281_Anti Nuke’s anger at authority is at a critical mass


Special To The Japan Times

More than two years after the triple reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, hundreds of thousands of residents of the Tohoku region of northeastern Honshu remain displaced, the power station teeters on the brink of further disaster and large swaths of northern Japan are so irradiated they’ll be uninhabitable for generations to come. But today in Tokyo, it is as though March 11, 2011, never happened. The streets are packed with tourists and banners herald the city’s 2020 Olympic bid; the neon lights are back on and all memories of post-meltdown power savings seem long forgotten.

Given this apparent mood of collective amnesia, the large poster on a wall near Shibuya Station comes as a surprise. It shows a little girl wearing a long red dress stenciled with the words “3.11 is not over” — nearby another poster depicts a Rising Sun flag seeping blood and the message “Japan kills Japanese.”

These posters — and dozens of others pasted around Tokyo — are the work of Japanese artist 281_Anti Nuke. While the origins of his chosen name are murky, the way in which his subversively simple images force passersby to stop — and think — has led to comparisons with British street artist Banksy. 281’s designs have also made him a target for Japan’s far right, who have branded him a dangerous criminal and urged the public to help put a stop to his activities.

This degree of controversy has forced 281 to wrap his true identity in a veil of secrecy, but after a convoluted series of negotiations, he finally agreed to his first newspaper interview. Throughout the meeting in a Shibuya coffee shop, 281 wore a cotton face mask and dark glasses; a disguise which helped him blend in seamlessly among the capital’s fashion-conscious hay-fever sufferers.

“On March 11, 2011, I was in Tokyo when the earthquake hit. I’d never experienced anything like that before. It felt like a bad dream,” 281 explained in a soft-spoken voice belying the fury of his designs.

Like the other 13 million residents of Tokyo, he survived the initial quake unharmed, but the following weeks triggered a seismic shift in his political outlook: “Before March 2011, I’d never been involved in activism of any kind. I’d trusted the Japanese government. But then the cracks started appearing,” he said.

First there were the revelations that the government had concealed the meltdowns, followed by news that they had hidden information regarding the dispersal of radiation. 281 came to the conclusion that there was very little natural about this disaster: It had occurred as a result of ties between the Japanese government and the nuclear power station’s operators, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco) — both of which were now determined to keep the truth hidden from the public.

Three months after the meltdowns, 281’s anger reached critical mass and he felt compelled to take action. Despite having no background in art, he decided that the best way to spread awareness was to take his message to the streets.

The first design he created was a three-eyed gas mask with two mouth pieces and the word “Pollution” written below it. The image satirized the logo of Tepco, which was as recognizable to most Japanese residents as the golden arches of McDonald’s or the Nike swoosh. 281 printed the gas mask onto 20-cm-tall stickers then stuck them around central Tokyo — on abandoned buildings and construction-site barricades. He avoided private property, but had few qualms targeting the city’s ubiquitous Tepco meter boxes and electric transformer units.

Over the following months, 281 put up hundreds more posters and stickers to remind the public what, he believed, the Japanese government and Tepco were conspiring to make people forget. His best-known image depicts a little girl wearing a poncho and rubber galoshes; beneath her feet is the message, “I hate rain,” punctuated with a triple-triangle radiation mark.

Since he first designed the image in September 2011, it has been spotted the length and breadth of Japan, as well as in the United States and Europe. 281 understood the reason for its viral spread when he started to receive tweets to his account at @281_: “The messages came from parents all over Japan. They told me they could see their own children in those prints.”

The same child in the “I hate rain” sticker features in other 281 designs. In one, she plays on a swing as radiation signs fall like snowflakes around her; in another, dressed in a swimsuit, she hugs an irradiated life-ring. Like all of 281’s work, the power of these designs lies in their simplicity. The radiation expelled by the twin meltdowns has tainted all aspects of children’s lives and cast doubts on the safety of everyday activities that used to be taken for granted.

The repeated image of the young girl raises the question of whether 281 has children of his own. Initially, he declined to answer; but after some gentle persuasion, he conceded he was a father. The girl of the stickers, however, is not based upon his own children.

281’s desire to protect details of his family is understandable. Notwithstanding the questionable legality of posting his designs on public property, the risks were elevated in December 2012 when the tabloid, Tokyo Sports, ran an article condemning his work.

Sparking the outcry was one of 281’s posters depicting politician Shinzo Abe — then the leader of the opposition but today the prime minister — with a radiation-emblazoned bandana over his face and the message, “Don’t Trust.” The image was found by Tokyo Sports during national election season and the paper accused 281 of initiating a smear campaign.

The story set the Internet ablaze. On bulletin boards, Japan’s rightists demanded 281’s immediate arrest for interfering with the election. Such commentators seemed oblivious to 281’s previous designs, which had been equally critical of Abe’s rivals. One of his most scathing posters, for example, depicted then Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and Tsunehisa Katsumata, the former president of Tepco, locking tongues in a deep French kiss.

Despite the violence intimated by some of the online commentators, 281 was keen to downplay the problem.

“Even if people hated the Abe poster, at least it created public debate. It went beyond just being a poster and made people think about the issue of politicians’ roles in the nuclear disaster.” he said.

Asked whether he worried about his own personal safety, 281 gave a quiet laugh, “The only protection I took was to buy myself a pair of sunglasses. I could begin to understand why Spiderman feels the need to wear a mask.”

281 had meant the comment as a joke but there was more truth to the superhero comparison than this modest man would ever admit. Science fiction is full of stories in which radiation transforms the destinies of normal men. Following the catastrophic disaster at Fukushima, this mild-mannered father was forced to take the law into his own hands to protect the life of his child — and the lives of children all over the nation.

The analogy seemed justified by 281’s next comment. “The meltdowns showed us that the Japanese government might not help us in the future. We need to save ourselves. Even after I die, it’s important to look after the next generation — and the generation beyond that.”

This sense of mission motivated 281’s latest series of works, which target the three key problems he believes Japan currently faces: the ongoing nuclear crisis, the rise in militarization and the planned entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership. One of his new designs depicts three images of Abe wrapped again in bandanas — the first has the same nuclear symbol that sparked last year’s online outrage, the others, military camouflage and the American flag.

Inevitably, works such as these will plunge 281 into the limelight once more. In addition, some of his designs will move from the street to an art space in Tokyo for his first show next month. British filmmaker, Adrian Storey has also just completed a documentary about his work titled “281_Anti Nuke.”

How this growing publicity will affect 281 on an artistic — not to mention personal level — remains to be seen. But before he pulled his hood over his head and slipped back into the anonymity of Shibuya’s night-time bustle, he renewed his promise to help protect his children and his country.

“Japan is at a changing point in its history. I want this country to find a better path. If we don’t give up, then I’m confident we’ll succeed in changing it.”

Very special thanks to Erina Suto, without whom this article would have been impossible. A trailer for Adrian Storey’s documentary can be seen at vimeo.com/65038166. For more of 281_Anti Nuke’s designs and details of his upcoming show, visit: www.281antinuke.com.

  • TheFukushimaScolder

    I feel like saying “hundreds of thousands of residents of the Tohoku region of northeastern Honshu remain displaced, the power station teeters on the brink of further disaster and large swaths of northern Japan are so irradiated they’ll be uninhabitable for generations to come” is incredible fear-mongering coming from this site. I’m actually quite taken aback by how boldly you’d twist the truth just to be dramatic. As a member of the media, with people drawing their opinions from what you write, you should exercise at least some discretion in the words you choose.

    Somewhere between 100,000-150,000 residents remain displaced, and many of those are by choice. People who moved because they didn’t know what the future would hold and have set up lives elsewhere (many inside Fukushima). Or those that don’t wish to return for fear it may happen again. Not quite the “hundreds of thousands” you suggest are living in tent cities somewhere. Many could return, but they do not. Saying hundreds of thousands of residents remain displaced furthers the untrue and alarmist image that Fukushima is some kind of nuclear wasteland devoid of life except in roving bands of cannibals.

    Further, I have no idea what you mean by “large swaths of northern Japan” being uninhabitable for generations. If you mean the 30 km exclusion zone, I hardly consider that to be “large swaths.” Also, most of the towns within the exclusion zone have been predicted to become liveable after 30 years (the approximate half-lie of the cesium 137 still present in the soil) not “generations.”

    I know I’m nitpicking, and I know this is just the opening sentences of an otherwise good article, but the language you choose is important.

    We should absolutely remain aware and vigilant on the status of Fukushima. We should continue to hold TEPCO and the government responsible and urge the people not to forget. We should do everything we can to prevent it from happening again. But painting this kind of picture does nothing but hurt the people who still live here. It hurts their businesses. It hurts their spirit. It causes their children to be bullied. It causes their cars to be vandalized, just because they bear a Fukushima license plate. If nothing else, it’s horrifically irresponsible and sensational journalism and I feel you should be more responsible when carelessly describing the situation in Fukushima in such a bleak and ignorant way.

    • Masa Chekov

      Fantastic comment.

    • Starviking

      Seconded! An excellent comment.

    • Tom Gill


    • Rainer Klute

      Thank you for this great comment! The JT should indeed look more at the facts ands less at the fears. Or to quote Marie Curie, who discovered radioactivity: “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

    • thedudeabidez

      ” If you mean the 30 km exclusion zone, I hardly consider that to be “large swaths.”

      I suppose it’s easy to take that position when you don’t actually live there.

      • Sam Gilman

        I suppose it’s easy to tell the world the lie that large swaths of Tohoku are uninhabitable when you don’t live there, need to earn a living there, come from there but be bullied elsewhere at school. Why does none of this matter to you?

      • Starviking

        I for one live in Tohoku, and do not appreciate the hype that is pushed out in the mass media.

    • thedudeabidez

      “We should continue to hold TEPCO and the government responsible and urge the people not to forget. We should do everything we can to prevent it from happening again.”

      Unfortunately, the only people holding such positions are the anti-nuke people you are so quick to criticise. I’ll be the first to agree with you there has been an incredible amount of scare-mongering and misinformation from the anti-nuke side — almost as much as the pro-nuke side — but TEPCO is not being held responsible, the Dai-ichi clean-up operation is haphazard at best, and the Abe government plans to re-start the plants, continue exporting nuclear technology, and take only minimal measures to give the illusion of increased safety protocols. Meanwhile the long-term waste disposal problem remains unresolved and the fact that it was likely the quake itself, and not the tsunami, that led to the meltdown of at least one of the reactors is being swept under the carpet, because the implications are dire for the industry

      • TheFukushimaScolder

        I absolutely agree that the people who keep this problem in the public eye are the anti-nuke activists. And I should be clear I have no problem with them. In fact, I really admire what 281 is trying to do by refusing to forget and making the public uncomfortable about it, because the problem is nowhere near fixed.

        However, I refuse to quietly watch the people of Fukushima be caught in the crossfire between those activists and the government/TEPCO. And that’s what happens when such misinformation is spread. It is possible to be angry and to take action without propagating ignorance, sensationalism, and fear.

        My original point was that misinformation about the current state of Tohoku 2 years after the disasters is damaging to the people who live there and to the discussion as a whole. What should we be focusing on? As you said, the long-term waste disposal problem is an ongoing issue that has almost zero public awareness. That is a real problem that people should be paying attention to rather than actively discouraging anyone from coming within 100 miles of Fukushima. The plants are the problem, not the people, and not the prefecture.

    • 思德

      Good comment, but nobody causes anyone to vandalize a car with a Fukushima plate or bully kids from Fukushima. People who are mean spirited jerks will do such things anyway, because they enjoy kicking people while they are down. It’s not like people from Fukushima caused the tsunami or the nuclear incident. Anybody who does that is a complete idiot.

    • artob2

      Disagree! It is important to be able to respond to a situation as a journalist in as critical a manner as one chooses. Given the relative bias toward pro-nuclear arguments and calming methods used by the majority of media outlets and invested institutions, this article, however strongly worded, gives readers the space to re-think most of what they hear and see and read. Yes the science is complex and conflicted, and yes the statistics are more accurate than this article allows space for so it is undoubtedly correct to point out the inaccuracies. But the general thrust is a much needed breath of fresh air in conditions which are increasingly stifling.

  • Sam Gilman

    The Japan Times editorial staff have been told many, many times by readers who live in Japan, both in article comments and letters, how their scaremongering stories are both highly inaccurate and potentially very damaging to the welfare of people in Tohoku. Links and references have been given, explanations – in fact their readers have been doing their research for them. For those of us who live here, it matters. It’s not a game.

    I’m sure the editors believe that they care passionately about the welfare of people in Tohoku, and I’m sure they’re perfectly capable of reading all the health reports. I don’t think they’re stupid. So what’s going on? Why is it that when they’re faced with a choice between:

    (A) Reporting on the situation accurately, reflecting the best sources available about the health risks from Fukushima, the radiation levels in Tohoku in general, the numbers of people evacuated and so on. (What most people think of as responsible journalism.)


    (B) Allowing ridiculous exaggerations, distortions and full-on made-up nonsense onto their pages, only adding to the serious distress resulting from prejudice and massively stoked-up fear

    they keep on going with (B), even though the vast majority of comments from people actually in Japan are begging them to stop? Here’s my theory. (A) means you get to keep your conscience, but (B) gets you revenue.

    You see, I’m sure the JT editorial staff believe they care passionately about the welfare of people in Tohoku (Funnily enough, the people running TEPCO probably believe the same thing). But, as we all know, the publication has been losing money hand over fist for years, and compromises have to be made, even to consciences. It’s just business.

  • henry hoppe

    Really, really, good article. Gives some voice to a silent star. Thanks for printing it.

    hmmm, seems the Fukushima Scolder and Sam Gilman (plus the other 2
    yay-sayers) are attacking the messenger in an effort to avoid the

    Maybe because it’s such a compelling one? One that many in power don’t want discussed or aired or even heard – at all?

    has found a way around this wall of “it’s okay really” and “don’t
    panic, it’s not so bad” and “those bad people exaggerate”. He’s using
    appealing, and now popular, imagery to raise awareness, to start a

    And everyone – including the Scolder, Gilman et
    al – should be grateful for that because it’s the first and last
    defence of freedom. And surely they want that too?

    Great article, thanks again.

    • Sam Gilman


      I presume you don’t live in Japan. For you, I’m sure, the area of Tohoku (north eastern Honshu) is kind of a theoretical place. You know it exists, but it’s not “real”. As such, how people are getting on there after the quake, tsunami and nuclear crisis is probably not something that really bothers you. That’s understandable.

      It’s different for those of us who live here. The reconstruction effort matters. Some of us live or have family in Tohoku, and these people have been suffering from the efforts of anti-nuclear activists like this 281 person. Debris has needed to be disposed of safely to allow proper rebuilding. However, many places have been refusing to take the debris for incineration because, in spite of it not being radioactive (via independent testing), they believe it is radioactive because anti-nuclear activists (based on no evidence) told them it was. Children evacuated from the area are being bullied at their new schools for being radioactive because, even though these children are under no threat and pose no threat to others, anti-nuclear activists like this 281 person and the author (Jon Mitchell) have been wildly exaggerating the dangers of the releases that happened. Health investigators to the area report widespread fear and fear responses – depression, alcoholism, and severe child behavioral problems in people who are not actually at risk of developing radiation-relation illnesses. Why are they so scared? Because anti-nuclear activists like this 281 person spread fear, and tell them lots of people are going to die. It’s good business for him. He’s famous now. It goes on: farmers trying to sell produce that has been tested and tested and tested and is safe, are struggling to regain their livelihoods because anti-nuclear opportunists like this 281 person thrive, build careers on, spreading unwarranted and unscientific fear. Children in areas which are safe from radioactivity are getting fat and storing up future health problems because their parents are scared to put them outside. Why are they scared? Yep, it’s those anti-nuclear activists.

      I debate with anti-nuclear activists online quite a lot. Once I get them onto anything technical – such as how radiation affects people, what the research on health and radiation is, what the impact of fear is – it quickly becomes apparent they don’t know anything on the topic, and more worryingly, don’t seem to care that they don’t know. They’re literally ignorant about the topic they claim is most important in their lives. They’re a bunch of poseurs causing immense damage. Yes, radiation can kill you, and yes, workers at the plant now are in a certain danger, and yes, TEPCO have been horrendous. But we’re talking science here, not magic.

      Doesn’t it matter to you whether or not 281 is right? Is it just the coolness of the stickers? Is it your “gut” telling you he’s right? Does everything in your political world get reduced to “Us” and “Them”? Surely you’re more nuanced than that.

      Is the rain radioactive? NO.
      Is it true that “large swaths of northern Japan are so irradiated they’ll be uninhabitable for generations to come”? NO. Go look at a map of the exclusion zone. Some areas are already ready for resettlement.
      Is it true that “The radiation expelled by the twin meltdowns has tainted all aspects of children’s lives and cast doubts on the safety of everyday activities that used to be taken for granted.” Well, in a way, this is true, but only in the sense that 281, Jon Mitchell, the Japan Times and many other anti-nuclear organisations have been determined to make it true through fear in spite of what all independent experts on radiation and health have been saying, and in spite of other people pleading with these anti-nuclear activists to stop causing so much damage and make better use of themselves in the aftermath.

      But, as I say, I understand how you feel. After all, you don’t live in Japan, and the actual truth on the ground isn’t going to be as important for you as it is for us. (Sheesh, if you did live in Japan, you’d be a worrying individual if you put kneejerk politics before worrying about the reconstruction of Tohoku. But I’m sure that, on the contrary, you’re a lovely person.)

      • thedudeabidez

        “Is the rain radioactive? NO.”

        Was it radioactive after the accident when the plume passed through Kanto? YES. Fact. And that is what 281’s posters were commenting upon at the time.

      • Sam Gilman

        So all of these rain stickers are about a past event that, despite it being scary at the time, didn’t harm anybody? Really?

        Aren’t you grasping at straws?

      • Eric

        Sam, just curious, do you also live in Tohoku? (not trolling, just asking)

      • Sam Gilman

        Given that Japan foreign residents posting their views online have been subject to serious harassment (by other foreigners or naturalised citizens) and even physical threats, it’s none of your business exactly where I live. Sorry.

      • artob2

        The livelihood and welfare of people living in Fukushima-city and around the affected areas are certainly of concern, I’m sure, to the author of this article, and almost all of those making comments. The Fukushima local government and other federal government institutions are well aware that if they promote the economic suffering of these people, after all they have been through, then this make a strong counte-argument to the claim which maintains that people should stay away from contaminated areas. As the discussion below indicates, the science about health effects from radiation exposure is contested, and depending on what and who you read, you are likely to be persuaded in one direction or another. The issue is heavily polarised. However, Chernobyl has not been mentioned. We know that the IAEA, UNSCEAR, ICRP, WHO have underestimated radiation health effects in Chernobyl. Even Kofi Annan admitted this in 2000. This is because the IAEA (nuclear physicists) is mandated to control reports on health effects caused by radiation exposure, and has an agreement since 1959 with WHO (medical scientists) to this effect. These institutions agree in their mission statements to promote nuclear power. Of course, Japan (JAEA) is a signatory has membership in the IAEA. As Abe has demonstrated the nuclear industry is very important to Japan’s economic exports as it is important to the nation’s utilities and their shareholders. Allowing negative information on the health effects of radioactive materials to become too persuasive would undermine the nuclear industry. From this perspective, the people living in areas are certainly caught in the cross-fire of non-transparent, politically motivated information. These people are being asked to risk their health and well-being by continuing to live there. At the same time the Japanese government has raised exposure limits so as to limit liability, and so that people cannot claim compensation for losses incurred from being forced to leave a contaminated area. The problem is that the real effects from radiation exposure in chronic illnesses and deaths take several years to manifest, and are difficult to predict exactly when they will emerge. Nevertheless, as Chernobyl has shown, there are many times more people who now live with chronic illness, and who have and will suffer premature deaths. (Aside from Kofi Annan’s statement in 2000, see Burlakova et al 2006; Yablokov and Nesterenko 2009; Bandashevsky 2001 in english 2013 among many many others). The main point is that if there is significant doubt around the safety of dispersed radioactive material, policy should err on the conservative side instead of brazenly repeating ‘you’ll be alright’, ‘it’s nothing to worry about’, ‘there are no immediate health risks’ etc. The disturbing thing is that the Japanese government claims to not have the resources to help people in these areas, while it continues lavish spending on maintaining edifices like Monju which have been dysfunctional for decades. Where are its priorities – sovereign power or the people?

      • Sam Gilman

        Two things:

        1. Can you lay out your criteria for what counts as an expert? (Mine consist variously of a good publication track record in the peer reviewed realm, along with a healthy post-publication reception in the scientific community, and an absence of professional scandal suggesting susceptibility to financial or political influence)

        2. Have a good look on your keyboard. On the right hand side there’s a key called “enter”. It’s a really useful tool in idea organisation.

  • Reading through the comments, it seems that the information has not been transparent and little civil discussion is being done.. Added to that the fact that the relevant information on dose is being manipulated and censored, even at the recent UN meeting cluster concerning Anand Grovers report of 2012.. the response from the Japanese government report was edited quietly.. and released dated 24 May 2013 but only uploaded to the server on 27 May.. The 27 May 2013 was also, coincidentally?, the day that the Local Fukushima residents NGO`s had a chance to speak to the UN. At a side meeting.

    The report has been decimated!

    What would they have done if they knew the Japanese Government, UNSCEAR, IAEA and the ICRP had decimated the report to a few paragraphs?

    2 mSv/y in Europe?? really?? not according to my gieger and EURDEP the radiation mapping system of Europe.. Ho Hum! there is some really bad science being used to silence Anand Grovers report. And the timing of the release of the Japanese response..

    google this for the links to the official documentation that was NOT reported anywhere..

    ” …. ICRP, WHO and UNSCEAR and their effect on the Fukushima children ..”

    “….the Ordinance on Prevention of Ionizing Radiation Hazards in Japan,

    which requires that areas where radiation dose shall not exceed 50mSv/year and 100mSv/5years ….”

    And the ICRP are trying to increase the allowable dose to 100mSv/y according to the industry World Nuclear News article of December. And dont get me started on the recent Moscow meeting to up the allowable amounts of contamination in food as i would be veering too off topic.. but you can google.. the info is out there..
    My respects to all those involved with and effected by the Great Tohoku disasters
    Why is the information about these things, that effect everyone world wide seemingly being largely censored??
    It would partially explain the slightly aggressive polarity of the discussion here
    Full transparency instead of skulduggery would lead to better civil discourse and co-operation imo
    Look for the facts and you can find them. And then have a proper discussion with the facts. imo


    • Sam Gilman

      Do you do links? It’s very difficult to decipher what you’re talking about as it appears to have been written either in haste or high excitement. You’ve made several allegations, some of which look suspicious not least because there are multiple datasets, some of which are produced by independent sources.

      What science research are you basing your understanding of what levels of radiation constitute a threat to human health?

      • hi sam

        sorry about the clutter

        the link with that headline takes you to the 4 most recent UN meetings to do with Anand grovers report, the Japanese official response and the redactions..

        look at the dates

        i was looking at the UN website all weekend and the 24 th May post was actually uploaded on monday or maybe tuesday.. not enough time for the NGO`s to respond before the last session relevant to Fukushima

        as to science research, i read the UNSCEAR related stuff and EURDEP for comparison of measurements. I also own an inspector alert to confirm EURDEP UK readings and they are the same all over Europe.

        sorry i havent broken it down further but it is being translated into Japanese and other people can assess the “allegations” i just want to share the knowledge within the documents themselves for people to read and discuss

        i hope you enjoy the read as much as i did or wait for someone to further break it down from the pro nuke side. However, the man from UNSCEAR doesnt like discussion before the final report.. no discussion at all

        “…Dear Editor,
        As you are aware, UNSCEAR is meeting in Vienna,
        Austria, this week to discuss the draft report that you have published –
        I emphasize the word “draft” as the Committee Members will be
        scrutinizing the report and providing further refinements. Following
        this, it will be finalized for presentation to the General Assembly
        later this year.
        Publishing it in an incomplete and draft form is a
        great disservice, not only to the reputation of this UN Committee, but,
        more importantly, to the Japanese population. As you know, the report is
        of major significance to them, and is discussing an issue that touches
        their daily lives.
        UNSCEAR cannot endorse or confirm the findings that you have published at this present time.
        Kind regards
        Carl-Magnus Larsson,
        Chair, UNSCEAR ….”

        Google that for source
        seems fair in a closed and militarised society if you ask me
        the plebs should just get on with it..
        i dont bother with links as many forums moderate for that…. sorry

      • @ sam

        i cant post this as a response for some reason

        to answer your question, the big question…

        what levels of radiation constitute a threat to human health?

        Richard Wakeford or you can see him being pitted against some German
        nuclear chap who reckons Richard Wakeford is likely soft in the head! 20
        years to find a leukaemia bearing virus? haha! and they still havent
        found it.. but i am biased

        google this for the interview and German response (amongst some anti nuclear stuff but relevant)

        “… Radioactive waste: Dumped and Forgotten ….”
        i live in the UK i am not allowed to watch it.. but this is the English
        version that might make the states one day.. let me know if its any
        good? many thanks!

      • Starviking

        The fact that it stars the discredited Dr Chris Busby, who tried to sell “anti-radiation medicine” to Fukushima residents at inflated prices, leads me to believe that the documentary will be weak in science, high in hype.

      • the fact its banned in england.. the fact that richard wakeford shows some terrible body language :) and an interview with a proffessional nuclear scientific german advisor could be construed as hype but try watching it first.. richard wakeford is right handed so look to his eyes moving down and to the left, blinking and.. well just look.. you can fast forward busby .. the wonder of you tube.. :) psychology 101

      • Starviking

        Wakeford’s segment is very interesting, and started at 42 minutes in the version I looked at. Even more interesting is the noticable jump at the 43:20 mark. It has the effect of making it seem like Wakeford is suggesting that the two explainations given for leukemia around nuclear sites is either a virus or population mixing. Anyone with an interest in the subject knows that population mixing and the virus are the same thing, and that the two theories are “a virus spread by population mixing” and “radiation”. Professor Wakeford knows this, and I assume he said this. The fact that the “documentary” makers felt the need to make such an obvious edit reveals much about their motives, and contempt for their viewers’ intelligence.
        Seeing that the edit, combined with the priming of the German researcher with the misrepresentation of Wakeford’s remarks, seem pretty much defamation, I can see why the documentary might be unshowable in the UK.
        Look at the Wakeford section again, and the use of the words that have been edited. Is this the kind of “evidence” that can be relied upon?
        As for body language, maybe he’s not good at giving interviews? I certainly am not confortable in similar situations – doesn’t make me a liar.

      • mi can post again! sorry about the delay.. couldnt get through ..

        hes looked better at the fukushima symposium in september, very relaxed amongst a large group of his peers (the video is still on the symposium site).. any way i have some amazing news on the Radon average that UNSCEAR uses .. and its a corker!!.. i will post up the thread where the question is!

      • Starviking

        And no comment on the obvious manipulation of Dr Wakeford’s segment in the clip you provided?

      • Sam Gilman


        Can I ask a question? When you decided to believe in the work of Chris Busby, was it after a careful appraisal of his standing in the scientific community? Or was it because what he said confirmed your beliefs?

        It’s important, because if anyone is going to have a science-based discussion with you, they need to know that you operate on the best evidence, not the evidence that you like.

        You seem like a nice person, so it pains me to tell you that Chris Busby is a quack. More than that, he is famously a quack. I’m really, really glad you mentioned Richard Wakeford as someone to ask about radiation and health. Here’s what he has to say about Chris Busby’s scientific credentials. It’s not good:


        Busby invents front groups to make himself look important, starts up “journals” to make his work look peer-reviewed, and his research itself has been criticised by cancer researchers as so systematically bad that it was almost certainly deliberately fixed. It gets worse: here’s another of his greatest hits:


        and here’s what happens when a journalist tries to interview him about these issues of fiddled data and selling useless pills to potential victims of radiation:


        As for Wakeford and the WHO report: He contributed to it.


        Wakeford certainly has found a relationship between the incidence of leukaemia in children in the UK in relation to varying levels of background radiation. And even he thinks the releases from Fukushima will have a minimal effect on the population.

        The point is not that there will be NO increases in cancer, but that they will be very, very small and affecting a very limited population. To put it into context, someone moving from Tokyo to the evacuation zone would actually reduce their environmental risk of cancer. Of course, the people who live near the plant did not choose to have this small increased threat, whereas you can in principle choose to move to or from Tokyo, so it’s not a perfectly fair ethical comparison. But it’s not exactly the destruction to human health that the anti-nuclear lobby need you to believe. It’s not something that will directly affect the lives of almost all of the children from the exclusion zone, let alone outside it. That, of course, is not what 281 believes. But unlike Wakeford (but very much like Busby) 281 is not an established, respected expert in radiation and health.

        By the way, viruses can cause leukaemia. Google “oncovirus”. It’s one of the possible explanations for leukaemia clusters.

        I also couldn’t find the letter from UNSCEAR on the Internet, despite searching for key phrases from the excerpt you cited. Do you have a link for it?

      • hi sam.. i have your answer


        read the comments as i carried the conversation (with peer reviewed links)

        UNSCEAR overestimate “human” dose by a facto of 10
        they say 200bq/m3 giving a 20 bq/m3 or less actual dose per human
        it does NOT include the sheep in the heavier radon areas.
        a number of peer reviewed documents are there and a link to the government website for the summary document!!
        only 0.04 percent of housing stock is affected by these higher 200 bq/m3 levels most are under 10 bq/m3

        sorry for the wait as i couldnt post
        thanks for your kind words also

        hope the link doesnt stop me posting again :/

      • The european measuring network would disagree with you !

    • Starviking


      geiger counters cannot detect radiation from Radon gas, the major contributor to background radiation in Europe. Google “Natural Radiation Atlas of Europe” for more information. 3mSv per year is average for Europe.
      I think you should re-assess the reliablity of the source you quote from.

      • untrue
        lots of radon here
        Arclight2011 youtube

        up to 0.40 mcSv/h after the budapest medical isotope institutes “ejections” of mid 2012 as reported by CRIIRAD
        PbLead levels reached advisable levels in drinking water in September to November (but only slightly)
        no warning given and annual lead levels in water are no longer given on the relevent website though some US bases in the UK reported the situation in late November..

        I measured 0.13 mcSv/h average in Totnes (devon) and 0.10 mcSv/h average in London
        Totnes is about the same as Finland except by the lakes (they lakes are radon heavy(

        radon and its daughters give Alphs Beta and Gamma, all readable with an inspector alert

        so according to EURDEP, CRIIRAD and my giegers the annual amount is under 1mSv/h for most of Europe
        well under 2mSv/y in a small spot in finland that is sparsely populated..
        the radon atlas measures in bq/l

      • Starviking

        Did I say there was not a lot of radon in Europe? I did not – I said that geiger counters cannot detect radiation from radon gas (effectivley). That is why EURDEP shows no data on it when you try to view it on their public map.

        As for your commerical radiation detector, it has a pancake geiger tube, which by the Inspector Alert manual, has different efficiencies in picking up alpha and beta radiation. They say:

        “CPM (or CPS) and total counts are the most direct methods of measurement; mR/hr (or μSv/hr) is calculated using a conversion factor optimized for Cesium-137, so this mode is less accurate for other radionuclides, unless you have calibrated the Inspector Alert for a specific radionuclide using an appropriate source. It is more appropriate to measure alpha and beta activity using CPM than using mR/hr. Conversion for alpha and beta emitters is calculated differently, and the Inspector Alert’s reading in mR/hr may not be accurate.”

        In fact, geiger counters are not a recommended way of testing for radon, at least according to the US EPA:


        The Health Physics Society:


        Or by the Inspector Alert manufacturers:


        “We do not recommend the Radalert 50™, Radalert 100™, Inspector™, or the Inspector Alert™ as an alternative to EPA-approved carbon canisters or other standard methods of testing for radon.”
        So you are not going to be reading much from radon.

      • just been supping a cuppa tea and pondering the wonderful world of
        statistics and pretty diagrams and graphs.. UNSCEAR etc have some cool
        graphics specialists imo

        As to the average as opposed to median data shows on your euro radon
        map an average of 200 bq/m3 for the UK for example. However if we get a
        median statistic from the UK report measuring actual homes the actual
        figure (and the discrepancy in my gieger readings imo ) of the majority
        of peoples homes is a tenth of what the “average” would have us
        believe.. High radon areas = low population. So real data gives me a
        clue as to the real measurements.

        this accounts for 55 percent (average statistic)or 5 percent (real
        measurements) of the total dose in the UK as it effects humans and not
        sheep (though i sometimes fail to distinguish the difference).

        As to the effectiveness of the inspector alert in tracing radon and
        its progeny it can be done!.. it is very possible that while in its 22
        year dormant state as Pblead 210 that it might be difficul though,,(just
        prior to a wonderful 120 day polonium 210 life :0 – (not very much
        talked about at EDF`s processing plants for some reason?)


        please read all the comments on the post for the peer reviewed links to the government site :)

        3mSv/y OOps!

      • Sam Gilman

        Hi Sean,

        I hope you enjoyed your tea.

        Here are the problems with the things you are claiming.

        1. Background radiation. You want us to believe that the scientific community, as well as various governmental bodies around the world that monitor for background radiation and the contribution of radon,have got it wrong, and that you, an anonymous person on the Internet, have got it right. Your evidence largely rests on your use of a geiger counter in a manner expressly discouraged by its own manufacturer as well as several authorities on the measurement of radiation and the detection of radon. (You can detect the influence of radon with what you have, but not the absolute contribution to background radation. You’ve confused these two things). I don’t know why you’re citing (misunderstanding) EURDEP – in one of your blogposts, you describes them as liars.

        2. Conspiracy theories. You misrepresent a document as a surreptitious attempt to alter UN health rapporteur findings. What it actually is, is the standard procedural input from one of the concerned parties correcting factual errors. (What on Earth made you think it was some kind of sly intervention?) The correction you highlight in particular is straightforwardly correcting the mis-citation of a safety guideline. What that document actually shows me, given that even as a layperson I can recognise many of the errors they highlight as obvious errors, is that the original draft report was surprisingly haphazard. Anand Grover is a lawyer who previously specialised in HIV/AIDS rights cases, not a nuclear scientist. I would take the views of scientists critiquing his report quite seriously. They also source the reasons for their corrections.

        3. Your use of corrupted, compromised “experts”. The film you want us to trust (a) features as authority a known quack scientist (Busby); (b) clearly misrepresents the known public views of a well-respected scientist (Wakeford certainly does not deny that radiation can lead to leukaemia); (c) simply gets wrong the scientific debate on leukaemia clusters (Heaven’s above, it’s not that complex!); (d) appears to use highly deceitful editing techniques when representing opposing views; and (e) you want us to believe that YouTube/google is part of a nuclear conspiracy to hide information from Britons, even though there are stacks and stacks of anti-nuclear information available through their services in the UK unblocked.

        4. Your analytical sourcing is…(drum roll)…your own blog posts on an anti-nuclear website.

        I really cannot stress this enough: understanding how much the Fukushima accident has posed a threat to people’s health is not a game for those of us who live in Japan. With lots of contradictory information flying about, the question “is this person a reliable source of information?” becomes paramount.

        Some people, unfortunately, have decided that “reliable” means “says what I already believe”, which is what has created the circle-jerk of fear-mongering among certain people. What “reliable” actually means, is, “does this person have a record of, and reputation for, being reliable and trustworthy, as judged by her/his peers.”

        So yes, I do take the opinions of the WHO and UNSCEAR over your blog postings. There is no body of reputable scientists publishing across the hundreds of high-quality independent science journals around the world who believe there is a cover-up in these agencies’ research on radiation in general or Fukushima in particular. I’ve read an awful lot of scientific research on the issue, and not a peep. There’s lots of amateur bloggers and people on conspiracy websites that think so, but not people publishing with the oversight of their peers.

      • Starviking


        do you not think it strange that despite the honest, professional efforts of scientists, doctors, and other public health professionals, that you have found the gaping hole in the grand conspiracy that they – with all their education and expertise – have failed to find?


        Also, some news from Scotland – increased radon risk!


  • Complete over hype and I visit Fukushima all the time. The regional economy needs support and not endless scaremongering.

  • 乃亜 印場

    This is hardly what I would call News. There was an earthquake, so now this guy doesn’t trust the government and vandalizes public property with posters. It send very heavy on emotion, and very light on fact. What -exactly- does he want to do? The reality is that 3.11 is over for most of Japan, people directly affected will take time to get back to a normal life, and the government isn’t prefect.