**Tokyo doctor urges fellow doctors to promote radiation protection — World Network for Saving Children From Fukushima

” A Tokyo doctor who has moved to western Japan urges fellow doctors to promote radiation protection: A message from Dr. Mita to his colleagues in Kodaira, Tokyo

Doctor Shigeru Mita, who recently moved to Okayama-city, Okayama prefecture, to open a new clinic there, wrote a short essay in the newsletter published by Association of Doctors in Kodaira, metropolitan Tokyo. Although the target readers for this essay were not the general public, it has been cited in a weekly e-mail magazine published by journalist Kota Kinoshita, who has been organizing actions to urge people to leave radiation affected areas (including Tokyo) since 3.11, 2011.

On many occasions, public talks and gatherings, both Dr. Mita and Mr. Kinoshita have acknowledged the danger of radiation and they have called out for immediate action for radiation protection.

In November 2013, WNSCR translated an essay that Dr. Mita wrote for parents concerned about radiation: (read the article here). Despite the interests of many parents in Japan, there are very few doctors who show serious concern on the issues of radiation, and commenting on the issue publicly is even rarer.

It is the opinion of WNSCR that Dr. Mita’s views have significant meaning for the general public, especially for those who are interested in the health impact of radiation on the general population. We have permission to translate a new essay of Dr. Mita, through Mr. Kinoshita

Why did I leave Tokyo?
Shigeru Mita ( Mita clinic)

To my fellow doctors,

I closed the clinic in March 2014, which had served the community of Kodaira for more than 50 years, since my father’s generation, and I have started a new Mita clinic in Okayama-city on April 21.

I had been a member of the board of directors in the Kodaira medical association since the 1990’s, the time I started practicing medicine at my father’s clinic. For the last 10 years, I had worked to establish a disaster emergency response in the city.

In Tokyo, the first mission of the disaster response concerns how to deal with earthquakes.

In the event of a South Eastern Earthquake, which is highly expectable, it is reasonable to assume a scenario of meltdown in the Hamaoka nuclear power plant in Shizuoka prefecture, followed by radiation contamination in Tokyo.

I have been worried about the possibility of radiation contamination in Tokyo, so I had repeatedly requested the medical association, the municipal government and the local public health department to stock medical iodine. However, every time my request was turned down; the reason given was that Tokyo did not expect such an event. Hence there was no plan for preparing for the event.

In the afternoon of March 11, 2011, Tokyo experienced slow but great motions in the earthquake. I thought, “now this is what’s called long-period seismic motions. The South Eastern Sea earthquake, with the following Hamaoka NPP accident, are finally coming”. Instead, the source of the earthquake was in Tohoku. The temperature of the reactors in Fukushima Daiichi NPP rose and it caused massive explosions, followed by meltdowns and melt-through.

It is clear that Eastern Japan and Metropolitan Tokyo have been contaminated with radiation.

Contamination of the soil can be shown by measuring Bq/kg. Within the 23 districts of Metropolitan Tokyo, contamination in the east part is 1000-4000 Bq/kg and the west part is 300-1000 Bq/kg. The contamination of Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine, is 500 Bq/kg (Ce137 only). West Germany after the Chernobyl accident has 90 Bq/kg, Italy has 100 and France has 30 Bq/kg on average. Many cases of health problems have been reported in Germany and Italy. Shinjuku, the location of the Tokyo municipal government, was measured at 0.5-1.5 Bq/kg before 2011. Kodaira currently has 200-300 Bq/kg contamination.

I recommend all of you to watch the NHK program, “ETV special: Chernobyl nuclear accident: Report from a contaminated land”, which is available on Internet. I think it is important to acknowledge what people who visited Belarus and Ukraine, and heard the stories of the locals, have seen and felt there, and listen to those who served in rescue operations in Chernobyl in the past more than 20 years.

Their experience tells them that Tokyo should no longer be inhabited, and that those who insist on living in Tokyo must take regular breaks in safer areas.

Issues such as depopulation and state decline continue to burden the lives of second and third generation Ukrainians and Belarusians today, and I fear that this may be the future of Eastern Japan.

Since December 2011, I have conducted thyroid ultrasound examinations, thyroid function tests, general blood tests and biochemical tests on about 2000 people, mostly families in the Tokyo metropolitan area expressing concerns on the effects of radiation. I have observed that white blood cells, especially neutrophils, are decreasing among children under the age of 10. There are cases of significant decline in the number of neutrophils in 0-1 year-olds born after the earthquake (<1000). In both cases, conditions tend to improve by moving to Western Japan (Neutrophils 0–>4500). Patients report nosebleed, hair loss, lack of energy, subcutaneous bleeding, visible urinary hemorrhage, skin inflammations, coughs and various other non-specific symptoms.

Kodaira, in western Tokyo, is one of the least-contaminated areas in Kanto; however, we began to notice changes in children’s blood test results around mid-2013 even in this area. Contamination in Tokyo is progressing, and further worsened by urban radiation concentration, or the effect by which urban sanitation systems such as the sewage system, garbage collection and incineration condense radiation, because contaminated waste is gathered and compressed. Data measured by citizens’ groups showed that radiation levels on the riverbeds of Kawabori River in Higashiyamato and Higashimurayama in Tokyo have increased drastically in the last 1-2 years.

Other concerns I have include symptoms reported by general patients, such as persistent asthma and sinusitis. The patients show notable improvement once they move away.

I also observe high occurrences of rheumatic polymyalgia characterized by complaints such as “difficulty turning over,” “inability to dress and undress,” and “inability to stand up” among my middle-aged and older patients. Could these be the same symptoms of muscle rheumatism that were recorded in Chernobyl?

Changes are also noticeable in the manifestation of contagious diseases such as influenza, hand-foot-and-mouth disease and shingles.

Many patients report experiencing unfamiliar symptoms or sensing unusual changes in their bodies. Perhaps they feel comfortable speaking to me, knowing that my clinic posted signs informing of possible radiation-related symptoms immediately after the nuclear accident. Many young couples with small children and women worried about their grandchildren visit my clinic and earnestly engage in the discussion, and there is not a single patient who resists my critical views on the impacts of radiation.

Ever since 3.11, everybody living in Eastern Japan including Tokyo is a victim, and everybody is involved.

We discovered that our knowledge from the discipline of radiology was completely useless in the face of a nuclear disaster. The keyword here is “long-term low-level internal irradiation.” This differs greatly from medical irradiation or simple external exposure to radiation. I do not want to get involved in political issues; nonetheless, I must state that the policies of the WHO, the IAEA or the Japanese government cannot be trusted. They are simply far too distanced from the harsh realities that people in Chernobyl still face today.

The patients from Eastern Japan that I see here in Okayama have confirmed the feelings that I have had for a long time, since I was based in Tokyo. People are truly suffering from this utter lack of support. Since 3.11, mothers have researched frantically on radiation to protect their children. They studied in the midst of their hostile surroundings in Tokyo, where they could no longer trust either government offices or their children’s schools. Family doctors were willing to listen about other symptoms, but their faces turned red at the slightest mention of radiation and ignored the mothers’ questions. Mothers could not even talk openly to friends anymore as the atmosphere in Tokyo became more and more stifled.

I believe that it is our duty as medical doctors to instruct and increase awareness among the Japanese public. This is our role as experts, having knowledge of health that the general public does not possess. Three years have quickly passed since the disaster. No medical schools or books elaborate on radiation sickness. Nevertheless, if the power to save our citizens and future generations exists somewhere, it does not lie within the government or any academic association, but in the hands of individual clinical doctors ourselves.

Residents of Tokyo are unfortunately not in the position to pity the affected regions of Tohoku because they are victims themselves. Time is running short. I took an earlier step forward and evacuated to the west. My fellow doctors of medicine, I am waiting for you here. And to the people in Eastern Japan still hesitating, all my support goes to facilitating and enabling your evacuation, relocation, or a temporary relief in Western Japan.

(Translation by WNSCR team) ”

SOURCE

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From atomic bombings to Fukushima, Japan pursues a nuclear future despite a devastating past; For Fukushima’s displaced, a struggle to recover lives torn apart by nuclear disaster — Democracy Now!

Part 1: From atomic bombings to Fukushima, Japan pursues a nuclear future despite a devastating past

In this first video, Amy Goodman interviews Sophia University Professor Koichi Nakano and David McNeill, Tokyo-based journalist and author of Strong in the Rain: Surviving Japan’s Earthquake, to discuss the implications of Shinzo Abe’s visit to Yasukuni Shrine and the new state secrets bill, the current Japanese administration’s shift toward nuclear power, the safety concerns of Tokyo Electric’s decontamination, decommissioning and spent fuel removal process, the recruiting of Japanese homeless workers, and the health concerns with exposure to radiation and consuming contaminated fish.

The video and full transcript is available HERE.

Part 2: For Fukushima’s displaced, a struggle to recover lives torn apart by nuclear disaster

In this second video, Amy Goodman interviews Atsushi Funahashi, director of Nuclear Nation, a documentary about the refugees of Futaba, a small town where part of the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant is located.

The segment starts at 46:35. View the video HERE.

Part 3: Former mayor of Futaba talks about Fukushima refugees; Safecast founder records radiation levels

In her third interview series, Amy Goodman interviews the former mayor of Futaba, Katsutaka Idogawa, to discuss the plight of the town’s citizens and his opposition to nuclear energy. She also interviews several anti-nuclear activists who have been protesting in front of the Japanese prime minister’s official residence as well as Pieter Franken, founder of safecast.org, a volunteer organization that independently monitors radiation levels throughout the streets of Japan.

Fukushima information starts at 11:00 in the video HERE.

Japan lacks decommissioning experts for Fukushima — Phys.org

” Japan is incapable of safely decommissioning the devastated Fukushima nuclear plant alone and must stitch together an international team for the massive undertaking, experts say, but has made only halting progress in that direction.

Unlike the U.S. and some European countries, Japan has never decommissioned a full-fledged reactor. Now it must do so at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant. Three of its six reactors melted down after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, making what is ordinarily a technically challenging operation even more complex.

The cloud over Japan’s capacity to get the decades-long job done has further undermined the image of the nuclear industry with the public. Opinion surveys show a majority of Japanese are opposed to restarting 50 reactors that were put offline for safety and other checks in the aftermath of the disaster. Japan has been forced to import oil and gas to meet its power needs, burdening its already feeble economy.

“Even for the U.S. nuclear industry, such a cleanup and decommissioning would be a great challenge,” said Akira Tokuhiro, a University of Idaho professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering who is among those calling for a larger international role at Fukushima.

Decommissioning a nuclear power plant normally involves first bringing the reactor cores to stable shutdown, and then eventually removing them for long-term storage. It is a process that takes years. Throughout, radiation levels and worker exposure must be monitored.

At Fukushima, there is the daunting challenge of taking out cores that suffered meltdown, which is the most dangerous type of nuclear power accident. Their exact location within the reactor units isn’t known and needs to be ascertained so their condition can be analyzed. That will require development of nimble robots capable of withstanding high radiation.

The lack of experts is worse at the regulatory level. The tally is zero.

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority has no one devoted to decommissioning, said spokesman Juntaro Yamada, though it has experts dealing with the ongoing removal of fuel rods from one of the Fukushima reactor units.

Its predecessor organization was criticized after the Fukushima disaster for being too close to the nuclear industry, so the members chosen for the new agency launched last year don’t have direct ties to the industry to ensure their objectivity.

The government-funded Nuclear Energy Safety Organization, which is to be folded into the regulatory authority to beef up its expertise, has one expert on decommissioning, a person who studies overseas regulations on the process. The group mainly helps with routine nuclear plant inspections, but since the 2011 catastrophe has been involved with bringing the Fukushima plant under control.

In contrast, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has 10 people devoted to decommissioning including four project managers, four health physicists, and a hydro-geologist. It says it has the equivalent of more than 200 years of experience in decommissioning and has overseen the termination of 11 power reactors and 13 research reactors.

France has decommissioned nine reactors, and its regulatory agency has seven decommissioning experts at the national level, and 10 more at the local level.

Lake Barrett, a retired nuclear engineer who took part in decommissioning Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island after the meltdown of its reactor core in 1979, was hired as a consultant by Fukushima operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. He visits about once a year or so to give advice, and is not assigned daily to the job.

The cleanup at Fukushima would be more difficult than Three Mile Island because the damage is more numerous, involving three reactors instead of one, and more serious because of the greater damage from the bigger explosions.

Barrett said one reason he wanted to help Fukushima was that Japanese engineers had helped out at Three Mile Island. He had asked about their whereabouts but got no answers. He fears they are all retired or working in other industries.

“The most challenging area is skilled nuclear engineers and managers that can plan, integrate and communicate effectively in Japanese,” he said.

Japan’s nuclear program started later than the U.S. and it has scrapped only a small test reactor. Five reactors are in various stages of decommissioning, including two experimental reactors and three commercial ones.

The furthest along is Tokai Power Station’s No. 1 reactor, which is 15 years into a planned 22-year process. About 70 experts are working on the decommissioning, but the experience gained with Japan’s oldest reactor is not directly transferable to Fukushima.

The decommissioning of two reactors similar to Fukushima’s began in 2009 at Hamaoka nuclear power plant west of Tokyo, but it is in the early stages and is expected to take nearly 30 more years.

It took until August this year, nearly two and half years after the tsunami, for Japan to set up the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning, to bring together ideas, both inside and outside Japan, on Fukushima decommissioning and encourage communication.

Tokuhiro, who has more than 20 years in the nuclear design and safety fields, calls it a step in the right direction but too small, given the huge task at hand. The organization acknowledges much remains to be done, including responding to unprecedented challenges that will require the development of robotics and other new technology.

Tokuhiro is advocating the creation of an international team to help Japan, including those with experience at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl in the Ukraine.

“It is clear that this very large undertaking requires an international effort,” he said. “It is in the spirit of a global nuclear energy partnership.” ”

source

Japanese government’s anti-whistleblower crackdown

Dear Kitty. Some blog

This video is called The Fukushima Syndrome – Japan.

While the Fukushima disaster gets worse and worse, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan spends time and money not on stopping that terrible threat to health and environment, but on reviving militarism and destroying civil liberties.

From Asahi Shimbun in Japan, 27 August 2013:

KUWAIT CITY–Prime Minister Shinzo Abe emphasized that proper attention will be paid to journalistic rights as his administration pushes to have a state secrets protection bill submitted to the Diet during the autumn session.

Oh yeah, hard liner Shinzo Abe‘s public relations talk aiming to make people sleepy, while he prepares to erode freedoms.

A project team of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party was expected to enter earnest discussions on the state secrets protection bill on Aug. 27.

The Abe administration’s plan, which would set prison terms of up to 10 years for government employees…

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