokyo, at pains to point out that standard servings of the radioactive meat pose no immediate health risk, has pledged to compensate farmers for losses as consumers rapidly lose faith in both the product and officials.

Municipalities, including areas in Tokyo, have said that the affected meat has already been used in school lunches and sold at stores.

The central government has banned shipment of certain vegetables, tea, milk and seafood from Fukushima and areas beyond including tea grown south of Tokyo.

But it has been criticized for its failure to instruct cattle farmers not to use hay that was contaminated after the disaster.

© Agence France-Presse

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

160 Comments
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thats nandakandamanda's posted number of contaminated heads of cattle so far.

Municipalities, including areas in Tokyo, have said that the affected meat has already been used in school lunches and sold at stores.

That's just wrong, they used the affected meat for school lunches

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Just add two zeros to the end and get it over with. The govt. allowed the people to be poisoned.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan becomes the second country in history to be nuked. First by America, and then by itself! So sad.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

from 43 cows to nearly 1,500... to probably 5,000 tomorrow...

Do you really want to eat that beef in your fridge/freezer right now?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

from 43 cows to nearly 1,500... to probably 5,000 tomorrow...

..tonnes and tonnes of contaminated beef.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

this is just so wrong. what the hell is wrong with these people? where are the average japanese? we need some LOUD protests. NO MORE SHOGANAI!!!!!!! NO MORE GAMAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Although thankful for the information,scaremongering is a media pastime. A report on a health advisory from the W.H.O or from the Food Ministry, to let the people know what the results would be from eating this TAINTED cattle, included in this article would have been a more responsible piece of reporting. But seeing one hasn't been reported issued, are we to presume that this meat is safe to eat.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm tired of hearing, "no immediate health risk.". How about "only increased the likelihood of cancer in the future by x percent"? (x=estimate). It would be a little less evasive.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The papers in the U.S. are reporting that the ministry cannot state for certain that contaminated beef has not been exported. So this is not just a Japan-only problem. All of which, of course, makes Japan look totally foolish and hypoctrical to the rest of the world. "Food safety conscious" Japan, which cut off U.S. beef imports due to mad-cow disease, which everyone knows poses no risk to human health, was not even smart enough to control the spread of radiation through its own food supply. This is a never-ending comedy of errors.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

The Japanese govt. bears complicity in this.They are determined to promote the idea they made up that food here is safe.All food in areas in which cesium was found should have been tested and burned or at least sprayed with dye to make it unsellable.Now there is just as much iodine showing up in Tokyo sewage as Cesium..Some places in Chiba have hotspots of 0.6 millisiverts too. Japan and the Ministry of Farms and Fisheries seems intent to spread the nuclear bonus so far that people won"t have a choice and will be forced to eat dirty food. Oh and certain places like Seven holdings (7-11) and Aeon have been actively selling Fukushima produce for months now, so it is no surprise they were involved in this.About 1700 daycare centres and Kindergartens in Fukushima were tested for radiation and the average was 0.2 Millisieverts.Kids are still going there.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sillygirl. "where are the average Japanese?"

That is the real question. Why after all this intentional damage, outright negligence and incompetence are the people of Japan silent? In any other nation there would have been crowds storming the offices of the government and demanding the replacement of the leadership.

But in Japan.... near deafening silence.

Japan has largely shattered the last illusions I held in hope for her future. If the people here cannot act to protect their children, their families and their communities from danger, then what can they do? What will they do?

The people have become anesthetized, isolated from each other, socially inept and disconnected and apathetic. They are outraged and upset, but do nothing. In part, I believe because they lack the social fabric to leverage each other into action. And in part because they are too complacent and comfortable. And perhaps because they lack initiative and a willingness to be the first one standing up.

I think any rational person has to look at this issue with beef, Fukushima, failure to get funds out from the IRC to people who need it, the political infighting in both major parties and the obvious corruption between the nuclear industry and government and evaluate the future of Japan. If one does that, and takes into account the obvious lack of leadership in this country, there is only one answer.

Japan must change or Japan will continue to slide into economic and political obscurity and decline.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Why is this not a surprise, I'm sure the number is much higher... and you know where this beef is going? Yes school lunches! Japanese farmers hang your heads in shame!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Municipalities, including areas in Tokyo, have said that the affected meat has already been used in school lunches and sold at stores.

Ok someone needs to fired over this.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"Municipalities, including areas in Tokyo, have said that the affected meat has already been used in school lunches and sold at stores."

Shame on the government for lifting bans or making them 'voluntary' in the first place. The farmers, of course, are also complacent in this. I can understand how they don't want to lose their livelihoods and sell off their product (after feeding them the cheapest feed money could buy) as quick as possible, but still. It's ridiculous, and now they're feeding contaminated products TO CHILDREN! And I like the whole "The government was at pains to explain a serving of said products poses no immediate health risk" -- they can't even mumble these excuses with confidence any more.

Ban all Japanese products, period. The world cannot trust the word of a government who constantly lies or claims not to know what's happening ("not our fault!") and ships stuff contaminated with radiation without any kind of testing.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

we need some LOUD protests. NO MORE SHOGANAI!!!!!!! NO MORE GAMAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

only happens if someone else is a 'problem'...i.e. Korea, Russia, USA or China

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japan must change or Japan will continue to slide into economic and political obscurity and decline.

tkoinds -- great post. I would just modify your last sentence, highlighted above, by removing the first three words. Japan will never change. The slide is inevitable and is getting steeper. The world is laughing at Japan, as the government appears incapable of even keeping their own citizens out of danger -- four months after the quake.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Costco steaks here I come!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Just another reason not to eat the school lunches.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

“To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.” Abraham Lincoln.

Japan, try not to cry on your meat.

Maybe it's true. Maybe these men are cowards. You won't protest against this? You won't protest to have access to your children? You won't even protect your own country.

This poison radiated beef is symbolic of a greater issue, is it not?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I get the impression that they slowly increase the numbers to avoid panic. Next up will be....??? My guess is pork. I just love shopping at Costco but the pork steaks are also Japanese. Please get us Canadian pork.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Whilst the govt. stumbles on, and a national herd like cull seems inevitable, I'm personally more interested in the self serving farmers and wholesalers who pushed this through the system knowing it was likely suspect, but wanting to bring in the cash before they apply for govt. support.

Given the history of Fujiya and Snow Brand though, it seems the Japanese populace are surprisingly tolerant and even forgiving of those happy to risk their children's health by poisoning the food.

As someone who never though about leaving Japan in the aftermath of March 11th it's these stories and the local apathy to them which really makes me want to pack up the family and move out. Sigh.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

chottomatte.

Same here. Japan has been home for a long time. Putting up with a lot to make it work here for a long time now. And at the same time living in hope for the future here.

My partner is Japanese so we never considered leaving Japan after the quake. Instead we got right into trying to help.

But the reality is clearly written on the walls now. Japan is not the country it was even ten years ago. It is increasingly dysfunctional and incapable of solving the problems that face the country. If I could be involved in politics and have a voice here, I would be willing to stay and fight for change. But those doors are closed and even if I naturalize it would not empower me enough to really make a difference.

It is time to consider the future health of our family and that may well mean leaving Japan for a place where we would both have a voice and could both help assure our safety and well being.

I am guessing this will lead to a new mass exodus.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

chottomatte,

Same here too. Discussed it with my J-husband yesterday. The only thing that puts us off is will we be able to sell our house.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

One clarification.

People left during the crisis out of panic. But I think a second exodus would be based not upon panic, but upon growing awareness that the leaders of Japan can truly not be trusted and that they have no viable plans to avert other problems.

Without massive change, things will be very concerning going forward.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Ito-Yokado sold beef linked to irradiated feed

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/22_09.html

The company says 2,651 kilograms of beef from 24 cattle were sold at 94 outlets in Tokyo and 6 surrounding prefectures as well as Yamanashi, Shizuoka, Niigata prefectures and Hokkaido, between April and July 14th.

Ito-Yokado is calling on people who purchased the beef to contact its stores and return the product.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Only in Japan can the government act so slowly on a case that potentially affects the health of every citizen and yet there is no mass outrage, no protests. Why when days ago it was known there was an issue has this been let continue, and more importantly they have given the numbers for beef, what about pigs, chickens and other animals. We have 1500 (if you believe that) cows contaminated. Are you telling me no other animal that is consumed by us has been contaminated or will that be announced later. Cant overload the sheeple with to much bad news all at once. I have said it before and will say it again, foreign governments need to watch the Jgovernment and their handling of this and learn from it.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Concerning the risk of contaminated beef, I'd like to point everyone to this article: http://gcoe.eis.ynu.ac.jp/wp/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/okk2.pdf . Not only is it well written and understandable, but it also shows how to deal with life expectancy probabilities, how they are calculated and such. Very interesting. The bottom line: In case of tainted beef, it might be much more likely to die earlier by the steak's fat than by the radioactivity...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Doomed, thanks for that article. So, in other words, there is only a minimal problem. I wished the media would stop exaggerating then.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Until somebody gets prosecuted and punished for this, it will be repeated ad nauseum. But nobody will be prosecuted, since the farmers have had the political classes in their pockets for generations.

Welcome to Japan - Feudalism 2.0. Now stop asking questions and eat your shabu-shabu. Japanese food is very safety and delicious, desu ne? Now you make bridge.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

only solution : tepco buys all livestock in the effected area, only proper compensation for the farmers will stop this.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The company says 2,651 kilograms of beef from 24 cattle were sold at 94 outlets in Tokyo and 6 surrounding prefectures as well as Yamanashi, Shizuoka, Niigata prefectures and Hokkaido, between April and July 14th.

They are asking housewives who generally buy that days shopping and consume it that same day to return the product. Bit late now.

Do the government really think we cant see through the "no immediate health risk" BS - like it doesnt occur to anyone that the risk is 20 years down the road?

Im with tkoind, chottomatte, foxie et al - we also stayed through the quake and tsunami and initial radiation threats. we helped as best we could and dug in as this is home. But it is getting to the point where enough is enough, and I have to consider the long-term safety of the kids - who will be eating those school lunches. i dont want to leave but i just dont see where Japans future is going. Shame. It could be such a fantastic place, with the right leadership.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I know it doesn't help, but people responsible should be fined and imprisoned. How can this all be legal? What is a law or regulation for?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Foxie, I can only guess whether there is a "minimal" problem - actually, I doubt that. But it sets risks due to radioactivity back in relation. If everyone knew about this kind of calculations, people would less panic, that's for sure, and consider on a more "objective" basis what to do, what to eat, etc.

miamum: "Shame. It could be such a fantastic place, with the right leadership." It is a fantastic place, thanks to the people living here. And it's up to every Japanese person to change things, not to the so-called leadership. In the end, someone voted them in - it's not as if no-one had a choice or something.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@miamum

But it is getting to the point where enough is enough, and I have to consider the long-term safety of the kids - who will be eating those school lunches. i dont want to leave but i just dont see where Japans future is going. Shame. It could be such a fantastic place, with the right leadership.

If you believe your safety and the safety of your children is at risk then what are you still doing here????

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

this also raises the question of other feed for other livestock, chickens, pigs, milk cows, etc.

this should all be charged to tepco. they should pay all damages.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japanese farmers who get subsidised by our taxes, who already charge stupidly high prices for domestic produce because it's made in Japan and therefore safe, should have their subsidies revoked.

Up till now they've been spouting the "Japanese produce is the safest in the world" bull crap.

Tokyo, at pains to point out that standard servings of the radioactive meat pose no immediate health risk, has pledged to compensate farmers for losses as consumers rapidly lose faith in both the product and officials.

This reeks of the helping out of TEPCO! They sold their livestock without testing it, when it was obvious that there would be some contamination, and now the government is going to compensate them for people not wanting to buy the stuff they sold??? So, let me gte this straight: we are at risk of contamination because of these farmers selling their produce as fast as they can before anyone could test it properly and stop them making money from something dangerous to peoples health; and now we have to pay them with our taxes for putting us in danger?!?!?

Oh, wow. Why don't I just invite them to sleep with my sister too while we're at it!

This unfunny joke just gets more unfunny by the day...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Miamum

Unlike Skep, I believe you must have good reason to stay, but at the same time being seriously concerned and rightfully so. You are totally right in your fears. But might I suggest, I personally, try to stay away from the big store chains as much as possible. I buy now from local farmers and I buy my meat from overseas. There are quite a few things you can do to minimize the risk of exposure. Also, I purchased a geiger counter, so I can personally check for myself and have a piece of mind. These are some of the things we can do to keep ourselves safe. Never put your personal and your families life in the hands of the government. Because, they will ALWAYS fail you.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Just when you think they have a grasp! This happens... Nice one you F****

1 ( +1 / -0 )

bass4funk, it would be nice if you could share your geiger findings here on the forum.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Funky doesn't have a geiger counter so it's impossile for him to posts his "findings".

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

This is the same country that I trust will help with the growing older population...

I really love Japan but with the collection of all these problems it just shows how the government really has not idea what it's doing.... Te government is trying to run the country as it was 20 years ago. As many new politicians try to fix all the problems their are held back by all their superiors...

Japan needs to first fix its education system to create people that know what their doing and that know how to think with creativity.

I think all these problems had just been cause by a failing education system that has created genarations of non-thing drones.

Get out of Japan before you get sucked in

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Some Welsh farms are still banned from selling lamb meat decades after Chernobyl (1500 miles away). Yet the Japanese government claims that Japanese beef is safe just a few months after Fukushima and in regions tens of miles away. Either the Japanese government has no idea what they are talking about, or they wilfully disregarded public safety in order to protect their mates at TEPCO.

And why isn't TEPCO being forced to buy the inedible agricultural products? Why are our taxes being used instead?

We aren't buying any Japanese meat, or any products from anywhere near Fukushima. These people simply cannot be trusted. Next it will be mislabelling of Fukushima products. I'm sorry for the farmers, but they should be driving down to TEPCO's offices in Tokyo and dumping their produce on the doorstep and outside the directors' houses, as they do in France. Sitting around moaning won't achieve anything.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

These are crimes against humanity. There is NO other way to look at this. Fukushima area produce and livestock should have been strictly quarantined from DAY 1. All areas showing elevated levels of contamination should also have their produce quarantined (Shizuoka tea, etc).

The people in contaminated areas should be evacuated instantly with no questions asked. This should be FULLY supported by the government. These people having to beg their government to take action shows that Japan is being run by a completely incompetent or willfully evil government.

The majority of the people of the world are clueless or could care less so there will be no support from abroad for these people. The people of Japan MUST stand up and take back their nation from the criminals that are running it. EVERYONE (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNbcvNb0GdQ) responsible needs to be punished to the FULL extent of the law (imprisoned or executed). There can be no mercy shown to these monsters - High level Government, TEPCO and other related parties.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I hope the government is going to take some of the blame for this since they started that "Ganbarou Touhoku" campaign asking everyone to buy produce from the area, seemingly without even bothering to do any tests to make sure it's safe.

I doubt we'll see any more of those annoying adverts forced onto the beginning of YouTube videos now.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Bad decision, willful blindness, procrastination, and ineptitude.... The central administration is failing, the ministries are crumbling, and the people are getting freaked out with unholy cows that will bring them to the United Abomination!!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

ssway, what is that: "no mercy", "execution", "monsters"...I somehow get the feeling that you (as quite some other people here) don't want to help, exactly, but want revenge for...whatever you lost due to this situation. And who are these "monsters"? Hm? Those people sitting in their cozy chairs, quite exalted from everything that goes on in their company, or the little contract worker, who looked away once too often and hid shortcomings during security checks? Or maybe the Japanese public, happily wasting energy for illuminated billboards the size of tennis courts? Please help me out here.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Save this article as a template; you'll then just have to find-and-replace "beef" with the next contaminated foodstuff to cover the next scandal.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Doomed_To_Repeat_It If this was a one off incident and you ate one steak it might not be a problem but the ground has been contaminated and vegetables are being grown in it and sold. The radiation that fell on the straw also fell onto the soil. This is a moral and ethical issue. Radiation is still being released and 4 new places have been designated as hot spots and I believe many more will crop up in unexpected places. Another thing that concerns me is milk. You might not eat beef every day but every child in this country drinks milk daily. I wouldn't be at all surprised if contaminated milk is being diluted with uncontaminated milk to pass government 'standards'. When I go into my local supermarket I see plenty of Fukushima agricultural products on the shelves. The U.S. government still has a ban in place of shipments from Fukushima, Ibaragi and Tochigi yet my local supermarket which is under a U.S supermarket group thinks it's OK to sell these products to the people of Japan. I have written a letter to the company communicating my displeasure and await their response. Lastly, I often read comments on this site complaining about the complacency of Japanese. I'm sure many of us commenting here live, work or have families here. Many speak, read and write Japanese fluently. My challenge to you is, what are you doing? We complain about being treated like outsiders but that is how many of us are behaving right now. Our silence is no different from the silence of the Japanese.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Well thank goodness I gave up eating beef weeks ago, mostly due to dietary reasons. Now I have a another reason not to eat it anymore.

When is the government going to get their stuff together ugh!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@bass4funk The typical geiger counter you would buy in Akihabara or on the internet with a Geiger-Muller tube is not effective for testing radiation in food and drink because they have a low sensitivity to gamma radiation. Food needs to be tested by experts in a laboratory. I'm sorry to say but your geiger counter is giving you false peace of mind.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Funky doesn't have a geiger counter so his peace of mind is neither here nor there.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Here is a Facebook page about these contaminated food topics: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Radioactive-Food-Awarness-Japan/235139963187578?sk=wall

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Now that the beef in Japan is contaminated ( may be pork, chicken later ), Japan has a valid reason to hunt whales for essential food supply. ............................... no need to do scientific research anymore.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Bass4: thank you for your solid sensible advice.

Skeptical Hippo:

Well, what a surprise to find you after me again, but just to answer your question: I did believe we were safe until just a few days ago and the decision to split up a family is not an easy one to make. Now if their safety is at risk, of course I will do what I have to do. But given that it is a pretty big thing to do, might I just be allowed a little time to muse on the idea first, and garner the opinions on the situation of other foreigners here in a similar situation?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

miamum.... After you? Sheesh! Cry wolf much??? Look, I post a lot. A lot of those posts are in reply to other people's posts. I don't see them whine, though....

All I asked was what you're still doing here, as you seem genuinely upset/panicked. Muse on the idea? Sounds rather irresponsible to me.

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

Throughout this whole post-March 11th disaster, I've maintained a rational outlook while also having contingency plans based upon factual information gleaned from multiple sources. One of my biggest issues however was contamination infiltrating the food supply and well, no need to repeat what is slowly leaking out. I say slowly because it is quite clear, the government has been far more reactive than proactive in handling the situation and cannot be trusted. They've been slow in providing compensation to those directly affected because of bureaucratic red tape when they should be going all out to the cut the crap out and help these people. What ticks me off is this the contaminated food ended up being used in school lunches. What is the Tokyo metropolitans stance on this? The standard serving poses no immediate risk. To which I ask, what about the long term cumulative effects? There is this air of denial going on and that is inexcusable.

Over the past few weeks, we've also been discussing leaving because one of the key criteria was the credibility and timeliness of the information being released as well as the government pulling out all the stops to insure the food supply would not be contaminated. Well they've unfortunately managed to fail on both accounts Family and friends here are growing livid with the handling of the aftermath and it is probably only a matter of time before this will begin to boil over with the average citizen, the more the government continues to bungle things up.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Welcome to Japan - Feudalism 2.0. Now stop asking questions and eat your shabu-shabu. Japanese food is very safety and delicious, desu ne? ...................................................................................................... and generally more expensive compare to Chinese foods.

Cheers

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Sure, one serving of this beef won't kill anybody, but this is not the only food contaminated so far. And there are still many more to come. Even if everything people eat is just within the government's limits, that's still a much heavier dose of cesium than usual. The usual figure being zero. The bureaucracy's negligence is staggering. Like a rural butcher quoted in the Yomiuri said, it's not that hard to figure out that if it falls on hay, it's going to fall on straw as well. What I wonder is what does it take to make Japanese people act? Foreigners living in Japan can complain all they want but they will be ignored. It's going to take pressure from outside Japan to shame the government and/or (gasp!) Japanese people doing something about willful government neglect of public safety.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sounds rather irresponsible to me.

What? As opposed to making a knee-jerk reaction, freaking out, panicking and making a run for it, confusing the kids in the process? I don`t think so.

Im not panicked by the situation. I am a little upset, as I think anyone here is: life as we have known it here has changed and not for the better. That upsets me, yes. But Im not about to make any rash decisions involving other peoples lives (ie the children and my husband) without giving it due process first. We are not in any immediate danger (I dont believe) so I don`t think an immediate decision is called for . But we may be in long-term danger, and therefore I am weighing up the risks and benefits of staying, whilst trying my best to gather real facts and reliable information on which to base the decision.

Im sorry if that doesnt marry up with the image you seem to have of me as someone "panicking", "genuinely upset" and "crying out for help" - but...erm...I`m not.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I am weighing up the risks and benefits of staying

From a website like this? LOL!!!!! G'luck......

Wouldn't you rather call the above number?

-10 ( +0 / -10 )

Good thing my daughter doesn't go to school yet. Good thing we don't eat much beef to begin with either. We also don't eat out at restaurants nowadays. We cook everything at home and don't buy anything that's not clearly labeled. I suppose that's all I can do at this point to keep my wife and kid safe.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Mia's mom, I read this and just wanted to send my best wishes and support, I really feel for you and feel the same way. I take it hubby doesnt want to leave with you and the kids?

We are still here, but also considering leaving, and have started looking at how we would do that. You dont look like you are panicking, or crying out for help. Im upset too, and nothing wrong with being upset at possibly having consumed radioactive meat and your kids eaten it too.

I agree, we are not in immediate danger, but long term, Im not so sure now, either. Costco, FBC, and shopping around for imported foods and Im hanging on in there. My kids eat bag lunches, so Im not so worried there.

Hope you manage to make a good decision for you and the kids, that doesnt cause too much upset or disruption. Poor Japan, eh!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tokyo, at pains to point out that standard servings of the radioactive meat pose no immediate health risk

it has no risk in small amounts, so unless you're eating pounds of it, I don't see the issue.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

miamum: 1st thing you should do is buy a Geiger counter...

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

GW Im thrilled to see you here!!! Funny - I have just been thinking about you recently and thinking I would LOVE to get your view on things!

More hubby can`t leave because of his work - not in the short term anyway. His Mother is also dead set against me leaving which makes things more difficult as she is down the other end of the country in Kyushu and has no idea what it is like up here.

Like you - I am exploring options like Costco, FBC and so on. I have called many customer hotlines for things we eat regularly to confirm where ingredients come from. I`d be happy to post my findings so far if I am allowed to? For example a certain famous shokupan brand that sounds like "Pasmo" gets its flour from the US and Canada, so I am happy there. I just hope they are telling the truth - who knows!

Exactly - poor Japan! I feel so sad, because I love it here in many ways, and I don`t want to have to start again elsewhere having made such an effort to get on with it over the last 10 years.

Good thing my daughter doesn't go to school yet. Good thing we don't eat much beef to begin with either

Yeah, this is a big thing for me - my daughter has school lunches. We dont eat beef much either, but I wonder what else is contaminated that we dont yet know about.

for all those other freaked-out parents like miamum. sigh ! Yeah - quakin` in ma boots here!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Oops - I meant GWRagged - although GW you are lovely too!!! ;)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

my daughter has school lunches

So???? If that worries you, why don't you make her a lunch box yourself and instruct her teacher(s) not to give her any school lunches anymore. It's really not that much trouble.

-13 ( +0 / -13 )

Part of this absolutely astounds me - and another part understands it completely.

The former: My god this is Japan and atomic radiation. What two possible subjects could generate more outrage. Imagine if beef cattle from the US (or some other country) had somehow consumed radiocative substances and that beef somehow was introduced into Japan. Every politician, every media outlet, every left wing anti-nuclear group, every right wing nut, and every housewife would be screaming. Every food item from the US would be banned, a task force would be set up to ensure proper screening at every port to ensure no food items entered the country. The mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki would blanket the airwaves condeming the US and its irresponsibility. But what did we see this week "above the fold" - Japan's soccer team win and Matsui's 500th career home run.....

The latter: Is there a better example of latent Japanese xenophbia? If it's a crisis involving foreigners, it gets magnified 1,000%. If it involves Japan, it gets minimized 1,000%. Certainly the political clout of agricultural entities on the LDP, but also on the DJP, keep the politicians sense of outrage in check. But shame on the media and the public - perhaps the national pride, flag waving and chest thumping related to the women's soccer team win causes too much dissonance for the average Japanese to think that this same "great" country could allow deadly radioactive substances to enter it's food chain.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The government now says it will buy up all the tainted cattle that has reached the market. I imagine waiting until it has all been eaten has really saved them a lot of money, and yet still gives the impression that they are working on this.

Now the chickens and pigs had to be fed something before they came to market as well, and that something was no doubt radioactive as well, but I think we can expect the same money-saving technique to be used once again.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So???? If that worries you, why don't you make her a lunch box yourself and instruct her teacher(s) not to give her any school lunches anymore. It's really not that much trouble.

Because this issue has only come up in the last few days, they are on school holidays now until the end of August and as I previously said (a few times now) I am considering the issue, including in this case the impact of potentially making the only kid in the class with a blonde Mother now the only one not eating school lunches with the rest of the class as well. Get it? Like I said before - not that simple. But if come the end of August I consider the dangers outweigh the potential for teasing - yes - I will make her a bento.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

miamum: 1st thing you should do is buy a Geiger counter...

I have been thinking about it but I saw a report recently saying that many of the geiger counters for sale and on the market are badly inaccurate and low-quality. It showed 3 geiger counters sitting on the ground in the same place giving 3 totally different readings - one was 3 times that of the lowest reading. So I`m at a bit of a loss what to do on that front - if I buy a geiger counter, how do I know if it is actually a reliable one?

In addition, geiger counters can tell you the overall radiation levels, but not the isotopes in question. Ive not yet found a mass spectrometer I can fit in my handbag! Having a little trouble persuading hubby to cough up the 28000 dollars of college education savings for it too!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Spinach with radiation 27 times higher than limit found in Ibaraki, JT article MARCH 21, 2011

Radioactive substance exceeding limit found in beef in Fukushima, JT article APRIL 01, 2011

Retest finds no radioactive substances in Fukushima beef, JT article APRIL 02, 2011

Co-op sells banned spinach to consumers in eastern Japan, JT article APRIL 21, 2011

Most Likely RADIOACTIVE Beef has been on the Market and in School Lunches Since APRIL, 2011

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I am making everything from scratch as i just dont trust food manufacturers anymore. Things like Flour tortilla made with mineral water, canadian flour, and imported soy milk. You can make a huge batch, freeze em and defrost. Same with sweet things like cookies. It is a pain, but as long as I am here, then I will do what I can do to minimise risk. I know you are doing the same thing.

Its a hard one, leave, and split up the family - at least temporarily, or stay and increase your risk and the kids risk of cancer and birth defects in future generations. Ive given my husband a set time to find a job out of Japan, if he cant, then we have agreed I take the kids out, and get him to join us when he can. Of course it is a worry whether or not a marriage can survive that, but more of a worry with radioactive food and a government which is not protecting people in Japan.

Im staying another 6 weeks with the kids, we are desperately trying to find a decent career move for hubbie, and if we cant, then we will have to spend some time apart. We were never going to be here forever, but this has sped things up a lot. On the plus side, we will save a fortune on school fees!

I would say, sweetie, a radioactive school dinner everyday, is going to hurt more than teasing. I know, it is awful, and you have done so much, tried so hard to make it work here in Japan, it is almost a slap in the face to have to leave. Ignore people who are not here in the middle of it, and follow your heart. I know you will do what is best for your little guys, even if it is hard for you.

How about going back for now, and seeing how things develop here? You can find work for hubby in the UK, and get yourself set up and settled, and the kids in school. It could be worse, they speak English, and read and write, so they will fit right in. At least you can get a decent sandwich and not worry about where the flour is from! (hug)

I dont think Ild be able to get good reliable data with a geiger counter so dont bother. I figure we have had a bit of a dose, like everyone else in Tokyo, but Ive been careful. That said, long term exposure is not an option for us, not with all these added problems.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It just gets worse and worse, hour by hour - and it looks like it's going to get even worse. I think now is the time to move out of Japan, where yet another huge quake is prediced any day now for Tokyo and its zillions of people. Foreigners who can should ceratinly very seriously think about getting out NOW, while it is still somewhat safe.

In the meanwhile, I think geiger counters are a good idea when shopping for food here. Would they detect cesium?

It probably won't be long before individual 'hibakusha' begin to identify themselves and increase.

Scary, scary time to be in Japan.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

GWRagged: you are absolutely right and I agree with everything you say on the MIL front. I am working on it but I just have to tread carefully to avoid stirring up a hornets nest! I WILL leave if and when I have to, but it would be MUCH easier to do it with even half a blessing from the family!

As for our immediate family - it sounds like you and your hubby have already had the conversation I am planning for us this weekend. It IS so hard because the last thing I want to do is split up the family, even temporarily, but as you say, the kids have to come first and I will do what is right for them if I assess that they are at greater risk by staying.

Meanwhile, like you I am trying to minimise exposure in the food wherever possible. We are buying a mini-freezer this weekend so I can make trips to CostCo or the Meat Guy for our protein fixes. Im going to get a job-lot of imported rice, (less sticky anyway and easier to get off the kids clothes and the floor!) and veggies - Im just going to have to shop around. Sadly, culinary skills skip a generation in my family! So I can`t honestly say hand on heart I am making anything from scratch - but my daughter is fab even at 7!

Its silly things: tonight I made my "anything goes" salad - but the beans were "kokusan" and it didnt say on the packet where from. The potato chips I bought for the kids to snack on while I was cooking were also kokusan - but from where? The yoghurt drinks: head office in Oita ku - but where did the ingredients come from? Is my Nagano lettuce safe? Im tired of the worry caused by a simple shopping trip!!! On the bright side my prefecture kanji is rocketing and I have never been so clued up on Japanese geography!!!

Is your 6 week deadline due to the start of the new school year? This is what I am thinking about too. Your quip about the sandwich made me laugh! But its actually so true! How wonderful it would be to just buy a sandwich - and not be scrutinising the packet for its source!

I know the radioactive school dinner is far more of an issue than a bit of teasing. What I really meant by that was that I am not honestly sure at the moment how much of an issue the radiation in school dinners really is. I dont know how they source the food, so I need to speak to the school and get some proper information before making a decision on it. Who knows, maybe if we do start bringing in bentos we will start a trend??! Slap a Pokemon sticker on something and suddenly whatever it is it becomes super-cool!

Ever since this started I have been thinking all the time about the kids, only the kids, and nothing but the kids. Should we stay? Should we go? Every decision I have made (including the one to stay a few months ago which I am now re-evaluating) has been made with them at the forefront. Ive already been in touch with the local elementary school in the UK (I have many friends there among the teaching staff) and they are ready to welcome us back. The kids should slot in well, they are at grade level although that isn`t saying much going by UK education standards these days ;) ! I even have a part-time job waiting for me if I want it at the school!

Its a really tough one. Once of the reasons I find this site SO useful is that there are many people here in similar circumstances and many people far more knowledgeable than me who willingly give their opinions/views/share information, particularly on this nuclear issue and I gratefully lap it all up. Mind you - still waiting on "GreatLegs" to share her secret with us!! (Its squats, right GreatLegs??!)

The big issue for me in the long term is that, even if we find alternative sources of most of our food, this is not going to be a 6 months or even a year thing and then we can go back to normal. This IS the new normal and it will continue for life if we stay. The question for me right now is can we realistically live like that. At least the food sources I have a degree of control over. I , know our home area is safe, but if the problem re-occurs with the water supply, air or environment then we really are done.

Thank you SO much for sharing your opinion of the situation. Maybe we should take this offline so feel free to PM me if you want (Im not sure how to do that!) Meanwhile, much as I appreciate your support, please don`t waste your time getting caught up in any pettiness - I am sure you have far more important things to be getting on with and I am really not bothered by Hippos jibes. Hand on heart I believe I am making the right decisions for us and that is good enough for me! PS: actually loving not working over the summer and hanging with the kids! Maybe the time has come to put full trust in hubby again....right when I decide to leave the country!!! ;P

3 ( +3 / -0 )

In the meanwhile, I think geiger counters are a good idea when shopping for food here. Would they detect cesium?

Geiger counters detect overall radiation levels, but not the isotopes causing the radiation - apparently you would need a mass spectrometer for that. My dear friend kindly sent me a link to one for sale on eBay - it was 28,000 US dollars!

I want to get one myself (GC, not MS!) but as I said above they seem to be notoriously unreliable and inaccurate - I have no idea how to check the reliability of one.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Holy cow! Geiger counters are ineffective for checking food, water, according to The Japan Times.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

http://nanohana.me/?p=2895#more-2895 This is horrifying if true.The person claims that information provided by Fukushima Prefecture Government has indicated that 80% of cows from Fukushima are sold outside the prefecture and go through food processing centres not run by Fukushima so they are NOT tested by Fukushima prefecture.Only the beef that is consumed locally goes through the Koriyama abattoir and is tested. The 80% that goes to other prefectures is submitted to a quick external SCREENING for radiation. The meat itself IS NOT CHECKED before shipment. Typically, Fukushima produces 33,000 cows. Since the quake there has only been 17 checks at Koriyama. In these 17 checks a grand total of 78 cows,30 pigs and 20 chickens ONLY were tested. About 10000 cows have been shipped from Fukushima since the quake. so far ONLY 548 have been found.They were full of Cesium.

So out of all the meat from Fukushima since the quake, only 78 cows, 30 pigs and 20 chickens were SCREENED (not tested)..the rest has gone unchecked and stamped by Fukushima and sent to independent processors.

and Fukushima vegies? they test 3 times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. They sample around 60 items at each occasion...that is less than 200 vegetables a week folks.2400 vegies in 3 months.Mainly sampling seasonal vegies and NOT testing minor vegies or all kinds of vegies.

The vice minister of the health and labour ministry, Otsuka said on NHK that öf course we cannot test everything..it is a sample.Products are on sale that exceed safety standards." and then he went on later to say "MAFF is doing a support Fukushima by eating Fukushima produce campaign...I don't think that should apply to children".

The government know they are poisoning us.They don't care.Business as usual.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Nice one Japan, school lunch! Let's give it to those who will suffer most.

Hope they remember that these future tax payers will now require expensive treatment for a very long time. Idiots

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Wouldn't you rather call the above number?

Skeptical Hippo: Why? Why should someone continue to live a "its not that bad" "its really not dangerous" life? Why live with a constant cloud over their heads caused by the J-government's and TEPCO's complete incompetence? They didn't elect these people, yet you want them to suffer the consequences when they can live lives outside Japan where they are free to eat or drink anything they want without concern. And on top of that get stuck with the bill to re-build for all this in a country with a shrinking economy/population, an un-funded pension system, that has ignored its numerous structural problems for too way long and a xenophobic tilt? Please explain the rational reasons someone with options outside of Japan should stay?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Don't think I'll be visiting Japan for a looooong time. The radiation has made the whole country a carcinogen.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

My wife is quite worried about the radiation, and we decided back in April to leave the country after much deliberation. After spending some time searching for a new job, I'm finally leaving this week. :(

Best of luck to those of you sticking it out here. I hope this is just a minor bump in the road, and everything gets back to normal soon. Hopefully things aren't as bad as some believe, and this doesn't drag on too much longer.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Good post OsakaDaz. I think any logical person can now deduce that the safety of Jpanese kids is very, very low in the scheme of things in Japan. Making profits and saving face internationally will ALWAYS be more important to Japanese than their kids. Sad, yes - but true.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Well thank goodness I gave up eating beef weeks ago, mostly due to dietary reasons. Now I have a another reason not to eat it anymore.

Just hope you are not eating Japanese fish, chicken, pork or fruit and vegetables either. Dont eat ANY Japanese rice after the Autumn harvest either. Internet shopping/international foodstores for ONLY FOREIGN food is the only option now.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I truly hope this situation improves drastically, and soon, for the sake of the health of everyone in Japan (Race or background is meaningless, don't forget we're all in the same boat in wishing the safety of everyone) Really worrying to think friends and family in Japan are ingesting some irradiated foods.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I first would like to thank JT. This is one of the best topics you have done in recent weeks. All postings are so brilliant , and heart wrenching. You brought me into tears. What a suffering.

I understand some of you are considering to leave Japan for the best interest of your children. This is a big decision. Whatever you do, I wish you the best of best. You have stayed calm while others were all panicked and left Japan right after the 3/11 that has been recognized by me.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The lucky/smart people have left, now those of us who for many reasons decided to tough it out with the locals are realizing that the locals are clueless as to the enormity of the disaster that continues to unfold. 3years before they plan to have control? That is 36 more months of bad news and decades of hot spots. The food air and soil are suspect if you have a choice flee. If you have children, there is no choice flee (Radioactive food served at schools) So far in 5 months we have been given one shocking story after another, so many that it has become normal.

Now we find out that beef know to be off the menu was processed and fed to children? Now after the fact we find out, what is next? I really love Japanese people, and I do feel for them but they will not protest even when their children are threatened. So be it. Darwins theory is playing out, a cultural curiosity and a foot note in History. At least I can tell my grandchild "I met a Japanese person"

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The lucky/smart people have left, now those of us who for many reasons decided to tough it out with the locals are realizing that the locals are clueless as to the enormity of the disaster that continues to unfold. 3years before they plan to have control? That is 36 more months of bad news and decades of hot spots.

I really love Japanese people, and I do feel for them but they will not protest even when their children are threatened. So be it.

Cricky -- exactly.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If I could be involved in politics and have a voice here, I would be willing to stay and fight for change.

tkoind2, do that! Japan needs someone like you. I have finished reading all your blogs in the past. You think like I do. Please let me know what I can do to help. And I DO have an experience and some good advice for you if you are really serious in running. Best Regards.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

We are eating no leafy green veg.

FYI - potatoes may be iffy as well

http://www.nuc.berkeley.edu/node/4368

1 ( +1 / -0 )

THanks Farmboy, I didnt know that! Right...no fresh potatos from Japan either now and you just cant get imported ones. Ive tried.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Farmboy great info cheers.Definitely avoid those Tochigi potatoes everyone..if you haven't been already.I was mortified to see them on sale at Costco.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Can I say...and I guess Ill be deleted, but if you are going to leave and there is even a little opposition, then do it quick and quiet.

Yep, this is a heartfelt wise advice. These poor Japanese feel they are trapped and helpless because they have no other place to go like we do. They feel we are abandoning them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Stay on topic please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Look Hippo, if you arent worried about feeding your kids radioactive food, then great. But mine are NOT getting leukemia. End of. Better safe than sorry. I would say if you are not concerned then I think YOU are very irresponsible indeed, but that is your business.

We all try to help each other, non Japanese women out here, and Im trying to make amends for being harsh on Mia'smom.

I might have known you were a man. Always the men who judge mothers and women here so harshly, and are holier than thou.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Gmum...

Name one reason I should be worried about feeding my kids radioactive food.

-13 ( +0 / -13 )

Readers, please stay on topic and keep the discussion civil.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Name one reason I should be worried about feeding my kids radioactive food.

You surely know this by now, and children and infants are most at risk, but if not, this is from the CDC (Center for Disease Control), which is not a left-wing, tree-hugging organization, by the way:

"Exposure to Cs-137 can increase the risk for cancer because of exposure to high-energy gamma radiation. Internal exposure to Cs-137, through ingestion or inhalation, allows the radioactive material to be distributed in the soft tissues, especially muscle tissue, exposing these tissues to the beta particles and gamma radiation and increasing cancer risk.

For more information about Cs-137, see the Public Health Statement by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry at http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp157.html, or visit the Environmental Protection Agency at http://www.epa.gov/rpdweb00/radionuclides/cesium.html."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I second what someone else said above: this is a really useful site and this thread in particular has really helped me to get my act together with the food contamination issue. Everyone who has posted info, links and advice - BIG thank you! OxO

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Housewives; Study long and hard to find the origin of the foodstuffs and think about tasty new alternative recipies for the family. It must be terrible having very young children at present especially when near to the affected area.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Housewives; Study long and hard to find the origin of the foodstuffs and think about tasty new alternative recipies for the family. It must be terrible having very young children at present especially when near to the affected area.

Yes - it is a worry Steve! I don`t really do "tasty" unfortunately (except salads - Im very good at those but try getting kids to eat them!) but Im working on it!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

andrew-s and globalwatcher - nice posts, thumbs up from me.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Cleo

You are smart and I enjoy your sense of what goes on in Japan. 2 people often on this site are often not caring about the articles but just to argue. Ignore that stuff.

Be safe with the food you buy as there will be more cows on the market.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Elsewhere I read the government response has been to order more random checks. RANDOM?! Make them systematic! Who are these fools and their advisers? Oh yeah, they didn't listen to the advisers, did they? So the advisers quit.

Miamum, spot on with all your comments, and you don't have to justify yourself to anyone.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The cows have eaten contaminated feed, so they produce contaminated beef and manure. The manure which in turn fertilizes the crops to produce contaminated foodstuff for Humans and animals alike. It's a circular thing and hot spots are in addition where food stuff is produced and people are living.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

hatsoff - backatcha babe.

Elsewhere I read the government response has been to order more random checks. RANDOM?! Make them systematic!

Well said.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Seems to me the government is hiding what everyone seems to know but won't want to admit: large amounts of radioactive material was released into the air and water contaminating whatever it touched. E.g. cattle feed, leafy vegetables, the manure from tainted animals, tea leaves -- anything that you can imagine being touched likely has. The J-government will put the nation of Japan over the safety of the people of this generation to survive. So if those that desire to be casualties for this policy, stay in Japan. But don't kid yourselves that it's the J-government's capricious actions making life more dangerous in Japan. Life IS more dangerous. The J-government is doing what is in the best interest of the nation and you should be doing what's best for yourself as an individual.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

People, please stop panicking the way you do!

Eating 1 kg of the tainted meat is roughly equal to a radiation dose of 82.65 microsieverts (0.08265 millisieverts).

The 82.65 microsieverts compares with the 100 microsieverts (0.00065 millisieverts) of radiation a person would be exposed to during a one-way flight from Tokyo to New York.

Cabin attendants would be falling out of the sky by the thousands if that was really all that harmful to one's health.

No, let me rephrase that... No sane person would sign up to become a pilot or CA if the health risk were as inflated as you all seem to be doing.

Remember... 1kg of Fukushima beef = a one-way flight from Tokyo to New York = not at all a risk

Hope this helps.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The International Commission on Radiological Protection sets the upper limit on an individual’s exposure to radiation at 1 millisievert a year.

If a person eats 100 grams of the meat every day for a month, they will be exposed to about 0.17 millisieverts.

If a person eats the same amount of meat for a year, they will be exposed to some 2 millisieverts.

Who here eats or is planning to eat 100 grams of Fukushima beef every day for a year?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

ichiichi; No it does not help. here is also radiation in plenty of other foodstuffs and people are breathing it in daily. All of this adds up there is a huge risk, take off the blinkers.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

ichiichi

People, please stop panicking the way you do!

Why is that? Why should people not be concerned about the food they eat.

Eating 1 kg of the tainted meat is roughly equal to a radiation dose of 82.65 microsieverts (0.08265 millisieverts). The 82.65 microsieverts compares with the 100 microsieverts (0.00065 millisieverts) of radiation a person would be exposed to during a one-way flight from Tokyo to New York.

So if you eat a lot of steak for example eat it 4 times a week and say you eat 500 gms each time then thats the equivalent of flying to New York and back every week. Yes that may not hurt you. But your forgetting something, the only meat so far that the government has admitted there is contamination in is beef, what about milk. Dairy cows eat hay too, what about chickens (eggs) and pigs. Then you are also forgetting vegetables, mushrooms, fish etc. Your analogy is simplistic at best if l eat 1x 1kg of beef per week then l will get roughly 82.65 microsieverts that is if l eat and drink nothing else. So l for one am a little concerned about that.

Remember... 1kg of Fukushima beef = a one-way flight from Tokyo to New York = not at all a risk Hope this helps.

Apart from the fact that this sounds like a poor TEPCO / government ad l think you are way off the mark here. You are trivializing something that is potentially a heath issue in the making. But then again thats whats been happening since day one. The only thing your post was missing was "dont worry there is no immediate health concerns"

1 ( +1 / -0 )

ichiichi

If a person eats 100 grams of the meat every day for a month, they will be exposed to about 0.17 millisieverts. If a person eats the same amount of meat for a year, they will be exposed to some 2 millisieverts. Who here eats or is planning to eat 100 grams of Fukushima beef every day for a year?

Let me see given its not just Fukushima beef (you fail there), and given the contamination extends beyond beef then l would say its a bit of an issue. If mushrooms grow indoors can be contaminated then outdoor vegetables and other animals can too. Just because the bumbling fools that are also known as the Japanese government havent announced it doesnt mean it hasnt happened. Like everything we will find out in a week or two that the food we have been eating is contaminated. Big thumbs up for their brilliant work.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

To the readers above:

This article is about tainted beef and I have adrressed this "problem" accordingly.

Don't worry, there is no immediate health concerns when eating tainted beef as long as you don't eat a lot of it.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

ichiichi

To the readers above: This article is about tainted beef and I have adrressed this "problem" accordingly.

Sorry ichiichi just needed to stop laughing. Just because you has addressed the "problem" accordingly does not reassure me at all. Given that l believe you less than the J government and TEPCO sorry but you are a long way down the trust pole. Just because some TEPCO or J government stooge gets on here repeating the mantra alls safe doesn't make it so. Given that the majority of posters on here have enough brains to question things l think you are targeting the wrong audience.

Don't worry, there is no immediate health concerns when eating tainted beef as long as you don't eat a lot of it.

Love it, do you write Edano's speeches too?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is from July 18, 2011 JT

Radiation concerns for Japan's beef supply intensify

It also released results of tests conducted on remaining straw, which revealed cesium levels as high as 500,000 becquerels per kilogram at one farm in Koriyama City. That translates to roughly 378 times the legal limit.

If some of the straw was 500,000 becquerels per kilo, the beef may have been 3 to 7 or more times over the legal limit nd it's not just beef but the vegetables, grains, fruits, seafood etc.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

People, rest assured!

I have been following this situation very closely for the last couple of months.

Japanese media outlets including major newspapers (e.g. Yomiuri, Mainichi, Asahi, Nikkei, Sankei, Japan Times, Daily Yomiuri) and major tv stations (e.g. NHK, TBS, TVTokyo, FUJI TV, NTV, TV Asahi) all report the same.

While contaminated food is a cause for concern, it is no where near as scary as some people are making it out to be. The beef contains radioactive cesium that exceeds Japanese safety standards, but the level of contamination is so low that eating one, two, or even ten contaminated steaks would not be dangerous.

PLEASE STOP ADDING TO THE HYPE WITH YOUR UNSUBSTANTIATED CONSPIRACY THEORIES.

Thank you.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Article from JT May 25, 2011

Radiation released by the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has caused soil contamination matching the levels seen in the Chernobyl disaster in some areas, a researcher told the government’s nuclear policy-setting body Tuesday

ACCUMULATED. If the soil in May matched Chernobyl what is the soil contamination Now. Adding in the farmers case the contaminated Fertilizer. The People need facts.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Reader above:

We're discussing Japanese tainted beef here, not the soil contamination in Chernobyl.

The People need less panic.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I would also say that it will not have any immediate concerns for human health, if You happen to eat contaminated beef rarely. As a nuclear physicist (theory), I calculated out of curiosity the amount of radioactive decays that the human body would suffer due to eating 1kg of tainted beef exactly at the governmental limit of 500 Bq/kg (cesium only). This ends up at about 6 billions of nuclear decays in the first year (and much weaker, later on). The main reason, which must be taken into account here, is that whereas the nuclear half-life of cesium 137 is about 30 years, the biological half-life (the time until half of the ingested cesium is purged from the body) is only about 90-110 days.

If You compare that with the two major factors of natural radioactivity in the human body (potassium 40 and carbon 14), potassium comes up with around 120 billions of decays and carbon with some 70 billions of decays in a year. Thus, we can say that the natural amount of radioactive decays in a human body is around 200 billions in a year. I want to stress that this radioactivity is completely unavoidable and this is the absolute minimum amount that a human being suffers due to simply existing. Adding 6 billions doesn't seem to be quite a lot in comparison.

However, as people pointed out before, this includes only the cesium in the meet. That does not mean that there is no other radioactive material in the beef, because the government does not test this. Secondly, strontium accumulates in the bones and stays longer in an organic system on average (the biological half-life is far longer - about 30 years; read here: http://www.stoller-eser.com/FactSheet/Strontium.pdf). Plutonium and uranium are even alpha emitters and also stay for quite a while in the body. Alpha emitters (and neutron emitters) are the major sources for double string breaking in DNA, which is far more dangerous (than single string breaking through gamma and beta radiation) in terms of long terms health effects and cancer risk. The government does not even test for these, because they claim that these amounts are just minute. There has been no independent test of this and this is not helpful for the credibilty of the government's claim.

Second, the number mention above (6 billion decays) is for the ingestion of 500Bqs of cesium. If You happen to eat it regularly or beef above the limits, then You can get to higher numbers quite quickly. Then there is the issue with other contaminated foodstuffs. There are no checks of other foods done up to now, because all efforts are concentrated on the resolution of the "beef crisis". I don't think that leaves us with the feeling that the other food is safer, does it? People ask themselves questions like "why just beef?" and "what about milk and eggs?" and they are perfectly right about asking these. Leafy vegetables and mushrooms are especially prone to accumulate heavy metal. And these radioisotopes are heavy metals. I do not eat mushrooms in Japan this year any more, because I know how mushrooms in middle and western europe are still contaminated (25 years after and about 1500 kms away).

On a scientific level, I can assure everyone that even if You (as an adult) happen to eat once beef contaminated with cesium a bit beyond the governmental limit, You need not panic that the cesium will exhibit any effects detrimental to Your health. However, it leaves all of us with a bad feeling about food safety. And of course, the health risk is increased in case of kids. Therefore, because the foundation of trust is completely broken by the ever increasing numbers of contaminated cattle (and in the near future of contaminated whatever) and the disaster called information policy, it is a very reasonable thing to avoid this situation as much as possible and stick to imported foods whereever possible.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Thank you for that, Johannes. It's nice to get a bit of calmly-delivered, scientifically- accurate info every now and then. :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The restaurants in Tokyo were fully packed last weekend. Some even had lines of people waiting to get in. I saw lots of people eating meat (beef) dishes including yakiniku, hamburg, shabushabu, fast food burgers, steaks, Yoshinoya gyudon etc.

The foreign community in Japan seems to be the only people overreacting to this so-called "scare".

I wonder where they get their information from. Must suck to be so misinformed and panicked all day long. Hopefully they are able to buy a ticket back home ASAP and continue their lives without having to be so freaked out day in day out.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

ichiichi -- ridiculous post. So what if the restaurants were "fully packed" or "some even had lines waiting"? How does that make the absolute incompetence and stupidity of the J-government in handling this mess any less severe? Luckily, as many posters have noted, the level of radioactivity in the beef does not appear to be near harmful levels. But, again, so what? The meat should have never gotten out of Fukushima in the first place, and only did so because of the continued inability of the Japan buraeucracy to get a handle on all the elements of this disaster. IMO, the foreign community that you so easily critisize is not "freaked out day in day out" by the fear of being made sick by radiation poisening. They are freaked out by the absolute ineptitude of the J-government and tired of being thrown these curves on almost a weekly basis. That is not "overreacting". That is expecting better from the authorities charged with responsibility for the public's health and welfare. Overreacting was cutting off all U.S. beef for two years due to a couple of cases on mad cow. And scaring the entire polulation of Japan as a result. But now that the shoe is on the other foot, suddenly it is the foreigners who are "misinformed and panicked all day long". Hypocritical to say the least.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

herefornow: absolutely spot on. The only thing I would add is that foreigners here actually seem to also have the nouse to dig around, get the details, think for themselves and dare to see Japan and Japanese authorities in a less than perfect light. Every Japanese I speak to just shrugs and says "its probably ok", "its just a little bit". Even my own husband: "Why are you so down on the authorities, so not trusting all the time?" Because they are screwing the country - how can they not see this???!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I would also say that it will not have any immediate concerns for human health, if You happen to eat contaminated beef rarely. As a nuclear physicist (theory), I calculated out of curiosity the amount of radioactive decays that the human body would suffer due to eating 1kg of tainted beef exactly at the governmental limit of 500 Bq/kg (cesium only). This ends up at about 6 billions of nuclear decays in the first year (and much weaker, later on). The main reason, which must be taken into account here, is that whereas the nuclear half-life of cesium 137 is about 30 years, the biological half-life (the time until half of the ingested cesium is purged from the body) is only about 90-110 days.

If You compare that with the two major factors of natural radioactivity in the human body (potassium 40 and carbon 14), potassium comes up with around 120 billions of decays and carbon with some 70 billions of decays in a year. Thus, we can say that the natural amount of radioactive decays in a human body is around 200 billions in a year. I want to stress that this radioactivity is completely unavoidable and this is the absolute minimum amount that a human being suffers due to simply existing. Adding 6 billions doesn't seem to be quite a lot in comparison.

However, as people pointed out before, this includes only the cesium in the meet. That does not mean that there is no other radioactive material in the beef, because the government does not test this. Secondly, strontium accumulates in the bones and stays longer in an organic system on average (the biological half-life is far longer - about 30 years; read here: http://www.stoller-eser.com/FactSheet/Strontium.pdf). Plutonium and uranium are even alpha emitters and also stay for quite a while in the body. Alpha emitters (and neutron emitters) are the major sources for double string breaking in DNA, which is far more dangerous (than single string breaking through gamma and beta radiation) in terms of long terms health effects and cancer risk. The government does not even test for these, because they claim that these amounts are just minute. There has been no independent test of this and this is not helpful for the credibilty of the government's claim.

Second, the number mention above (6 billion decays) is for the ingestion of 500Bqs of cesium. If You happen to eat it regularly or beef above the limits, then You can get to higher numbers quite quickly. Then there is the issue with other contaminated foodstuffs. There are no checks of other foods done up to now, because all efforts are concentrated on the resolution of the "beef crisis". I don't think that leaves us with the feeling that the other food is safer, does it? People ask themselves questions like "why just beef?" and "what about milk and eggs?" and they are perfectly right about asking these. Leafy vegetables and mushrooms are especially prone to accumulate heavy metal. And these radioisotopes are heavy metals. I do not eat mushrooms in Japan this year any more, because I know how mushrooms in middle and western europe are still contaminated (25 years after and about 1500 kms away).

On a scientific level, I can assure everyone that even if You (as an adult) happen to eat once beef contaminated with cesium a bit beyond the governmental limit, You need not panic that the cesium will exhibit any effects detrimental to Your health. However, it leaves all of us with a bad feeling about food safety. And of course, the health risk is increased in case of kids. Therefore, because the foundation of trust is completely broken by the ever increasing numbers of contaminated cattle (and in the near future of contaminated whatever) and the disaster called information policy, it is a very reasonable thing to avoid this situation as much as possible and stick to imported foods whereever possible.

Sorry, I couldn't get passed the 1st paragraph and I doubt any Japanese can even if your translate it all into Japanese. It's just too scientific, boring and complicated. The ordinary person isn't a nuclear physicist and doesn't have a clue what nuclear decays or a nuclear half life means.

Sorry, but my example (1kg of beef vs. one flight to New York) is so much more easier to understand. I believe that people would immediately change their tv channel listening to yours, or turn the page of their magazine reading yours.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

herefornow

ridiculous post. So what if the restaurants were "fully packed" or "some even had lines waiting"? How does that make the absolute incompetence and stupidity of the J-government in handling this mess any less severe? Luckily, as many posters have noted, the level of radioactivity in the beef does not appear to be near harmful levels. But, again, so what? The meat should have never gotten out of Fukushima in the first place, and only did so because of the continued inability of the Japan buraeucracy to get a handle on all the elements of this disaster. IMO, the foreign community that you so easily critisize is not "freaked out day in day out" by the fear of being made sick by radiation poisening. They are freaked out by the absolute ineptitude of the J-government and tired of being thrown these curves on almost a weekly basis. That is not "overreacting". That is expecting better from the authorities charged with responsibility for the public's health and welfare. Overreacting was cutting off all U.S. beef for two years due to a couple of cases on mad cow. And scaring the entire polulation of Japan as a result. But now that the shoe is on the other foot, suddenly it is the foreigners who are "misinformed and panicked all day long". Hypocritical to say the least.

Why so angry. Your opinion differs from mine. That's all. No need to call my POV ridiculous or start name-calling.

All I've posted is that the Japanese media (tv and newspapers) doesn't go along with the foreign community's hype and instead reports the facts. All you people seem to be doing is being sensationalist and alarmist, trying to scare people out of their wits so that they will leave Japan. Your agenda is based on fear. Fear that we don't need right now. I call on all citizens of Japan (Japanese and foreign) to keep their cool and don't panic. Panic will not help anyone. Panic will only further destroy this beautiful country.

As you've said yourself: "the level of radioactivity in the beef does not appear to be near harmful levels."

This is exactly what all the newspapers and tv channels are reporting.

Word of advice: If you are so [quote] "freaked out by the absolute ineptitude of the J-government" then what are you doing about it? Getting back at them by posting conspiracy theories on the Internet in the hope that they will here you? How about you call them ar write them? Have you tried that? What's your platform? What's your Manifesto?

One more question... Your username suggest you are going to leave, be part of the 2nd wave of flyjins. Have you already left? If not, why not?

Thank you.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

miamum

Every Japanese I speak to just shrugs and says "its probably ok", "its just a little bit". Even my own husband: "Why are you so down on the authorities, so not trusting all the time?" Because they are screwing the country - how can they not see this???!

Yes. And why are you questioning all those Japanese? What is it that you know that all those Japanese people don't? Your husband is Japanese. He was born in this country. Don't you think he knows best. At least better than you - a foreigner, an outsider who has only lived here a few years? Why do you think you know better? What are your sources? You think the beef that people eat is more tainted than is being reported? You think the Japanese government, your husband and all those Japanese people around you are lying to you?

If they are [quote] "screwing this country", then what are you going to do about it?

Word of advice: Going against all the people in this country including your Japanese husband is not going to get you anywhere. The only place I can see you end up is back in your own country abandoned by all of them. Is that what you want? I don't think so... Just eat less beef or imported beef like I do and you should be okay. Trust me, trust your husband. Trust the Japanese around you. Trust the Japanese government. What else have you got?

Good luck!

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

ichiichi,

Word of advice: Going against all the people in this country including your Japanese husband is not going to get you anywhere.

You are right we should all take our lead from the Japanese people and become sheeple that blindly accept everything we are told and not question anything. That is the true Japanese way correct? Blind subservience, thats what you are advocating. How dare anyone critisise or question what they are being told. That may work on some Japanese but l will tell you now it wont work on the foreign residents.

Just eat less beef or imported beef like I do and you should be okay.

Thats fine for the beef, but what of the other foods or do you naively believe that this is limited to beef?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

To the above reader:

Show me a news article on what you're implying and I will gladly reply. For now, all I read is beef related. Have you read any Japanese news articles that I haven't? Articles that are confirmed by the Japanese government and the Japanese media including newspapers and tv stations. Not some gossip reported in the foreign media including the comments here on this website. In that case... Be so kind and lead the way. I'll be your sheep.

If not, I would like to ask you kindly to refrain from unsubstantiated sensational posting on this news website. You're unnecessary scaring the foreign community who reads these comments and therefore do nothing good.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@ichiiichi So mate, which PR agency are you working for? Got a nice little fat contract to influence public opinion on internet forums huh..?. @ spidapig, miamum etc...don,t let this stooge spin you out guys..'-)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

See the bit where l say "I suggest you start with the Japanese Food Safety Agency" well you go to google and type that in then you press the enter key. Then you look around that site and lm sure you will find what l am referring too.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Just out of curiosity I Googled Japanese Food Safety Agency

No such agency exists. How about a link, Spidapig24????????

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Sorry not agency l should have said commision. But l thought you we outa here!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

ichiichi

Looks to me they got things under control and you are unnecessarily scared and scaring others.

So Ichiichi if as the quote says "So the foods which exceed these levels are regulated to ensure those foods are not supplied to the public to eat," how did the beef get sold? And for that matter how did the vegetables get sold early on in this disaster. If its all under control how does that happen especially when this claim was made on March 17 and its now the end of July and contaminated food is still being sold?

Yep sure sounds under control to me.

Maybe you should look a little deeper and you will find the foods other than beef they have found contamination in too.

You want me out of here so that you can continue your sensationalist/alarmist agenda? I changed my mind...

Please stay you just made my point precisely for me... Thanks.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

contaminated food is still being sold

What are you talking about? Link or quotes to factual info, please.

What's the level of contamination in the food you're talking about? Is it dangerous to one's health? Radiation exists all around us, always has, in food products and in other ways. You using that fact to scare people is ridiculous. have you no shame?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

400 + positive results for radioactive contamination on various products from across Japan.

waiting..................

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Natural radiation is everywhere, including your food. If you live in a stone house, you're getting a higher dose of radiation than you would living in a wooden house. If you're sitting outside, you're being bathed by radioactive cosmic rays. If there's a newspaper on your lap, it's emitting radiation too.

Even your body emits radiation into the environment around you, and nothing you can do can stop the constant bombardment short of wearing a lead-lined suit.

Nearly all foods produce natural radiation, although some to a greater degree than others.

Every year a person consumes a total average dose of 40 millirems of radiation from all of their food intake (1) out of an average total of 360 millirems of radiation from all sources.

Potatoes, many types of seeds, kidney beans, and a variety of nuts are among the foods emitting the most radiation. Brazil nuts are near the top of the list with 12,000 picocuries per kg (2).

Bananas, by comparison, have an average radiation level of only 3520 picocuries per kg (3), although this is still high enough to place them among the more radiation-heavy foods. The source of the radiation is potassium, specifically radioactive isotope K40 inside potassium. Anything with potassium is radioactive because of this isotope, but few foods have the banana's potassium punch.

To put this in perspective with the average dose of 360 millirems of radiation per year, if you ate a banana a day you'd take in 3.6 millirems during that year.

By comparison a chest x-ray is about 10 millirems and a six-hour airplane trip will bombard you with 2 millirems.

There's absolutely no reason to believe that any amount of bananas, or any other food for that matter, is of any threat due to radiation.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

ichiichi

"contaminated food is still being sold" What are you talking about? Link or quotes to factual info, please.

Ok here is your quote earlier.

"So the foods which exceed these levels are regulated to ensure those foods are not supplied to the public to eat" this was made on 17th March

Here is head line from Japanese media article.

No. of tainted cattle shipped around Japan nears 1,500

So as you can clearly see my statement is correct, contaminated food is still being sold.

What's the level of contamination in the food you're talking about? Is it dangerous to one's health? Radiation exists all around us, always has, in food products and in other ways.

Well obviously its over the legal set limit otherwise they wouldnt be destroying it now would they?

You using that fact to scare people is ridiculous. have you no shame?

WHATEVER!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

WHATEVER!

That's what I thought....

Why are you so determined to scare people into leaving?

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

400 + positive results for radioactive contamination on various products from across Japan.

Still waiting..............................

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

ichiichi and Spidapig24, please stop sniping at each other. Focus your comments on the story, not at each other.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

ichiichi

The 82.65 microsieverts compares with the 100 microsieverts (0.00065 millisieverts) of radiation a person would be exposed to during a one-way flight from Tokyo to New York.>

This is technically true. The problem is that external and internal radiation exposures are not the same.

When you fly from Tokyo to New York, the dose of radiation you receive is distributed equally throughout your body. For any given cell, the dose is extremely low. Also, when your flight is over, so is your radiation exposure.

However, when you breathe in or consume radioactive particles, they concentrate in certain tissues (in the thyroid, for example) where they can do a great deal of damage for days, weeks, or several months.

Think about the thermal energy required to take a nice comfortable bath. When that thermal energy is distributed equally throughout your body, it's not harmful. But, if you were to concentrate that same thermal energy in a tiny amount of water and then stick your finger in it, you'd get burned. That's what internal radiation exposure does.

Please try rereading the post by Johannes Weber above. He's given us a lot of prudent, useful information.

Radiation exists all around us, always has, in food products and in other ways. >

The types of radiation being released into the environment from Fukushima did not exist before 1945.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

ichiichi,

"WHATEVER!" That's what I thought.... Why are you so determined to scare people into leaving?

Let me point one thing out to you.

You said this to me:

I would like to ask you kindly to refrain from unsubstantiated sensational posting on this news website

I provided you with a link and you found this quote:

So the foods which exceed these levels are regulated to ensure those foods are not supplied to the public to eat" this was made on 17th March

Now that combined with the fact that this article is about contaminated beef being shipped and sold to consumers refutes your claim of "unsubstantiated sensational posting" and makes a mockery of your "The foreign community in Japan seems to be the only people overreacting to this so-called "scare".I wonder where they get their information from." Because the answer is from the Japanese media and government agencies.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

http://www.fsc.go.jp/

food safety commission?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What's the level of contamination in the food you're talking about? Is it dangerous to one's health? Radiation exists all around us, always has, in food products and in other ways. You using that fact to scare people is ridiculous. have you no shame?

It’s so funny to see some person so busy finding a scapegoat to vent up her/his frustrations because it clearly shows us an example of a so-called “head-in-the-sand attitude”. If you think that radiation level in Fukushima and its border is negligible—and hence, not life-threatening, you are completely a tone deaf. Go check out any domestic news sources—Asahi, Yomiuri, Mainichi Newspapers, etc., local/domestic media-- NHK, Nihon-TV, TBS, TV-Asahi, etc., and local/central government official websites. All of these sources make it very clear that several local cities and public municipalities detected a very high level of radiation in several foods and water. Local farmers in several prefectures have to get rid of their dairy products and plants contaminated by cesium or iodine because these do bring health hazard to consumers and the public nationwide. This is NOT scaremongering or a conspiracy theory by the conservatives or J-bashers. Your unwillingness to face the reality in and around Fukushima does mirror the behavior of greedy TEPCO executives and pork-barrel METI officials. It’s indeed the biggest shame to behave like these people who try to protect their own interests at the cost of quake victims and evacuees. That’s the least thing we should do here in the first place.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yes. And why are you questioning all those Japanese? What is it that you know that all those Japanese people don't? Your husband is Japanese. He was born in this country. Don't you think he knows best. At least better than you - a foreigner, an outsider who has only lived here a few years? Why do you think you know better? What are your sources? You think the beef that people eat is more tainted than is being reported? You think the Japanese government, your husband and all those Japanese people around you are lying to you?

ichiichi - I am going to assume that you are not a native English speaker and therefore have misunderstood what I am trying to say? :

Firstly - if i thought I knew more than the Japanese I wouldnt be questioning them would I? So your question is a bit stupid, quite honestly. Im talking to them to get a Japanese view on things because - as you say - the Japanese media reports things differently to the west.

Secondly - why would you assume that just because my husband is Japanese, he would know more than me? You think being born here he is somehow a better authority on food safety and radiation? If you are in fact Japanese, then who do you think you are? My husband may be Japanese, but he knows nothing at all about radiation, nuclear physics, the food issues in the media, or agriculture in Japan. I know more than he does. I came from a scientific background. He doesnt. Who are my sources? The same as everybody else. You have no idea how long I have been here, what my background is, nothing, so keep your assumptions about me out of it.

Finally: whoever said anything about Japanese and my own husband lying to me? Again, I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt assuming you are not a native English speaker, but please tell me exactly where I said that ? I said I think the government are screwing people, because I think they are. Sorry if that opinion messes with your blind allegiance, but there you have it - I dont trust the government of Japan on this issue.

You may be a nuclear physicist (theory) but are you a specialist in physiology? Do you know the effects that different types of radioactive isotope have on the human body? (for example cesium as opposed to radon?) Are you a parent of young children? If you can answer yes to those questions, I am interested in your opinion. If not, then quite honestly as much as you are trying to blind people here with your scientific brilliance, your opinion means no more to me than anyone elses, and given your willingness to follow blindly what you are being told without question, I am wondering if you truly are what you claim to be, or just lifted your "scientific data" from a website somewhere.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@miamum

The guy who introduced himself as nuclear physicist is actually me. And I will explain the differences between different kinds of nuclear radiation on organic tissue. The first thing You all have to know about ionizing radiation (which is the scientifically correct term) is that it consists of different types: we have alpha, beta, gamma radiation as well as thermal (slow) and fast neutrons, protons and cluster radioactivity. I think that's all of them.

So gamma radiation is just high energy photons. So I'll have a few words about the electromagnetic spectrum. At lowest energies, we have radiowaves and the like, then we get microwaves, then infrared (IR), then the visible part of the spectrum, then ultraviolet (UV), later Xray and finally, at highest energies, gamma rays. The effect from gamma rays is basically the same as from Xrays. The distinction between Xray and gamma rays is not so much the energy as the source of these two types of radiation: Xrays are produced in the electron clouds of atoms whereas gamma rays are emitted from the atomic nuclei (core). These gamma rays come out with exactly one energy in every instance of the isotope (Isotope means a particular proton-neutron configuration of an atomic nucleus. Cesium 137 and Cesium 134 are both Cesium nuclei, but they are different isotopes.).

Gamma rays are emitted into all directions with like probability. Thus, the intensity of a gamma radiation decreases with a factor poportional to 1/(r^2) (1 divided by the distance to the source squared). The only way to shield gamma rays is lead. Nothing else is really effective. That is why You do not have to worry about far gamma sources and with sufficient lead shielding, it is okay. Gamma rays scatter on the electromagnetic particles in matter. They lose some energy and transfer it to the atoms (or electrons - the lightest charged particles) in the body tissue. Since the typical binding energies in organic molecules are extremely low, these energy transfers (are much higher and) tend to break up molecules in the human body. Worse still, the remnants of these destroyed molecules may further destruction at other places.

If that happens in a cells nucleus (now I use the biochemical meaning - a cell's core), it may destroy DNA by punching a hole in one of its two strings (single string breaking). This changes the local electric charge distribution of the DNA string and might cause deformations of it. Later, the cell tries to reassemble itself into its original shape. If the deformation is sufficiently small, this works fine and there is no bigger problem. If it doesn't work, the cell realizes that its DNA is damaged and commits suicide (called apoptosis). In about 1 in hundred millions of cases, this apoptosis mechanism doesn't work. That is when a formerly healthy cell turns into a potential cancer cell due to radiation damage.

Beta radiation is the emission of electrons and positrons (The anti-particle of the electron. Positrons have the opposite charge, but behave exactly identical otherwise). These two kinds of radiation can already be stopped in a small amount of matter (like a few hundreds of meters of air or a sheet of paper). The electrons scatter with electrons in matter and the results is mostly the same as described in the gamma case. The positrons may also annihilate with electrons from molecules. Then they will emit two photons, so it looks again very much like in the case of gamma radiation.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

With the other cases of ionizing radiation it is different. The main difference is that they are nuclear matter by themselves. Therefore, if they scatter on molecules, they transfer far more momentum (sort of mass*velocity) to their scattering target. This causes greater damage to the molecules and causes double string breaking in DNA. Then, since the cellular nucleus does not have a proper copy of DNA string any more (remember that both DNA strings are completely equivalent and contain the same information), the rate of repair is much worse than in the single string breaking case. The repair rate decreases and therefore, the cancer risk increases. After telling You about the mechanism, I'll go on in explaining the specific radiation types.

Alpha radiation is the emission of Helium 4 nuclei. They are very heavy (about 8000 times heavier than electrons), they are doubly charged and they have a very short range. Typically a few centimeters in air. They would not even make it past the human skin. However, if they reach tissue, they wreak real havoc since they usually do many, many scatterings on a short path with lots of double string breaking. The good thing is that these alpha emitters are very rare in natural elements. Only elements heavier than lead can emit alpha particles.

One of these instances is the radon. You can breath it in, since it is a (noble) gas. Then, it has passed the skin barrier and can directly damage the tissue in the lung. It is a "natural" source of radiation in certain areas and it is an important contribution to the radiation dose of humans living in certain areas where minerals emitting radon (through nuclear decay) are common. It accumulates in the air cellars and in stone houses. You can really see how the radiation increases with time there and quickly decreases once You opened the windows for some fresh air.

Other instances of alpha emitters are typically uranium, thorium, plutonium, polonium and all this heavy stuff. The good thing about these is that they are so heavy that they cannot travel far in the air under normal circumstances. If they are part of the exploding material in a blast, however, they can rise into higher layers of the atmosphere and be distributed as fine "hot particles" in the air and travel very long distances. That is the thing that happened in the fiery blast of the Chernobyl reactor back in the eighties, which transported these dangerous materials over many hundreds of kilometers to the west of Europe. Since the containment of the Fukushima seems to be still (mostly) intact, I do not know whether this scenario is valid for Japan, too.

Then You have neutrons. Fast neutrons travel further while gradually getting slower. Once they are slow enough, thermal neutrons scatter extremely efficiently on the protons (the mass is almost the same), which are the nuclei of the hydrogen atoms, which are one of the most important components of all bindings of complex molecules (like the DNA). Neutron shielding is very difficult at best. Therefore, neutron radiation is an extreme danger. Most of the issues about old nuclear power plants degrading with time are due to the highly intense neutron radiation. However, they are emitted in nuclear fission (in most cases) and so, they are more or less localized to places with larger amount of fissile material (like nuclear reactors or nuclear arms).

Protons are almost like neutrons, but their emission is rare. Also, since they are charged, they do not have much range in air.

Cluster radioactivity is the emission of Carbon 12 or oxygen 16 nuclei. This exceedingly rare and the same restrictions as for alpha emission apply.

By the way, I DO NOT share ichiichi's opinion. This information is freely accessible to anyone interested in nuclear radiation. Just go to wikipedia, look up alpha, beta and gamma radiation and follow more links until You are satisifed. I think everyone who is living in a country which had recent nuclear meltdowns, incompetent regulatory agencies and a failing nuclear policy should better learn the basic ideas of radioactivity. Also, I want to clearly state that even 1 milliSievert extra (in addition to the unavoidable natural dose) in a year is already quite a lot. It doesn't pose any measurable health risk, but people working in the field (and I do sometimes work at places with ionizing radiation like particle accelerators) try to keep the dose as low as possible. Even though the normal limits for people working with radiation is 20 milliSieverts, most people stay well below that. Reaching 20 is the exception! So any sort of concern or worry about radiation levels is perfectly understandable. It doesn't make people "crazy foreigners" or "paranoid fly-home-gaijin" or whatever. I just shows that people have a sane mind and try to understand the world around them.

Of course anyone is free to doubt the things I say. As for me, I am a German exchange student during his PHD in particle physics currently enrolled in Tsukuba university. And my minor had been nuclear chemistry (actually I had never thought the knowledge would ever come in handy). So, I think I can be counted as an expert, can't I? For all Japanese readers, I hope this is enough to decide whether You should take my opinion seriously or not.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

miamum

You have no idea how long I have been here, what my background is, nothing, so keep your assumptions about me out of it.

Actually I do have an idea. You have posted extensively here about yourself. You're from the Uk, have two kids and have been here for 10 years. Your kanji is crappy and so is your relationship with your husband. You're thinking about leaving Japan and are worried sick about pool accoidents at the youchien. Did I miss anything.

The beef is fine. Fine nough to eat. Ask your hubby, he still wants more doesn't he? I bet he had Yoshinoya for lunch today though as you won't serve him any. Way to go!

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Johannes Weberman:

Soon we'll all turn into the Hulk

Yeah yeah I get it... Green creatures with gamma powers 'eh

LOL

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@ichiichi

I have the impression that you just don't get it. There is no problem about being concerned. The way how each and any of us acts in this kind of situation is highly individual. There is no "one way for all", except if You're completely braindead. We can think for our own and draw our own conclusions. And - by the way - I think You understand the meaning of "long term effects", right? You have to get an awfully high radiation dose to see short time effects.

Things are not as bad as they could have become. In March, no one could foresee how bad the nuclear disaster would turn out in the end. And for those who say "not so bad" I'd like to remark that it is not over yet. The (power) plant is still not under control, even though the stabilisation efforts seem to work better than I expected. Most of my Japanese friends in Europe agree that Japan has been quite lucky that it didn't turn worse.

Even more, You make fun of people who are worried for their own safety and for their kids. That's not the behaviour of an adult, but just a spoiled and arrogant kid. In times of crisis, no one can expect completely rational behaviour. And if this crisis happens in a place which gives You the impression of being an outsider, the thought of leaving is a very natural thing. I would never dare to condemn anyone for hasty or even bad decision in such times. However, You seem to be different.

You make fun of people who are not entirely fluent with Kanji, because they grew up in another part of the world. Do we make fun of Japanese people trying pronounce other languages? No, we try to understand them. Furthermore, as Miamum said, she has a scientific background. As a Japanese, You should know that people from 理系 are normally not as fluent with Kanji than 文系 people. This doesn't include any statement on general competence.

So please, grow up, take other people serious - and then post again.

You claim that whatever is written in Japanese newspapers (concerning the nuclear crisis) is more adequate than the reports of foreign newspapers, foreign scientists and even Japanese ones. I believe that I do not have to remind You that many intelligent Japanese people have predicted that such a disaster was very probable. Furthermore, the style how different newspapers report varies a lot between different countries (and individual papers). Thus, any internationally thinking person will naturally consult multiple national sources for her information. And I believe that every foreigner who comes to Japan is a very internationally thinking person. Or would they otherwise bother with the intricacies of Japanese language and the Japanese culture?

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Actually I do have an idea. You have posted extensively here about yourself. You're from the Uk, have two kids and have been here for 10 years. Your kanji is crappy and so is your relationship with your husband. You're thinking about leaving Japan and are worried sick about pool accoidents at the youchien. Did I miss anything.

Plenty. About 90% of this is wrong. Ive been here 10 years and Im from the UK. Thats about all you got right. I seved up beef (from Australia) last night and quite honestly the "research" you have been doing on me is more than creepy. Again I ask: what is wong with speaking to other Japanese and getting their views? How does that make you think that I think I am "better than them"? How does my husband being born Japanese automatically qualify him to know more about the radiation issue than I do? What is wrong with a concerned Mother of THREE young children wanting to make sure that the food they are being given is safe?You know what, dont even bother answering, Im really not interested in what you have to say. If you choose to stick your head in the sand - go for it with my respect. Me - Im choosing to get some balanced information.

Johannes Weber - I apologise for misreading ichiichis post - no surprise there that he is not a nuclear physicist. I was a little surprised as his posts dont seem to come from an analytcial perspective. Thank you SO much for your post which I DID understand (my background is not physics but I am used to reading technical documents!) and have copied and pasted into a word document to go through in more detail. I will also follow your recommendation to do some extra research. I did some back in March/April to do with the operation of nuclear power stations, measurement of radiation emissions and different types of isotope - its starting to become a new hobby for me!

Like all reasonable parents I am concerned for my childrens safety. I am not freaking out or panicking, and trying to let both sides of the fence ("flyjin" and "head in the sand") wash over me, while I try to actually establish some facts based on what little reliable information is actually out there. I dont trust the government. Their lack of credibility has already been proven over and over. I am relying on very kind and patient people such as yourself to share their knowledge with me - and it is MUCH appreciated.

We are moving towards a decision now, which looks along the lines of staying but avoiding Japanese-grown food as far as possible until more facts are established. My husband cannot easily find a job in my home country, and I dont want to take the kids away from a father who adores them unless I absolutely have no choice. Their health comes first, but that includes psychological health.

Anyway - just wanted to say thank you for the great information, and please continue posting pertinent data. I for one am finding it really helpful. Thank you also for my fabulous excuse for struggling with Kanji which I will definitely be using from now on!! ;) Good luck with your PhD! Seems to me that by being here you are getting the opportunity to bridge the gap between theory and application!

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The beef is fine. Fine nough to eat. Ask your hubby, he still wants more doesn't he? I bet he had Yoshinoya for lunch today though as you won't serve him any. Way to go!

Which beef are you talking about? The one that is contaminated?? Go ahead and try it if you have the guts to get the chunk of tainted beef—at your own risk. I reckon you don't care how it tastes and affects your health, though.

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Johannes Weber,

Thank you for injecting some sanity into this thread. You know that many people throughout Japan, both Japanese and foreign, are making some tough decisions right now in response to this nuclear crisis, some of which include major changes in life plans or lifestyle. In order to make informed decisions, we need unbiased people like yourself to share your knowledge with us. Keep up the good work.

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@Ichiichi, Japan has always prided itself on their safe and superior domestic food supply. In the years I have been here, I have heard countless times about the dangers of Chinese vegetables, US beef, the overuse of pesticides used on foreign fruit, seen days of TV coverage about slight food regulation infringements causing company presidents to bow and weep in repentance.

For the media and Japanese to say now that a little radiation won't hurt anyone is absolutely incredible!!!

Also, the fact that foreigners are the only ones worried is not true. I know plenty of Japanese people who now can't trust the government, Tepco, and now many have come to the conclusion that if they want true reporting, they can't rely on TV.

Anyway, the fact that foreigners are worried more than Japanese disproves your point more than anything! Foreigners were worried that the situation at Fukushima was worse than it was reported -and they were proven right. They were worried about the possibility that food (including beef) had been tainted - and they were right. If you are Japanese, you should actually been very embarrassed that your country was not able to stop farmers from sending cows all over Japan. As Japan is saying regarding the shinkansen accident in China, "mono kuni de wa arenai".

The fact is that the government hasn't ensured that food in Japan is within the safety standards it has set. That is not good -right? Whether that will mean that people will get cancer and die is beyond my medical knowledge. But, if there were an nuclear plant accident like this in Oregon, and cows and vegetables were sent all over the country and there were labeling scandals, the Japanese media would be covering it in a mad frenzy. At the very least, you wouldn't see the government going there and eating strawberries and telling people to support the American farmers, and you wouldn't get Japanese people saying it's probably okay.

You must be a super right winger or something. Most foreigners here love Japan or they wouldn't be here. They just want the government to ensure it's food safety for their sakes and the sakes of their and the Japanese friends children. That should be simple to understand.

For what it's worth, I drink Tokyo tap water and still eat out, so I'm not panicking. But, I and my Japanese wife think it's prudent to not eat Japanese beef, and other products as much as we can. A few minutes of second hand smoke won't kill me either, but I prefer to have clean air for me and my kids. Is that so hard to understand?

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should have been "kono kuni". re the train accident, I have seen many times on TV "this accident could never happen in Japan". Well, people from many countries think the beef scandal couldn't possibly happen in their country either.

But, it's not really being over critical. On the contrary, I think japanese are amazing. that's what's frustrating. The country that had the shinkansen running way back in 1964, and can produce so many great products has awed the world with it's ability. So, it should be handling the Fukushima problem so much better. And it can!

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Well said Yasukuni

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For those interested in a good news source I'd also advise You to take a look at this JapanTimes article:

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110728n2.html

I think it is a very good source of information. Please note that the ban of Shitake gets extended to other areas. Mushrooms tend to accumulate heavy metals, as I said before. Therefore, this extension probably won't be the last. So have an eye for news about mushrooms and veggies and well, take care.

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@Weber:

In March, no one could foresee how bad the nuclear disaster would turn out in the end.

I, me. beg to differ. Completely. Totally. Actually. Factually. Read it as it is from Day Zero. As DID and do many posters on here. You are very late to this scene.

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@YongYang:

I am late since I started reading JapanToday just two weeks ago. I relied on Japan Times and foreign media before.

You might have misunderstood my comment: I am surprised that things didn't turn out far worse. I believe that Japan was very lucky. Other wind directions, further quakes, tsunamis or typhoons might have aggravated the matter seriously.

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Thank you Johannes Weber. I used to teach at your school. I know a few people who claim to know a lot of physics who discount a lot of what you say, and yet what you say is borne out by reading Dr. Koide Hiroaki or Kodama san, the radiological isotope specialist who accused the gov this week of acting irresponsibly. There is a tremendous amount of disinformation out there, exposed by the Guardian about the British Gov plotting with their nuclear industry there (and suggesting working with their resident METO rep) to lie about the initial crisis and protect their business investments.

I can only control that some of the so-called experts are either misinformed or deliberately trying to mislead when they say all is well. As for Ichiichi's beloved press in Japan, as they are all members of the KISHA clubs, their reports are identical and handcrafted by METI.

There is nothing automatically good about the foreign press. On subjects like Iraq or Afghanistan, you will find censorship and unanimity of opinions from most of the media. But on Fukushima, they have less reason to squash a story. Sure, Sun/Mirror style scare stories are to be avoided, but we have the likes of Japan based journalist David McNeil here, and his reports are trustworthy.

Note too the Japanese government has just been criticized by the Japan Bar Association for trying to monitor anti nuclear posts and intimidate people with opposing views/information. In this context, we have to be on the lookout for so-called "trolls" who pop up whenever criticism appears and try to make light of it, or use pseudo science to try to make the nuclear industry (which has a long history of coverups) come out smelling like a bed of roses. If I can post a link or two, I will try..not sure if they are allowed.

The bar association condemnation http://www.nichibenren.or.jp/activity/document/statement/year/2011/110729_4.html with JAPAN TODAY user translation http://www.japantoday.com/member/view/the_STIG

Also good to read/view are these:

Head of Radio Isotope center at Tokyo University attacks government for threatening the lives of kids in Fukushima, talks about internal radiation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dlf4gOvzxYc&feature=youtu.be

The Truth About Nuclear Power: Japanese Nuclear Engineer Calls for Abolition http://japanfocus.org/-Koide-Hiroaki/3582

Bureaucrat tells Fukushima resident he does not know if they have rights equal to others Japan killing its own citizens http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVuGwc9dlhQ

More links at my facebook page...ask me there if you want to read (guess you have to befriend). Or check out tokyoprogressive.org. Lots of other good sources around, such as peace philosophy center, http://fukushima.greenaction-japan.org/

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