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Radioactivity: Japan's invisible enemy within

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By Karyn Poupée

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© 2012 AFP

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A pity that people (all around the world) are so paranoid and ignorant about such a small risk.

-34 ( +11 / -44 )

@Japan_cynic

Perhaps, if the government and the scientists of the nuclear establishment had taken this issue seriously instead of just sweeping it under the rug directly after (hell even before) the accident. There could be discussion based on facts today. But the trust has been broken, and it wasn't the people (all around the world) who broke it.

28 ( +30 / -4 )

A pity that people (all around the world) are so paranoid and ignorant about such a small risk.

Soo, are you willing to inhale cesium, strontium, etc? Good luck.

16 ( +22 / -5 )

SquidBert you took the words right out of my mouth.

If the government had appeared to be on top of this, if not from the start then as soon as they were reasonably able, AND disseminated reliable, truthful information, this issue would not exist now. They have done the suppliers MORE harm in the long term as people now cant trust what they are being told.

That said, most people I know now have given up and are just shrugging their shoulders and buying whatever they want these days. Any sense of fear is now over and "shou ga nai" once again reigns supreme.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

I live in Japan, and people just don't seem to care. There is no information of the news, and governments seem to focus on things such as taking Chinese islands and winning the olympics, while and invisible force is killing everyone. The Japanese government, while rich, is socially corrupt as North Korea

15 ( +24 / -8 )

By contrast, there are any number of agents - cancer, AIDS and auto accidents, to name three - that claim millions of victims every year but do not inspire that same kind of terror. People still smoke, practise unsafe sex and climb into their cars every day.

Weird how JT slipped this pro-nuclear paragraph in; and quite right too. Add airplanes to the list.

After the accident, the government raised the tolerable limit of contamination to 500 Bq of caesium per kilo, following international emergency guidelines.

But consumers did not fail to see that products that previously would have been tossed in the rubbish as potentially toxic were now on the grocery shelf.

This i didn't get... how come international guidelines would recommend the limit to be raised? I thought the more Bq the worse, no?

...while and invisible force is killing everyone.

Wow, Mr Sneider, you're a poet. When's your next book due?

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

@Bob Sneider,

I live in Japan, and people just don't seem to care. There is no information of the news, and governments seem to focus on things such as taking Chinese islands and winning the olympics,

It seems we are reaching the final cycles of the nuclear establishment PR-machine earlier than I expected. See my post from Mar. 08, 2012 - 09:53AM JST at:

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/future-of-nuclear-power-brighter-than-ever-despite-fukushima

Regarding your,

while and invisible force is killing everyone.

I think your heart is in the right place, but statements like this will only set you up for being bashed by the "Fear-Mongering bat" of your opponents. The truth is scary enough.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

So, Bekumiru is about waving a geiger counter above the food? Is that how it's done now? That was a sarcastic question, I know it's not. Might as well wave a thermometer. Or a magic wand in big circles screaming "Expecto Patronum!".

How about some control measurements? Test is reliable only when it's proven as such, ideological declaration in those lines is simply not enough to make the test accurate.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"In the case of Japan especially, such gut-level reactions are overlaid with historical knowledge of both the atom’s terrible power and the unpredictable conditions under which it can be unleashed."

If this were the case, there wouldn't have been such a rush to not only embrace nuclear energy, but to DOMINATE in the market. I realize it's more the bottom line than anything that the government and electric companies are worried about, but if it's so 'ingrained' in the Japanese mentality, why is there even talk about restarting the reactors at all?

Anyway, TEPCO still goes on running while the image of 'made in Japan' continues to slide lower than most of its Asian counterparts. Thank nuclear power, people.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Partial meltdowns?!? Yeah, right. Wow! Is this site sponsored by the nuclear industry or what? You forgot to mention eating hotdogs is worse for you than radiation too.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

0.2 mSv is lower than most countries. I often get this and a bit higher here in Setagaya, and also down near Enoshima. However, I find hot spots all over the place. 2.4 mSv Has been the highest, and that is not healthy. The sad thing is that in the dust I was measuring, there were little kid shoe prints and animal prints.

What to avoid in my opinion is this. Water runoff areas from flat roof buildings. Gutters with dust and dirt. Keep away from people sweeping the streets, or at least be upwind from them.

Testing food is hard, but testing the boxes is easy. Go behind your food store and test inside the boxes. If there is dust and dirt in say a potato box, you can check it.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

By contrast, there are any number of agents - cancer, AIDS and auto accidents, to name three - that claim millions of victims every year but do not inspire that same kind of terror.

This will surely surprise you, but the main concern with ingesting radioactive isotopes is...wait for it...cancer! Cancer does not belong on the list because it is precisely what people are terrified of when the topic is radiation. Seriously, duh!

AIDS? I am terrified of it. Some people choose not to have sex for this reason. Its why I choose my partners carefully and wear condoms. Is there a condom to avoid radioactive materials?

Auto accidents? Some people choose not to ride in cars for this reason. Its why seatbelts and airbags were invented. Crash safety is a key selling point of the BMW. Are there seatbelts, airbags and roll bars for radioactive materials?

When it comes to radioactive materials, we are buck friggen naked. We cannot even see the stuff! We can't trust the government and we cannot trust TEPCO. We cannot trust farmers and Japan Agriculture either. All the above lie and put money above all, except maybe the farmers, but they don't know anything about nuclear materials is their problem.

Plus this whole situation is brand new. We have no precedent to go on except for the lies. We are naked. Of course we are scared!

10 ( +10 / -2 )

When it comes to radioactive materials, we are buck friggen naked. We cannot even see the stuff! We can't trust the government and we cannot trust TEPCO. We cannot trust farmers and Japan Agriculture either. All the above lie and put money above all, except maybe the farmers, but they don't know anything about nuclear materials is their problem.

Can you trust MIT scientists who published a report saying that mice exposed to a 400 times increase of background radiation suffered no damage to their DNA?

-6 ( +5 / -10 )

What gets really irritating is when people - such as this writer - label everything as "radiation", like it is all one thing. You cannot compare an X-ray with background radiation with nuclear fallout - they are completely different animals. Check out the "RBE" (Relative Biological Effect) on any reputable website and then tell us the effect on the human body of a molecule of radon gas versus a particle of strontium.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Are there seatbelts, airbags and roll bars for radioactive materials?

No, but there are equivalents for NPPs. As it has been shown, had security measures been followed to the letter (and they always should be when dealing with this technology) and this disaster could've been avoided, or largely mitigated.

As you point out, the problem is corruption of those who should be responsible. Maybe shift responsibility to the local communities where the NPPs are? They're the most motivated in making sure everything is running according to spec, no? Just a suggestion.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

JapanGal,

0.2 mSv is lower than most countries.

0.2 mSv/hr is actually higher than most countries. http://www.jnto.go.jp/eq/eng/04_recovery.htm#measure

1 ( +6 / -4 )

Yes. AEON tests but that is only certain foods and randomly. It is an image builder but that is about all...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Vesperto, the temporary raising of radiation limits after the disaster, was probably recommended to prevent food shortages that might happen if suddenly all food was deemed 'unsafe'. The reasoning is hinted at in this article -- radiation doesnt automatically guarantee a death sentence after ingesting one bequerell of radiation; the increased risk comes after a whole bunch has accumulated. The 'raised' limits were selected to be such that even if food with that level was eaten continuously for a year it shouldnt raise the danger risk (according to the knowlege they had about increased cancer risks); knowing that most people wouldnt be eating those foods continuously, and in the case of things like water, the limits were set low enough that even daily consumption wouldnt cause issues. Once a stable food supply could be ensured, they reduced the limits back down to what they were, to prevent further accumulation.

Interesting to note that the 'raised' limits were supposed to be similar, if not lower than many western countries have for standard limits.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Chris: My notation was wrong. I should have used uSv/h

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Oh dear, that last post sounds almost anti-fear mongering/pro-government. I can see many negative points coming my way...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@originalusername makes sense, thanks.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

They have reason to be skeptical. After the accident, the government raised the tolerable limit of contamination to 500 Bq of caesium per kilo, following international emergency guidelines.

Yeah, and it's going to get worse according to this guy,

http://www.cringely.com/2012/05/24/the-next-japanese-nuclear-accident-its-inevitable-will-be-even-worse/

who seems to know a hell of a lot more about the situation than anyone in the J-gov...

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

The Japanese have an insane plan to burn whatever they can and concentrate the problem! The result will be to spread it all over Japan eventually. Unless radioactive substances are shielded and contained then we all face a continual poisoning of our environment that will go on for many many years.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Of course the govt is incompetent. Most govts around the world would have screwed up to some extent, and this is Japan, after all.

Given that, people need to educate themselves, and the media needs to help, rather than feed paranoid fantasies.

The fact remains, that the risks to the general population are basically negligible. Yes, I'm happy to eat food with negligible quantities of caesium. I'm not paranoid, and (for example) the mercury in seafood is certainly a larger, though still very small, threat. I don't lose any sleep over it.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Please check out the situation with regard to the mayor of Kita Kyushu - Kenji Kitahashi. Trucks with radioactive were openly filmed entering a Kita Kyushu incineration plant. The incineration process will concentrate the radiation whereupon it will be stored where exactly?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Trucks with radioactive

Do you mean trucks with tsunami debris?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Yes....

Trucks with radioactive debris.....

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Love the negative ratings on my comment on MIT's recent findings. I'm sure that the scientists there will feel a bit down that their 'peers' don't agree with their findings...

I'm sure that they'd appreciate some comments though, so they could understand what they did wrong...

3 ( +5 / -2 )

So, not radioactive debris then. Tsunami debris from Ishinomaki, Miyagi. Now I see.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Heda, don't worry, people are stupid enough to ignore reviewed articles and believe actors and politicians instead.

I think the article should add that there have been almost 50 times the car related deaths in Ukraine than number of cancer cases due to Chernobyl (95% of which were thyroid based, which has a 100% survival rate when caught at stage 1 or 2 (and a staggering 70% at stage 4)) . I.E. don't drive a car if you are afraid of radiation exposure killing you.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

I'm all for keeping the negative, fear mongering rhetoric down, however that doesn't solve the real problem that there is a difference between RADIATION, and what a major part of this article touches on without making it clear of course; RADIOACTIVE ISOTOPES getting in to our bodies, and a % staying inside, getting absorbed into muscle, bone etc., pretty much forever (strength reducing by half over time dependent on the type).

Great set of educational Videos about Radiation & Isotopes: http://www.ionactive.co.uk/multi-media_video.html?m=6

I wish people would stop assuming ambient Radiation levels (reading such as can be picked up by a Geiger counter - only certain types and most models are woefully inadequate at detecting much at all unless you are right next to a major source) with the potential for DNA & cell damage associated with ingesting Radioactive isotope particles, so that we could all learn more about the real level of danger posed by consuming food that has absorbed any level of radioactive particles.

How do animals get unsafe levels of radioactive isotopes inside them? By consuming tainted foods primarily such as the Rice straw the contaminated Beef consumed and larger fish, consume smaller fish, that have consumed plankton/smaller organisms which have absorbed the particles.

It's straight logic: We're animals too, consuming animals & plants which could be contaminated - how is a discussion about the ambient radiation in Austria or Hong Kong, or a return flight to the US, relevant to a discussion about whether or not we and our children more to the point, are consuming particles that could sit inside our bodies potentially malforming cells over the years, some of which may become cancerous.... Have you seen what Kodama-sensei says about it? Prof. Tatsuhiko Kodama historic speech (English transcription) http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sivad/20110730/p1

At the end of the day it's binary for the average person with realistic choice - if you don't believe it's safe with current levels of information at hand, you should consider leaving. But consider overall danger to your life by making the change, then impact to other areas of your life after that.

Moving some places could increase risk to you & your families health and well being. Moving somewhere else could have an large impact on your income, quality of life & family relationships etc.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The threat is more than radiation and fossil fuels are another source. Think about this, Japan is downwind of China and all of their coal burning plants. Then there is the industrial pollution of the past and present. There is no escape from the industrial waste and all of this concentration is taking the heat off of the true threat.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

reading about this made me remember the kraftwerk song radioactivity

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Here is the URL of the MIT study on ambient radiation exposure mentioned by Heda http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info%3Adoi%2F10.1289%2Fehp.1104294 and here is an article criticising the study (not meaning to take sides) http://www.simplyinfo.org/?p=6081

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Interesting rebuttal and far too technical for me, but it does make a change to have both sides covered on this forum!

Incidentally, the MIT research echoes what Wade Allison said a few years ago. There's also the data from Hiroshima/Nagasaki which goes someway to support their findings.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Albert Einstein - 1946

"The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe."

Say no more!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

By contrast, there are any number of agents - cancer, AIDS and auto accidents, to name three - that claim millions of victims every year but do not inspire that same kind of terror. People still smoke, practise unsafe sex and climb into their cars every day.

I am just as terrorized by the thought of any of the three mentioned above. This point doesnt resound with me at all.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

... and I dont smoke, have unprotected sex with strangers and drive very very carefully.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

JT thank you for an article representing the opinions of those who have not given in to paranoic fear. And please continue to present the situation from several viewpoints, not only one, regardless of what many forumers here may call you.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

You have to have you're own sense of what is good for you and yours, don't judge how others are, just do as you do and live that way. We have zero tolerance and act accordingly, we don't rant and rave, just quietly get on with it. A Japanese mother put us onto various sites, including this one: http://www.safetyfood.co.uk/ja-JP/

Make your own choices, live free.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

There"s only one acceptable level for radiation in food. If it can be measured, it's contaminated.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

zichi, then stop eating. Every food contains radiation. Bananas and other fruit have high levels of Potassium (K40), and even the human body gives off an average of 4.4kBq in radiation from K40 alone. There's also C14 (carbon dating isotope) in practically anything (plants and those that eat plants or eat those that eat plants), and both are detectable with a simple geiger counter.

The WHO acceptable radiation levels are actually five times LESS stringent than Japan's (which means that the "emergency" levels are the average levels the WHO released). In fact, many food sources in Japan can't be used due to naturally occurring radiation, which is quite a shame considering the high price for food here.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

@valued_customer

When it comes to radioactive materials, we are buck friggen naked. We cannot even see the stuff! We can't trust the government and we cannot trust TEPCO. We cannot trust farmers and Japan Agriculture either. All the above lie and put money above all, except maybe the farmers, but they don't know anything about nuclear materials is their problem.

The above statement is so unsettling, that I cannot help but say the following. In my home country, there is a saying that we judge the others by our own values and beliefs. Meaning that your inability to trust somebody is based on the fact that, given the chance, you might/would lie to that person in the same manner in which you believe they are lying to you. Sorry, I know that some organizations in Japan cannot be trusted but you do not trust anybody at all - I wonder why is that?

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Depends at what level the equipment is set to measure at. NDA can be 'below 50 becquerel s' at 49 and be deemed NDA... Utter nonsense to suggest it's 'safe'. Again the “It’s safe fallacy” dismisses the reality of a life time’s exposure to low levels of highly toxic, cacogenic isotopes. The detail is in the level of measurement

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@basroil

Cs is a small concern for anyone, it was mostly released into the sea and will be absorbed into the surrounding rocks quite easily. As long as the seas don't turn to acid, we won't need to worry about it. If they do, we have much bigger concerns than the tiny increase in radiation.

That would contradict the information released by Professor Yukio Hayakawa from Gunma University?

http://kipuka.blog70.fc2.com/blog-entry-418.html

He also warned about eating vegetables from eastern Japan based on his own map.

http://www.kananet.com/fukushima-osenmap/fukushima-osenmap-english1.htm

4 ( +5 / -1 )

There"s only one acceptable level for radiation in food. If it can be measured, it's contaminated.

Zichi, for someone who often appears to write informative and useful posts, you sometimes say the most ridiculous things.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

@japan_cynic,

If you take Zichi's statement to mean non naturally occurring isotopes (which I am sure is what he meant), he is not ridiculous just cautious.

Taking the whole radiation debate out of it. Let's take the heavy metal, mercury as an example. How much mercury would you say was an acceptable level for daily foodstuff? I know many people who would answer that question by, -Zero. No reason why people should not be able to say the same for radio active heavy metals.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@basroil

zichi, then stop eating. Every food contains radiation. Bananas and other fruit have high levels of Potassium (K40), and even the human body gives off an average of 4.4kBq in radiation from K40 alone. There's also C14 (carbon dating isotope) in practically anything (plants and those that eat plants or eat those that eat plants), and both are detectable with a simple geiger counter.

The WHO acceptable radiation levels are actually five times LESS stringent than Japan's (which means that the "emergency" levels are the average levels the WHO released). In fact, many food sources in Japan can't be used due to naturally occurring radiation, which is quite a shame considering the high price for food here.

Please be sensible in your comments. I was preferring to contamination in foodstuffs caused by the nuclear disaster. Radioactive Cesium is not normally found in food. The gov't introduced stricter rules for radioactive cesium in foodstuffs, lower than international standards, I still the best standard is zero.

zero contamination by radioactive cesium makes the picture very clear and very easy for farmers to remember. If it can be measured, it's contaminated.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Yeap, as serious as this radiation contamination is...no one really cares about this boring story anymore. It's now move on and wait see down the road kind of thinking. Sad.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

"People still smoke, practise unsafe sex and climb into their cars every day."

I must be the ultimate worrier. I don't smoke, don't even practice SAFE sex with strangers, and I climb into my car everyday assuming there's an idiot on every road. Not only that, but even before March 11, I chose not to live close to nuclear power plants.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Aeon’s “zero tolerance” policy was at first met with howls of protest by suppliers in affected areas, but they came around to the idea that it was the only way to reassure a nervous public, he said.

That's the most sensible position to take. The gov't mishandled the information following the 3/11 disaster, which caused fear and panic.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Any simpleton arguing for a limit of "zero" deserves to get laughed out of the room.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Seems to me the Korean j-gov wants to poison the Japanese people and scare them into buying more Korean goods. The image of made in Japan is sliding because most everything sold outside Japan isn't. It's developed with Japanese high-tech and manufactured with foreign middle-tech. It's about time Japan's innovative companies are allowed to use their alternative energy technologies, but of course the gov restricts that from happening, only 1%. What needs to go is the zaibatsu and chaebol of the rich, blood connected political families..

For the sake of the children and babies, Japanese citizens should petition to increase food supplies from Mexico and Canada if they don't want domestic produce.

Some people here talk with such arrogance and criticize Japan and its reliance and use of nuclear energy but look at the usa and it's histories of nuclear contamination. California's Rocketdyne laboratories nuclear disaster is rather recent in terms of radioactive lifetimes and a recent accident at San Onofre near San Diego has many californian's asking questions. We live in the nuclear age and until humankind matures and becomes responsible for their actions and inventions we are bound to repeat history in places the world over. To single out Japan is narrow minded.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Radioactive cesium was detected in 51 food products from nine prefectures in excess of a new government-set limit in the first month since it was introduced on April 1, according to data released by the health ministry on Tuesday.

The limit was exceeded in 337 cases, or 2.4 percent of 13,867 food samples examined by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

Cesium exceeding the previous allowable limit of 500 becquerels per kilogram was detected in 55 cases, while the new limit of 100 becquerels was exceeded in 282 cases.

By prefecture, there were 142 cases in Fukushima, 69 in Tochigi, 41 in Ibaraki, 35 in Iwate, 32 in Miyagi, 13 in Chiba, two each in Yamagata and Gunma, and one in Kanagawa.

Mushrooms and other agricultural products containing cesium in excess of the tougher limit were involved in 178 cases, while 156 cases pertained to fishery products such as flat fish and bass. In addition, two cases involved black bear meat and one case fried stone moroko.

http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20120502p2g00m0dm016000c.html

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Aeon’s “zero tolerance” policy was at first met with howls of protest by suppliers in affected areas, but they came around to the idea that it was the only way to reassure a nervous public, he said.

That is a little more than slightly amusing given the chain admitted early on in the disaster that they sold contaminated food that exceeded even the government limit. Funny how short of memory people have when patting the likes of this company on the back for their stance.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

NDA can be 'below 50 becquerel s' at 49 and be deemed NDA... Utter nonsense to suggest it's 'safe'.

Yet its perfectly ok to suggest it will definitely cause cancer? Truth is that the majority of published data shows that it doesnt cause a measurable increase in cancer rates, hence the limits being where they are.

In this day and age we have a 45% chance of getting cancer before we die (http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CancerBasics/lifetime-probability-of-developing-or-dying-from-cancer). Internal exposure to levels far above what you would get by eating food even at the elevated restrictions, is supposed to have a 2% increase in the chance of getting cancer. Thats from 45 to 47% (for men).

Of course, we all want to avoid any extra chances of getting cancer, but it isnt a black or white picture - eat one leaf of fukushima spinach, definitely get cancer. Many of us take the risk with alcohol and drinking much more than the 'glass of red wine a day' healthy limits. It is about risk vs reward - i choose not to stress about it, and rather enjoy life. I dont ask for the origin of every ingredient of the food i order in restaurants, but if i am shopping i will occasionally glance at the origin of the food.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Outlaw nuclear plants, and we'll never have to face this problem. Again. Ever. So, this must be done.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

That's the most sensible position to take. The gov't mishandled the information following the 3/11 disaster, which caused fear and panic.

By the way, I fully agree that the J-Gov was inept in their disaster handling after 3/11, and that they have proven time and again that they cannot be trusted. However, I'd like to point out that there were more mis-information spread from baseless rumours than from the government, which caused the fear and panic, mostly. Of course, if the government had actually been truthful, the rumours would never have been empowered to cause fear and panic.

If everyone had believed the government's misinformation during 3/11, they would all be smiling and happy, believing that everything was fine - the fear and panic came from rumour mongers, not the government's information.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

if all food was labelled with it's level of radioactive cesium, would the public continue to buy contaminated foods even if it was below the legal standards?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

vinnyfav,

in the end, the truth is more easy to deal with than misinformation. The rumors only started because the gov't didn't release the full information and even made statements like "no danger to health?"

We don't need a gov't censoring what we need to know.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The area around the Fukushima plant is so contaminated with dangerous levels of radiation, prompted the gov't to state that no one will ever be allowed to live there again. This probably means the second Fukushima plant, which so close to having it's own meltdowns won't ever restart. People will not be allowed to return to areas inside the no-go zone with radiation levels greater than 50 millisieverts per year. Between 20 and 50 millisieverts, people will be advised not to return but will not be prevented from doing so. So much for the comment, the radiation was blown out to sea and will be absorbed by rocks?

All farming in Fukushima, east of Fukushima City should have been banned for five years. Then a system of testing and licenses introduced. More than 25 years after the Chernobyl disaster there are still more than 300 British farms required to test their produce before sending it to market.

More than 10,000 sq km were contaminated across nine prefectures. The largest area was in Fukushima with the highest levels of contamination.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Unfortunately, nobody is releasing any meaningful data on food product Cesium levels. Who is measuring anything? Let's see all the data. Given that the plant is still leaching hot water into the ground (and nearby coastal waters), the problem is still there.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This article is a virtual fish tank of pro-nuclear red herrings. Reading through this piece I wondered when the writer would get around to the following pro-nuke cliche: "Although we live bathed in a sea of background radiation, people treat any increment as a dire risk.” This from another questionable "expert."

It is indeed true that (to put it correctly) we bathe in a sea of natural background radiation. But it is not every day that the literal sea splashes us with man-made radioactive toxins.

This is what happened on 11 March last year and all the balm spread by Japan's nuclear mafia in an effort to downplay the real depth of the Fukushima disaster notwithstanding, the people's basic instincts for survival have won out.

You can avoid traffic accidents by not driving, lung cancer by not smoking and AIDS by not engaging in sex but you cannot stop eating. Hence the geiger counters. After all, whom in authority can you trust these days? Practically no one. You can, however, trust your geiger counter. Welcome to the Japan of today and the future.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The Japanese government do not care about the well-being of the people, that's been made clear by their conduct over the past year: lies, lies and more lies.

I hear that about half of the children at my son's former school are taking their own lunches to school now, no longer trusting the lunch the school prepares, and who can blame them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What a learned from this article is NOTHING

80% of the article informs us about Mass Hysteria Depending upon the individual Prolonged exposure to radiation IS HARMFUL.

I don't like to use movies as an example, but watch " Widowmaker "

Radiation can kill people instantly or it can have a slow death. In Japan we want to know the truth.

I want to KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO ALL THE EMERGENCY PERSONNEL THAT WENT INTO THE BUILDING AND WAS EXPOSED TO THE RADIATION. What happened to them ? I want to know.

I do not have the necessary knowledge or REAL FACTS about radiation. But I do know the difference. So called normal radiation: - - X Rays - Once a year or once every 2 or 3 years. Microwave oven - 2 - 6 times per week Airplane - 2x times a year ( total of 6-24 hours ) each trip Radiation used for cancer treatments Food & etc. - It's true the body can handle " normal " radiation to an DEGREE

FACTS: All of radiated water did go into the ocean, Japan has HOTSPOTS, radiation can last 30 - 50 years.

So it does have lasting effects on the human body good or bad. We're in a huge science experiment conducted by you know who.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I highly doubt these fake Geiger counters they sell on J Internet stores or Ebay are reliable. Come on, you can't just measure nuclear radiation from a single Geiger counter procedure. You have to measure radiation over time. Measuring radiation is not as simple as measuring the volume of water in a beaker. You need to be specialized in the field and use the real, expensive Geiger counters in order to measure radiation properly.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Oh boy! Another article by nuclear apologists! Comparing a dose of X Rays to the current situation is an old propaganda. People are getting smarter. And if you really believe in what you are writing, feel free to eat as much Cesium and Strontium as you want ... "all you can eat" , there is plenty! I am glad some of my friends in Fukushima cannot read English ... or they'd be pissed to read such a thing.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

so the WHO say their is no problem.

...what a editor driven instead of news driven non story to generate clicks etc..

3 ( +3 / -0 )

japan_cynicJUN. 04, 2012 - 07:42AM JST

A pity that people (all around the world) are so paranoid and ignorant about such a small risk.

-38? Congratulations!!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The main problem (and it is worldwide, not just in Japan) is that nobody is sure at what level the radiation in the environment becomes hazardous. We know levels that are DEFINITELY hazardous, and have been living with elevated background levels since the 1940's, but nobody is sure where the demarcation actually should be between "safe" and "hazardous". Compounding the difficulty is the fact that we get cosmic gamma rays passing through our body all the time. Even if all the background radiation on the planet was magically eliminated, the cosmic rays could still strike some DNA in our body and start cancerous cells forming. So which cancers were caused by Fukushima radiation, which were caused by cosmic ray radiation, and which ones were caused by cells that had lost all their telemerase and have corrupted chromosomes? We will never know, but I guarantee the general public in Tohoku will attribute ANY cancers from now on to the reactor disaster.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I have learned that what people fear the most, is the unknown. But take a trip to Nagano to the main temple, and there you can walk deep down, under the main altar area into and through a dark corridor that twists and turns until there is absolutely no light at all and you are supposed to just keep walking ahead into the completely pitch black abyss. Some people (like me) cheat a little and use their cellphone to shed a little light, but that misses the whole point of the short journey into that dark world. When you eventually find your way out, and start to detect light again, and manage to walk back up and out, if you take the time to find out what its all about, and ask a monk or priest there, they will tell you the lesson, which is this: place your trust in Buddha. You'll make it through. Surely people of other faiths can insert their own version of a deity or higher spiritual power, that can guide you even in the darkest moments. Maybe there will be help, even for people who like a frightened child, may cheat even a tiny bit. Trust but verify? I don't know. Same thing with radiation in rice, in the yellow dust from China, cesium in the seaweed and milk. Yes, it may seem really frightening. But, so what. We all will walk down that corridor. "Be not afraid."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I just totally gave up talking with some people. I have had so many arguments of people trying to tell me that the Fukushima meltdown wasn't as bad as Chernobyl and we needn't worry because the government is trying its best to help its people and the country, honestly, I have no idea why many people think that there is no need have cause of worry. As Steve Lingo or Daniel Kahl always put it, it's the foreign media that doesn't have a clue. They are THE EXPERTS so they should know more. I guess that means, it's business as usual.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Strange you should mention Daniel Kahl as he's recently started his own protest against the anti nuclear propaganda based on the research he's done.

Oh and the Fukushima meltdown wasn't as bad as Chernobyl. It's simply foolish for anyone to claim other wise.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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