Fukushima nuclear plant disaster update


This video from the USA says about itself:

Tritium Exposé

18 April 2016

Supporters of atomic power, who are not scientists, have been able to broadcast their opinions to the public with hellacious titles such as Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics: Putting Indian Point Hysteria in Perspective by attorney and lobbyist Jerry Kremer for the Huffington Post. In an effort to combat misinformation and keep you informed, Fairewinds reached out to international radiation expert Dr. Ian Fairlie to clear up the false assurances and scientific denial spread by the nuclear industry and its chums.

Tritium, the radioactive isotope and bi-product of nuclear power generation, is making headlines with notable leaks at 75% of all the reactors in the United States, including Indian Point in New York, and Turkey Point in Florida. Speaking with renowned British scientist, Dr. Ian Fairlie, the Fairewinds Crew confirms the magnitude and true risk of tritium to the human body in its three various forms: tritiated water, tritiated air, and organically bound tritium.

Dr. Fairlie is an independent consultant on radioactivity in the environment. He has a degree in radiation biology from Bart’s Hospital in London and did his doctoral studies at Imperial College in London and Princeton University, concerning the radiological hazards of nuclear fuel reprocessing. Ian was formerly with the United Kingdom’s Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs specializing in radiation risks from nuclear power stations. From 2000 to 2004, he was head of the Secretariat to the UK Government’s CERRIE Committee examining radiation risk of internal emitters. Since retiring from government service, he has acted as consultant to the European Parliament.

Is it safe to dump Fukushima waste into the sea? Japan has called for hundreds of thousands tonnes of irradiated water from the nuclear plant to be released into the Pacific Ocean. Karl Mathiesen looks at the potential impacts: here.

Japan has been dealing with the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster for the past five years. However, things do not seem to be getting easier for those maintaining the defunct nuclear plant. The topic of dumping nuclear waste into the Pacific has been hotly debated across the globe, but it appears that officials have finally decided to give Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) the go-ahead to dump thousands of tons of nuclear waste containing tritium into the ocean. TEPCO was previously allowed to dump upwards of 200 tons of “filtered” nuclear waste into the ocean starting in September of last year after an initial 850 ton dump: here.

40-year rule for nuclear reactors on verge of being a dead letter — The Asahi Shimbun: here.

Kyushu Earthquakes Expose Unaddressed Nuclear Reactor Risks: here.

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.

Japanese government revives militarism


This video says about itself:

Japan: Thousands Protest Plans To Send Military Overseas To Fight

31 August 2015

Japan hasn’t sent its military to fight overseas since World War Two. Seventy years later the Abe government wants to change that with a new security bill.

Even though the Japanese right-wing government has said they did not want to go as far as United States Republican candidate Donald Trump‘s advice to acquire nuclear weapons … there is unfortunately more than enough bad news on Japanese militarism.

By Peter Symonds:

Japan’s security laws: Another milestone in the drive to world war

29 March 2016

Japan’s new military legislation comes into force today, allowing the country’s armed forces, under the guise of “collective self-defence,” to fully participate in wars abroad for the first time since the end of World War II. The implementation of the laws is a major step in the revival of Japanese militarism, which has been encouraged by Washington as part of its “pivot to Asia” and preparations for war with China.

The legislation is in flagrant breach of the Japanese Constitution, which, under Article 7, renounces war forever and affirms that land, sea and air forces will never be maintained.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last month dismissed the advice of legal experts that the legislation was unconstitutional, declaring that the constitution, not the new laws, had to be changed. Abe is pressing for an end to all restraints on the military and the transformation of Japan into a “normal nation”—that is, one that can aggressively pursue its economic and strategic interests by armed force.

Since coming to power in 2012, the right-wing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) government has boosted military spending, concentrated war powers in a US-style National Security Council and refashioned military planning to focus on conflict with China. As part of its “island defence” strategy, Japan is building up military forces on its southern island chain adjacent to the Chinese mainland. On Monday, a new radar station became operational on the island of Yoniguna, just 150 kilometres from disputed islets in the East China Sea known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

The entire Japanese political establishment, not just the LDP, is responsible for the extreme tensions over the Senkakus. The previous government, headed by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), provoked widespread Chinese protests in September 2012 by “nationalising” or buying the uninhabited rocky outcrops from their private owner. Abe has refused to countenance any negotiations with China over the future of the islands.

In 2014, US President Barack Obama upped the ante by declaring that the US-Japan Security Treaty covered the Senkakus. This was tantamount to committing the US to intervene militarily in support of Japan should war break out between it and China over the islets. Hundreds of dangerous encounters took place last year, as Japan mobilised fighter jets and coast guard vessels to challenge Chinese “intrusions,” heightening the risk that a mistake or miscalculation could lead to conflict.

The implementation of Japan’s “collective self-defence” laws is another milestone in the drive to war being fuelled by the global breakdown of capitalism. Japanese imperialism is presently operating under the patronage of the United States, but it is an alliance of convenience. Japan and the US have already fought one war in the Pacific that cost the lives of millions to determine which power would dominate Asia, and the two could come to blows again.

The remilitarisation of Japan underscores the warnings made by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) in its February 18 statement “Socialism and the Fight against War” that the world is being drawn once again into a catastrophic global conflict. Behind the backs of their populations, capitalist governments are gearing up for war and becoming increasingly bellicose.

“As in the years that preceded the outbreak of World War I in 1914 and World War II in 1939,” the statement declares, “political leaders and military planners are approaching the conclusion that a war between major powers is not a remote possibility, but, rather, highly probable and, perhaps, even inevitable. At a certain point, such military fatalism becomes a significant contributing factor to the outbreak of war.”

As is today the case in Germany, the road to war is being prepared in Japan with a reactionary campaign to revise history and whitewash the monstrous crimes of Japanese imperialism in the 1930s and 1940s. Abe, whose maternal grandfather Nobusuke Kishi was part of the wartime Japanese cabinet, speaks for broad sections of the ruling elite who justify Japan’s role in World War II as a struggle to free Asia from Western colonialism. Abe appointees have dismissed the wartime sexual slavery of hundreds of thousands of “comfort women” by the Japanese military and downplayed or denied such atrocities as the Rape of Nanjing, in which up to 300,000 Chinese civilians and prisoners were slaughtered.

The government is whipping up Japanese patriotism and a climate of fear over the Chinese “threat” so as to justify rearmament. At the same time, it is seeking to project mounting social tensions outward against a foreign enemy. A quarter century of slump has been compounded by the failure of so-called Abenomics to revive the Japanese economy. Wages remain at the level they were two decades ago, and many young people are condemned to a future of unemployment or low-paid casual work. This week, the Financial Times reported that large numbers of elderly people are committing petty crimes in order to get themselves jailed because they cannot survive on their meagre pensions.

The same crisis of global capitalism that is fuelling the drive to war is giving fresh impetus to socialist revolution. Opposition to war and militarism is deeply embedded in the Japanese working class, which suffered not only the police-state rule of the wartime militarist regime in Tokyo, but also the murderous US bombing raids. The Japanese people remain the only population to have experienced the horrors of nuclear incineration in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Some of the largest anti-war protests in Japanese history took place last year as the Abe government rammed its military laws through the parliament. At their height, the demonstrations swelled to 120,000 in Tokyo, with smaller protests in hundreds of other cities and towns. …

Workers and youth in Japan, like their counterparts around the world, can halt the slide towards world war only through the construction of an international anti-war movement of the working class based on the program of socialist internationalism. … We urge our readers in Japan and throughout Asia to take up the struggle to build this anti-war movement.

The Japanese government downgraded its assessment of the economy last Wednesday following a similar move by its central bank the previous week. Notwithstanding the initial hype which surrounded it, Prime Minister Abe’s economic agenda—so-called Abenomics—is now a dead letter so far as any economic revival is concerned. Growth has continued to contract while wages remain stagnant: here.

Donald Trump wants nuclear weapons for Japan


This video says about itself:

2 July 2009

Atomic Bomb Survivors Re-live Their Stories

“On August 6, 1945, a great terror was thrust upon the world. David Rothauser’s 80 minute documentary, Hibakusha, Our Life to Live, probes the life stories of Japanese, Korean and American survivors of the terror; the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There is an URGENCY here. The survivors are dying off. By keeping their memory alive may we no longer live in the fear of nuclear annihilation.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Japan: Tokyo rejects Trump‘s advice about getting nuclear bomb

Tuesday 29th March 2016

TOKYO rejected yesterday US presidential hopeful Donald Trump’s suggestion that Japan and South Korea should acquire nuclear weapons.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters that the country’s three principles of not owning, making or allowing nuclear weapons remained “an important basic policy of the government.”

Mr Trump said in an interview with the New York Times published on Sunday that Japan and South Korea should pay more for their own defence — and that “could mean nuclear.”

Both countries have hosted many thousands of US troops since the end of World War II, which Mr Trump said he would withdraw if the two nations did not increase their own defence spending.

Mr Suga declined to comment specifically on Mr Trump’s statement, saying he was only running for the presidency at that point.

South Korean Defence Ministry spokesman Moon Sang Gyun declined to comment on Mr Trump’s remarks.

So, Donald Trump went too far; even for the militarist right-wing Abe government in Japan.

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.

Hazel grouse with chicks, video


This 2 March 2016 video from Japan shows a hazel grouse with chicks.