My risk analysis for Japan remains unchanged for October, please refer to Japan Livability Map September 2011 in SurvivalJapan for my definitions of  “no man’s land”, “monitored land” and “nuclear-free land”. I only report on events which affect the latter two – and there has been no news lately. After a summary of the current status to the best of our knowledge, I take the opportunity of the news black hole to offer a more editorial piece with further recommendations for those who choose to stay in Japan, out of the no man’s land.

Status

The reason for the dysfunctional steam condenser which prompted the emergency shutdown of a reactor at the Genkai nuclear plant in Kyushu island ten days ago has still not been disclosed. Genkai encountered issues in the past as most Japanese nuclear plants and is the object of much political controversy and scandal so the reason may never be known by the general public. Officially no radiation was leaked and citizen seem to not make any measurements anymore in Kyushu. The monitored land on the whole is not properly monitored.

The government announced that they will handle the spread and disposal of nuclear waste themselves without disclosing any detail, which is open to any interpretation.

The free circulation of contaminated food is now in full gear, with for instance Fukushima rice declared safe and available in supermarkets all over the country.

Mainstream media now occasionally publish information that used to be available only on blogs and alternative media, the latter focus on the no man’s land.

Editorial and Further Recommendations

1. Improved environment radiation monitoring

The general lack of information and action is a temporary psychological relief but it is also dangerous. Besides previous recommendations about food made in SurvivalJapan (cf. tag “food”), we should monitor radiation on following sites in every prefecture of the monitored land and nuclear-free land:

  • near each incineration plants
  • on sites in the mountains where citizens and businesses alike illegally dump their garbage (old TV sets, stolen bikes, etc. – where all the great Japanese electronics companies products usually end up their life)
  • near sites where construction-related companies and so-called “gumi” (associations) park their trucks in the mountains, usually hidden behind corrugated sheet metal walls like entrenched forts, with or without dogs (careful with these people)
  • at each garbage disposal sites
  • near cement companies (careful again with construction-related workers…)
  • near companies that specialize in construction material recycling (same remark as construction sector)

Lakes and ponds were also always favored to dispose of hazardous material (Lake Geneva in Switzerland is filled with all kinds of weapons, nerve agents, etc., the Baltic Sea is littered with Russian nuclear waste and Biwako lake in Japan is heavily polluted too as a few examples). Streams should also be monitored. As it is difficult to measure radiation in liquids, fresh water fish, shells and algae like aonori should be monitored as to give an indication.

2. Example of unsuspected and widespread food contamination : irradiated seaweed extracts

Besides this constant environmental monitoring which is completely lacking in these regions, radioactivity ingestion risks exists in forms that are not well-known to the general public and which are difficult to avoid (in order to grasp the extent of the issue, read for instance Exa-Becquerel Now In Pacific Ocean ? on SurvivalJapan and related posts). For example, seaweed yields :

  • alginic acid (slimming aids, appetite suppressants, etc.),
  • agar (many Western and Asian desserts alike including delicious Japanese yokan – but also used in dentistry, modelling clay for kids, etc.),
  • carrageenan (desserts, ice cream, cream, milkshakes, sweetened condensed milks, sauces, beer, pâtés and processed meats like ham, etc. fatty foods without fat, toothpaste, fruit gushers, as a excipient in pills / tablets, in soy milk, diet sodas, but also fire fighting foam, shampoo and cosmetic creams, air freshener gels, fabric marbling, shoe polish, pet food, personal lubricants and sexual lubricants, etc.).

Ocean radiation spill has further increased the risk of eating processed food, but also of using cosmetics, etc.

Here is a link to hydrocolloids producers worldwide, among which a few Japanese companies of course, for example :

A positive side of the Japanese nuclear crisis in Japan is that it may have raised the awareness of the multiple dangers of the nuclear industry of course, but also of industrial food, etc.

Conclusion

Although it is of course impossible to avoid every risk, we should remain on our guard and probably purchase and use a Geiger counter anywhere in the world now, as some industrial countries soils are as irradiated as in Japan “monitored land” from wild dumps of uranium extraction waste, nuclear bomb testings, nuclear plant spills and wild waste dumps – including from medical and research facilities, etc. Leaving Japan is not necessarily the solution as it might be worse in your home country without you never having realized it for lack of any large-scale disaster happening yet. Education, positive action and life choices, citizen monitoring are part of the solution to a multi-dimensional problem which is bigger than just a nuclear issue.

Comments
  1. jack says:

    you are completely wrong to assume the no mans land u have displayed on your map is accurate,take a good long look at the chernobyl map u can see that radiation is indiscriminate in its fallout ,it is high in one town but the town next to it is ok,there are small and big pockets of radiation infected areas not the whole country a no mans land like u say,theres every reason to believe japan will be infected exactly the same way,stop your scare mongering without accurate information.

    • I understand that what I say is scary and that it is easier to quickly dismiss it as “scare mongering” or even “conspirarcy theory” (the last person to say that was a European in Setagaya, the day before they found a hot spot there!).

      You are completely right to assume that radiation does not fall evenly on the territory marked as “no man’s land”. Radiation is scattered by wind streams, themselves are channelled by the shape of the terrain, i.e. mountains and valleys. Chernobyl, actually Belarus is mostly flat and radiation was actually distributed “quite” evenly over the whole state (please mark the quotes) which served me as a rough reference back in March to know that, as a precautionary principle, the same size of the Japanese territory should have been immediately evacuated (a 250 km perimeter from Fukushima). At the time, I thought that Tokyo was on the edge of that perimeter and that it may be OK.

      Another difference between Belarus and Japan is the climate – respectively continental and oceanic, which is another reason why you are right to say that radiation is scattered differently in windy Japan. Dominant winds usually flow from China to Japan and take the radiation fallout towards the Pacific Ocean. However, an anticyclone is “often” positioned in the northeastern part of Honshu, in the Pacific Ocean, if you look at weather maps. Quite “often”, it divides the radiation plume in two, with the main part flowing northeasterly, above the Hokkaido eastern coast, then on to the Kamchatka Peninsula, Alaska and returning south over roughly Saskatchewan in Canada; the other part is pushed back towards Tokyo area, hitting Chiba first, spreading over the whole area including Saitama and Yokohama and getting stopped by the mountainous dead-end of Gunma. Also, the terrain between Fukushima and Tokyo is one large corridor for the wind to blow in. When clouds are stopped by mountain ranges (which do not exist in Belarus), it usually rains on the other side. Rain spread radiation all over and accumulate in streams and tap water reservoirs and lakes, like just south-west of Tokyo.

      So if I agree with you, why do I extend the no man’s land like this on the map ? There are other considerations than land relief, climate and weather and distance from ground zero to take – namely the human factor. If radiation had been correctly reported by MEXT and the irradiated area immediately evacuated and sealed, the actual no man’s land would have been much smaller. However, hotspots are everywhere now, down to Nagoya city. Waste has been moved around and incinerated; contaminated ashes were stored; irradiated sludge thrown away; etc. Amounts of contaminated water which are too large for man to fathom were dumped into the Pacific Ocean. Contaminated food is sold legally and with government promotion over the whole territory and small farmers are happy to sell their poisonous rice to their fellow Japanese as are fishermen catching fish in Miyagi water before bringing them to Hokkaido for reassuring labelling. Nobody is innocent, everybody cheats and it is really a no man’s land now for sure. You are in the denial phase of loss and grief. Next you’ll likely be angry and depressed.

      If you have any children, the least that you can do for them is to move in western / southern Japan, research deeply information – don’t take my word for it, there are many sources for who wants to know – because you cannot be certain that they will have cancer in ten years, but if they have it, you can be certain that you’ll have some responsibility for it.

      • jack says:

        your response is disapointing to say the least, the only reference mankind has to a disaster like this is chernobyl,yet you seem to have information which is contrary to what happens with an accident of this kind,to say the whole of japan from tokyo up is a no mans land is completley irresponsible, sakhilin island has normal levels of radiation and if it was as widespread as you claim that wouldnt be the case,the russians have stated publicly the radiation is well below harmful levels ,and they would be the first to blame japan if their territory was contaminated, chinas coast is also free of radiation ,they would also be quite happy to tell the world that japan contaminated their land. the maps you are referring to from switzerland are a very basic model of where the winds MIGHT blow the radiation particles, i suggest you have another look at chernobyl maps of radiation spread and youll undersatnd that what you claim is a little far fetched. kiev was basically untouched from radiation 90 minutes from chernobyl but north sweden was highly contaminated 1700 kilometres away, you need to get your facts right.

      • I don’t monitor what it going on in Sakhalin and I take your word that it has normal levels of radiation since it is completely off the wind streams which I described in my first comment. I haven’t read any comments from Russians and if they had received any radiation, it should, based on the winds, be concentrated in the eastern Kamchatka Peninsula as mentioned earlier on. Kamchatka is 1,250 km long, i.e. the same as Honshu. Its population is about 410,000, i.e. roughly that of Gifu prefecture alone. A little less than half Kamchatka population is concentrated in one city named Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. So compared to Japan, it is almost a desertic place and a hotspot would need to happen right in this city and receive more attention than in Japan to be noticed. The area of the city is 400 km2, so there is one chance in a thousand for one hotspot happening there instead of in the vast wilderness (let alone be monitored in this Moscow-forsaken part of Russia). So the odds that Russians detect anything are close to zero.

        On the other hand, Americans and Canadians report regularly radiation spikes even though their own media try to suppress the news too.

        I don’t think that you either read fully or understood my earlier comment: winds blow from China to Japan. It means that China should not be affected by radiation, while the US would detect it – which is the case.

        Models from Meteocentrale in Switzerland are anything but basic. Did you know that the most powerful computer created are used by national weather agencies worldwide? One of them is famously made by Fujitsu, a Japanese company. The dispersion of radiation is a direct application of wind streams, which are verifiable data. You are right that they show where radiation particles might be blown, after all weather science is what it is, no matter how many supercomputers and satellites and experts you involve in.

        All Belarus was contaminated and Kiev is the capital of the next state, Ukraine. I never wrote that Ukraine was contaminated. Even if it had been, I doubt that Moscow (it was still USSR back in 1986) would have recognized that the capital city of the second most important country after Russia had to be evacuated.

        I agree with you that Norway, 1700 km away (I trust you on the distance), was hit by the radioactive plume. Incidentally, it would be why Kiev was not: they are in opposite directions. In fact, the radioactive cloud from Chernobyl reached as far as south of Spain – so I don’t see why it seems so far stretched to you when I state that only a part of Honshu and Hokkaido were contaminated, when they detect radiation in the middle of Canada and as far as Europe for Fukushima (with very low concentrations of course).

  2. jack says:

    your also saying if the irradiated area was immediatley sealed the contaminated area would be much smaller? why??? radiation travels through the air sealing the area immediatley wouldnt stop anything,also tons and tons of irradiated water has been poured into the ocean,do you realise how many trillions of tons of water are in the ocean and common sense tells anyone when u put one million tons of iradiated water into one billion trillion tons of water its going to be dilluted significantly.it seems your getting information from to many diffirent sources putting them together and posting them here.that is not the right way to do it,the last thing people need is more conflicting reports, i think you are probably quite afraid of this and with good reason however you should know that there are still millions and millions of people living in ukraine belarus and russia where the majority of radiation fell and are still completley healthy 25 yeas later.

    • Either you agree with me that “radiation travels through the air” and that according to you, “sealing immediately wouldnt stop anything”, therefore not sealing would not stop anything either and we do have radiation everywhere – or you just believe the governement that there is only radiation inside the nuclear plant and your question has no point. Let’s therefore assume that you agree a bit with me and that radiation tends to travel (as you mentioned it did over 1700 km for Chernobyl in your earlier comment). If the plant had been sealed in concrete, there would probably have been an underground nuclear explosion, with vents of radioactive materials of shorter half-life as I understand it.

      More importantly, if everybody had been evacuated and measurements correctly done and reported, an exact map of hot spots could have been created. Some places may have been repopulated safely : as you mentioned, Kiev, which was not so far away from Chernobyl, was officially not contaminated. However, since the government fudged the numbers and lied in order for everyone to keep calm, stay where they were and not pay any compensation, as a precautionary principle, a basic perimeter of 250 km, comparable to the extent of radiation over Belarus, should have been decided. Even now, there might be some places in what I call the no man’s land which may be not so contaminated, but the disinformation and propaganda, added to the short distance from Fukushima and the fact that the nuclear plant is still very active, people should evacuate.

      As for oceans, there is a limit of dilution. Read more on my blog and elsewhere for factual information. I computed roughly 1 exa-becquerel based on TEPCO figures, etc. and marine life has been tested high for cesium already. Look at maps of the extent of radiation in the Pacific Ocean, it is probably hitting Hawaii now. Japan has poisoned the whole Pacific Ocean in the northern hemisphere.

      I disagree with you and think that various sources of information are necessary to cross-reference rumors and reports. I understand that you would rather just follow the main stream news. In that case, you should not read this blog nor any other information source as it will upset you more. People as you say, have thanked me on the opposite, to take so much time to integrate and analyze a lot of information and put them in a synthetic way, especially as a map that everybody can understand at one glance.

      People are not healthy in Belarus. Children die from leukemia, cancer, heart attacks (ever heard of “Chernobyl Hearts” ?), thousands if not millions have died. It is criminal to state otherwise (or most likely, delusional).

  3. jack says:

    i just looked up your post radiation found in setagaya ,apparently it was radiation found in a box very old under a house nothing to do with fukushima whatsoever,this is exactly what i mean completley misleading information on this issue is not helpful to anyone.

    • I expected that answer from you. What are the odds that fragile bottles have spent over 50 years unbroken in a basement when buildings are destroyed in Tokyo and rebuilt every 5 years? Everytime I visit Tokyo, something has changed in the urban landscape. So many things get smashed when there are even small earthquakes in Tokyo and these bottles would have waited conveniently for 50 years? How come anybody did not detect them during all this time? There were other hotspots in Setagaya: will you believe the news when they tell you they found something unrelated to Fukushima in every case? Have you ever heard any such strange story in the world news before? What are the odds that such a story happen right now in this context – zero? When will you stop lying to yourself?

      The bottles were placed there either by someone with access to such material, like an old nuclear scientist, who is angry at the government because of their lies – or by someone working for the government in order to try to cover up. It would be quite a stupid attempt, but the government has shown such ludicrous attempts in the past (like the 10,000 free air tickets to Japan to try and improve tourism). Since you are on their side, I don’t need to remind you who said that the bolder the lie, the more easily the general public will believe it.

      I have spent a good deal of my time with you but I am not a doctor, so I cannot heal you from your self-delusion. I suggest that you keep on watching television, not worry and when your relatives will get sick, your mind will have forgotten everything that we said, like it has conveniently dismissed the victims of Chernobyl (although children are still dying 25 years later). The human mind has a supreme capability for denial or forgetting.
      You will not even feel responsible for it – in some way, you are blessed. Farewell, Jack, you can hit the road of oblivion.

  4. jack says:

    23 per cent of land in belarus was contaminated NOT ALL, secondly of course ukraine was contaminated the reactor was in the city of chernobyl which is 90 minutes drive from the capital kiev,i dont thinkl youve looked at the map of the fallout of radiation in europe after chernobyl, if you do and its easy to find on google search you will see how indiscriminate radiation fallout is ,that map took years to make after thousands and thousands of tests ,there is no way you can be remotley accurate in your radiation map of the whole of japan only 7 months after the incident.and as far as the wind only blowing in one direction from china to japan then to america thats not accurate ,are you aware that wind swirls and goes in all diffirent directions hence why hokkaido got radiation the wind obviously went north to get there, the jetstream perhaps is what you are talking about ,but wind below the jetstream goes anywhere and everywhere with no particular pattern,that is exactly why u have radiation in one house and not the other right next to it because of the swirling motion of the wind at lower levels than the jetstream

  5. jack says:

    your obviously japanese with your attitude if your not you should be with your straight down the middle views not seeing on either side of you only whats straight ahead of you ,most people know the japanese have lied ,know one knows the full extent of this not even you,to get a full picture we will have to wait years, there are 6000 cases of extra thyroid disease in belarus and ukraine including cancers mostly in people younger than 18 at the time of the accident,there is a slight rise in leukemia and solid cancers in the general population, cancer is on the rise world wide has been for years regardless of any radiation,its estimated by private organisations that there will be 1 million extra cancers in europe because of chernobyl over the next generations. the number of workers at chernobyl who died as a result of working there after the accident was 28 within a few months, the number of workers who died because of fukushima is 3 , 7 months later apparently not related to radiation (believe that or not) regardless of what any reports say if it was as bad as chernobyl there would have been more workers die than at present, common sense will tell u that unless the japanese have some special powers that allow them to be exposed to high levels at the plant but not die. as far as relaible news there are thousands and thousands of foreigners still living in japan,maybe the japanese wont tell anyone if they get sick or their friends get sick ,but the foreigners would be writing blogs and forums all over the internet ,there is nothing why? and yes chernobyl was sealed and evacuated and they still have cancers there because of it so it wouldnt have done much good to do the same thing in fukushima.radiation from chernobyl went as far as scotland over 5000 km away and to this day animals cannot be eaten of some farms,however england was virtually untouched.75 percent of nuclear plants in america are constantly leaking radiation,welcome to our world.

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