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<甲状腺検査>福島県外の子供と比較 内閣府方針
〈Thyroid Examination〉 The Cabinet Office policy to compare with children outside Fukushima Prefecture
Translated by Fukushima Voice

2012年8月26日 09時48分 (2012年8月26日 13時24分 更新
This is a complete translation of a Mainichi Shimbun article linked above and published online on August 26, 2012.


In relation to the thyroid examination of children started by Fukushima Prefecture after the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear accident, the Japanese government decided to implement a similar examination outside Fukushima Prefecture in order to assess the effect of radiation on children. Comparative data will be obtained by the end of the current fiscal year (the end of March, 2013). In Fukushima Prefecture, about 35% of children examined had thyroid abnormalities such as nodules. Even though Fukushima Prefecture explains that “Small, benign cysts and nodules are not unusual,” parents are anxious and worried as there is no good comparison data of normal prevalence. The government official says, “We would like to collect data that can be used for comparison to relieve anxiety of Fukushima residents.”

Because pediatric thyroid cancer increased after the Chernobyl nuclear accident, Fukushima Prefecture began thyroid ultrasound examination in approximately 360,000 children who were between the ages of 0 and 18 at the time of the accident. Of 38,114 children who were examined by the end of March, 2012, 35.8% or 13, 646 children had either nodules (lumps) or cysts (fluid-filled sac); 186 children went on to receive secondary examinations. No cases of cancer have been found.

For details about the thyroid examination by Fukushima Prefecture, please refer to this article


Professor Shinichi Suzuki from Fukushima Medical University, which is implementing the examination, says that “There should be no effect of radiation seen at this point of time.” as pediatric thyroid cancer cases began to increase 4 to 5 years after the Chernobyl accident. On the other hand, radiation specialists have pointed out that “There is no way to judge the presence or absence of the effect of radiation exposure unless the results are compared to prevalence of thyroid nodules/cysts in an average population of children.”

According to the Team in Charge of Assisting the Lives of Disaster Victims in the Cabinet Office, the project will be commissioned to an organization which wins an open competitive bidding. A free examination will be performed on a total of over 4,500 children under age 18 in more than three locations in Japan. The examination will be performed by specialists belonging to the Japan Thyroid Association, just as in Fukushima Prefecture, and the quality of ultrasound equipments and the result assessment guidelines will be standardized. Professor Toshihide Tsuda of Okayama University (environmental epidemiology) says, “This is a meaningful investigation, as the current situation is too insufficient for residents to accept explanation by Fukushima Prefecture.”

Data from examination will be compiled into a report by the end of March 2013. Before the start of the examination, an investigation committee consisting of specialists, such as epidemiologists, will be established to make concrete plans. Selection of areas to be examined will most likely require agreements by the Board of Education, schools, and parents/guardians.

Examination results will be sent to those examined. The government will provide counseling and advice as needed and hold information sessions when most results come out.

Insufficient explanation causing anxiety

The thyroid examination for children under age 18, offered free of charge by Fukushima Prefecture, in order to “watch over children’s health to bring a sense of relief,” is increasing anxiety of parents/guardians. Many are taking their children to hospitals outside Fukushima Prefecture, looking for a second opinion. The reason for that is the insufficient explanation about the result from the prefecture.

A sixty-year-old woman from Kawamata-machi, Fukushima, took her four-year-old grandchild to Nakadori General Hospital in Akita-city, Akita Prefecture, in June. It took them three hours each way by car and Shinkansen bullet train. They stayed there the night before in order for the grandchild to undergo palpatory and ultrasound examinations of thyroid gland as well as blood test for thyroid function. As the visit was considered a health check-up, insurance could not be applied. They paid about 14,000 yen ($178) for the visit, in addition to about 40,000 yen ($509) for travel expenses.

The family received the prefectural examination result from Fukushima Medical University in February. All it said was, “There are small nodules and cysts (fluid-filled sacs), but there is no need for secondary examination.” They grew anxious about having to wait until the next examination two years later. They were upset when multiple cysts were confirmed at the Akita hospital. The doctor recommended a follow-up examination six months later and told them, “Now that there is a diagnosis, you will be able to use insurance next time.”

This hospital has seen 65 children from Fukushima Prefecture in the last five months since March 14, 2012. Similar visits are seen in Niigata, Hokkaido, and Tokyo Metropolitan region. The prefecture examination implemented by Fukushima Medical University restricts examining physicians to specialists belonging to one of seven specialty associations, such as the Japan Thyroid Association, but an examination can be done at any medical facility with the right equipment and experience.

However, there are quite a few cases of people traveling far for the examination after being denied medical care in Fukushima Prefecture. A 38-year-old mother of two who evacuated to Aizu wakamatsu-city called five hospitals in the city, yet nobody agreed to examine them. She resented that “It is just not right that we can’t be seen by a doctor when we want to be seen.”

We asked physicians the reason for refusal to provide medical care and received the following responses.
A pediatrician in Fukushima-city: “It will be confusing if our result is different from the result by Fukushima Medical University.”

A hospital in Aizu district: “It’s not a duty of a private hospital to relieve the anxiety of parents/guardians.”
One of the physicians involved with the prefectural examination: “This examination by Fukushima Medical University is an unprecedented epidemiological study in the world to follow up on health effects by radiation. If some undergo examinations at another hospital instead of the prefectural examination, it will interfere with the study. 

Some point out the influence by a letter sent in January by Fukushima Medical University vice president Shunichi Yamashita to seven specialty associations including the Japan Thyroid Association. The letter tells members of those specialty associations to “Please explain to them well to make sure they understand that any further testing is not necessary before the next examination unless symptoms appear,” in case they receive inquiries or consultations from parents regarding the results of the prefectural examination. One of the physicians belonging to the Japan Thyroid Association said, “If I follow what’s in this letter, I will be going against the Medical Act which says physicians cannot refuse to provide medical care.”

For the letter sent by Shunichi Yamashita, please refer to this article.


Regarding this letter, Yamashita explained, “It tells them to explain to parents/guardian the fact the prefecture is conducting an extremely accurate examination. It does not tell them not to give a second opinion.”

As the anxiety of parents/guardians spreads, Namie-machi began an independent project in July: Town clinic will provide thyroid examination in the year it’s not provided by the prefecture.

Norio Konno, the chief for health insurance section, said, “The prefecture does not understand how parents/guardians and children feel. They need to provide more detailed support and offer the data.

Request for information disclosure needed for detailed results


Results of the thyroid examination by Fukushima Prefecture are divided into four assessment categories [A1], [A2], [B] and [C], based on the presence or absence of nodules and/or cysts and their sizes. Those in categories [B] and [C] will undergo secondary examination.

For details about the thyroid examination by Fukushima Prefecture, please refer to this article


The category that attracts the most anxiety from parents/guardians is [A2]. Thyroid nodules and/or cysts found are too small to qualify for secondary examination. Moreover, the notification does not have detailed information about the number, location, and size of the nodules and/or cysts. Fukushima Medical University began improving the process after receiving over 250 phone calls. From now on they plan on informational meetings to explain the results to the residents.

However, there are other issues. Consent forms signed by parents/guardians prior to the examination clearly states that the result “can be released any time upon request (by parents/guardians or examinees themselves),” yet request for information disclosure must be filed according to the prefecture regulations in order to obtain physician’s diagnosis or see ultrasound images.

There have been six requests for information disclosure. Three of them had information disclosed three weeks later, but the still image of ultrasound was printed on a regular copy paper, and the actual digital image data which is more clear was not given to them “for fear of alteration” (per Fukushima Medical University). Professor Shiro Matsui, Fukushima Medical University Public Relations Officer, explains, “We have to be extremely careful in handling information relating to physical body. In order to confirm that it’s actually the person the information belongs to, the best way is for them to file a request for information disclosure.

To this, an attorney Tsutomu Shimizu, a chairman of the Japan Federation of Bar Association Information Issue Countermeasure Committee, states, “This is meant to be an examination to protect children, and they have their priorities wrong. Information like test results which is compelling to both children and parents/guardians should be promptly disclosed to them once it is being given out to the right person.” Even if the image given out might be altered, “All they have to do is keep track of the original data, and it is no excuse for nondisclosure,” he says.

Listening to parents’ voices humbly

We asked Fukushima Medical University vice president Shunichi Yamashita, who is in charge of the thyroid examination, about his challenges.

Reporter:: What is the objective of the examination?

Yamashita: It is a medical service to promote the health of prefectural residents. It is by no means a research study. WHO dose estimation study says radiation exposure dose of Fukushima residents is at most 100 mSv. International consensus by scientists says that the health risk under 100 mSv has either been not clearly shown or extremely small.

Reporter: What do you think about more and more parents/guardians seeking second opinions outside Fukushima Prefecture?

Yamashita: We must figure out a better way of dealing with it. There is a gap between physician’s opinions and mothers’ understandings. We need to listen to them humbly to establish a trusting relationship.

Reporter: What do you think about the effect of radiation?

Yamashita: We might find small cancer, but thyroid cancer can occur at a certain frequency under normal circumstances. We won’t know the conclusive trend until over 10 years later. We cannot get into oppositional relationships with the prefectural residents. I would like to guide them so that Japan as a country will not fall apart. After the Chernobyl accident, many lawsuits happened regarding health effects, with compensatory expenses cut into the national budget. When that happens, the ultimate victims are people of the country.












Japan anniversary – Diary 5 – Finding hope amid worry in Fukushima

Published: 5 March 2012 10:00 CET
Francis Markus, in Yabuki Town

Teru Yamada is in a cheerful mood when I visit her in her temporary house for the first time since last August.


The 78-year-old grandmother has been keeping herself busy by making little elephants out of towelling, under a project set up by a local non-profit group. To the Japanese, the animals bear a connotation of ‘never giving up’, she explains.

“Making these things keeps me busy and makes me feel much better.”

Mrs Yamada has had her ups and downs, it seems. In October, she, along with her daughter and grandson, went on their second visit back to their home inside the 20km exclusion zone around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, from where they were evacuated to this temporary housing settlement.

“I felt disappointed,” she says. The grass had grown so long around the family home that it threatened to scratch her grandson’s car and the family were warned not to touch it because of radioactivity. “The herd of cows nearby was running wild and it was very sad to see them.”

The visit had an emotional, and physical, impact on Mrs. Yamada. “I fell ill with a cold which lasted for a month, and I suffered from a skin rash,” she says.


She says she will not go again, even if her grandson and daughter go in March.

We continue talking about the effects the nuclear disaster has had, and how unprepared people were when it happened.

“I was ten years old when the Fukushima Daiichi plant was built, back in the 70’s when nuclear power was not all that widespread,” says her daughter.

At that time, children in the area we not given much information about living near a nuclear power plant. “The teacher said if anything happens, we should go and stand in the playground and we would be given pink pills.”

After a while, despite Mrs Yamada’s initial cheerfulness, the emotional strain begins to show and she breaks down in tears.

Although the family’s basic needs are being met in the temporary housing, with for example a package of household electrical appliances provided by the Japanese Red Cross Society, she misses the life she established in her home village, near the doomed nuclear plant. She also misses her husband, who passed away a few months before the disaster. “I was born there and married someone from only 4km away. I spent my whole life there,” she says.

Her sadness, however, comes and goes. Her daughter is philosophical. “Sometimes I tell myself that I must stop thinking of myself as a disaster survivor or victim.”

This carries the conversation back once again into more positive territory. Mrs Yamada looks forward to an event gathering together all the makers of the towelling elephants.

The local social worker is keen that we should tell the international community about life in Fukushima. As well as sadness, people here also feel anger. We plan to come back with a video cameraman to interview Mrs. Yamada and her daughter.

They are happy to agree to be filmed, and I feel glad that we’re going to see them again a third time. Although I’m sure it’s good for Mrs. Yamada to express her feelings of loss and grief, I still can’t help hoping that the elephants manage to keep her cheerful more of the time.




ある医療従事者からの報告 2 (抜粋)

From Fukushima Voice

I am a medical care provider. At my workplace we began taking care of patients from the evacuation zone from Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in the evening of March 11, 2011.

On March 11, 2011, we began to have more and more evacuees from Futaba-machi.

当事、避難者を「スクリーニング」検査をして 線量の高い人で 除染 した人はいなかったとマスコミでは言いましたが着ている物も持ち物全て廃棄し、除染(シャワー)し、新たにその時に購入した人達がいました。体制が間に合わずスクリーニングしないて避難してきた人もいました。防護服の自衛隊員が、老人を抱き抱えて病院に置いて行きますがスクリーニングは受けていません。
At the time, the media reported that nobody needed decontamination for high radiation levels after evacuees were “screened.” However, some evacuees had already discarded all the clothing and belongings, decontaminated (showered), and had brand-new clothes on. There were some who evacuated without screening examination because the system wasn’t available. There were some elderly evacuees who were carried to the hospital by Self-Defense Force soldiers in protective clothing. They did not go through screening.

私達は被曝医療のマニュアルもない、指導もない中 入院と外来を受け入れました。ですが、医大は重傷者のみしか受け入れず(実質避難者受け入れ拒否)、赤十字医療チームも「被曝者は診ないよう本部から指導されている」と言いました。
We accepted both inpatients and outpatients without any manual or instruction for medical care for radiation exposure. However, Fukushima University Medical School Hospital only accepted the seriously injured (essentially refusing to accept evacuees) and the Red Cross medical team said “we were told by the headquarters not to provide medical care for those exposed to radiation.”

以後 3日在中しましたが赤十字医療チームは何も診ず他県に行きました。
They stayed for three days, but the Red Cross medical team went to another prefecture without seeing any patients.



国際赤十字派遣員、福島の記録 1

JAPAN SIX MONTHS ON - DIARY 1: Memories and an uncertain future
6ヵ月後 記憶と不確かな未来

Published: 7 September 2011 11:31 CET
By Francis Markus in Yabuki, Fukushima Prefecture

Mrs Yamada lights a short stick of incense and plants it in a bowl in front of the photograph of her late husband and the stone spirit tablet, which is Japanese people’s traditional way of remembering the dead.


I can see in this simple action the charge of emotion in this tiny 76-year-old woman, who was widowed in December last year.

As if that wasn’t enough, she then had to leave her home with her family in March this year after the government declared a 20 kilometre exclusion zone around the Fukushima nuclear plant. The family’s home in Namie was squarely inside the forbidden area.

“I was glad that we could pay a temporary visit back to our house in early August so I could retrieve the photo and the spirit tablet, and I could go and lay fresh flowers on his grave,” she says.

We are talking in one of the rooms of the family’s prefabricated temporary house in a community on the outskirts of the town of Yabuki, about 60 kilometres west of the Fukushima plant. On the low table where Mr. Yamada’s photo stands is a bowl with three grapefruit and standing on the floor, a celadon vase of fresh flowers. On the wall of the prefabricated house several water colours of fruit and flowers have been taped.


Not Worried about Radiation

Sitting with us are her daughter, Ayako, and 23-year-old grandson Takaaki, who was working in the Fukushima plant at the time of the disaster. “I haven’t had a radiation check, but several of my mates went for one and the results were not too bad, so I’m not really worried,” He says. His mother is more worried.

When I ask her if she thinks they will be able to go back, she says: “Half of me wants to, but half of me knows that we can’t.” As to where they will go if they’re unable to return home, she says: “We can’t think about that now. We will think about it if it comes to that.”

What Takaaki is more worried about right now is trying to find a job. The family has been here since late May and he says he’s not choosy. “Any job would be OK as long as it brings in some income.”

Red Cross Helps

The family has received cash grants from the Japanese Red Cross Society, distributed by the local government. Their temporary home is also equipped with domestic appliances – a package comprised of a refrigerator, washing machine, TV, hot water dispenser and rice cooker and microwave – all provided by the Red Cross. For now, they are as comfortable as the circumstances allow. But they face an uncertain future.






私たちの義援金についてお話しさせていただきます。これは日赤の方からうかがった話です。私たちの義援金はそのまま県に渡し、県から市町村、そして被災者にと委ねたそうです。海外からの義援金は被災者への家電6点セット、教育支援、体育館、病院修繕費、ソフト事業費に。日赤としては国から資金をもらうことはなく、以前からの日赤の資金で毛布配りをしたとのことでした。被災者に義援金のことをたずねると、一家族につき5万円、7万円、30万円と町によって異なっておりました。それにしても余りにも少ない義援金。私たちの義援金はどこに使われてしまったのでしょう? 被災者にとって悲しかったことは、国からのお見舞金が何もなかったことです、とおっしゃっていました。



... 除染について、被災者の声をお伝えします。





Visiting the end of the world

24 August 2012

While visiting Tokyo and Fukushima, Greens Scott Ludlam witnessed both the devastation of nuclear energy and a mood for change among the Japanese people.

The rice paddy on the edge of Iitate village is 30km back from the coast, framed by steep forested hills, and we stop here briefly because the scene is so strangely heraldic.

At first glance, this looks like any other rural Japanese town in late summer, but it isn't any more. The precise geometries of the fields are softened with neglect and waist-high weeds. Two empty police cars sit out front of the vacant community hall. A work team of several dozen men in white masks and overalls tends a slow assemblage of earthmoving equipment out in the field - but this isn't agriculture.

Iitate village is dead, evacuated after the wind swung to the north-west in the days following the tsunami that smashed hundreds of kilometres of Tohoku coastline into oblivion.

The workers today are harvesting caesium-137, which has a half-life of 30 years. They're carefully stripping the top 50cm of soil from the abandoned field, dumping it in neat windrows wrapped in blue plastic.


Our counters silently log a gamma dose of about 3.7 μSv per hour, 13 times the normal background level. Radiocaesium is found only in the wake of bomb fallout or downwind of failed nuclear reactors. Broken uranium atoms from Kakadu and central South Australia, fissioned under a hail of exquisitely tuned neutron bombardment into uneven fragments of iodine, strontium, xenon. It is everywhere now, invisible, sucked into the pores of the soil itself.

At a lonely intersection gone weedy and planted with warning signs, we record 9.2 μSv/hr in the undergrowth. In the days after the disaster, with three reactor cores exposed to the air, levels within the plant spiked 100,000 times higher. Workers in close proximity suffered lifetime radiation doses in a few hours.

In Minamisoma, a coastal city 20 km to the north of the wrecked Fukushima complex, they're getting their park back this morning. For seventeen months kids have been unable to play outside, and the locals are balancing the risks of radiation with the risks of physical inactivity, vitamin D deficiency and depression.

The city has put the machinery we saw in the dead village to work here at Takami Koen, stripping the topsoil, sealing it into a plastic cocoon, and covering the mound with uncontaminated earth. The community has backed this effort with its own independent radiation monitoring, confident now that the park is their own again. The six-year-old child bounding up the slope of the mound doesn't know he's chasing his ball up the side of a small radioactive waste dump, and there is something compelling about the resumption of normality in a landscape so dramatically altered.


The foul smelling water seeping out of the ground saves Mrs Murakami's life. At 14:46, the great Tohoku earthquake struck 70km to the north-east of their Ryokan at Tsurushi, the traditional Japanese inn that she runs with her husband. The whole island of Honshu has just been shunted 2.4m to the east.

As the ground heaves with bruising aftershocks, the black water bubbling up recalls a dim childhood memory and she grabs her husband, demanding they get in the car and get out. Following a brief, blazing argument, they make their way up the road.

A short time later, a 17.5 metre wall of water obliterates their world, killing everyone who remains: 19,000 dead, without warning, for no reason whatsoever.

This story is told to us with wry sidelong glances at the memory of the domestic dispute that saved their lives, in a neat cubefarm in Shinchimachi city not far from the coast. They have rebuilt a traditional Japanese community of reciprocity and care while they await a small allotment of land and some money to rebuild their homes.

On the coastal plain 15km south of where the Ryokan once was, the afterimage of the tsunami still hangs in the air. Odaka was inside the 20km exclusion zone until this April, and the reconstruction effort a dozen kilometres to the north has not begun here.

Apart from the height of the weeds, it appears this incomprehensibly vast destruction occurred only yesterday. Cars lie crushed like tinfoil toys smashed at the hands of giant, vengeful children. The suburbs have been levelled as though with a laser, leaving only a concrete cuneiform of empty foundations. Here and there a stand of broken houses cluster on higher ground, or sit alone in ruins on the floodplain. The GPS unit on the dashboard is politely informing our driver to take turns into roads that no longer exist.


We come across a twisted hatchback by the side of the road, a padded baby seat in the back. A rag flutters at the end of a length of bamboo, and a candle sits in the cradle of the shattered windscreen.


The flag indicates someone was found in the vehicle, our guide tells us quietly. Standing here as the light fades from the landscape, 10,000m from the still-smouldering shell of a wrecked nuclear power plant, words from earlier in the day come to the surface: "Here is the end of the world."

15:42, March 11, 2011. The wave height at Fukushima Daiichi is 14 metres. Tens of millions of tonnes of water topple over the 5.7m seawall and inundate a reactor complex already severely compromised by the immense force of the earthquake. Debris-laden seawater cascades through the site and the backup generators go down. Two of the operators are killed in the impact; the rest of them are on their own, and will have to manage the emergency without power for more than a week.

As designed, the three operating units scrammed an hour scrammed earlier; shut down immediately on detection of the earthquake. Now heat is the enemy; with the reactor cooling systems powered down, the decay heat of the fission reactions begins to melt the fuel assemblies.

Zirconium in the fuel-cladding reacts with the water cooking off inside the pressure vessels, forming a build-up of explosive hydrogen gas. Horrifying and iconic, the images will shortly beam around the planet: the outer containment buildings of four nuclear reactors blown apart in sequential hydrogen explosions. In the three units operating at the time of the earthquake, molten nuclear fuel slumps to the floor of the pressure vessels and a plume of carcinogenic fission products begins to boil into the Pacific Ocean.

Within days, TEPCO headquarters is demanding to have its workforce cut their losses and abandon the plant. They have a point: their staff on-site are suffering terrible radiation exposures as they improvise to keep the cores immersed in seawater that churns through the wrecked complex as fast as they can pump it in.

Continued aftershocks threaten to ignite the huge bank of spent fuel perched in Unit 4. On March 15, prime minister Naoto Kan storms into TEPCO headquarters and demands they stay on site and get the place back under control. He too has a point: if the utility pulls its staff back and lets the accident run its course, the exposed cores will burn through what remains of the containment structures, releasing uncontrolled amounts of radiation.

It is later revealed that against this possibility, senior officials have briefed the prime minister on the logistics of abandoning the northern half of Honshu Island, including Greater Tokyo, population 30 million.

''It was a crucial moment when I wasn't sure whether Japan could continue to function as a state,'' he told journalists in September 2011. It is arguable that his temper outburst at TEPCO headquarters saved the country.

Flash forward to August 2012, with 150,000 people evacuated from places like Iitate. The mood in the region is dark. A young high school teacher downloads the unvarnished truth in a loungeroom in Fukushima City the night before our trip down to the coast.

"I'm lying to a room full of students," he tells me, daring me to break eye contact. Like many thousands of others, his wife and children now live in temporary accommodation well outside the contaminated area, but Japan has no social security net to speak of and people can't just walk away from jobs.

Now he is grappling with a hateful dilemma, addressing a room full of students in a city he believes is no longer safe for children. Fukushima City, population 290,000. Kōriyama City, population 336,000. Both of them hit by the plume that carried fission products from the broken reactors to the north-west before the wind swung briefly towards Tokyo. I hesitate, then ask, should this city be evacuated? He pauses a long time before answering, and finally drops his gaze. Yes.

Others disagree. The radiation has not travelled in some smooth, predictable path, but has fallen out in stochastic hotspots, burning some communities and sparing others. Wholesale evacuation is not the answer, many believe; the solution will be much finer grained. In any event, the government has no intention of assisting any further evacuations. The work of supporting those stranded in areas outside the forced evacuation zone has fallen entirely on civil society organisations and local authorities.

Several hundred thousand people now live with the subliminal impacts of chronic low level radiation exposure, which the government has addressed by raising the allowable 'safe' dose 20-fold.

More than a third of children tested already have abnormal growths on their thyroid glands, an immediate consequence of exposure to radioiodine. The effects of long-term exposure to caesium and other longer lived isotopes will take much longer to manifest: the subtle violation of a whole population's DNA; rising incidence of fatal and non-fatal cancers; slow outbreaks of diseases with no name.

It won't be immediate, it won't occur in neat categories, and most of the health impacts will never be documented or attributed. Ionising radiation is sub-microscopic cellular bombardment, forcing genetic repair mechanisms into overdrive. It shortens lives.

The demand of the high school teacher and hundreds of thousands of others is a simple one. The right to informed, supported evacuation: "Tell us what we are being exposed to, and if we choose to leave, support us to rebuild our lives elsewhere."

Seventeen months on, it's not happening. Limbo is now recognised in these stricken communities as formalised government abandonment.

It required a spark to ignite the suppressed fury and resentment building across the country. On July 1, 2012, the Japanese government provided it.


Just briefly, Japan was nuclear free. For 55 days, the country's entire fleet of 50 reactors lay silent in deference to the ruination of Fukushima. The industry's central lie is exposed: Japan does not need this technology, and it never did.


On 1 July, Unit 3 of Kansai's Ōi plant to the north of Kyoto simmers back to criticality despite weeks of furious demonstrations across the country. Five months earlier, the first of what would become weekly rallies outside the prime minister's residence drew around 300 people.

Tonight, we are more than 100,000. The massive demonstration is cordoned along the footpaths behind crash barriers and lines of police, swelling as the humid afternoon gives way to evening, and still they keep coming.

The volume mounts, drums, whistles, chants, tens of thousands of voices raised in defiance. Above the trees at the end of the wide empty boulevard, the pyramidal rooftop of the Japanese parliament, the Diet, lies just out of reach.

An impossible number of people now pack the footpaths. Sometime around 7pm, a handful of people spill onto the road and are pushed back by young, nervy police officers. On the opposite side of the street, voices go up and the crowd surges from both sides, unplanned and unstoppable.

A huge cheer goes up; the police line vanishes as Tokyo residents take back their street.

In the morning, it will be reported that this is the largest assembly yet. Newspaper editorials are as uncharacteristically fed-up as the demonstrations themselves: the nuclear industry is in disgrace, the political system is paralysed, and this weekend's emergence of the Japanese Greens is being heralded as a way to give a louder voice to those who now know that the official deafness is systematic and unyielding.


A quiet fury has set into the national psyche. The Japanese are a patient people, but for the millions touched by this disaster, their patience has run out.

The industry is openly spoken of as the 'nuclear mafia'. At last it seen for what it is: a parasitic, well-connected syndicate with roots deeply entrenched in formal Japanese power structures.

This is going to take time: on the same day as the demonstration, a prominent anti-nuclear scientist turned candidate is emphatically defeated in a regional election by a well-resourced pro-nuclear incumbent. It will cost the Greens the equivalent of about $70,000 just to lodge the nomination form for each candidate we field in forthcoming national elections. The launch of the new party is cheerful, moving and timely, but this is truly a David and Goliath matchup.

The reason David wins in this story is that under no circumstances can he afford to lose. With a slightly different fall of the dice, the Fukushima meltdowns would have cost the people of Japan their country. Another cruel accident of plate tectonics and it still could.

There is no place on this archipelago for nuclear power, and tens of millions of Japanese now understand this. Everything has changed.

In Australia, Fukushima has faded uneasily from the headlines into the subconscious. Japan is one of our most important uranium clients, but from here on, all the news is bad for the investors and promoters of this unhappy sector.

BHP has pulled back from development plans at Olympic Dam and Yeelirrie. Cameco and Mitsubishi have shelved the Kintyre project in the East Pilbara. Toro struggles towards inevitable defeat at the unworkable Wiluna Project in the North-East goldfields. Koongarra, Angela Pamela, Arkaroola, Jabiluka: the uranium mines that never were, and must never be.
BHP社(オーストラリア)は、オリンピックダムとYeelirrie(ウラン)の開発計画から手を引きました。Cameco社(カナダサスカチワン州)と三菱は、東ピルバラ地域(オーストラリア)でのKintyre(ウラン)プロジェクトを棚上げしました。Toro社(オーストラリア)は、北東の金鉱地にでの実行不可能なWilunaプロジェクト(ウラン)の必然的な敗北に苦しんでいます。Koongarra、Angela Pamela、Arkaroola、Jabilukaは、ウラン鉱山では決してありませんでしたし、これからもをうであってはなりません。


The strange craze of investor optimism that washed through the market two years ago died at Fukushima, and it won't return. There is no room for ambiguity here. This industry must close, on the same premise we closed the asbestos industry. There are other ways of shunting electrons down wires, starting with the ridiculous abundance of energy falling free out of the sky.

By now, I imagine the workers in their white overalls have moved on to another small corner of the caesium fields of Tohoku. It is burned into my mind's eye now: this endeavour of vast futility, the hopes and fears of the atomic age sealed into blue plastic piles, destination unknown, out on the edge of the dead village.































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Blue Dolphine

Author:Blue Dolphine
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