Online effort to combat impact of Fukushima fiasco

Tokyo sets up English website on radiation

by Mizuho Aoki

Staff Writer

With the announcement Saturday in Buenos Aires of the winning bid for the 2020 Olympics, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government is running an English website dedicated to radiation-related information — a last-ditch effort to brush off the negative impact from the contaminated water problems plaguing the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

The website — monitoring.tokyo-eiken.go.jp/en/index.html — provides hourly radiation levels monitored at eight locations in Tokyo, including Shinjuku, Ota and Adachi wards, as well as the results of fallout, tap water and food sampling tests conducted by the metro government. The website also provides all of the past radiation readings Tokyo has monitored since 2011.

Visitors to the site, which was launched Friday afternoon, had topped 4,660 as of noon Wednesday, a metro official said. The figure is more than double the number an English website providing hourly radiation levels in Shinjuku received in a single month.

The metro government updates monitored outdoor radiation levels every hour, daily for tap water and fallout, and about once a week for food. The site was launched at the instruction of Gov. Naoki Inose, who left for Buenos Aires on Saturday, the official said.

At a Friday news conference, Inose said radiation levels in Tokyo are no different from those in New York, London or Paris, stressing the importance of convincing foreigners of Tokyo’s safety.

Radiation levels in Tokyo spiked in March 2011, hitting a record 0.8 microsieverts per hour that March 15. The levels quickly fell to normal levels after about one month and have since remained at around 0.05 microsieverts per hour.

Hourly radiation levels in London and Paris were 0.088 and 0.057 microsieverts, respectively, in August, according to the metro government.

Food safety ‘guaranteed’

Bloomberg

The safety of Japan’s food is “guaranteed” by the world’s strictest tests introduced after the Fukushima nuclear disaster started, the government said in a statement following recent revelations of radioactive water leaking and tainted groundwater flowing into the sea.

In the 17 months of tests through August, less than 0.7 percent of domestically produced food was found to have an excessive level of radionuclides, the Foreign Ministry said in an emailed statement.

“Even in Fukushima Prefecture, where the accident occurred, annual radiation exposure from food and water is lower than one hundredth of 1 millisievert,” the food safety limit set by the U.N., the ministry said.

  • Manfred Deutschmann

    I like the little table on the website saying “Tokyo radiation is comparable to major cities in the world”. Nice try at obfuscation, but every should know that it’s not the air radiation that people are concerned about, but the food chain. Where are the measurements of fish, fungi, etc. ? Also, the tap water measurement table stops at 2012-12-28. It would be interesting to see the tap water measurements from now on, with the huge leaks into the sea and ground water.
    This website is meant to calm people down, but it smells like a simple to spot attempt at obfuscation and white washing.

    • Japan_innovation

      I checked all the data in their graph, and everything is about air radiation which is irrelevant. No data about radioactive material levels in tap water and fallout (soil, etc.).

      • Manfred Deutschmann

        There is some (old) data about tap water, but yes, it’s all about the irrelevant air radiation which is why this smells as if someone is trying to hide something under the “lid”.
        And all this of course under the premise that the data we do get isn’t manipulated.

      • Enkidu

        Manfred, You can find the full tapwater results in English here: http://monitoring.tokyo-eiken.go.jp/en/mon_water_data.html.

        Also, for food data you can go to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, which posts English results here: http://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/topics/2011eq/index_food_radioactive.html

        They have results for over 140,000 food items in the last five months alone.

  • http://www.dadsarmy.co.uk/ GMainwaring

    Here’s what I don’t get.

    The United States pounds a testing ground in Nevada with nuclear weapons, including an extremely controversial series of 29 detonations in 1957 that releases more radiation into the atmosphere than any previous series. This is then followed by 37 detonations in 1958. Then in 1960 the Winter Olympics is held in Squaw Valley, California, some 350-400 kms as the crow flies from the testing ground, and as far as I can tell, nobody raises an eyebrow about the health of the athletes.

    Britain was conducting above ground tests on the Australian continent (admittedly quite a distance away from Melbourne) the same year as the 1956 Olympics. There was no concern about the athletes’ health.

    The first Chinese nuclear test set off at Lop Nor in 1964 was probably designed to spoil everyone’s fun at the Tokyo Olympics that were being staged at the time, but, perhaps reasonably given the distance, people did not think of the effect of radiation on the ceremonies. However, the United States had been testing its weapons willy nilly around and over the Pacific throughout the 1960s, Japanese people had been irradiated by these tests, there was concern in both the popular Japanese media and the popular culture (Godzilla!) about the effect of these tests on the health of Japanese, and yet no one seemed to care about the poor athletes then either.

    The 1979 Three Mile Island accident prompted widespread fears about radiation that were not assuaged for some time. The following year the Winter Olympics were held at Lake Placid, NY, some 350-400 kms away. Again, scant, if any, concern.

    No Olympics in 1986, but the sporting tournaments that took place in Europe were not cancelled due to fears, which were rife, of radiation in the immediate aftermath of Chernobyl. Moreover, the team that won the 1986 European (football) Cup Winners Cup was FC Dinamo Kiev, a rather ironic testimonial of the health of Ukrainian athletes.

    Moreover, there haven’t been any reports of Olympians suffering from the diseases one might associate with radiation sickness in any of these cases.

    And suddenly, when Japan wins an Olympics almost ten years out from a nuclear accident which, according to a major UN report, is “unlikely” to have any health risks for even those poor souls who lived near the plant during the disaster and even who worked within it, we are supposed to assume that all the athletes are going to sprout extra limbs, keel over, coughing up blood, or, in years to come, pay for the horrible decision to hold the Olympics in radiation central, Japan, with their health and/or their lives.

    How does that work again?

  • Hairee Pothead

    But 2020 still =No Gaijin Allowed! Japanese only!