Time in Japan 2011
A Question from a Reader
Time in Japan, Kevin a question for you:
I keep reading in alternative news sources how the radiation leaks are worse than what the government is saying. I’ve also read that radiation is being detected on the west coast of North America. I know my Japanese friend says he is fed up with the lies and just wants to get out now. Are you concerned about all the radiation?
–Shane O`dell, Canada
Thanks for your question! Frankly I`d be careful of the alternative news sources. Some of them are pretty fanatical and not reliable.
About Japan, I think the truth lies somewhere in between.
There are a number of things happening and I am pretty disgusted with a lot of groups at the moment. On the one hand, you have the Japanese government and TEPCO not saying everything, or downplaying things.
Time in Japan – The Green Movement on the Offensive
On the other hand you have the anti-nuclear group playing up things and really going for the jugular with the nuclear power isdangerous argument. Not that they shouldn`t. We do need to go green much more. However, are Thorium reactors not a much safer alternative? What are the drawbacks of Green power?There is still some controversy over Wind Mills (like the ones near Palm Springs).
Being a father of three, I have done my best to try to get to the truth.
It is somewhere in the middle. I used to be anti-nuclear power but now I feel there must be some safer forms of it and in the right location it might be okay. Look up Thorium reactors if you are interested. From what I have read, they are much safer. China is bringing one online.
I am all for green power however. It is safe and gives us what we need. I believe in Gaia. I think we need to live in balance with nature, and if not, Mother Nature will correct the balance. It is already happening.
Time in Japan – What is Safe?
I`m not concerned about drinking our local water for example. We are basiclaly in Kelowna if Vancouver had a nuclear meltdown.I feel safe in regards to radiation in the air. The local pool was tested for radiation by the school authorities. I trust them. Radiation was negligible. Keep in mind there is always background radiation wherever you live. Some beer in fact will have more radiation in it depending upon where it was made. Not dangerous of course, it is just a fact.
Time in Japan, another fact of life here: Radio-phobia
Some people have an unreasonable fear, a phobia of radiation.Remember it is in the background wherever you are.
We are seeing that all around the world. People freaking out about this hidden danger. Something they can`t see.Japan is the center of Radiophobia having lived through 2 atomic bombings and now a huge nuclear meltdown. Japanese tend topanic over a number of things. This is not rare. I wonder if your friend is not a little radiophobic?
In the 1950s they were doing ABOVE GROUND testing of atomic bombs near Las Vegas. A friend of mine lived there at that time. He is in his 60s now, lives in Kanto, Japan and fit as a fiddle (as Mom would say). So are all his friends and relatives. Funny eh, no one talks about that now.I haven`t read one news story that has referred to that.
Why not? That doesn`t sell papers! Scaring the crap out of people does! So that`s what they do.
Not that I want anyone to return to above ground testing! I`m just saying that radiation doesn`t spread that well. Radiation in Tokyo has been negligible. There was concern for newborns drinking the water at one point, but that was whenradiation was still spewing out into the water supply a couple months back.
Time in Japan – Kanagawa
Some of the tea was tainted in Kanagawa, but those are leaves that just sit there and gather the particulate (radiation). There was some talk that if it was processed properly it might well be okay. But to be safe the government banned it.
Time in Japan – What can we eat? Drink?
I feel for your Japanese friend, where does he live? If he is in Tokyo he is very safe. The only concern I feel for the people of Tokyo or us we are 270kms south of the reactors and about 80 kms south of Tokyo –the food supply has been iffy.
I am very upset with the Japanese Government over a lack of leadership and a lack of food safety. And the problem is if they often don`t tell the truth it causes stress in the people as they don`t know whom to believe.
Honestly, had this meltdown gone down in Ontario, there would be no food being distributed from Ontario for years until they were sure it was safe. They have been selling food from Fukushima and some of it has reportedly reached N. America (not to scare you).
That was a huge mistake!!!
Time in Japan – A Canadian Comparison
In Canada, the farmers would be reimbursed and taken care of I feel. In Japan they were left on their own. The donations that have come inare still sitting there awaiting distribution. Some has been donated but much is still sitting as they can`t decide what to do. Some of the farmers committed suicide. It`s sad.
Time in Japan, Decisions, Decisions!
The National problem of Japan – Making decisions. HUGE WEAK POINT of Japan and one reason Japan copies car styles and tends to improve products as opposed to inventing them.
The education system here is based on rote memorization. BIG Mistake!
For all my criticism of the Canadian education system we went through, it is a big improvement on the Japanese one. If you are interested I have written on it extensively. at How to teach English in Japan.
Of course I am an educator in Japan and see the results of this education system everyday.
You have hit a sore point.
I love Greenpeace, used to donate to them. And I agree with most of what they do and say. Sea Shepherd Society- I have sympathy for what they do. Sometimes they have gone to far.(Iceland for example, blew up the whole whaling fleet there).
Time in Japan – The truth about Radiation
I think we need to get at the truth about the radiation situation in Japan, and how nuclear fallout unfolds from a nuclear meltdown. The only way I have found to get at it, is to read many sources and talk with many people.
The big concern I have is for my kids. I gather your friend has kids too. I`m 48. Radiation is slow going in terms of hurting you. But my kids are still developing. I`m concerned about the food they are getting at school. Is it safe? Is the milk safe? Is the juice safe?
Whom can I trust?
I just trust in God and hope we are safe. That is all I can do. And as you know while you are looking one way, you can get broadsided from the other side.
At my blog, I have written about the radiation issue a lot. Your friend might be interested.
I was interviewed by a Montreal radio station about all of this.They asked me on March 16th, five days after the earthquake:
“Do you trust the Japanese government in this case?”
I said at that time that I did. I want to recant that now!
The Benefits of this Huge Disaster?
I think in the end, this will benefit the green movement. I laughed when the Canadian authorities were quoted as saying that the reactors in Ontario were much safer and this couldn`t happen there.
That`s what the Japanese said after Chernobyl.
I think this scares everyone, as they know it could happen near them unfortunately. We need to come up with safer power and we need to stop screwing the planet. Or GAIA will come up and bite us on the rear end!
Mother nature will not be toyed with, for long. She isn`t vindictive, but she likes things in balance, and we have been messing with that balance for far too long!