Japan nuclear news update


This 2011 CNN video from the USA says about itself:

15 March 2011

Dale Bridenbaugh quit his job at GE [General Electric] to protest the Mark 1 nuclear reactor design used at a damaged Japanese power plant.

Japan court bars restart of nuclear reactor shut after Fukushima — Bloomberg: here.

Government and utilities shaken by high court challenge to public trust in Japan’s nuclear authority — The Japan Times: here.

Japanese officials are trying to decide what to do with thousands of tons of radioactive water from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant: here.

High radiation levels are still limiting recovery work at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, a stark reality that reporters saw firsthand when they observed efforts to remove risk factors there: here.

To serve in the U.S. Armed Forces, you must meet certain health and fitness requirements: you must be fit to serve. But a healthy group of young service men and women – many in their 20s – have come down with serious health problems since serving on a humanitarian mission to Fukushima, Japan, following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that led to a nuclear meltdown of the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TepCo) nuclear power plant: here.

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US military helicoper’s window falls on Japanese school


This video, about Okinawa in Japan says about itself:

Parents Outraged Window From U.S. Military Helicopter Falls Onto Elementary School Yard In Japan

13 December 2017

Ocean sunfish, new study


This video says about itself:

Occurred September 26, 2013 / Ilha de Santa Maria, Açores, Portugal

This rare footage of a gigantic sunfish was captured on film by photographer Miguel Pereira off the coast of Portugal. The huge creature dwarfs the divers as it swims past. The slow-moving fish and clear water allow for some spectacular close-ups of this amazing animal.

“A few days before, my camera was damaged when the underwater housing flooded. The bad luck was compensated when diving with a GoPro I saw the giant Sunfish almost at surface level and practically static. The Sunfish seemed not to be bothered by our presence at all and followed us for 15 minutes.” -Miguel Pereira

From ScienceDaily:

World’s heaviest bony fish identified and correctly named

Researchers clear up confusion between taxonomy of multiple species of ocean sunfishes

December 5, 2017

Japanese fish experts have identified and clarified the biological name of the world’s heaviest bony fish ever caught. The 2,300 kilogram whopper is a Mola alexandrini bump-head sunfish, and not, as originally thought, a member of the more commonly known Mola mola ocean sunfish species. The study was led by Etsuro Sawai of Hiroshima University and is published in Ichthyological Research, which is the official journal of the Ichthyological Society of Japan. The journal is published by Springer.

Bony fish have skeletons made of bone rather than cartilage, as is the case for sharks or rays. Ocean sunfishes count among the world’s largest bony fish, and have for centuries attracted interest from seafarers because of their impressive size and shape. Specimens can measure up to three meters (total length), and many weighing more than two thousand kilograms have been caught. Instead of a caudal fin, sunfish have a broad rudder-like lobe called a clavus.

In this study, Sawai and his team referred to more than one thousand documents and specimens from around the world — some of which date back 500 years. Their aim was to clarify the scientific names for the species of the genus Mola in fish.

Ocean sunfishes can be classified into three species which Sawai’s team temporarily called Mola species A, Mola species B, and Mola species C, respectively. Of the three species, the scientific name of Mola species C was officially named Mola tecta in July 2017.

In this study, the researchers studied, dissected and measured 30 specimens of the remaining two Mola species (Mola species A and Mola species B) including fresh and preserved samples from different collections in the world. Information was obtained from photographs and from historic and recent records. The team set out specific morphological characteristics, and made notes on the distribution of the different species. This led them to conclude that the species names Mola mola (Mola species B) and Mola alexandrini (Mola species A) should be used. They also proposed “bump-head sunfish” as the new common name for Mola alexandrini because of the very prominent shape of its head.

“For the same reason, we adopt the already proposed Japanese common name Ushi-manbo. ‘Ushi’ means ‘cow’, and refers to the head profile of the fish,” Sawai explains.

They also solved a case of mistaken identity. The Guinness World Records lists the world’s heaviest bony fish as Mola mola. However, Sawai’s team found a female Mola alexandrini specimen of 2,300 kilogram and 2.72 meter caught off the Japanese coast (Kamogawa, Chiba) in 1996 as the heaviest bony fish ever recorded. Through their investigations, Sawai’s team re-identified it as actually being a Mola alexandrini based on its characteristic head bump, chin bump and rounded clavus although this specimen was identified Mola mola until now.

“Therefore, the world’s heaviest bony fish that has been actually weighed and recorded to date is a specimen of Mola alexandrini, not Mola mola,” says Sawai, who believes that there could be even bigger examples of this species alive in the ocean. In 2004, a 3.32 meter female Mola alexandrini specimen was caught off one of Japan’s islands (Aji Island, Miyagi), but it was not weighed.

Drunk United States soldier kills Okinawa man


This video from the USA says about itself:

Okinawa‘s Revolt: Decades of Rape, Environmental Harm by U.S. Military Spur Residents to Rise Up

16 January 2014

Nearly 70 years ago the United States took over the Japanese island of Okinawa after one of the bloodiest battles of World War II. More than 200,000 people died, mostly Japanese civilians.

Today the United States operates 34 bases on the island and is planning to build a new state-of-the-art Marine base, despite mass protests. A multi-decades movement of Okinawa residents has pushed for ousting U.S. forces off the island, citing environmental concerns and sexual assaults by U.S. soldiers on local residents.

Broadcasting from Tokyo, we are joined by two guests: Kozue Akibayashi, a professor and activist in Japan with the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and the Women’s International Network Against Militarism; and John Junkerman, a documentary filmmaker currently working on a film about U.S. military bases in Okinawa.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

JAPAN: US marine held after drink-drive crash

Tuesday 21st November 2017

US TROOPS on the Japanese island of Okinawa have been confined to base and banned from drinking after a marine was arrested over the drink-drive death of a local man.

Police spokesman Kazuhiko Miyagi said Nicholas James-McLean was still three times over the limit when he was arrested on Sunday night, hours after the early-morning crash in the main city of Naha.

Witnesses said the marine slammed his lorry head-on into Hidemasa Taira’s van as the resident was turning at a junction. Mr Taira had the right of way and the US serviceman may have passed a red light.

The US military admitted that “alcohol may have been a factor” in the crash and ordered all commanders to lead training on responsible drinking and acceptable behaviour.

Okinawa residents oppose the US military presence on their island, which currently numbers 25,000. US troops have been responsible for numerous rapes and murders since first arriving at the end of World War II.

Fukushima disaster making Japanese monkeys ill


This August 2014 video about Japan is called Fukushima‘s Radioactive Monkeys..Remembering the A Bomb.

From Forbes in the USA:

Three Ways Radiation Has Changed The Monkeys Of Fukushima

Jeff McMahon

This year the evacuated residents of Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture began returning home, and as they resume their lives, the monkeys who have lived there all along have some cautions for them—in the form of medical records.

The Japanese macaques show effects associated with radiation exposure—especially youngsters born since the March 2011 meltdowns at the Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, according to a wildlife veterinarian who has studied the population since 2008.

Dr. Shin-ichi Hayama detailed his findings Saturday in Chicago as part of the University of Chicago’s commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the first man-made controlled nuclear reaction, which took place under the university’s football stadium in 1942 and birthed the technologies of nuclear power and nuclear weapons.

Hayama appeared alongside documentary filmmaker Masanori Iwasaki, who has featured Hayama’s work in a series of annual documentaries exploring the impact of fallout from the reactor meltdowns on wildlife. The fallout led the Japanese government to evacuate residents from a highly contaminated area surrounding the plant and extending to the northwest. The plume crossed the Pacific Ocean and left much diluted quantities of fallout across the United States, an event closely monitored on this page.

Since 2008, Hayama has studied the bodies of monkeys killed in Fukushima City’s effort to control the monkey population and protect agricultural crops (about 20,000 monkeys are “culled” annually in Japan). Because he was already studying the monkeys, he was ideally positioned to notice changes affected by radiation exposure.

“I’m not a radiation specialist,” Hayama said Saturday in Chicago, “but because I’ve been gathering data since 2008—remember, the disaster took place in 2011—it seems obvious to me that this is very important research. I’ve asked radiation specialists to take on this research, but they have never been willing to take this on because they say we don’t have any resources or time to spare because humans are much more important.

“So I had to conclude that there was no choice but for me to take this on, even though I’m not a specialist in radiation,” Hayama said, his remarks translated by University of Chicago Professor Norma Field. “If we don’t keep records, there will be no evidence and it will be as if nothing happened. That’s why I’m hoping to continue this research and create a record.”

Fukushima City is 50 miles northeast of the Fukushima-Daiichi Power Plant, so the radiation levels have been lower there than in the restricted areas, now reopening, that are closer to the plant. Hayama was unable to test monkeys in the most-contaminated areas, but even 50 miles from the plant, he has documented effects in monkeys that are associated with radiation. He compared his findings to monkeys in the same area before 2011 and to a control population of monkeys in Shimokita Peninsula, 500 miles to the north.

Hayama’s findings have been published in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports, published by Nature. Among his findings:

Smaller Bodies — Japanese monkeys born in the path of fallout from the Fukushima meltdown weigh less for their height than monkeys born in the same area before the March, 2011 disaster, Hayama said.

“We can see that the monkeys born from mothers who were exposed are showing low body weight in relation to their height, so they are smaller,” he said.

Smaller Heads And Brains — The exposed monkeys have smaller bodies overall, and their heads and brains are smaller still.

“We know from the example of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that embryos and fetuses exposed in utero resulted in low birth weight and also in microcephaly, where the brain failed to develop adequately and head size was small, so we are trying to confirm whether this also is happening with the monkeys in Fukushima,” Hayama said.

And it appears that it is.

Anemia — The monkeys show a reduction in all blood components: red blood cells, white blood cells, hemoglobin, and the cells in bone marrow that produce blood components.

“There’s clearly a depression of blood components in the Fukushima monkeys,” said Hayama. “We can see that in these monkeys, that there is a correlation between white blood cell counts and the radio-cesium concentrations in their muscles. This actually is comparable to what’s been reported with children of Chernobyl.”

“We have taken these tests from 2012 through 2017, and the levels have not recovered. So we have to say this is not an acute phenomenon. It has become chronic, and we would have to consider radiation exposure as a possible cause,” Hayama said.

Hayama has appeared in several documentaries by Masanori Isawaki, who was 70 years old in 2011 and ready to retire from a thirty-year career making wildlife documentaries—he is best known for his portrait of “Mozu: The Snow Monkey”—when the Fukushima reactors melted down.

“Having turned 70 I thought, I’ve done enough, I can sit back. And then the nuclear disaster struck,” he said, his remarks also translated by Field. “I watched TV shows and read the newspaper for a year and kept asking myself, is there something left in me that I can do? A year later in 2012, with a cameraman and a sound engineer, the three of us just decided: In any case let’s just go to Fukushima, see what’s there.”

Since then he has made five films, one each year, documenting radiation impacts on wildlife, grouping them under the title “Fukushima: A Record of Living Things”. Two episodes were screened Saturday in Chicago, their first screenings in the United States.

At first Iwasaki documented white spots and deformed tails on the reduced number of barn swallows who survived after the disaster.

“It’s something we haven’t seen anywhere else but Chernobyl and Fukushima,” says the narrator of Iwasaki’s 2013 film, “so it’s clearly related to radiation. It probably doesn’t hurt the bird to have some white feathers, but it’s a marker of exposure to radiation.

“The barn swallows in Fukushima are responding in the same way as what we’ve seen in Chernobyl. The young birds are not surviving. They are not fledging very well.”

The white spots also turned up on black cows. Some types of marine snails vanished, then gradually returned. Fir trees stemmed differently, and the flower stalks of some dandelions grew thick and deformed. Dandelion stalks are a favorite food of Japanese monkeys, but the monkeys showed no obvious deformities, so Isawaki turned to Hayama to find out how radiation was affecting them.

Iwasaki’s 2017 film, just completed, is his first to investigate effects in the monkeys’ primate cousins, the humans: an unusually large number of children with thyroid cancer. ”

Radioactive material from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster is accumulating in the sands and brackish groundwater beneath beaches up to 60 miles away from the nuclear power plant itself, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on October 2. The study is the first to identify accumulations of radioactive cesium in this previously unsuspected place: here.

Japanese right-wingers love Trump


Japanese supporters of Trump and Abe, EPA photo

While most people in the USA and elsewhere don’t like United States President Donald Trump, these Japanese supporters of right-wing Prime Minister Abe love him. They carry portraits of Abe and of Trump’s daughter Ivanka.

Trump begins 12-day visit to Asia to build war coalition against North Korea: here.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Really Japan is the only country in the region really supporting [Trump’s] tone and policies towards North Korea, which are threatening violence.

The conduct of Donald Trump in Japan, the first country visited in his tour of Asia, strongly suggests that he is preparing to launch a war against North Korea: here.

Anti-Trump demonstration in Japan

There was a demonstration against Trump’s visit to Japan as well.

Trump encourages Japanese militarism against North Korea and China: here.

Fukushima disaster radioactivity below Japanese beaches


This video says about itself:

BBC News: Toxic radioactive isotope found in Fukushima groundwater

19 June 2013

High levels of a toxic radioactive isotope have been found in groundwater at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant, its operator says.

By Laurel Hamers, 3:30pm, October 2, 2017:

Radioactive material from Fukushima disaster turns up in a surprising place

Some of highest levels of cesium-137 contamination are in groundwater under nearby sandy beaches

Six years after the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster in Japan, radioactive material is leaching into the Pacific Ocean from an unexpected place. Some of the highest levels of radioactive cesium-137, a major by-product of nuclear power generation, are now found in the somewhat salty groundwater beneath sand beaches tens of kilometers away, a new study shows.

Scientists tested for radioactivity at eight different beaches within 100 kilometers of the plant, which experienced three reactor meltdowns when an earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, knocked out its power. Oceans, rivers and fresh groundwater sources are typically monitored for radioactivity following a nuclear accident, but several years following the disaster, those weren’t the most contaminated water sources. Instead, brackish groundwater underneath the beaches has accumulated the second highest levels of the radioactive element (surpassed only by the groundwater directly beneath the reactor), researchers report October 2 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In the wake of the 2011 accident, seawater tainted with high levels of cesium-137 probably traveled along the coast and lapped against these beaches, proposes study coauthor Virginie Sanial, who did the work while at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. Some cesium stuck to the sand and, over time, percolated down to the brackish groundwater beneath. Now, the radioactive material is steadily making its way back into the ocean. The groundwater is releasing the cesium into the coastal ocean at a rate that’s on par with the leakage of cesium into the ocean from the reactor site itself, Sanial’s team estimates.

Since this water isn’t a source of drinking water and is underground, the contamination isn’t an immediate public health threat, says Sanial, now a geochemist at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. But with about half of the world’s nuclear power plants located on coastlines, such areas are potentially important contamination reservoirs and release sites to monitor after future accidents.

Botched gauge settings might have contaminated Fukushima groundwater from April onward: Tepco — The Japan Times: here.

A court ruled TEPCO and the Japanese government are at fault in the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.