“Betraying” Their Own People … “Akin to Murder”
The New York Times reported last August:
The day after a giant tsunami set off the continuing disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, thousands of residents at the nearby town of Namie gathered to evacuate.
Given no guidance from Tokyo, town officials led the residents north [to] a district called Tsushima …. The winds, in fact, had been blowing directly toward Tsushima — and town officials would learn two months later that a government computer system designed to predict the spread of radioactive releases had been showing just that.
But the forecasts were left unpublicized by bureaucrats in Tokyo, operating in a culture that sought to avoid responsibility and, above all, criticism. Japan’s political leaders at first did not know about the system and later played down the data, apparently fearful of having to significantly enlarge the evacuation zone — and acknowledge the accident’s severity.
“From the 12th to the 15th we were in a location with one of the highest levels of radiation,” said Tamotsu Baba, the mayor of Namie, which is about five miles from the nuclear plant ….
The withholding of information, he said, was akin to “murder.”
In interviews and public statements, some current and former government officials have admitted that Japanese authorities engaged in a pattern of withholding damaging information and denying facts of the nuclear disaster — in order, some of them said, to limit the size of costly and disruptive evacuations in land-scarce Japan and to avoid public questioning of the politically powerful nuclear industry.
It turns out that the Japanese government gave the information to the U.S. military … but hid it from its own people.
ABC Australia notes today:
Japan has been accused of betraying its own people by giving the American military information about the spread of radiation from Fukushima more than a week before it told the Japanese public.
The mayor of a Japanese community abandoned because of its proximity to the Fukushima nuclear plant has told AM the government’s actions are akin to murder.
An official from Japan’s science ministry, which was in charge of mapping the spread of radiation, has acknowledged to AM that perhaps the public should have been told about the dangers at the same time the US military was informed.
While the people of Namie and the Japanese public as a whole were not getting any clear idea from their government about the possible spread of radiation, the Americans were.
Just three days after the tsunami crushed the Fukushima nuclear plant, Japan’s science ministry handed over computer predictions about the radiation dispersal to the US military.
Itaru Watanabe from the science ministry … admits that maybe that same data should have been shared with the public too.
“According to the government panel investigating the disaster, the information about the potential spread of radiation could have been given to the public,” he said.
Mr Baba [the former mayor of Namie] accuses the Japanese authorities of abandoning his village by withholding information and leaving his community at the mercy of unseen radiation.
“It’s not nice language, but I still think it was an act of murder,” he said.
The Canadian Medical Association Journal accused the Japanese government of “lying through its teeth”.
Canada and the U.S.
The Canadian and American governments haven’t done much better.
The Nelson Daily points out today:
The Green Party of Canada said despite public concern over fallout from the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Health Canada failed to report higher than normal radioactive iodine levels in rainwater.
The Greens have been calling for Canada to increase transparency around possible radioactive contamination in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
“We were worried that this important information would not reach the public and unfortunately, it looks as if we were right,” said Green Leader Elizabeth May, MP for Saanich Gulf Islands in a written press release.
It has now been revealed that data were not released from a Calgary Health Canada monitoring station detecting levels of radioactive iodine in rainwater well above the Canadian guideline for drinking water.
This isotope was known to be released by the nuclear accident and also showed up in tests in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Ottawa. Lower levels of contamination resulted in a don’t-drink-rainwater advisory in Virginia.
“Serious questions are arising about how Health Canada tests for radiation, and why it has failed to properly alert the public,” said May.
“We find out now that monitoring appears inadequate, Health Canada data does not agree with that from independent researchers, and no information is making its way to the public.
“In effect, Health Canada has not allowed Canadians to take any preventative steps to reduce our exposure to this radiation.”
NPR (and see this) Bloomberg, USA Today and KUOW note that top-level whistleblowers say that extremely unsafe conditions at Oregon’s Hanford nuclear facility may cause a plutonium explosion leading to “dire” consequences. Whistleblowers have been severely punished in an effort to cover up the dangerous conditions.
And as I wrote last month:
American and Canadian authorities have virtually stopped monitoring airborn radiation, and are not testing fish for radiation. (Indeed, the EPA reacted to Fukushima by raising “acceptable” radiation levels.)
Indeed, the core problem is that all of the world’s nuclear agencies are wholly captured by the nuclear industry … as are virtually all of the supposedly independent health agencies.
So the failure of the American, Canadian and other governments to test for and share results is making it difficult to hold an open scientific debate about what is happening.