On Sunday, an expert with Japan’s Institute of Radiological Sciences reported there have not been any radiation-based health effects due to the Fukushima accident. Researcher Kazuo Sakai said, “Since the accident in Fukushima, no health effects from radiation have been observed, although we have heard reports some people fell ill due to stress from living as evacuees and due to worries and fears about radiation.” He pointed out that world-wide study since the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombings in 1945 shows that exposures below 100 millisieverts have not caused increases in cancer rates among populations. Most Fukushima residents and evacuees received less than 20 mSv due to internal and internal exposure, and none greater than the 100 mSv threshold. As a result, Sakai said Fukushima accident radiation is not at “the level we have to worry about its health effect.”
However, Greenpeace-Japan judged the announcement as merely a government ploy to “play down” the public’s health worries. Kazue Suzuki, nuclear campaigner at Greenpeace, who is not a scientist (Japan Today – Feb. 17), said Tokyo should not try to minimize the potential dangers, “Japan should pour more energy into prevention of diseases including thyroid cancer than talking down the risk of low-level radiation. Even if there is no comparative epidemiological data, the government should err on the side of caution and carry out more frequent health checks among residents not only in Fukushima but in other prefectures.” In parallel, Japan’s Press is blindly following Greenpeace’s lead. For example, Japan Daily Press wrote on Monday, “…it is but common logic to also say that it is too early to assume there is no danger, or categorically say that the meltdowns did not cause the cancer. It is also worth noting that all these “experts” who have been stating that there are no radiation concerns are government-funded entities and may have biased agenda for saying so.”
In other words, Greenpeace wants the Tokyo government to ignore valid, rational, reputable science and throw money into research on low level radiation exposures that will never harm anyone – and the Press is swallowing the rhetorical bait; hook, line and sinker.
Give me a break!
It may make some sense to pump millions of dollars into monitoring children in Fukushima Prefecture, even though the exposure levels were much lower than those that have been shown to cause thyroid cancer. At least it serves to reduce the stressful psychological effects on Fukushima Prefecture’s parents spawned by never-ending news media stories saying their children are at risk. However, increasing health checks in other Prefectures outside Fukushima will only waste many millions of dollars to reinforce what has been known for decades – low level radiation exposure below 100 mSv is not a realistic health risk. Increasing unnecessary health checks per Greenpeace and the Press will only amplify the irrational fear of radiation already plaguing the Japanese population. Greenpeace obviously wants Japan’s people to remain mortally afraid of the radioactive bogey man…it’s good for their irresponsible international antinuclear crusade. This sort of rhetorical exploitation should not be tolerated. This month, some Tokyo and government officials have been considered for criminal charges due to the Fukushima accident. The Japanese constitution says the public has a right the right to live in peace, free from fear. Greenpeace’s fear-mongering is a moral crime against the people of Japan.
Meanwhile, the on-going plight of the quarter-million tsunami refuges in the Tohoku region continues to be ignored by Greenpeace and the Press. The millions of dollars Greenpeace wants spent on un-necessary low level radiation studies would be better used to rebuild the communities swept away by the 3/11/11 tsunami. To date, only 30 of the government-promised 23,000 residences for tsunami refugees have been built. Another 1,700 are in limbo due to insensitive local politics. If Greenpeace really cared about the people of Japan who lost everything on 3/11/11 – and can never go back to their homes because they are gone – they should cry out for the construction of those new homes. If the Press really cared, they would demand that justice be served, in large portions, to the nation’s tsunami refugees. Since when are hypothetical risks and phobic fears more important than 20,000 dead and 250,000 refugees whose homes no longer exist?