Japanese government among world’s worst press freedom violators


This video says about itself:

Press Freedom in Japan in 2016 | Tokyo on Fire

19 December 2015

Japan passed a controversial State Department Secrets law in December of 2013 that has ever since been met with significant resistance. One of the most contentious points is that it punishes both distributers and recipients of SDS material (so, a reporter and a newspaper publisher, for example) with a minimum of 2 years in jail and fine of ¥500,000. Get the details with Timothy, Michael, and Nancy on this important episode of Tokyo on Fire!

From the Los Angeles Times in the USA:

How Japan came to rank worse than Tanzania on press freedom

By Jake Adelstein

April 20, 2016

The state of press freedom in Japan is now worse than that in Tanzania, according to a new ranking from the non-profit group Reporters Without Borders.

A group which is usually favourably biased towards the political and economic establishments in NATO countries, and in other rich countries like Japan.

Japan came in 72nd of the 180 countries ranked in the group’s 2016 press freedom index, falling 11 places since last year. …

For Japan’s journalists, things have taken a turn for the worse relatively recently. Just six years ago, the country ranked 11th in the world.

In the graph which accompanies the Los Angeles Times article, the absolute monarchy Brunei is the worst in the world in decline in press freedom. Poland is third worst.

Japan’s poor performance on press freedom is particularly surprising given its standing as one of the world’s leading developed countries. The island nation of 125 million people has the world’s third-largest economy and a vibrant democracy whose postwar constitution guarantees freedoms of speech, press and assembly.

“With Japan hosting the G7 meeting next month of leading democracies, the press crackdown is an international black eye for Japan and makes it an outlier in the group,” said Jeff Kingston, a professor of history and director of Asian studies at Temple University and author of the book “Contemporary Japan: History, Politics, and Social Change since the 1980s.”

The 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant set the stage for the erosion of press freedoms, Kingston said. “Japan’s slide in the rankings began with the incomplete coverage of the Fukushima meltdowns and the government’s efforts to downplay the accident; Tokyo Electric Power Company (and Japan) denied the triple meltdown for two months,” he said. “Sadly, the Japanese media went along with this charade because here it is all about access. Those media outlets that don’t toe the line find themselves marginalized by the powers that be. Since [Fukushima], Japan’s culture wars over history, constitutional revision and security doctrine have been fought on the media battlefield.”

When Prime Minister Shinzo Abe returned for a second term in 2012, five years after he resigned abruptly amid growing unpopularity in 2007, his administration began cracking down on perceived bias in the nation’s media.

At first, the media didn’t hold back in criticizing his administration. The press lambasted Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso for saying that Japan should learn from the way the Nazi party stealthily changed Germany’s constitution before World War II. But critics say Aso’s suggestion foreshadowed things to come.

Two years ago, the Abe administration pushed through a state secrets bill ostensibly designed to prevent classified information from leaking to China or Russia. But the measure allows for journalists and bloggers to be jailed for up to five years for asking about something that is a state secret, even if they aren’t aware it is one. Thousands protested the law when it was passed on Dec. 6, 2013.

Abe’s friend, conservative businessman Katsuto Momii, became the head of Japan’s major public broadcasting company, NHK, in 2014, in a move that has compromised the independence of its reports. Momii has stated publicly that NHK “should not deviate from the government’s position in its reporting.”

Abe’s Liberal Democratic party also recently proposed a constitutional amendment that would allow the government to curtail speech that “harms the public interest and public order.”

In June 2015, members of the party urged the government to punish media outlets critical of the government and pressure companies not to advertise with them.

This year, Abe’s Communications Minister Sanae Takaichi threatened to shut down news broadcasters over “politically biased reports” — something TV and radio laws in Japan empower her to do.

A week later, three television presenters who had been critical of the Abe administration were all removed from their positions.

Veteran reporters in Japan have criticized Abe’s government for applying pressure to reporters, but also decry the increasing self-censorship going on in the country’s press. “To me, the most serious problem is self-restraint by higher-ups at broadcast stations,” Soichiro Tahara, one of the country’s most revered journalists, told reporters last month.

“The Abe administration’s threats to media independence, the turnover in media personnel in recent months and the increase in self-censorship within leading media outlets are endangering the underpinnings of democracy in Japan,” Reporters Without Borders concluded in its report released this month about declining media freedoms in Japan.

“Independence of the press is facing serious threats,” David Kaye, U.N. special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, said during a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan on Tuesday. “Many journalists who came to me and my team asked for anonymity in our discussions. Many claimed to have been sidelined or silenced following indirect pressure from politicians.”

The state originally invited Kaye to visit last December, but the trip was canceled abruptly after Japanese authorities claimed to be unable to set up meetings in time.

Kaye called for Japan’s Broadcast Law to be revised to ensure press freedom, and criticized Japan’s press club structure as detrimental to an independent press. In Japan, reporters are granted access through press clubs, or “kisha clubs,” formed around groups and government organizations. They serve as gatekeepers, and typically don’t grant access to weekly magazines, like Shukan Bunshun, which excel at investigative journalism.

“Journalists in those kisha clubs tend to be focused very much together in this same kind of social network. And I think that allows for mechanisms of pressure. It may be a kind of peer pressure that’s very difficult to resist,” Kaye said.

Fukushima disaster still continuing, video


This video from South Korea says about itself:

Arirang Special (Ep.319) Fukushima and Its Aftermath

16 March 2016

After the Fukushima nuclear accident that busted Japan’s ‘safety myth’ in March 2011, continuous restoration and salt manufacturing work have been going on until now. Despite this, there are still traces of the horrific situation of that time remaining in various places, and the concern for radioactivity has grown to a point where our food and health are being threatened.

Wild radioactive Fukushima boars breed like rabbits, ravage local countryside: here.

Fukushima, Japan nuclear disaster continues


This video from the USA says about itself:

Radioactive Waste Still Leaking Five Years After Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

10 March 2016

Arjun Makhijani, President of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, says decommissioning the Fukushima Daiichi reactors could take decades and cost billions of dollars.

Fukushima update: here.

The Fukushima accident has not served as a wake-up call in Japan — Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: here.

News coverage of Fukushima disaster found lacking; Few reports identified health risks to public — Celine-Marie Pascale, American University via Science Daily: here.

FUKUSHIMA – Public prosecutors decided on Tuesday not to indict Tokyo Electric Power Co. President Naomi Hirose and other current and former executives of the utility over radioactive water leaks from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant into the ocean: here.

Fukushima, Japan news update


This video says about itself:

Atomic mafia: Yakuza cleaning up Fukushima

4 December 2013

Homeless men employed to clean up the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, including those brought in by Japan’s Yakuza gangsters, were not aware of the health risks they were taking and say their bosses treated them like “disposable people.”

Five years on, tsunami debris on ocean floor near Fukushima nuclear plant remains untouched: here.

How Citizen Science Changed the Way Fukushima Radiation is Reported: here.

Sixteen children confirmed to have thyroid cancer in second Fukushima survey — Japan Today: here.

This Chicago Tribune article from the USA is on concerns over Japan’s plutonium stockpile in the light of the expiration of the 1988 Japan-U.S. atomic energy agreement that will either be automatically extended, revised or unilaterally scrapped in July 2018.

Fukushima disaster: Tepco to pay couple in landmark damages case: here.

Higher levels of Fukushima cesium detected offshore: here.

For some Fukushima mothers, protecting children from radiation comes at heavy price — The Asahi Shimbun: here.

The reactor meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant hit by a devastating tsunami in 2011 should have been announced much sooner, the operator admitted this week. In a statement, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) said that a public declaration of the meltdown should have been done within days of the disaster: here.

Fukushima nuclear disaster news


This 1 January 2016 video is called Helen Caldicott M.D. — THE MEDICAL IMPLICATIONS OF FUKUSHIMA AND CHERNOBYL.

How is Fukushima’s cleanup going five years after its meltdown? Not so well; The Washington Post writes.

Fukushima cleanup may take up to 40 years, plant’s operator says, CNN writes.

Over 70 percent of Japanese against nuclear power plants after Fukushima tragedy: here.

Wildlife suffering from Fukushima disaster


This 13 January 2016 video is called Biologist Timothy Mousseau: Impact of Radiation on Wildlife of Fukushima.

From the Yomiuri Shimbun in Japan:

Species decline found in area south of Fukushima N-plant

9:10 pm, February 07, 2016

The National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES) revealed that the total number of sessile species, such as barnacles and snails, has been decreasing significantly along the coast within 10 kilometers south of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant since the accident there in 2011.

Although the exact relevance to the accident is unclear, according to the institute’s analysis there is the possibility that the mass death of sessile species was influenced by radioactive materials released into the sea.

The NIES gathered sessile species attached to tetrapods from seven survey points 50 centimeters square within the limits in Fukushima, Miyagi and Ibaraki prefectures in May and June 2013. Four of the survey points are located in Fukushima Prefecture. The institute then investigated species numbers among other details.

Concerning the survey points in Fukushima, the numbers at the two sites south of the power plant were much lower than the numbers at the two northern sites. Extrapolated into one square meter, 2,864 sessile creatures were confirmed at the survey point in Okuma, which is 1.2 kilometers south from the power plant. At the survey point in Tomioka, which is 9.5 kilometers south of the plant, 2,404 creatures were confirmed. Meanwhile, the average number of sessile creatures in the other five locations reached 18,592, with 31,728 in Minami-Soma and 5,324 in Futaba, both in Fukushima Prefecture and north of the power plant.

New Fukushima disaster discovery


This video from Canada says about itself:

Fukushima Fallout: Cesium-137 in Fish

13 October 2015

Based on research by Alex Roslin that was published in the Georgia Straight, Dr. Edwards describes the measured levels of cesium-137 in fish from the Fukushima Daiichi triple meltdown.

From SimplyInfo:

New Meltdown Byproduct Found Far From Fukushima Daiichi

February 4th, 2016

Another type of material has been found by researchers that is tied to the meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi. We have reported extensively over the years on the finding of “black stuff” around mainland Japan. This is a highly radioactive black sand like material that had gathered in gutters and roads as far away as Tokyo. Analysis of materials of that type has linked them to the meltdowns inside the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi. This new finding is also linked directly to the reactor meltdowns.

From Nature.com about this:

Internal structure of cesium-bearing radioactive microparticles released from Fukushima nuclear power plant

3 February 2016

Abstract

Microparticles containing substantial amounts of radiocesium collected from the ground in Fukushima were investigated mainly by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and X-ray microanalysis with scanning TEM (STEM). Particles of around 2 μm in diameter are basically silicate glass containing Fe and Zn as transition metals, Cs, Rb and K as alkali ions, and Sn as substantial elements. These elements are homogeneously distributed in the glass except Cs which has a concentration gradient, increasing from center to surface.

Nano-sized crystallites such as copper- zinc- and molybdenum sulfide, and silver telluride were found inside the microparticles, which probably resulted from the segregation of the silicate and sulfide (telluride) during molten-stage. An alkali-depleted layer of ca. 0.2 μm thick exists at the outer side of the particle collected from cedar leaves 8 months after the nuclear accident, suggesting gradual leaching of radiocesium from the microparticles in the natural environment.

Defiant to the end, last of Group of Six anti-nuclear scientists about to retire — The Asahi Shimbun: here.

Group to monitor trial of former Tepco executives to clarify truth about Fukushima disaster — The Asahi Shimbun: here.