Thank you friends.
Thank you friends.
A freelance journalist questions why major media in Japan don’t report the truth of the areas affected by 3.11 earthquake and tsunami. The media are rather focusing on Fukushima. It looks like the tsunami disaster is a thing in the past in the media.
If I had lost my daughter at her elementary school due to tsunami, and if I had found her body somehow, I would have desired to know how she had died and how she couldn’t have survived. I would have kept crying until I found the truth. I would have had many kinds of why? questions repeatedly.
More than 20 thousand people died or are still missing. This means there are 20 thousand stories about the “truth” of the deaths. The above article in Japanese criticizes the major Japanese media are not trying to investigate the truth although because it is supposed to be the mission of the journalism. As a result, we are not able to learn fully from the disaster.
For example, if my daughter had died at the school without giving me any evidence that she had tried to escape, I’d have questioned why she hadn’t. I would need to know whether her teacher had been told by the municipality the tsunami wouldn’t reach my daughter’s school. If this had been the case, this could have prevented my daughter and her friends from escaping. I would have definitely needed to know the truth of my daughter’s story.
I’d fully agree with the journalist. Almost every day, I am looking for any reports/articles which tell us the truth of the disaster. And I find almost nothing. This is one of the reasons why I cannot update this site more frequently.
Sidestepping a little bit, in this article, he describes a scene soon after the tsunami.
In the hugely devastated field, there was a lady kneeling down. She was facing her two years old child, who was dead, removing mud from the child’s mouth, like how she brushed the kid’s teeth every single night.
Yeah, she needs to know the truth. Otherwise she cannot answer this question. What was the meaning of the child’s life?
A fantastic article on Tohoku region.
The aftershocks have sent tremors far beyond the areas directly hit by the natural disaster. But the widely accepted notion of a “triple disaster” of the earthquake, ensuing tsunami and nuclear crisis is a misconception, obscuring the fact that the afflicted areas had already been suffering from deep structural problems for decades.
Americans welcome in Japanese mothers, children whose lives were upended by triple disaster. A great read.
As a Japanese, I am very thankful for the support, and please to read very warm comments on the article.
It is known that back in March 2011, we had radioactive fallouts here in British Columbia which came from Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan. The media reported some people rushed to local pharmacies to get iodine pills, because they felt unsafe. At least, many people wondered if the fallouts were safe or not. Many people couldn’t figure out how they should have counteracted against them. Radioactive materials are invisible. They don’t affect your life immediately (unless you are right at the nuclear plant in Japan). They might or might not cause cancer in your future. It’s tough to decide what to do.
My answer to the question whether they were safe or not, or whether we should counteract against the radioactive materials is, in short, it’s your personal choice. Please don’t get upset by this answer. I will here provide you with four example choices. And will let you know what my personal choice is.
Choice 1. Radioactive materials are unsafe no matter what
Based on this choice, uranium, plutonium, radioactive iodine and all radioactive materials are thought to be bad, thus a logical decision would be we should escape from all of radioactive materials immediately. It could be your a choice.
One comment I would make on this choice. All human beings have radioactive materials in themselves. Why? In nature, there are many kinds of radioactive materials including Potassium 40 (K-40) which we all have in our cells. They are not produced in nuclear reactors nor atomic bombs. By eating potassium-rich foods such as bananas or sleeping next to your partner, you are exposed to a certain level of radiations. In rainy days, we observe higher levels of radiation in the air. Some of the radioactive materials in rain are from volcanos.
They have been there since the beginning of the history of the earth. I am not saying they are safe or not. We all live with them. And we have them. So, to tell you the truth, we cannot escape from all the radioactive materials.
Choice 2. Artificial radioactive materials are unsafe no matter what
It is true that radioactive materials used and produced in atomic reactors are different from the naturally existing radioactive isotopes. For example, iodine 131 (I-131), cesium 137 (Cs-137) and strontium 90 (Sr-90) are produced by nuclear reactions in atomic reactors. In fact, they have been detected in Japan after the explosions at Fukushima plant, and I-131 and Cs-137 were both detected in British Columbia, too.
It is also true that in our natural history on the earth, we had never met those artificial radioactive materials until recently. For example, our body doesn’t know iodine can be radioactive. As a result, radioactive iodine, if there is any especially in our food, we (especially younger people and infants) would absorb them into our thyloid grands. It can cause thyroid carcinoma (thyloid cancer), by emitting radiations right inside the thyloid gland.
For this reason, one might want to say “Artificial radioactive materials are unsafe no matter what” and might want to escape from all the artificial radioactive materials including those from Fukushima if there is any level of them. This could be your choice. If that is the case, you probably might want to constantly monitor readings at CTBT stations at least, and also pay attention to all the news and reports on radioactive contaminations in foods. And avoid all the foods contaminated at any level.
Choice 3. Know the radioactive level and its risk. Minimize the exposure based on individual circumstances
Disclosure. This is my personal choice after the Fukushima nuclear disaster
This is probably the toughest choice in the sense that one should make his/her own decision in assessing the impact of the radioactive level and make own balanced decision.
The choice 1 and 2 would be easy because of the nature of the choice - all or nothing. The choice 3, however, requires us to understand (1) what the radioactive level is (in the environment and foods), (2) what the risk of that level is, (3) how we could minimize the exposure, and (4) how we actually minimize it while balancing the minimization with possible benefits of no (or less) minimization action.
In order to keep this article compact, I will just mention about (3) and a bit of (4). I will come back to (1) and (2) in later article.
Unfortunately, once the radioactive materials which have already been released from Fukushima plant get dilluted throughout in the environment, there is no way to escape from them. If some of them are localized in a certain area, substances, a specific food or a specific period of time, there could be ways to minimize the contact by knowing the nature of the localization. I will give you two examples.
First example is mainly about time. It is known that Fukushima nuclear reactors in trouble are not releasing much radioactive materials to the atomosphere at the moment. They did much in March 12-16 and the radioactives reached here in British Columbia later in March, but not now. As far as no additional explosion (or quiet but huge release) happens, we won’t see the radiation increase in the atomosphere due to Fukushima. If it happens, it will take 4-7 days to reach here in British Columbia as we saw back in March. Therefore, keeping your eyes on what’s happening at Fukushima plant (probably daily) tells you when possible air contamination would reach us several days in advance. As of today, we are good.
So what if we see an explosion in Fukushima today? It is known that majority of radioactive materials are captured in rain. This localization information tells me it’s better not to let my children play outside especially in rainy days probably 4 days to 2 weeks after an explosion. After that, the radioactives will spread over the environment here and will get dilluted. As such, we can use the localization information in time and media.
The other example is about our sea. Unfortunately, Fukushima plant released a large amount of contaminated water to the ocean. Ocean currents will probably deliver some radioactive materials such as cesium 137 (Cs-137) within a year here in British Columbia, although it would be at a diluted level. Some migrant fish species travel Pacific Ocean, thus some fish might bring the contamination to here. It is still unknown which spiecies and whether they get contaminated, yet. Some researchers in U.S. and Japan are investigating this issue (please see this press release). Talking about the local fish here, 6 months later or so, by starting to monitor the contamination level in fish species, we will come to know what specific fish is to be avoided if any. By choosing what kind of fish we eat carefully, we can minimize the risk of radiation exposure while we benefit from rich and healthy nutiritions in the wild fish. We have time. As a seafood lover, I truely hope all of them are not affected.
I’ve just mentioned a couple of aspects out of four (what the radioactive level is, what the risk of that level is, how we could minimize the exposure, and how we actually minimize it while balancing the benefit and the risk) of Choice 3, and you see lots of work is required.
I personally feel I am comfortable because I have an understanding of what I am doing.
Choice 4. Ignore
This could be an extended conclusion of Choice 3. Unless you are working at Fukushima nuclear plant, the risk of radiation exposure is an increased cancer risk. You won’t get cancer in months. If you are not young, it will take 15-30 years until you find the cancer caused by the radioactive materials if any. If you are 70 years old, unless you are willing to survive over 120 years, ignoring the risk at least personally might be a choice.
As I said, I personally choose Choice 3. And this blog, as far as the nuclear disaster is concerned, will provide updates which are helpful for people who wish to choose Choice 3.
Followup story of Luna, at the age of 6 years old, who lost her mother and her house due to Tsunami.
If you attended the charity concert for Japan tsunami relief in Cowichan Valley, I know you remember who Luna is. If you didn’t, please just read the diary written by a nurse who was dispatched to the devastated area in an immediate medical response after the tsunami.
This is the article written by a researcher in natural disaster prevention I referred to during my talk at the concert.
If you attended the concert or if you’ve seen any picture of the affected areas reported by the media, you probably know how devastated the tsunami disaster was. Countless people died. So, you might ask. Was it impossible to prepare for the tsunami?
This article will tell you it was and is possible. Education at elementary and junior high schools changed everything.