RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment
Print

Boardman writes: "Japan has created a funhouse of distorting mirrors from which emerging information about the ongoing disaster cannot be considered credible without reliable, independent verification."

Workers in protective suits and masks wait to enter the emergency operation center at the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station. (photo: AP)
Workers in protective suits and masks wait to enter the emergency operation center at the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station. (photo: AP)


Japan's Response to Fukushima Should Worry Us All

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

12 January 14

 

American nuclear officials are wary of Japan’s new nuclear push

fficial Japanese policy on nuclear power has swung full circle since the Fukushima disaster of 2011 - from avidly pro-nuclear power then, to rejecting nuclear power as too dangerous, and now back to avidly pushing on to re-start old reactors and build new ones. Adding the chronic secrecy and denial of the nuclear industry to such politically-driven indecision making, Japan has created a funhouse of distorting mirrors from which emerging information about the ongoing disaster cannot be considered credible without reliable, independent verification. Reliable and credible information about Fukushima is just what authorities in Japan and around the world apparently do not want.

Before March 11, 2011, the Japanese prime minister was outspokenly in favor of Japan's pro-nuclear power policy. Then the earthquake and tsunami combined with nuclear design flaws to destroy four of the six nuclear reactors at Fukushima, causing the accident that has continued ever since. And Prime Minister Naoto Kan, immersed in responding to the crisis, shifted his view. He ordered another aging plant closed and announced a freeze on plans for any future nuclear plants in Japan. In July 2011, with his popularity at its lowest point, the prime minister called for Japan to reverse policy and end its dependence on nuclear power. With the passage of a renewable energy bill that he supported, Kan, 64, resigned at the end of August, although still the first prime minister since 2006 to serve more than one year (451 days; his successor served 481).

The present prime minister, Shinzo Abe, completed his first year in office on December 26, 2013 (he previously served for less than a year in 2006-2007, when he was the youngest Japanese prime minister since World War II). Prime Minister Abe has moved aggressively to expand Japan's reliance on nuclear power, even though the country has no nuclear waste repository and already has more than 14,000 tons of spent fuel in cooling pools at 50 nuclear plants around the country. During a visit to Japan in early December 2013, the head of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Allison Macfarlane, cautioned Japan about nuclear expansion as long as there's no place in the world to store nuclear waste safely.

Setting the stage for nuclear expansion, the prime minister in March 2013 had purged the membership of Japan's nuclear advisory panel of all but two of its anti-nuclear members who had supported Japan's non-nuclear energy policies. He reduced the 25-member panel to 15, of whom 13 are avidly pro-nuclear (some with bald conflicts of interest). The man chosen to head the panel, Akio Mimura, is an advisor to a company involved in nuclear construction, and he is the same man who headed a similar panel that shaped the policies that preceded the Fukushima meltdowns. Since then, all of Japan's nuclear reactors have been shut down. The prime minister is pushing to re-start them as soon as possible despite polling last fall showing 60% of the population in favor of a zero-nuclear proposal.

Could Fukushima Fallout Lead Japan to Nuclear Weapons?

Adding an unsettling edge to Japan's pro-nuclear policy, Prime Minister Abe has foreshadowed a growing Japanese militarism that has drawn outspoken disapproval from both South Korea and China, where the horrors of Japanese military occupation during the mid-twentieth century are far from forgotten. The offense Abe gave was to visit the 1869 Japanese Yasukuni Shrine that honors some 2.5 million war Japanese dead, 2.1 million of them from World War II, including more than 1,000 convicted war criminals. Once he was prime minister, Abe suspended visits to the shrine that had first caused him controversy in 2006. But in December 2013, Prime Minister Abe once again provoked an outcry with a visit to the shrine's war dead. In early January the Chinese government continued to reject back channel contacts on the issue, as a Chinese spokeswoman said that Abe "needs to correctly view and deeply reflect on Japan's militarist history of external invasion and colonialism, show sincerity and make concrete efforts to improve ties with neighboring countries." Even the United States expressed some concern: "The United States is disappointed that Japan's leadership has taken an action that will exacerbate tensions with Japan's neighbors."

Those neighboring countries are presumably even more wary of Japan because of its large stockpile of Plutonium (44 tons, enough for more than 6,000 Hiroshima-sized bombs), putting Japan much closer to having nuclear weapons than Iran and most other non-nuclear nations. Ironically, the last Japanese prime minister to cause offense by visiting the shrine, in 2006, is Junichiro Koizumi, who was once unquestioningly pro-nuclear, but is now a major proponent of a nuclear free Japan.

There is little comfort in knowing that the walls of secrecy Japan has been putting up around Fukushima and other nuclear power activities will surely make it harder to know what if any weapons programs the country undertakes. And there is even less comfort in knowing that no international body, no government, no non-governmental nuclear regulator is raising any active, public challenge to Japanese nuclear secrecy, civilian or military.



William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

e-max.it: your social media marketing partner
 

Comments   

We are concerned about a recent drift towards vitriol in the RSN Reader comments section. There is a fine line between moderation and censorship. No one likes a harsh or confrontational forum atmosphere. At the same time everyone wants to be able to express themselves freely. We'll start by encouraging good judgment. If that doesn't work we'll have to ramp up the moderation.

General guidelines: Avoid personal attacks on other forum members; Avoid remarks that are ethnically derogatory; Do not advocate violence, or any illegal activity.

Remember that making the world better begins with responsible action.

- The RSN Team

 
+36 # phrixus 2014-01-12 16:40
I read where the Japanese government has invoked their "State Secrets" act concerning the disaster "with the help of the United States." Why would the US want to assist the Japanese cover-up and why would they need our help to invoke their own SS Act?
 
 
+19 # RODNOX 2014-01-13 05:34
because that is what we have done here for years
 
 
+4 # jwb110 2014-01-13 12:38
Quoting phrixus:
I read where the Japanese government has invoked their "State Secrets" act concerning the disaster "with the help of the United States." Why would the US want to assist the Japanese cover-up and why would they need our help to invoke their own SS Act?

They want someone else other than TEPCO to foot the bill and the US seems to be in their sites.
 
 
+36 # WBoardman 2014-01-12 21:23
PHRIXUS --Perhaps what you read was from my article
on RSN on Jan 3 --
http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/271-38/21308-fukushima-a-global-conspiracy-of-denial --

"Japanese authorities may be the worst current offenders against the truth, as well as the health and safety of their people. Now the Japanese government has passed a harsh state secrets law that threatens to reduce or eliminate reliable information about Fukushima. The U.S. government officially applauded this heightened secrecy, while continuing its own tight control on nuclear information. Japanese authorities are already attacking their own people in defense of nuclear power: not only under-measuring and ignoring varieties of radioactive threat, but even withholding the iodine pills in 2011 that might have mitigated the growing epidemic of thyroid issues today. Failing to confront Fukushima honestly, the Japanese are laying the basis for what could amount to a radiological sneak attack on the rest of the world."

NPR reported US approval here: http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2013/12/31/258655342/japans-state-secrets-law-hailed-by-u-s-denounced-by-japanese

The reasons for official secrecy are many, especially when ot comes to nuclear matters. The Japanese cover-up is designed in part apparently to protect the Japanese government from its people.

The American government has the same motive.
 
 
+12 # JSRaleigh 2014-01-13 11:42
Quoting WBoardman:
The Japanese cover-up is designed in part apparently to protect the Japanese government from its people.

The American government has the same motive.


The bottom line is that if you have the power to classify things you can usually avoid being called to account for your boneheaded stupidity.
 
 
+1 # karenvista 2014-05-25 18:39
WBoardman

Everybody should be aware of the fact that the US supplied Japan with the plutonium in the first place and it was transported there by the Israeli company Zim Shipping, which made a stop in Israel first to give them first choice on the spent plutonium. The lower quality plutonium was sent on to Japan.

Japan had to enrich the plutonium they received but we gave them the necessary equipment from the Savannah River reprocessing site and technical help so it could be done.

I think this was done starting with the Reagan Administration but we have continued it. It is not common knowledge to the citizens.
 
 
+41 # Floe 2014-01-12 22:48
The reason for the US assistance to cover up is to keep the nuclear industry humming along and remaining in business reaping its over-sized subsidies and profits. Imagine what would become of the name General Electric for instance, if people really knew the ticking time bomb we are sitting on while we casually go about our business in complete unawareness. Its grossly vile to not let people know so they can at least prepare their health.
 
 
+35 # Vardoz 2014-01-13 00:57
This makes it crystal clear, regardless of who or what was responsible for this catastrophic event, that this form of technology, like above ground testing, is too much of a threat to mankind & all life on Earth to continue to be used. It is the most dangerous substance man could possibly use to create energy and humans are not competent enough to manage any part of the nuclear fuel cycle. From the mismanagement of uranium waste where millions of tons have been left on the land uncovered, exposed to rain & wind that has spread into our food, air & water supply to storing the waste that comes out of nuclear plants to maintaining the plants. & then actually building plants on active faults is utter insanity. I interviewed Dr. Helen Caldicott a renown authority on the medical implications of nuclear energy & the medical implications of Fukushima & Dr, Michio Kaku, also an expert on the dangers of nuclear energy. My documentary focused on the dangers of uranium mining & aired nationally on PBS in 82. You can find Caldicott's medical implication of nuclear energy on UTUBE & the medical implications of Fukushima. What has happened in Japan is a threat to all mankind & will continue to expose us to the cumulative damage that is associated with exposer to radiation. Any exposer is damaging to our DNA. Our food, air & water will now kill for genrations for as far as the eye can see. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnP5t_PaxOQ
 
 
+2 # dovelane1 2014-01-15 04:07
As with so many situations in life, this is basically about "control." If they don't control the information, the Japanese sense of "pride" will be damaged, and many would be shamed, and perhaps have to fall on their swords, both figuratively and literally.

As former columnist Sydney Harris once put it, "If one cannot endure to be thought in the wrong, one will begin to do terrible things to make the wrong appear right."

As with so many people, eswpecially Republicans, the Japanese seem so focused on their "good" intentions, they are totally ignoring or denying the probable consequences, at least publically, if not privately as well.

I read in an alternative newpaper that comes out of Duluth, Mn. that if things don't change, the ocean around Hawaii will be unsafe to swim in, in about 14 months or so.

One of the problems that happens when a person is confronted with a problem, is they either have to deal with it, or they shove it down below the conscious level of awareness. Denial is rampant in the world, and, to me, the Japanese government response is just another symptom of the dysfunctional responses of denial present in the whole world.
 
 
+1 # dovelane1 2014-01-15 04:21
And what is going to happen to the fish that swim in radiation, which becomes the food we humans rely on that comes from the sea?

I read in a different blog that if we burn all the fossil fuel available, the temperature of the planet will rise by 6 degrees Celsius by the year 2100. A rise of 6 degrees Celsius will only support a population of half a billion people at the most.

Our current world population is currently over 7 million, and expected to reach 9 billion by the year 2050. If that happens, what is going to become of the 8.5 billion people that are expected be on this planet in the 50 years between 2050 and 2100?

My guess is the rich who want to control everything are already aware of this, and are just biding their time, and building their undergound hid-outs. Why should they care if there are a couple of billion people less in the world due to radiation sickness and other problems. That's just a few less people they will have to control.

Ironically, the fewer people there are to control, the more the rich will probably try to control the other rich, and won't that be fun. The Biblical prophecy about the meek inheriting the earth may come true as those may be the only ones left after the sociopaths get done with each other.
 
 
+29 # MainStreetMentor 2014-01-13 02:39
The issue here is: FIRST - Arrest the meltdown. We can blame whomever or whatever we want ... but not now! The first course of action is to stop the radioactive bleeding.
 
 
+20 # tedrey 2014-01-13 04:06
True. But to do that the Japanese government has to own up to what's happening and let the world help prevent worse damage to the world.

And we needn't stop pointing out that our own country still has nothing in place to keep it from happening here as well.
 
 
0 # karenvista 2014-05-25 18:56
Quoting MainStreetMentor:
The issue here is: FIRST - Arrest the meltdown. We can blame whomever or whatever we want ... but not now! The first course of action is to stop the radioactive bleeding.


Nobody knows how to do it from all I've read about it. The fact that the U.S. has approved the IAEA and Japanese secrets acts means that the situation is hopeless and governments around the world want to cover up as much as they can about it.

The particular problem I find interesting is that the damage that occurs to this generation is less drastic than the damage to subsequent generations.

VICE news had a segment on this a few days ago. The Japanese government is lying to the Japanese people and the world about the severity of the situation. VICE visited a DNA research institute on Okinawa where they were feeding radioactive plants to butterflies which had a short life span so they could quickly do intergeneration al studies of the effects of the radiation. The first generation died but subsequent generations displayed malformations increasing in severity with each additional generation.
 
 
+20 # walt 2014-01-13 06:50
Japan's nuclear disaster should be a major concern of the entire world since waste spews into the oceans and moves with ocean currents. That's a serious issue and needs addressing.

When the Fukushima incident happened, Germany announce planned closures of all nuclear plants by 2022. Maybe it's time for others to do the same before even worse disasters occur.
 
 
+23 # Susan1989 2014-01-13 07:09
How in hell could humans have ever thought that this form of energy was safe? I remember more than 30 years ago the people of Long Island were up in arms about the Shoreham nuclear facility...and over and over agvain we were told by politcians suporting it tht it was safe "clean" energy. In the end, the people demanded its close due to no feasible evacuation plan. I have come to the conclusion that most of the human race is of limited intelligence and moral integrity...a terrible combination. This is probably the cause of most wide spread debacles...such as the closing of the lanes on the GW bridge and the recent contamination of water in West Virginia.
 
 
+7 # Billy Bob 2014-01-13 08:02
(-intelligence) + (-integrity) = -consequences

~~~~~

You're absolutely right. I like your formula too. It will probably determine our future more than Moore's Law, or anything physics has to offer.
 
 
+14 # fredboy 2014-01-13 08:26
Seems Japan should have little concern about what Americans think of radiation. If my memory serves me correctly, didn't we intentionally spill a bit of it there--twice?
 
 
+4 # Kootenay Coyote 2014-01-13 09:40
Where is the Iran Policy when & where it’s really needed??
 
 
+17 # fredboy 2014-01-13 11:58
Just saw a History Channel show about the radium watch painter deaths. More than a hundred young women died hideous deaths after being hired to paint watch dials with radium-laced paint. The show said when the Curies (an interesting name in this context) discovered radium, it was suddenly hailed as a major curative. Patients were even given radium-tainted water as a wonder drug for all kinds of ills. A NYC health worker tried for five years to warn the public, only to be rebuked and beaten down by those profiting from it all--sound familiar? Finally it was proven that radium, when ingested (all exposure would "take it in" to the body) masked calcium--and went straight to the victims' bones.

Amazing that solar has been a clean, ideal source of energy for thousands of years, but it was never tapped because no monopoly was possible.

That's really what this is all about.
 
 
+8 # jwb110 2014-01-13 12:42
If we want to fix this then suing the Japanese Gov't and TEPCO should light a fire under their ability to clean up their own messes. All those Navy men should join ranks and use the World Court for redress of grievances. The sure as hell won't get any help from the Fed or the Navy.
 
 
0 # karenvista 2014-05-25 19:06
Quoting jwb110:
If we want to fix this then suing the Japanese Gov't and TEPCO should light a fire under their ability to clean up their own messes. All those Navy men should join ranks and use the World Court for redress of grievances. The sure as hell won't get any help from the Fed or the Navy.


W decided early in his administration that he would renounce our membership in the World Court and any other judicial entity that could oversee our behavior. That should have told us that he and the President Cheney intended to commit war crimes from the very beginning.
 
 
+7 # James Marcus 2014-01-13 13:16
Welcome to The New Earth…
where no information is reliable. Misinformation and dis-information (deliberate) have the day.
Good luck, from now on, knowing The Truth about ANYTHING controversial
 
 
+1 # RobertMStahl 2014-01-13 13:48
It is a nuclear paradigm that is the bigger problem. If you read Diana West, you find out that Japan was instructed NOT to attack Russia during WWII. Also, you find out that FDR signed a pact with Stalin in 1933 moments into the world's full recognition of the six million or more starved to death by Stalin, not missing a beat. I wish we knew more about the physics of 3 unique domains of energy in the universe, and in some worldly perspective provided in GUTCP but, presently, there are nuclear threats that we are completely ignoring. Following Karen Hudes and news of late, many nuclear officers in the military have been relieved of duty in similar fashion to how FDR relieved many admirals in charge of the Pacific fleet to ascertain that the bulk of the ships would be in Pearl Harbor on Dec 7, 1941. Similarly, a seismic event on October 8, 2013 occurred when one of the generals now dismissed, detonated a nuclear bomb destined for Charleston, SC, 600 miles off the coast in the Atlantic. Can you guess what this house cleaning is for? What did Norman Dodd say about charitable foundations and control of the State Department back as far as 1909 (earlier: The Rape of Nanking, then Genghis Khan's attack on Japan)? This is the old guard (where is Indira Singh?). Also, in our time, there is the late, poisoned, Joe Vialls who reported on acts of aggression following the 'Bouncing Betty' technology used with a nuclear bomb on 12/26/04, the largest mass murder in one event, ever recorded.
 
 
+4 # Anarchist 23 2014-01-13 14:18
I suggest you all read 'On the Beach'...it really is no longer fiction..only the cause of the radioactivity that is poisoning the world is different in the book! It is really sad that the many things we as a people and planet could have been is thrown away because certain people can only see and worship colored pieces of paper. Oh yeah...if reading is too passe, than watch 'Kurosawa's Dreams' made in 1992...certainl y predictive for our nuclear contaminated present!
 
 
+1 # John S. Browne 2014-01-21 08:17
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STSmFZeE50E
 
 
0 # John S. Browne 2014-01-23 02:16
EVE OF DESTRUCTION
Barry McGuire

The eastern world, it is explodin'
Violence flarin', bullets loadin'
You're old enough to kill, but not for votin'
You don't believe in war, but what's that gun you're totin'
And even the Jordan River has bodies floatin'

But you tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
Ah, you don't believe
We're on the eve of destruction.

Don't you understand what I'm tryin' to say
Can't you feel the fears I'm feelin' today?
If the button is pushed, there's no runnin' away
There'll be no one to save, with the world in a grave
[Take a look around ya boy, it's bound to scare ya boy]

And you tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
Ah, you don't believe
We're on the eve of destruction.

Yeah, my blood's so mad feels like coagulatin'
I'm sitting here just contemplatin'
I can't twist the truth, it knows no regulation.
Handful of senators don't pass legislation
And marches alone can't bring integration
When human respect is disintegratin'
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin'

And you tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
Ah, you don't believe
We're on the eve of destruction.

(Continued)
 
 
0 # John S. Browne 2014-01-23 02:18
Think of all the hate there is in Red China
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama
You may leave here for 4 days in space
But when you return, it's the same old place
The poundin' of the drums, the pride and disgrace
You can bury your dead, but don't leave a trace
Hate your next-door neighbor, but don't forget to say grace

And, tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
You don't believe
We're on the eve
Of destruction
Mm, no no, you don't believe
We're on the eve of destruction.

And here's my "Fukushima verse" contribution to this great song,
updating it to the present day:

Now we have Fukushima to get your body boilin'
Plumes in air and water of deadly radioactive toxins
Most walk around like everything's just dandy
But when they get cancer, they won't be so randy
As inside their guts increasingly fail
The aftermath and coverup continues to exhale
While the U.S. government throughout prevails

And you tell me over and over and over and over again, my friend
You don't believe
We're on the eve
Of destruction
Mm, no no no, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction.
 

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.

RSNRSN