Day 349 Getting the word out

If you are in the UK, you might be able to watch this:

Inside the Meltdown

Episode image for Inside the Meltdown


International investigative documentary series. When a tsunami struck Japan in 2011, it swamped the Fukushima nuclear complex causing nuclear meltdown and releasing radiation that ultimately would leave hundreds of square miles uninhabitable, and cost a hundred thousand people their homes.

With unique footage and powerful eyewitness testimony from key figures in the drama – the engineers in the plant, firemen, soldiers, pilots, tsunami survivors, the Japanese prime minister and even the MD of the company operating the plant – Inside the Meltdown reveals what really happened in the extraordinary days after the tsunami as a disaster unfolded that Japan’s nuclear industry said would never happen.

It tells the story of workers inside the plant’s pitch-dark, radio-active reactor buildings desperately trying to stop reactors exploding as radiation levels rose inexorably. ‘In the control room people were saying we were finished,’ says one. ‘They were saying it quietly but they were saying it.’ It meets the helicopter pilots who desperately dropped water from above the radioactive cores, and the firemen who braved radiation to spray water onto melting nuclear fuel. ‘We chose all the over 40s’, their chief tells the programme. ‘These were the guys who were not going to be having any more children.’

Inside the Meltdown also reveals the tensions between the plant’s owners and an increasingly distrustful Japanese prime minister, struggling to get at the truth of what was happening, fearful the owners planned to abandon the plant. He reveals his experts at one point warned he might need to evacuate vast areas of Japan, even the capital Tokyo. ‘That first week, we walked a razor thin line,’ he tells This World.




Two announcements of events held in the U.S.:

The USC Center for Japanese Religions and Culture is pleased to present:

CJRC Lecture Series Luncheon
A Discussion About Japan’s Path To Recovery Based On Volunteer

By Scott Wilbur Ph.D. Student (Politics and International Relations),
USC School of International Relations

Location: East Asian Seminar Room (110C), Doheny Memorial Library
Time: 12:30 PM-2:00 PM

Scott Wilbur is a first-year student and Provost Fellow in USC’s
Political Science and International Relations Ph.D. program. Prior to USC, Scott completed a BS in Foreign Service at Georgetown University and a MA in Political Science at National Taiwan University. His research interests include Japanese political economy and Asia-Pacific regionalism, and his most recent work focuses on the domestic determinants of Japan’s trade policy.
In December 2011 Scott spent ten days in the coastal town of Minami Sanriku-cho in Miyagi Prefecture volunteering with the Japanese branch of Caritas, an international Catholic charity organization. On March 11, 2011, tsunami wreaked tremendous damage on Minami Sanriku-cho, claiming the lives of over 500 people, flooding half the town’s residential areas and leaving as many as 9,000 inhabitants without shelter. Scott’s talk
will be based on his volunteer experience in Minami Sanriku-cho, and will be followed by a discussion on how the town and Japan as a whole are recovering from the 3.11 disasters.

This event is free and open to the public. Lunch and refreshments will be provided!
Please RSVP to

Kana Yoshida
Center for Japanese Religions and Culture
USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
825 Bloom Walk, ACB 130D
Los Angeles, CA 90089-1481
Tel. (213) 821-4365

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CONF Lessons of Fukushima, Feb. 24-25, 2012

From: Cecily McCaffrey <>

a symposium for education, collaboration, inspiration

February 24-25, 2012
Paulus Lecture Hall, Rm. 201, Law School
Willamette University

Sponsored by:
Center for Asian Studies, Willamette University
Center for Sustainable Communities, Willamette University
with the assistance of the Government of Canada
avec l’appui du gouvernement du Canada

This event is free and open to the public. The proceedings will be viewable via a live stream (all times PST) at:

Friday February 24

Opening ceremony: 3:00-3:15 pm

Marlene Moore, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Willamette University

Opening remarks
Hon. Takamichi Okabe, Consul General of Japan

Keynote address: 3:15-4:30 pm

The 3.11 Disaster and Japan’s Environmental Past: Placing Fukushima in the Context of the Anthropocene
Brett Walker, Regents Professor, Montana State University

Panel: 4:45-5:45 pm

The Impact of the Fukushima Disasters on the Japanese People
Moderator: Linda Tamura, Willamette University School of Education

Impressions on Recovery in Northeastern Japan
Carol Skowron, Senior Program Officer for Japan, Mercy Corps

Children and Education in Fukushima after 3.11
Katsuya Endo, Tokyo International University

Saturday February 25

Panel: 9:00-10:30 am
Information Flows and Risk Analysis in the Aftermath of the Crises
Moderator: Steve Maser, Atkinson Graduate School of Management, Willamette University

Poor Risk Communication surrounding the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster: The Importance of Citizen Participation
Pablo Figueroa, Waseda University

Lessons From Fukushima: Governments and the Media Will Deceive the Public and Withhold Vital Information, Leaving Citizens to Create Informal Information Sharing Networks
Majia Holmer Nadesan, Arizona State University

What is at Risk?: A Perspective from Fukushima
Yoko Ikeda, Independent Scholar

Panel: 11:00 am -12:30 pm
North American Perspectives on the Fukushima Disasters
Moderator: Gunnar Gunderson, Tokyo International University of America

“Freeze Our Fukushimas”; Why We Must Permanently Close the GE Mark I Boiling Water Reactors
Paul Gunter, Beyond Nuclear

From Fukushima to the Great Lakes Basin
Anna Tilman, International Institute of Concern for Public Health
co-author Lisa Rumiel, McMaster University

Fallout from Fukushima: Nuclear Contamination and the Environmental Rights of Children
Warren Binford, Willamette University College of Law

Panel: 1:45-3:15 pm
Personal experiences of 3.11: One year later
Moderator: Cecily McCaffrey, Willamette University

Out of Fukushima: Friends
Brianna Harris, Independent Scholar

Immediate Experiences of 3.11
Kenneth Hendricks, Willamette University
Atsushi Yoshida, Willamette University/Tokyo International University

Witnessing the Aftermath of 3.11
Emily Abraham, Willamette University
Heather Hurlburt, Willamette University

Closing remarks 3:15-3:30 pm
Ronald Loftus, Director of the Center for Asian Studies, Willamette University




Stricter limits on radiation in food to start April 1 in Japan

In this March 24, 2011 file photo, farmer Sumiko Matsuno, left, and her friend harvest carrots on her farm to eat since she fears no one will buy them with the radiation fallout in Fukushima. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

In this March 24, 2011 file photo, farmer Sumiko Matsuno, left, and her friend harvest carrots on her farm to eat since she fears no one will buy them with the radiation fallout in Fukushima. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Japan will enforce stricter limits on radioactive cesium found in food, which come between one-20th and a quarter of the current provisional limits depending on food categories, from April 1 when the new fiscal year begins, the health ministry formally decided on Friday.

The new ceilings, which will come more than a year after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant crippled last March began leaking radiation, are set at 100 becquerels per kilogram of cesium for regular food items such as meat, vegetables and fish, 50 becquerels for milk and infant food, and 10 becquerels for drinking water.

Article continues at:




Panel thinks fast-breeder reactor not realistic option for 20-30 yrs

The experimental nuclear reactor Monju is seen in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, on Nov. 17, 2011. (Mainichi)

The experimental nuclear reactor Monju is seen in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, on Nov. 17, 2011. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — A panel of experts reviewing Japan’s nuclear fuel cycle policy in the wake of last year’s nuclear accident agreed Thursday that while a fuel cycle involving a fast-breeder reactor has some advantages, it cannot be considered as a realistic option for the next 20 to 30 years from a technological viewpoint.

Article continues at:




23,300 Bq/Kg of Radioactive Cesium from a Mix of Wet Soil and Dead Leaves in Mizumoto Park in Tokyo

(Sorry, you can’t just multiply the number by 65 and compare it to the Chernobyl evacuation level. Read on to find out why.)

The Mizumoto Metropolitan Park is located in the eastern Tokyo with elevated radiation levels. The Communist Party delegation of Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, who has done the survey of radiation levels in Tokyo from very early on in the nuclear crisis, released the result of the latest survey in one of the Metropolitan parks in Tokyo.

The survey found 23,300 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium from a wet mix of dirt and dead leaves in one location in the Mizumoto Park in Katsushika-ku, Tokyo (No. 4 location in the table posted below).

The delegation did three tests at this location with 2 samples taken on February 15. The third test was done on February 18 by combining the two samples taken on February 15 and tested on February 16 and 17.

It may be important to note that the Communist Party delegation tested the top 1 centimeter of the soil, and the top 1 to 2 centimeters of the soil and dead leaves mixture. The measured numbers may therefore be higher than the samples taken from the top 5 centimeters, which is a normal procedure in the government tests.

To derive “becquerel/square meter” from “becquerel/kg”, you multiply “becquerel/kg” number by 65, but that only applies if the soil is taken from the top 5 centimeters. (Ibaraki Prefecture’s measurement page as reference, here.)

Article continues at:




Japanese Magazine “Sensationalizes”: “Thyroid Cancer Suspected on Two Children Aged 4 and 7”

One of the major Japanese weekly magazine, Shukan Bunshun has a sensational article on its latest issue about thyroid “cancer” in children who evacuated from Fukushima. Let’s see if the Japanese MSM and the government attack the publisher for “fear-mongering”, just like they reflexively do for the “international” media.

The article on the magazine’s 3/1/2012 issue is available only in print. The following is what little I gathered from tweets including the photo of the printed article in Japan:

Serious abnormalities found in 11 evacuees from Fukushima Prefecture
4-year-old and 7-year-old may have “thyroid cancer”
Medically impossible nodules and cysts…
Shunichi Yamashita, Vice President of Fukushima Medical University emailed “Do not test them.” (Title of the Bunshun article)

Reporting by “Oshidori Maco”, comedian who’s been reporting on the Fukushima accident since last year, and particularly supporting people of Iitate-mura.

7-year old girl had 8 millimeter nodule on her thyroid. The nodule was found with microcalcifications [which may be a sign of cancer]. Her 2-year-old sister also had 2 millimeter nodule with microcalcifications. The doctor who examined them said “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Article continues at:




Asahi Source: Locations in Chiba came under heavy nuclear fallout; Borders Tokyo — Contamination has potential to affect ecosystems

Title: Cesium concentrations vary in river, lake sand around Fukushima

Source: AJW by The Asahi Shimbun
Author: TAKASHI SUGIMOTO, Staff Writer
Date: Feb 24, 2012

Concentrations of radioactive cesium at the bottoms of rivers and lakes vary widely, but include some with the potential to affect ecosystems, according to Environment Ministry studies on water systems. […]


waterborne radioactive cesium […] of 7 becquerels per liter [was] detected in a river in Fukushima Prefecture.

[Note: 7 Bq/L = 7,000 Bq/m3; The highest concentration of cesium found during the much-publicized research trip headed by Ken Buesseler is 4,000 Bq/m3]


dry sand […] reading was 11,100 becquerels per kilogram along the Nanakitagawa river in Sendai.

Ibaraki and Chiba

Some rivers in Ibaraki and Chiba prefectures also showed high readings. They mostly coincide with locations that came under heavy nuclear fallout from the Fukushima No. 1 plant, the sources said.

Gunma and Tochigi

Sand beneath ponds and lakes in some mountainous areas of Gunma and Tochigi prefectures produced relatively high readings. Cesium likely flowed in from the surrounding woods, where radiation levels are high.

Read the report



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