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Please Donate and Help JOF Make a Documentary Film:
“The Truth About Fukushima 311”
May 8, 2011
Japan Offspring Fund was established in 1984 and is registered as a Non-Political Organization (NPO). JOF activities include campaigning about safety issues regarding “living”, a broad concept based on the Japanese word kurashi. We publish a monthly member magazine as well as posters and books, and produce videos and documentaries about important issues including food safety and public health.
Deeply concerned about the ongoing crisis in Fukushima since March 11, 2011, JOF has a mission to change public opinion regarding nuclear energy. We have a long history as an independent NPO that is strongly opposed to nuclear power generation. To complete this mission, JOF believes we should make a film called “The Truth about Fukushima 311” (tentative title), and release this film using the Internet to viewers all over the world.
Fukushima has already changed the energy policies in several other countries. Japan, however, appears to have great difficulties to review or even discuss its heavy dependency on nuclear power generation (there are 55 nuclear power generators in Japan). We do not agree with the current lack of debate in Japan, and we must do something.
Since the massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11, the severely damaged Fukushima nuclear power generators have released radioactivity into the air and the Pacific Ocean. The range of the damage is yet unknown. However, if such accidents happen somewhere in Japan, we are afraid that our children will be badly hurt by radioactivity. Such damage is irreversible.
The debate about nuclear issues is extremely difficult in Japan, for historical reasons. Already in 1960, Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF) made the following assessment: If an accident happens at small scale nuclear power plant (about 170,000 Kw), and if 2% of the radioactivity is released, 5,000 people will suffer from radiation damage, and 720 people will die. It was further estimated that 17,600,000 people will need to escape temporarily, and 220,000 people will be forced to move away from their homes for an extended period of time. In addition, JAIF also assumed that it will be impossible to continue agriculture in an area as large area as half of Honshu (the main island of Japan), and it was estimated that the cost of the damage will be 2.2 times larger than the national budget.
Considering this assumption by JAIF, the accident and crisis currently happening in Fukushima is an expected circumstance. But people who still support the pro-nuclear power point of view claim that “The Fukushima Daiichi No.1 atomic power generators were very old, and there was insufficient repair work. However, the Fukushima Daini No. 2 atomic power generators are all right. There will be no problems.”
Help JOF Make a Documentary Film
JOF has a mission to change this situation, and help create a society using no nuclear energy. Even though we are a small NPO, we have an important role to play.
As you may know, major sponsors of media including major newspapers and TV stations are the power companies, including oil and nuclear industries. Thus, the major media channels will continue to release opinions from those who are pro-nuclear. There are even cases of journalists who have changed to a pro-nuclear position, since they can receive up to 5,000,000 Yen (approx. 60,000 USD) for a single article, if they promise not to write about the negative aspects of nuclear power.
I personally know a great director who is famous for making documentary films. He has produced many documentary films about a wide range of topics, including nuclear power, genetics, and life. If you are interested in such topics, you may already have seen his films, which have been shown both in Japan and abroad. He is appreciated globally. Currently, he is a professor at a university. I contacted him soon after March 11, and asked him, “Do you want to make a documentary film about Fukushima?” He replied, “Of course, I can’t wait to start making a film about Fukushima 311!”
I recently met him and his old colleagues, who have all retired from film making companies. However, they never stop talking about what kind of film they will shoot next, although they don’t have any budget to make films. They never give up telling people the truth by using the power of documentary films.
Japan Offspring Fund would like to ask these experienced directors to make a film about Fukushima 311. We are sure they will make a wonderful documentary to tell the hidden truth about this accident, and motivate people all over the world to become actively anti-nuclear.
We need to raise funds for this film making project. Our initial target is to collect 2,000,000 Yen (approx. 25,000 USD). If we succeed to reach this amount, JOF will ask the great director to make the film. The fund-raising will continue as they have confirmed that they can start to make the film if we collect at least 5,000,000 Yen (approx. 60,000 USD). Also, to promote this film to all over the world, we may need additional funding at a later stage. We don’t think this is an impossible task!
I am convinced that if we succeed to produce this film, it would win international awards, and public opinion all over the world including Japan would change.
I sincerely appreciate your cooperation to help JOF raise funds for this important project.
Director of Japan Offspring Fund
Please send check to the following address if you are in the US.
Write “Japan Offspring Fund” on your check.
P.O. Box 2671
For other countries, kindly contact JOF directly.
About the earthquake and the tsunami on March 11, 2011
JOF conveys our deepest condolences to the victims and their families.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
To the folks all over the world, JOF appreciates all your support for Japan Offspring Fund.
The JOF office and all the staff at JOF is fine. We continue to lead the movement against nuclear power generation.
Director of Japan Offspring Fund,
Please read more about Nuclear Safety Issues
JOF put several videos related to post-harvest pesticides on you tube.
Please take a look.
Food Contamination with Post-Harvest Pesicides No1
There are numerous wonderful Onsen or hot springs in Japan, but also many issues and problems regarding the different types that consumers are not aware of. One type of hot spring has water flowing directly from a source, and many people probably believe it to be the most common type. This is not the case; it accounts for only about 10% of all hot springs in Japan. Rather, most hot spring facilities are re-using the water after filtering it and heating it again. Due to the filtering, the components of the natural hot spring water are reduced, while other substances such as shampoo residues often remain. During our investigation, Japan Offspring Fund found that such types of hot springs also can be called “natural hot springs” even though that is a rather fake description.
Mistakes during the re-circulation and reuse of the hot spring water can lead to the propagation of harmful bacteria such as Legionella. Macrophages or amoebas that can spread Legionella have been found in 60% of hot springs. Incidents and deaths from this severe bacterial infection have occurred, traced to hot spring bathing. In order to prevent further accidents, many hot springs are adding chlorine in large quantities. Of course this changes the smell and also the feeling in a negative way.
Large bathing establishments, as part of the hot spring boom, have been developed together with inns that are depleting natural headsprings of hot water. This is becoming a serious problem. The sense of healing that comes with visiting a natural hot spring will be diminished when we destruct natural environment.
JOF had many opportunities to discuss hot springs and bathing culture with Mr Etsuo Noguchi, who spent 40 years as a journalist investigating some 3000 different hot springs. Just before he passed away, we started the Association of Hot Spring Culture and Safety in January 2009. The plan is to recommend only such hot springs and inns that have a history of protecting the environment and applying appropriate safety measures, so that bathers can truly relax.
Following is the list of Hot springs that we can recommend.
Name of Hot Spring/Name of Inn (location)
1. Niseko Konbu Onsen/ Koikawa Onsen Inn (Hokkaido)
2. Ginkonyu (Hokkaido)
3. Nyuto Onsen/Tsurunoyu (Akita)
4. Natsuse Onsen/Miyakowasure (Akita)
5. Doroyu Onsen/ Okuyama Inn (Akita)
6. Akinomiya Onsenkyo/Takanoyu onsen (Akita)
7. Kunimi Onsen/Ishizuka Inn (Iwate)
8. Onogawa Onsen/Asahiya Inn (Yamagata)
9. Azuma Takayu Onsen/Azumaya (Fukushima)
10. Fudoyu Onsen (Fukushima)
11. Okutuchiyu Onsen/Kawakami Onsen (Fukushima)
12. Futamata Onsen/Daimaru Asunaro Sou (Fukushima)
13. Nigatatakanosu Onsen/Shikino Sato Kikuya (Nigata)
14. Muikamachi Onsen/Kawarazaki Yumotokan (Nigata)
15. Kaikake Onsen/Kaikake Onsen Kan (Nigata)
16. Hoshi Onsen/Chojukan (Gumma)
17. Tange Onsen/Misato Kan (Gumma)
18. Kawanaka Onsen/Kadohan ryokan (Gumma)
19. Sawatari Onsen/Maruhon Ryokan (Gumma)
20. Kusatsu Onsen/Tenoji ya (Gumma)
21. Sagasawa Onsen/Yuyado Sagasawa Kan (Sizuoka)
22. Simobe Onsen/Koyubougensen Kan (Yamanashi)
23. KoshuNishiyama Onsen/Keiunkan (Yamanashi)
24. Narata Onsen/Shirane Kan (Yamanashi)
25. Yamada Onsen/Fukei Kan (Nagano)
26. Shibu Onsen/Rekishino Yado Kanaguya (Nagano)
27. Kasenan Seni Onsen/Iwano yu (Nagano)
28. Hotaka Onsen Kyo/ Yunoyado Jonenbo (Nagano)
29. Fukuji Onsen/Yumoto Choza (Gifu)
30. Shinhotaka Onsen/Tani Onsen (Gifu)
31. Shinhotaka Onsen/Suimei Kan Karukaya Sanso (Gifu)
32. Shinhotaka Onsen/Yarimi Kan (Gifu)
33. Shirakawago Hiarase Onsen/Tosuke no yu Fujiya (Gifu)
34. Nagasaki Obama Onsen/Ryokan Kunisaki (Nagasaki)
35. Kurokawa Onsen/Yamanoyado Shinmeikan (Kumamoto)
36. Myoken Onsen/Wasureno sato Gajoen (Kagoshima)
(From Shokuhin to Kurashi no Anzen Issue No. 238)
Better Food Allergy Labelling Needed
The number of children with food allergy problems is increasing in Japan. From April, 2002, there is a legal obligation to clearly label foods that contain allergens.
There are a large number of such allergens. Among the many substances that can cause allergic reactions, some are more severe and common than others. Food makers must clearly label wheat, buckwheat, egg, milk and peanuts in processed foods, noting in Japanese: 「ｘｘを含む」 (“Contains ｘｘ”). This list contains the following ingredients:
Food makers are recommended to note on the package that they use another 20 common allergens. They usually include this information below the list of ingredients. This list of allergens includes:
ikura (fish roe, fish egg)
For people with food allergies, the correct labelling of food allergens on the package is a very important issue.
What Are Trans Fatty Acids – And Are You At Risk In Japan?
Known to increase the risk of heart disease, Trans Fatty Acids are substances often found in margarine and similar products. To avoid this, Denmark was the first country to regulate the labelling in order to encourage a reduced intake. Other countries have made similar efforts. In Japan, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has stated that “the intake of Trans Fatty Acids is low” and decided to not require mandatory labelling. As for the food industry, Japanese companies have made independent efforts to reduce the levels in their products.
In 2005, Japan Offspring Fund decided to investigate the levels of Trans Fatty Acids in several different products, including margarine, shortening and coffee whiteners.
Consequently, an organically certified shortening with no Trans Fatty Acids was introduced on the market.
After Japan Offspring Fund revealed the test results of Trans Fatty Acid levels in margarines in 2005, Koiwai Margarine was sold with very low levels of Trans Fatty Acids. Other large margarine makers also found ways to reduce the levels in their products. As of 2009, it appears that consumers no longer need to worry about Trans Fatty Acids in margarine products sold in Japan.
Here in Japan, people often drink coffee with “whitener” sold under different fanciful brand names. In ordinary coffee shops, if a customer asks for milk with their coffee, the shop may supply a small plastic container with a liquid white substance. While some people are probably under the impression that this contains milk or cream, in reality it is a vegetable oil/fat based substance with emulsifiers, polysaccharides, pH regulating additives – - and partially hydrogenated oils, which is where the Trans Fatty Acids can be found.
The advantages of coffee whiteners are that they do not spoil easily, and they are also extremely cheap compared to real milk or cream (In other countries, the containers are usually labeled as being “non-dairy” but this is not required in Japan).
JOF analyzed the amount of Trans Fatty Acids in one single container of coffee whitener. The level was 0.29 gram of Trans Fatty Acids. A person who uses 3-4 containers each day should be careful as this is a very high level. Using real milk instead would be better for his or her health.
Finally, the fried potatoes at McDonald’s were found to contain 2.5 gram of Trans Fatty Acids in a medium size serving. This is very high, especially in contrast with Japan’s second largest hamburger chain, Mos Burger, where the fried potatoes contained virtually no Trans Fatty Acids at all.
It has been stated that the intake of Trans Fatty Acids is low in Japan compared to other countries. However, if certain fast foods are consumed in large amounts, then it is clear that Japanese people also consume high levels of Trans Fatty Acids, and this should be a cause for concern.
Organic Agriculture in Japan
By Natsuko Iino Kumasawa
Organic agriculture is growing in the world. Over the past 20 years, the global growth rate is over 15%. However, in Japan, organic agriculture grows very slowly.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fishery and Forestry (MAFF), the rate of organic food is only 0.17%. The most popular item is green tea, with a market share of 1.68%. The amount of domestic organic food is low. Domestic organic produce is 48,596 ton, while imported organic produce is 1,295,266 ton annually. This means that domestic organic produce only has 3.6% of the market. Domestic organic processed food is 187,455 ton, while imported organic processed food is 67,777 ton. However, most ingredients of domestic organic processed food are imported.
Why is organic agriculture not developing well in Japan? There are several reasons. In Europe, policies for the enhancement of organic agriculture are well developed. In Japan, policies had not developed well, until December 2006, when finally the Law on Promotion of Organic Agriculture was enacted. The enhancement of organic agriculture has just started recently and it is not enough.
Consumers in Europe and Japan are different, too. In Europe, consumers try to buy organic food produced by their neighbors to protect the natural environment. They don’t care so much about the size or the shape of the produce. In Japan, consumers care about the safety of the products, and buy organic food only when the quality of the vegetables is excellent. According to a 2007 survey of consumer attitudes by MAFF, 87.8% among people who buy organic food said they buy organic food because organic foods are safe, while only 28.8% said they buy organic food because they can “contribute to environmental protection.”
The survey also showed that 72.9% said if the labels are trustworthy they will buy organic foods. 70.3% said that if they can buy organic food from neighbors or in convenient places, they will buy organic foods.
From this survey, we can conclude that Japan needs to enhance its certification system, and diversify the marketing of organic foods, such as farmers market.
In many countries, organic foods are selling very well at farmers markets. Consumers can buy organic food directly from farmers, and consumers feel they can trust the farmers. Consumers can buy fresh foods in their neighborhood when organic foods are sold at farmers market. Since farmers markets are becoming popular in Japan, it would be good if organic foods are increasingly sold at farmers markets.
Japan for Sustainability: Government Initiatives to Support a Sustainable Agricultural Industry in Japan
IFOAM: The Voice of Katsu Murayama, Japan
Rodale Institute: Japanese consumers hungry for more organic food
Avoid Making Mistakes in Economic Policy:
Encouraging Supply to Counter Demand Declines
March 19, 2009
The important principle to counter the current global economic crisis is to first increase the demand, not the supply.
Dr. Atsushi Tsuchida’s analysis of the great world economic depression
Interviewed by Junichi Kowaka, chief editor of Safety of Our Foods and Life
Kowaka: Dr. Tsuchida, you have analyzed the severe global economic crisis. How would you characterize the current situation?
Tsuchida: This current depression occurred as the demand fell down and the supply surplus rose up. Given such conditions, if the government provides loans for companies in bankruptcy to prevent unemployment, they will increase production. Therefore, such measures to provide loans, as most governments in the world are doing, will have a contrary effect. As a result, the depression will be prolonged.
Kowaka: So we are all making a mistake in coping with the crisis.
Tsuchida: Yes. In other words, even if a company produces commodities, it would only fail to sell them due to a lack of demand. If one person is employed, another will be fired. If one company is saved, another one will go bankrupt. Therefore, an important principle to counter this devastating global economic crisis is to increase the demand first, not the supply.
Kowaka: What kind of measures can be taken in reality?
Tsuchida: First, the government should provide the unemployed and business failures with minimum loans to maintain their life. Second, for those who are unable to work, it should just provide them with enough money to live. By doing so, the money will reach those in need and they will spend the all amount to purchase the necessities of life.
Kowaka: Those in need will use all the money provided for sure, won’t they?
Tsuchida: Yes, and that will certainly create demand. If the basic human needs of the poor are secured, the feeling of happiness in the whole society will be improved, and soon, the industries producing the necessities of life will grow. And then, other industries will also grow. At that point, supply may be increased as demand rises, and businesses will start to recover. However, a law is needed to prohibit collecting the money provided by the government as repayment.
Kowaka: In your opinion, should the government pay for these measures by issuing national bonds?
Tsuchida: It should be paid by a tax to help those who are unable to work. For loans to the unemployed and business dropouts, government notes may be used. The government can issue currency notes with its own loan guarantee, but not just give the money away. Then, when people become employed or start their own business again, the loans should be repaid according to their income. In fact, issuing government notes should be the last and limited option. Because if the government can print its own money, it would be able to practice any policy without taxation, and the economy will fall into terrible disorder. That is why government notes in my proposal are restricted to loans to those in need. In the case of national bonds, we owe the principal and a huge amount of interest to future generations. On the other hand, government notes used for this purpose must be recollected as loans and should not be given as grants or subsidy payments.
Kowaka: Government notes will drive the currency rates down during the present time, but it will not cause trouble in the distant future, and that is good.
* * *
Original text is available in Japanese.
An extract and summary of Dr Atsushi Tsuchida’s analysis was published in Safety of Our Foods and Life No. 239, March, 2009.
Dr. Atsushi Tsuchida is a physicist and economist, born in 1933. He is the author of Introduction to The Entropy Economics and many other publications.
Safety of Our Foods and Life is the monthly magazine issued by Japan Offspring Fund (JOF). JOF is a consumer group and environmental NGO established in 1984. JOF has researched issues involving the safety of daily life, including chemical residues, endocrine disruptors, and genetically engineered food.
Japan Offspring Fund
2-14-18 Honmachi-higashi, Chuo-ku, Saitama-shi, Saitama 33-0003 Japan
Tel: +81-48-851-1212 Fax +81-48-851-1214
E-mail: natsuko (at) tabemono.info
Sick School Buildings: 53% Of Young Pupils Report Allergic Reactions
Japan Offspring Fund (JOF) Monthly Newsletter
September 2008, No. 233
As Japan goes through a period where school buildings in particular are targeted for reform, some students are spending their school days in a prefabricated environment with toxic chemicals from walls, carpets, curtains and other building materials.
In Miyagi prefecture, we followed the case where young students said, “it is hell” even though toxic contaminants were found to be below levels stipulated by official safety guidelines. Students reported chronic illnesses like asthma, headaches, muscle pain (myalgia), fever, and other serious symptoms. Among 800 people, 38 reported health problems similar to the sick house symptoms known to be caused by VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). VOCs are often found in construction materials such as antiseptics, paint solvents, adhesives agents, wood preservatives, and insecticides.
Japan Offspring Fund worked with Dr Terasawa Masahiko to try to find the cause of the pupils’ problems. During construction of a new school building, schools let pupils use prefab buildings; Dr Terasawa was alarmed as he received a number of children who had spent only a few days in a local prefab school building. At his clinic, he interviewed the patients, and it was clear that the new school environment was the problem.
“The symptoms were very similar or identical to the known cases of sick house disease,” Dr Terasawa noted. “They can be caused by high levels of harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde, a preservative commonly used in building materials. It is well known that formaldehyde causes lung problems, exacerbates asthma and that long-term exposures pose a cancer risk.”
Dr Terasawa inspected the school, and found that the building was constructed as a square, surrounding an artificial lawn in the center. The ventilation was poor. Such temporary buildings are becoming common all over Japan. He noted a strong odor or chemical smell that was clearly noticed inside. The principal of the school agreed that in 40 years, they had never had such issues, and that the new prefab building was clearly the cause of the young pupils’ health problems.
Asked to fill in a questionnaire, 53% of the students replied that they had sometimes or always experienced health problems since moving into the new prefab school building. 11% percent reported strong allergic reactions, and 20% replied that they had felt changes in their physiology.
When health officials tested the indoor air, they found levels of formaldehyde, toluene and ethyl benzene, as well as other chemicals, to be below the official guidelines. Yet, the combination of a large number of substances and VOCs may be the reason the pupils reacted so strongly. It is clearly not acceptable to let children spend long hours in an unhealthy school environment. Prefabricated school buildings must be much more carefully examined to avoid allergic reactions and serious health problems among young pupils.
What to do in case of a major earthquake in the Tokai region
By Kowaka Junichi, Japan Offspring Fund
Japan Offspring Fund (JOF) Monthly Newsletter
June 2005, No. 194
Of all the 52 active nuclear reactors in Japan experts agree that the 5 reactors in Hamaoka are the most dangerous. Hamaoka sits directly over a subduction zone near the junction of two tectonic plates. The ground is not solid rock, but sand. This area is in fact overdue for a major earthquake.
When the radioactivity is released, it will be much worse than if an atomic bomb was dropped in the region.
At Japan Offspring Fund, we are concerned with safety issues, and we would like to provide advice about what you can do to escape, when such earthquake happens.
Check the local weather!
As for radioactivity, winds usually blow from the West towards the East, so if you live in the Kansai (Kyoto/Osaka) region, you will probably not be directly affected. The islands of Kyushu and Shikoku will most likely also be safe from radioactive fallout. On the other hand, Japan often experiences high atmospheric pressure coming in from the Pacific Ocean in the form of typhoons. In such case, any area of Japan could be affected. Checking the local weather reports will thus be of utmost importance.
Judging from data collected after the Chernobyl accident 20 years ago, between 10 and 30 million people may have to be evacuated in case of a major earthquake that destroys the Hamaoka reactors. In our opinion, the key will be to escape as quickly as possible. Even a slight delay will mean that you and your family will inevitably get caught up in horrendous traffic jams.
There is no doubt that the entire country will be affected. When the news speaks of a “Tokai Region Earthquake”, we think the effect will be felt from Kobe to Sendai , as massive amounts of people try to get out of the Tokyo area.
Checklist for an emergency evacuation
1) Check local weather reports
2) Gather your family
3) Make sure you have enough money
4) Bring your Emergency Goods
5) Escape as quickly as possible
In case of an earthquake, the Japan Offspring Fund office in Tokyo will be temporarily closed.
For more details about what to do in case of a Tokai earthquake that damages the Hamaoka nuclear plants, please read the emergency information from Stop Hamaoka Network:
Nuclear Safety Data Alteration is Common
In a recent court case, a technician responsible for the safety designs at the Hamaoka nuclear power plants in Shizuoka prefecture explained why he altered safety data to conceal design flaws. “I had children and there was not enough time”, he said.
33 years ago he worked at Toshiba, which built the reactors for Chubu Electric Power Co. Today, he is 63 years old and lives in Tokyo . He has recently been prosecuted for falsifying and altering safety testing data related to earthquake tests.
The case revealed that when various vibrational tests were performed, data showed that the design could not withstand a major earthquake. Several attempts were made to strengthen the design, but tests still showed problems. In spite of this, the construction went ahead and the building, Hamaoka’s second reactor, was completed in 1971.
“The most dangerous nuclear power plant in Japan ”
Based on these tests, an additional three reactors were constructed, including Japan ‘s largest nuclear plant which generates 1.38 MW. A total of five nuclear reactors are now in the area, which experts say is “the most dangerous nuclear power plant in Japan ”.
During the April, 2005 court case, the retired technician described how test data was simply pulled out of a report, so that the construction could go ahead. Had the data been made public, there is no way that the reactor could have been built. Now, he accepts responsibility for what he did, and wants the Hamaoka reactors to be shut down. He also says there should be a third-party examination and investigation of the safety concerns.
The testimony from this retired technician should not go unnoticed.
The Hamaoka nuclear plants are not earthquake-proof
By Konagaya Minro, Stop Hamaoka Network
Chubu Electric Power Co. began operating the first Hamaoka nuclear power plant in March, 1976. Only five months later, in August 1976, earthquake experts announced the result of their detailed examination of the region. The experts found that the Tokai region earthquake is a reoccurring event, with the last major earthquake hitting the region about 159 years ago. They predicted that an 8.0 Magnitude earthquake is overdue for the region. This is 10 times more powerful than the earthquake that hit Kobe in 1995.
We are concerned that there are many illegal issues regarding the construction and operation of the Hamaoka reactors.
In August, 2004, cracks in the concrete at Hamaoka 4 were found. This was revealed after a whistle-blower told the truth about faulty inspections. In addition, in April 2005, local media has shown the testimony of a former technician responsible for the safety designs at the Hamaoka nuclear power plants in Shizuoka prefecture. In his testimony, he revealed how test data was manipulated and falsified when the first reactors were built.
Conflicting views about safety
A problem with the official earthquake predictions related to the Hamaoka reactors is that they do not take into consideration the reality of a major earthquake. For example, the “rolling” or horizontal earthquakes are usually not as severe as a “drop” or vertical earthquake. In fact, in the Kobe earthquake, even highways, that the Japanese government had claimed were safe, were destroyed due to the vertical drop.
Survival: how to manage when a big earthquake hits the Hamaoka nuclear plants
Japan Offspring Fund (JOF) Monthly Newsletter
August 2005, No.196
Japan Offspring Fund continues the investigation of nuclear safety. Experts consider that a so-called Tokai megaseism occurs once in 150 years. The last big Tokai earthquake in the Shizuoka region occurred 151 years ago. Thus, a major disaster is already overdue. When the Hamaoka nuclear reactors collapse due to the Tokai megaseism, there will be a catastrophe. How can you prepare to protect lives and avoid the terrible effects of nuclear radiation?
The five Hamaoka nuclear reactors were built in Shizuoka prefecture, central Japan , near Omaezaki, a coastal town on the Izu peninsula. Uranium is used as fuel. The amount of uranium at this location is the equivalent of 5000 Hiroshima atomic bombs. In an earthquake, large amounts of radioactive particles will be released into the air. Even if only one reactor should collapse, the effect would be catastrophic. Should several or all five Hamaoka reactors be destroyed, the disaster could be much worse than Chernobyl .
The Chubu Electric Power Co., Ltd insists that their Hamaoka reactors are 100% safe. In our opinion, the effects of an earthquake can never be predicted, so their assessment cannot be trusted. The Tokai megaseism could be up to 60 times as powerful as the 2004 Niigata earthquake. It is almost impossible to estimate where radioactive dust and debris, containing uranium, would fall as it depends on wind currents and wind speeds, as well as climate conditions. As radioactivity can stay in the atmosphere for long periods of time, it can fall anywhere and seriously pollute any spot on our rotating planet.
The key to avoiding the radioactivity is to not get it on your skin or into your body. Living cells will be attacked by the cancer-causing radioactivity. Therefore, Japan Offspring Fund recommends wearing a face mask to avoid breathing the radioactive air. In addition, it is crucial to stay out of rain in the aftermath of a Hamaoka nuclear disaster.
Lack of news
When a large earthquake strikes the Hamaoka nuclear reactors, there is no assurance that the public will find out what has happened. Media is usually quick to report about visible effects, such as delayed trains or shaking buildings. But the image of burning nuclear reactors may perhaps not immediately be shown on TV, as it would cause panic. The telephone communication with the region could also be broken, so there would be no way of knowing what has happened.
Transportation would be paralyzed due to the Tokai megaseism, making it virtually impossible to escape. Getting stuck in the middle of a traffic jam is also a scenario that everyone should consider. This is not the same as just an ordinary earthquake, or, for that matter, just an ordinary nuclear reactor accident. In JOF’s newsletter 127 we discussed the difficulties related to a big earthquake affecting the Hamaoka reactors, and especially the risks to people living in Tokyo . We warned that since the Kanto region, including Tokyo , may very well be downwind from the Shizuoka region, a large number of people will all want to escape at once. However, people living in Shizuoka are particularly at risk. In addition to the difficulties of escaping by road, it should also be considered that electricity and water services may be interrupted.
Use a mask
An ordinary cotton face mask is not sufficient to prevent radioactive particles to enter the lungs. Soaking such masks in water makes them a lot more effective, but not to the extent that they would be 100% safe. The best ordinary masks have passed a DS2 level in the national official approval rating system. Such masks cut out more than 95% of dust particles the size of 0.1 microns. For the people living in Shizuoka this would still not be sufficient, so we recommend masks that have passed a DS3 level, cutting out 99.99% of dust particles the size of 0.1 microns. Thinking ahead is important. Make sure to have such masks ready, at home and in your office, as they will be very difficult to buy once the disaster has happened.
Using DS3 level face masks, almost no radioactivity can enter the lungs. There are no DS3 level masks available for children, so we recommend using a DS2 level mask with additional gauze inside. Take care in advance to make sure that your child is breathing comfortably while wearing such mask. DS3 level masks are more expensive, but last considerably longer than DS2 level masks. Also, make sure you stay indoors. Sealing off the doors and windows of the house with duct tape as much as possible is also a good idea. Cleaning and wiping inside the house is also an important way to avoid radioactivity. Use a disposable dust cloth or a towel. Put the cloth in a plastic bag after cleaning, and throw away outside of the house.
Spread the word
Most people do not know about the Hamaoka nuclear reactors, and have not understood the risks associated with a Tokai megaseism. You should consider yourself a leader in your community, with the responsibility of explaining to others how they can protect themselves. Buying masks for yourself and your family should be a priority. Make sure your dearest ones understand how to use the mask. Discuss this issue with neighbours and colleagues as well. In this way, more people will also become aware of the problem of the nuclear reactors in Hamaoka. Even if you do not consider yourself an “activist”, buying face masks shows that you are serious about this problem and others will also start to demand that these five nuclear reactors are shut down. We recommend the 3M mask.
Emergency goods for earthquake and nuclear safety
The following items should be stocked as emergency goods:
Seaweed (tororo kelp): decreases the intake of radioactive iodine which causes thyroid cancer – eat large quantities
Duct tape and aluminum foil: use to seal windows and doors to avoid radioactive particles to enter
Face masks (One DS3 mask will last 24 hours. DS2 masks last 12 hours or less)
Head protection (including hair cover)
General emergency goods
Water and food
Emergency medical supplies
Postal savings book
IACFO: Codex Alimentarius Commission
Observer Status for Independent Consumer Organizations
The International Association of Consumer Food Organizations (IACFO) is an international association of non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) that represent consumer interests in the areas of food safety, nutrition, and related matters.
IACFO was formed in 1997 to address the lack of consumer representation in the debate over the global food trade and to work with international agencies responsible for harmonizing standards related to the production, distribution, and sale of foods.
IACFO members including Center for Science in the Public Interest and Japan Offspring Fund do not accept any funding from the food industry. IACFO has been incorporated as a non-profit organization in accordance with the laws of the District of Columbia, USA.
IACFO files comments with the governmental regulatory agencies in North America, Europe, and Asia, and releases reports examining food safety and nutrition policy issues.
IACFO has been granted observer status before the Codex Alimentarius Commission (a subsidiary of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and World Health Organization) charged by the World Trade Organization with developing international food standards. Thus, IACFO seeks to ensure that consumers’ interests are adequately represented at meetings of the Commission and its committees.
|JOF Safety Check List 1. Cut Off the Source of Dioxins|
|Plastics containing chlorine release dioxins, a deadly poison, when incinerated.
Some plastics release EDCs when buried as waste. This poster shows how to distinguish plastics we can use and ones we must stop using. It is important to stop using polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and vinylidene chloride resin (PVDC) to reduce the amount of dioxins.
|JOF Safety Check List 2. Endocrine Disruptors Threaten Our Offspring|
|This poster includes basic information on endocrine disruptors and impacts on wildlife, domestic animals, and human. Since fetuses and babies are sensitive to EDCs, it is important for parents to keep children away from EDCs. For example, teething rings and baby toys are made of PVC which contain carcinogenic EDCs. Japan Offspring Fund also detected bisphenol A from polycarbonate baby milk bottles. Bisphenol A is known as an endocrine disruptor. Choose safe products for your children.|
|Sperm counts among young men are decreasing. One of the causes is EDCs. To avoid damages by EDCs, it is important to change our lifestyle towards one not to depending on synthetic chemicals. This poster shows what kinds of chemicals in your house may threaten your offsprings. Let’s take a second look at your housing environment.|
|JOF Safety Check List 4. Danger of Cosmetics and Skin Care Products|
|Many cosmetics contains dangerous chemicals which harm your body. This poster shows not only explains the danger of cosmetics but how to choose safer cosmetics and how to make home-made cosmetics.|
If you live in Japan:
Please send stamps of 250 yen value for each poster.
If you live outside Japan:
Please send 2 international response coupons for each poster by mail. You can buy international response coupons at postal office of your country, and it cost about 1 US $.
Mail address: Japan Offspring Fund, Honmachi-Higashi 2-14-18 Saitama-shi, Chuo-ku Japan 338-0003
Don’t forget to write you name, adress, phone number and which poster you want to order.
The Japan Offspring Fund Post-Harvest Chemicals Campaign:
Trade issues between the U.S. and Japan due to
Japan Offspring Fund’s post-harvest campaign
Have you ever looked at a box of bananas and noticed the label, that states that “post-harvest” treatments was used in the packing factories, including the chemicals with scary names like thiabenzadole and imazalil?
One of Japan Offspring Fund’s long-running campaigns has been to expose the use of post-harvest chemicals on food crops. We decided to look at the USTR ” National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers ” from 1986 until 2000, as well as other documents available at the JETRO library here in Tokyo. Generally, the U.S. reports are very critical of Japanese legislation, using words like “opaque and unpredictable” (1991) or “non-transparent” (1995) to describe the problems US exporters face when dealing with Japanese legislation.
Repeatedly, Japan is said to have “structural barriers” (1995) and the reports claim that “certification problems hamper market access in Japan ” (1998). We were surprised that the official reports used such biased and aggressive language about Japan , which for many years has been the biggest foreign market for American goods and services. Let us not forget that each nation has a democratic process to make legislation to protect its citizens. If they can bully Japan like this, how are smaller countries treated?
Every reports lists problems with trade in fresh agricultural products. For example, in 1991, the report says “Japanese plant quarantine regulations require fumigation of imported fresh fruits and vegetables…” This same phrase is repeated year after year. None of the reports say anything about the massive amounts of harmful chemicals and post-harvest pesticides used in U.S. food production. The 1991 report also states that ” Japan continues to restrict the entry into Japan of numerous U.S. fresh fruits and vegetables for plant quarantine reasons, such as apples, pears, in-shell peanuts, tomatoes and potatoes.” It should be noted that all countries can restrict imports for plant quarantine reasons; The U.S. is no exception.
In the 1995 report, the topic of fruits and vegetables has obviously become a big issue, and the explanation is longer. The report complains that “new varieties must undergo costly and time consuming additional scientific research and testing to be allowed entry under a phytosanitary protocol.” Fumigation is mentioned again, as well as Japan ‘s spraying of American avocados with hydrogen cyanide upon entry into Japan , “even if the pest is not alive”.
The 1995 report mentions that Japan opened its market to U.S. apples in 1994, for the first time in 23 years. The 1995 report also complains about Japan ‘s pesticide residue standards, and mentions media campaigns:
“…while progress has been made by the GOJ to establish pesticide residue standards in line with internationally recognized levels, pro-active government action is necessary to counter inflammatory media campaigns in Japan that continue to disseminate misleading information regarding the safety of imported foods. “
“Japan Offspring Fund was the only consumer organization that realized what a huge risk the post-harvest chemicals were to consumers”, says Junichi Kowaka, director of JOF.
It is very difficult to know how much pesticides we actually consume. One study showed that the daily intake of organophosphates in young children in New Zealand is more than 20 times that of young U.S. children. Two of the organophosphates found at high levels, pirimiphos methyl and chlorpyrifos methyl, are applied post-harvest to grain in storage. This pesticide is now found in a wider range of foods (anything containing wheat) and at higher levels, so consumers in Japan should also be aware of the risks as consumption changes from a rice diet to a wheat based diet.
While trade in food can have many benefits for consumers, it is clear that much more effort is needed to educate exporting countries to put the consumer’s interest first. Information about products through good labels are essential. Moreover, the foods should be safe and as fresh as possible. Japan , a country that imports a lot of foods, should certainly continue to require the highest possible standards. For consumers, buying local foods and organically produced foods is always an attractive option.
In a news story published on page 1 of Los Angeles Times on July 22, 1996, Japan’s consumer groups are mentioned:
“First, tiny traces of a fungicide were found on some apples. U.S. and Japanese officials agreed the amounts were harmless, but consumer groups, allied with farmers’ organizations, used traditional scare tactics against food imports to suggest all American apples were poisoned with chemicals. “
In his study, “The Agricultural Free Trade Debate: Poisoning the Planet and its Inhabitants.” published in Journal of Policy and Culture: Vol. 4. March 1999, Darrell Gene Moen writes:
“A Tokyo-based citizens’ group, the Japan Offspring Fund (Nihon Shison Kikin) commissioned the university to conduct the tests from late-1990 to early-1992. Residual levels of pirimiphos-methyl on Australian rice were measured at 3.7ppm, 18 times higher than the Japanese standard. Samples of U.S. rice contained 0.19ppm of malathion, double the ceiling of 0.1ppm set by the Japanese government . “
The following news paper articles mentioned JOF’s post-harvest pesticide campaign (1992-1993):
“Tolerance Levels Set for Farm Chemicals.” The Japan Times. August 22, 1992.
“Group Says U.S. Citrus is Tainted.” The Japan Times. October 11, 1992.
“Chemicals Found in Food Imports.” The Japan Times. October 26, 1992.
“Designation of Chemicals by Health leads to Lawsuit by Citizens’ Group.”
The Japan Times. November 28, 1992.
“Book Exposes Residual Chemicals.” The Japan Times. January 15, 1993.
“Group Warns of Chemicals on Imported Rice.” Mainichi Daily News. October 5, 1993.
“High Pesticide Levels Found in Some Rice from Overseas.” Mainichi Daily News. October 15, 1993.
The Japan Offspring Fund Antibiotics Documentary:
Danger! Antibiotic Resistance
- Untreatable Bacterial Infections -
Why Antibiotics No Longer Work
Japan Offspring Fund has produced a documentary in order to change the situation in Japan, where antibiotic resistant bacteria are continuing to increase. Title: “Danger! Antibiotic Resistance – Untreatable Bacterial Infections – Why Antibiotics No Longer Work“. The video/DVD has two parts, with focus on medical use as well as the risks associated with food.
Part 1 describes the actual conditions regarding multiresistant bacteria and health. In many hospitals, bacteria are increasingly becoming difficult to treat. We discuss what you can do to protect yourself and your children.
Part 2 describes how food production is giving rise to antibiotic resistance, and the necessary solutions. We visit farms to show how meat can be produced without antibiotics.
- Alarming increase in the number of children suffering from antibiotic resistant bacteria: Many children easily catch ear infections. The treatment used to be simple: just a visit to the doctor and a prescription for antibiotics. But this is no longer always the case. The long and difficult suffering as a result of antibiotic resistant bacteria has become increasingly common.Our report describes the real experience of a patient with a serious infection. With computer graphics, we also explain exactly how resistant bacteria appear and develop.
- Community acquired infections, happening outside of hospitals, are increasingly a life-threatening problem: Antibiotic resistant bacteria started as a problem inside hospitals. Recently there is evidence about so-called community acquired infections, where children and others are infected outside hospitals as well.We describe the American case of 4 children who were infected and died from community acquired MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus A). This is also beginning to happen at nursery schools in Japan, according to a recent scientific study.
- How can you protect yourself from antibiotic resistant bacteria: So, how is it possible to protect yourself and your family from being exposed to antibiotic resistant bacteria? We have interviewed Dr. Terasawa Masahiko, whose advice is to stop the overuse of antibiotics. Rather, many infections should simply be left without prescribing antibiotics, as the children will quickly recover by themselves.
- Food production is giving rise to antibiotic resistant bacteria: People are actually dying from antibiotic resistant bacteria emerging from food production. In reality, much more antibiotics is used for animals than for humans. This means food production is a huge “culture factory” to produce bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. We were able to bring a video camera to several farms, to show how antibiotics are actually used. In addition, we interviewed veterinarian Kogure Kazuo, who describes the problems of abuse of antibiotics on farms.
- How Sweden was able to prohibit the abuse of antibiotics: In Sweden, antibiotics as growth promoters for farm animals have been prohibited since 1985. Sweden has also managed to achieve a remarkable decline in the level resistance among bacteria. How was this possible? We went to Sweden to find out more about the secret of the Swedish success story.
- Introducing the Japanese pioneers: We introduce the pioneers in Japan, who are able to raise animals successfully without using antibiotics at all. We propose ways for increasing the number of such farmers, and what consumers can do to support their efforts.
The documentary about antibiotic resistant bacteria, that 20 000 people die from every year in Japan, was released on January 20, 2005.
In September, 2004 the Food Safety Commission of the Japanese government has released a guideline for resistant bacteria, and is gradually moving towards making a regulation. We hope that this video can create opinion about the issue, in order to get a really strict regulation!
Video/DVD order information:
Title: Danger! Antibiotic Resistance – Untreatable Bacterial Infections – Why Antibiotics No Longer Work
Producer: Japan Offspring Fund
Release date: January 20, 2005 (Japanese version)
Cost: 18,000 yen (For orders inside Japan. Price includes tax and shipping)
Language: Japanese (Transcript in English is available)
|DANGER OF POST-HARVEST
|FOOD CONTAMINATION WITH||QUESTIONS ABOUT GENETICALLY MODIFIEDFOODS|
|DANGER! ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE – UNTREATABLE BACTERIAL INFECTIONS -
Why Antibiotics No Longer Work
If you are interested in this ordering our educational videos, please contact us.
Japan Offspring Fund