Japan Reacts to Fukushima Crisis By Banning Journalism

Japan – Like the U.S. – Turns to Censorship

2 weeks after the Fukushima accident, we reported that the government responded to the nuclear accident by trying to raise acceptable radiation levels and pretending that radiation is good for us.

We noted earlier this month:

Japan will likely pass a new anti-whistleblowing law in an attempt to silence criticism of Tepco and the government:

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is planning a state secrets act that critics say could curtail public access to information on a wide range of issues, including tensions with China and the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

The new law would dramatically expand the definition of official secrets and journalists convicted under it could be jailed for up to five years.

In reality, reporters covering Fukushima have long been harassed and censored.

Unfortunately, this is coming to pass. As EneNews reports:

Associated Press, Nov. 26, 2013: Japan’s more powerful lower house of Parliament approved a state secrecy bill late Tuesday […] Critics say it might sway authorities to withhold more information about nuclear power plants […] The move is welcomed by the United States […] lawyer Hiroyasu Maki said the bill’s definition of secrets is so vague and broad that it could easily be expanded to include radiation data […] Journalists who obtain information “inappropriately” or “wrongfully” can get up to five years in prison, prompting criticism that it would make officials more secretive and intimidate the media. Attempted leaks or inappropriate reporting, complicity or solicitation are also considered illegal. […] Japan’s proposed law also designates the prime minister as a third-party overseer.

BBC, Nov. 26, 2013: Japan approves new state secrecy bill to combat leaks […] The bill now goes to the upper house, where it is also likely to be passed.

The Australian, Nov. 25, 2013: Japanese press baulks at push for ‘fascist’ secrecy laws […] Taro Yamamoto [an upper house lawmaker] said the law threatened to recreate a fascist state in Japan. “This secrecy law represents a coup d’etat by a particular group of politicians and bureaucrats,” he told a press conference in Tokyo. “I believe the secrecy bill will eventually lead to the repression of the average person. It will allow those in power to crack down on anyone who is criticising them – the path we are on is the recreation of a fascist state.” He said the withholding of radiation data after the Fukushima disaster showed the Japanese government was predisposed to hiding information from its citizens and this law would only make things worse. […] The Asahi Shimbun newspaper likened the law to “conspiracy” regulations in pre-war Japan and said it could be used to stymie access to facts on nuclear accidents […]

Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan president Lucy Birmingham: “We are alarmed by the text of the bill, as well as associated statements made by some ruling party lawmakers, relating to the potential targeting of journalists for prosecution and imprisonment.”

Activist Kazuyuki Tokune: “I may be arrested some day for my anti-nuclear activity […] But that doesn’t stop me.”

Lawrence Repeta, a law professor at Meiji University in Tokyo: “This is a severe threat on freedom to report in Japan […] It appears the Abe administration has decided that they can get a lot of what they want, which is to escape oversight, to decrease transparency in the government by passing a law that grants the government and officials broad authority to designate information as secret.”

U.S. Charge d’Affairs Kurt Tong: It’s a positive step that would make Japan a “more effective alliance partner.”

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: “This law is designed to protect the safety of the people.”

See also: Japan Deputy Prime Minister talks about “learning from the Nazis” — Previously said to let elderly people “hurry up and die” (VIDEO)

Rather than addressing the problems head-on, the Japanese government is circling the wagons.

Unfortunately, the United States is no better. Specifically, the American government:

As we noted 6 months after Fukushima melted down:

American and Canadian authorities have virtually stopped monitoring airborne radiation, and are not testing fish for radiation. (Indeed, the EPA reacted to Fukushima by raising “acceptable” radiation levels.)

***

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.

Earlier this year, the acting EPA director signed a revised version of the EPA’s Protective Action Guide for radiological incidents, which radically relaxed the safety guidelines agencies follow in the wake of a nuclear-reactor meltdown or other unexpected release of radiation.  EPA whistleblowers called it “a public health policy only Dr. Strangelove could embrace.”

As we noted right after Fukushima happened, this is standard operating procedure for government these days:

When the economy imploded in 2008, how did the government respond?

Did it crack down on fraud? Force bankrupt companies to admit that their speculative gambling with our money had failed? Rein in the funny business?

Of course not!

The government just helped cover up how bad things were, used claims of national security to keep everything in the dark, and changed basic rules and definitions to allow the game to continue. See this, this, this and this.

When BP – through criminal negligence – blew out the Deepwater Horizon oil well, the government helped cover it up (the cover up is ongoing).

The government also changed the testing standards for seafood to pretend that higher levels of toxic PAHs in our food was business-as-usual.

So now that Japan is suffering the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl – if not of all time – is the government riding to the rescue to help fix the problem, or at least to provide accurate information to its citizens so they can make informed decisions?

Of course not!

The EPA is closing ranks with the nuclear power industry ….

Indeed, some government scientists and media shills are now “reexamining” old studies that show that radioactive substances like plutonium cause cancer to argue that they help prevent cancer.

It is not just bubbleheads like Ann Coulter saying this. Government scientists from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratories and pro-nuclear hacks like Lawrence Solomon are saying this. [Update.]

In other words, this is a concerted propaganda campaign to cover up the severity of a major nuclear accident by raising acceptable levels of radiation and saying that a little radiation is good for us.

Any time the results of bad government policy is revealed, the government just covers it up rather than changing the policy.

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  • Tonto

    The problem with these secrecy sorts of laws is that they are not meant to be enforced. Enforcing them creates martyrs out of dissident journalists. These laws are instead meant to make everyone think twice, including the owners of media establishments, and their advertisers. A reporter is far more likely to lose a job, and be blacklisted, than to ever be prosecuted.

    As for the media shifting the truth paradigm of the scientific status quo by reporting that radiation is actually beneficial, well… Science is like this. Look at Fluoride in the drinking water. This is nothing new. It’s just gotten much bigger and far more pervasive. Whatever is science is, it is ultimately a reflection of our fame-and-fortune-seeking, self-interested human nature.

    Clearly, if we all look around objectively, human beings are not compatible with science. The belief in the scientific process is a suicidal belief system. All modern man’s woes relate directly to problems that have arisen from science and the poisonous byproducts of science. In that sense, science is dead.

    Welcome to the 21 Century. It’s not going to be just feudal. The 21st Century is going to be a century of belief-and-conduct-taboos. The book burning has already begun at all our local libraries. Don’t believe it? Just go look at what is on the shelves of your library today. And then ask you town’s librarian, what happened to all the good books?

    All the good books have been destroyed, and replaced with politically correct books that tow the line.

  • Randa

    Indeed Tonto. Science is one big fat lie. So much of what we are fed that is supposed to have “scientific” basis makes absolutely no sense whatsoever when you think deeply about it. They change everything to suit their stupid plans. Even the Akashic records have been tampered with.

    We live in a world where there is no Truth. If you decide to speak Truth to something ~ anything ~ be prepared to get your head chopped off.

    I feel sorry for Japan. Tepco is like a cat chasing its tail. The censorship by the Japanese government is to keep the cat from going completely bezerk. Japan should know that there is 100% leakage of ALL the nuclear reactors in USA as well. For goodness sake, don’t they know that the cat is well and truly out of the bag?

    • worldscam

      Best line ever.. you said the ONE truth in the world: We live in a world where there is no Truth– America is even worse- with the most CORRUPT President/Administration and Propaganda/Socialist Media in American history. It’s a pathetic world out there.

  • yo

    That’s really sad, because Japanese people are very wonderful and friendly people. And their government is no doubt learning from their Imperialist American buddies.

  • Joe

    Characteristic of facism government

  • markii

    Theres one thing missing, and its dirty play. Activists are being employed, suzuki even- to get the wider world onto the cleanup/remediation,…all the online avast protest and sites are mustering protesters to make this happen. What is little reported is the clauses woven into this maneuvre. The blame/costs/liability is to be shifted from the manufacturer to the operator. ie GE and the yanks who made these fukashimas, get off scot free, and the japs liable for tepco, have to sign up for wht might be one thousand years of cleaning up globally….this is enought to sink an Island, a population even. If WW2 started out of the bankers screwing Germany for WW1 reparations, the bankers smell blood again and are looking to make it Japanese,not yankee blood, and if they ride them into WW3 as they did after WW1,..all the more profits. The director/shareholder/boards of the makers of these reactors must be running shit scared. They should be, and they should be a lot more careful in future, so too the insurers-Berkshire Hathaways….Shameless to use the same anti nuke activists previously derided to off load the liability onto dumb bunnies Japan. We need to clean up for sure, but the liability – makers- shouldnt get out of this easy, the go on to sell thousands more half thought out reactorshimas….

  • Melissa

    Jesus this scares the crap out of me. If our governments don’t step in to help, who will??!! Tepco is displaying pure corruption and I hope Karma bites them in the ass, exposing their errors. This whole ban on journalism disgusts me. Society has the absolute right to know the truth and to protect themselves in any way they can, leaving time to evacuate areas if necessary. If our governments are just as secretive as Tepco, journalism is all we have. I’m hoping (if it hasn’t been done already) that people who own high quality radiation detection devices capable of reading levels in food, start reporting their findings on forums and websites. This way we can determine what foods to avoid, and where the worst areas reside.

  • http://aigarius.com/blog/ Aigars Mahinovs

    While concern about silencing the media has its merits, the radiation histeria is quite pointless. The radiation in food limits are 100-1000 times lower than they can really be without any risk to people consuming those products daily. Except bananas – they have high natural radioactivity and thus their standarts are only ~5-10 times lower than any reasonable limit. There is no real proof than non-fatal amounts of radiation cause cancers. For example there are countires in the world where natural background radiation is 100 times higher than in most of Europe and USA and yet there is no cancer epidemic there. Even immigrants from other places get no more than normal cancer rate. There are countries where people have always lived in higher radiation that is 1 km from Fukushima without any problems.
    The point of very low limits of radiation on food is to detect anomalies. Say, the dangerous level of something is 1000 parts per billion. Normally there is only 4-5 parts per billion. So you set the testing limit to 10 parts per billion. Not because that would be dangerous, but because that would be unusual and it would be prudent to check further where did that come from.
    Now if there is a global even that ups the normal from 4-5 to 7-8 parts per billion, it is only sane to up the testing limit to 15 or even 20 parts per billion so you get less false-positives to investigate and you’d actually have a chance of catching something strange when it happens.

    • Kevin Hagen

      you are a complete idiot. please educate yourself before you make such absurd statements. or better yet fog volunteer to do some volunteer work for the heart surgery patients (the children) of Chernobyl.

      • http://aigarius.com/blog/ Aigars Mahinovs

        There is no link between the nuclear accident and children heart conditions. Children in ex-USSR area have had far less medical atention for decades and that show in all kinds of diseases, but none of that is specific to Chernobyl area or started after the accident or in any way related to the accident. The Chernobyl Children Charity just exploits the nuclear fears to get more support. It is a good cause (AFAIK, it might be just a corrupt money grab – those are very prevalent in post Soviet space), but it simply uses the accident to focus people atention to completely unrelated issues in the area. Just as well it could have been a Chernobyl Pothole Charity.

 

 

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