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Act 1: Japanese Prime Minister Had to Fly In to Fukushima In the Middle of the Night to Get the Scoop from Low-Level Nuclear Workers … Because Tepco Wouldn’t Tell Him the Truth
In this 27-second video, Amy Goodman summarizes her interview with Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan:
We just came from Tokyo. We broadcast for three days from Japan. And we’re going to play the interview I did with the former prime minister, the one in charge at the time [of the Fukushima disaster], Naoto Kan. He said it was extremely difficult to get a straight answer from TEPCO, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, that ran the plants, and he had to fly in. He figured the only place he could get a straight, nonpolitical answer—he flew in the middle of the night to the plant to talk to the workers to figure out whether he had to evacuate 50 million people in Tokyo.
This is not the first time Tepco has been less than honest:
- An official Japanese government investigation concluded that the Fukushima accident was a “man-made” disaster, caused by “collusion” between government and Tepco and bad reactor design
- Tepco knew right after the 2011 accident that 3 nuclear reactors had lost containment, that the nuclear fuel had “gone missing”, and that there was in fact no real containment at all. Tepco has desperately been trying to cover this up for 2 and a half years … instead pretending that the reactors were in “cold shutdown”
- Tepco admitted that it’s known for 2 years that massive amounts of radioactive water are leaking into the groundwater and Pacific Ocean, but covered it up
- Tepco falsely claimed that all of the radiation was somehow contained in the harbor right outside the nuclear plants
- Tepco has substantially under-reported the amount of radiation released at Fukushima
- Tepco – with no financial incentive to actually fix things – has only been pretending to clean it up. And see this
Act 2: U.S.Nuclear Authorities Were Extremely Worried About West Coast Getting Hit By Fukushima Radiation … But Publicly Said It Was Safe
Nuclear expert Ed Lyman – chief scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists – said:
While the U.S. government was telling the American people there was nothing to fear from Fukushima and that U.S. plants aren’t vulnerable to the same problems, internally, they were—there was a much different story. So we’ve learned from a lot of Freedom of Information Act documents that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the White House were actually very concerned about the potential impact of radiation from Fukushima affecting not only Americans in Tokyo, which was more than a hundred miles away from the plant, but also Americans on the West Coast. And they were furiously running calculations to try to figure out how bad it could get. But there was no sense of this in what they were telling the public.
Indeed, Seattle residents were exposed to dangerous radioactive “hot particles” because the government didn’t warn residents:
This is similar to the Japanese government withholding radiation plume data from evacuating Fukushima residents … which caused them to evacuate to areas of very high radiation.
EneNews rounds up details on the freedom of information act information.
Sixteen have been killed in “snow related incidents”, while thousands are stranded in Tokyo and surrounding area.
Last updated: 17 Feb 2014 11:50
Transport difficulties have left stores and supermarkets empty in many of the affected regions [AFP]
|Thousands of residents in villages and towns across Japan remain stranded three days after a snowstorm, despite the military intervening to help with the clean-up.
Japanese media reported that 16 people were killed in “snow related incidents” across seven prefectures affected by the weather and thousands have been injured.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at a parliamentary session on Monday: “Thanks to the weekend’s snow in Yamanashi and Nagano prefecture, some areas have received the highest levels of snow ever recorded. Due to such things as having their roofs collapse, a large number of people have lost their lives.
“We will continue to work closely with appropriate agencies and organizations to protect citizen’s and do everything in our power,” he added.
A snow storm hit Tokyo and the outlying prefectures last Friday. Parts of Yamanashi prefecture, west of Tokyo, saw more than a 1.1m of snow, the most the area has seen since records began in 1894.
The blizzard left cars on the highway stranded and, in some cases, entire villages cut off from transport as snow covered roads.
With hundreds stuck in their vehicles, some towns opened up public buildings and provided free food and warmth, especially to drivers running out of fuel. With stalled cars adding to the difficulties of the cleanup, many prefectures have asked for military help in digging up the roads.
The snow has meant that the transport of goods as well as people has been cut off, leaving supermarkets and convenience stores empty in many parts of the affected regions.
Japanese car makers, including Toyota and Honda, were forced to suspend operations after the heavy snow disrupted their supply chains and prevented workers from commuting.
Severe weather kills seven people, injures 1,000 and leaves tens of thousands without electricity.
Last updated: 09 Feb 2014 07:00
Further snowfall is expected on Sunday in the northern part of the country [AP]
|At least seven people have been killed and 1,000 injured as parts of Japan suffered their worst snowfall in decades.Many of the deaths and injuries were caused by snow-linked accidents and car crashes, according to state televiasion channel NFK and the AFP news agency.
As much as 27cm of snow was recorded in Tokyo by late Saturday, the heaviest fall in the capital for 45 years, according to meteorologists.
The northeastern city of Sendai recorded 35cm of snow, the heaviest in 78 years.
Further snowfall is expected on Sunday in the northern part of the country, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
More than 20,000 households are without electricity on Sunday, while airlines have cancelled nearly 300 domestic flights a day, AFP reported.
Nearly 5,000 people were stranded at Narita airport on Saturday as traffic linking the airport to the capital was disrupted, NHK said.
In central Aichi prefecture, a 50-year-old man died after his car slipped on the icy road and rammed into an advertisement steel pole, a local rescuer said.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, pressed by China and seeking to strengthen ties with the U.S., is considering Japan’s biggest change in military engagement rules since World War II.
Barred by its interpretation of a pacifist constitution from protecting other nations’ troops, Japan needs broader deployment abilities, according to Abe, 59. Having increased defense spending two years running and set up a U.S.-style National Security Council, Abe is now seeking to allow Japan to come to the aid of its allies, telling parliament yesterday that “it’s about whether we can exercise this right that every country has.”
China’s escalating challenge to Japan over disputed islands in the East China Sea played into Abe’s plans to strengthen the military, said ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Katsuei Hirasawa. The initiative, which requires backing by Abe’s coalition partner, faces public opposition and risks further straining ties with China and South Korea that soured in December with Abe’s visit to a war shrine in Tokyo.
“Abe is determined to do this now because otherwise it is very difficult to get support,” said Tsuneo Watanabe, senior fellow at The Tokyo Foundation research center. When regional tensions are low “people don’t see the need for it.”
Abe has shown a willingness to expend political capital on national security. His approval rating dipped below 50 percent after he passed a bill in December to stiffen penalties for leaking state secrets that was favored by the U.S. but opposed by a majority of Japanese. His popularity is back above 55 percent and there are no national elections before 2016, giving him some protection from the fallout of loosening the rules on collective self-defense.
Fifty four percent of Japanese are against the change, according to a poll by Kyodo News on Jan. 25-26. “This is partly to do with postwar pacifist sentiment in Japan, given that Japan was engaged in a very atrocious and damaging war of aggression,” said Koichi Nakano, professor of political science at Sophia University in Tokyo.
Such a change would also escalate tensions with China and South Korea, where memories of Japan’s occupation resonate almost 70 years after the end of World War II.
“Japan should build mutual trust with countries in the region, including South Korea, China and Southeast Asian ones, rather than pursue collective security now,” South Korean Vice Defense Minister Baek Seung Joo said, according to a Nov. 6 ministry statement.
Enabling collective self-defense could help ensure the U.S. backs Japan militarily if China asserts its claims over the islands known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese. In November, China set up an air identification zone over part of the East China Sea covering the islands, increasing the risk of confrontation with Japan and the U.S.
“What is lucky for the Abe administration is that China set up the ADIZ,” said the LDP’s Hirasawa, who tutored Abe as a child. “That proves that what the Abe administration has been saying is correct. China is taking a stronger and stronger stance.”
Japan was stung by accusations of “checkbook diplomacy” after the country contributed $13 billion and no troops to the U.S.-led 1991 Gulf War, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The government then began changing policy, allowing the first substantial contribution of troops to a United Nations peacekeeping operation in Cambodia in 1992. Still, the 600 troops sent to Iraq in 2004 to support the U.S.-led war were limited to non-combat duties and had to be protected by Dutch and Australian soldiers.
The move comes as part of Abe’s policy of contributing more actively to international security and seeking a higher profile on the world stage, with a busy diplomatic schedule taking him to 30 countries in his first year in office.
“Abe is more of a globalist than just about any of his predecessors,” said Alan Dupont, a professor of international security at the University of New South Wales. “He sees a new role for Japan commensurate with its economic and political weight.”
Yousuke Isozaki, a special adviser to Abe on security policy, is spearheading the effort on collective self-defense and says the change will deepen security ties with the U.S. and allow Japan to reach out to other allies.
“We want to be able to discuss security with friendly countries other than the U.S.,”he said in a Jan. 17 interview. “If we are bound hand and foot, we cannot talk. We cannot even say we will protect one another if something happens.”
Isozaki guided Abe’s unpopular secrecy bill through parliament while thousands of protesters chanted outside the building.
“There’s no time to sit around,” he said. The process will accelerate once an advisory panel of mostly academics submits its recommendations in April. Isozaki is looking for the LDP and its pacifist partner New Komeito to adopt a joint position by June, and expects bills related to the change to be presented starting in autumn.
“Japan will be a more effective alliance partner if its Self-Defense Forces are able to help defend American soldiers or sailors if they are attacked,” U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy told the Asahi newspaper in an interview published Jan. 23.
Securing the reinterpretation will be complicated by the need for Komeito’s support. “Until now, we haven’t done a single thing without the agreement of Komeito,” Isozaki said. “Getting their approval is a must.” Komeito backed Abe’s on the secrecy bill and the NSC legislation.
Isamu Ueda, deputy head of Komeito’s policy panel, said he favors Japan’s pacifist policy, while being open to possible exemptions such as allowing troops to protect other countries’ forces during peacekeeping work.
“We believe Japan should keep its military power to a minimum,” Ueda said in a Jan. 21 interview. “Japan should not be involved in international conflicts outside the country.”
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rosalind Mathieson email@example.com
» Harvard Professor Warns of “Devastating” China-Japan War Alex Jones’ Infowars: There’s a war on for your mind!
Russian study says U.S. could easily defeat Beijing in nuclear conflict
Paul Joseph Watson
January 23, 2014
Harvard Professor Ezra Vogel warned of the devastating consequences of a potential war between China and Japan during a conference in Beijing.
Vogel, a Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences Emeritus at Harvard University, is an expert sinologist having written extensively on relations between the two countries for decades.
During his speech, Vogel highlighted Japan’s historical revisionism, characterized by the refusal in Japanese school textbooks to accept responsibility for the second world war, as well as the territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands, as the two key factors driving hostilities.
“Any potential war between the two nations would be devastating to both, Vogel said,” according to the Want China Times, “adding that it would take at least 10 years for Beijing and Tokyo to resume normalized relations if a third Sino-Japanese war were to take place.”
Vogel also urged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to stop visiting the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo that honors 14 war criminals who were executed as a result of post-war Allied tribunals. During his speech at Davos yesterday, Abe warned that the global community must restrain military expansion in Asia. Although he didn’t name them directly, Abe’s comments were obviously aimed at Beijing.
Vogel’s warning arrives concurrently with analysis by Moscow-based Expert magazine which suggests that the United States would easily defeat China in a potential nuclear war because Beijing is reliant on decades-old Soviet technology. Back in November, Chinese state-run media released a map showing the locations of major U.S. cities and how they would be impacted by a nuclear strike launched from the PLA’s strategic submarine force.
Earlier this week, state media reported that China’s new hypersonic missile vehicle is primarily designed to target U.S. aircraft carriers.
A deluge of aggressive rhetoric has emerged out of official Communist Party organs in recent months, including discussion about China’s ability to attack US military bases in the Western Pacific, as well as a lengthy editorial which appeared in Chinese state media last month explaining how the Chinese military’s current reformation process was part of a move by President Xi Jinping to prepare the People’s Liberation Army for war.
Chinese ships and aircraft have attempted to demonstrate Beijing’s claims to the islands [Reuters/Kyodo]
|Japan’s defence minister has vowed to defend the country’s territory after three Chinese government ships entered disputed waters off Tokyo-controlled islands in the East China Sea.
The Chinese coastguard vessels sailed at about 8:30am local time on Sunday (2330 GMT on Saturday) into territorial waters off one of the Senkaku islands, which China also claims and calls the Diaoyus, Japan’s coastguard said.
The ships left less than two hours later.
“We can never overlook repeated incursions into territorial waters,” Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters.
“We need to make diplomatic efforts on one hand. We also want to firmly defend our country’s territorial sea and land with the self-defence forces cooperating with the coastguard,” he said.
Chinese state-owned ships and aircraft approach the disputed islands from time to time in an effort to demonstrate Beijing’s territorial claims, especially after Japan nationalised some of the islands in September 2012.
Sunday marked the first time Chinese ships were spotted there since December 29, when three coastguard ships entered the zone and stayed for about three hours, Japanese officials said.
Japanese coastguard patrol boats have tried to chase Chinese vessels away, fuelling tensions that some fear could spiral into an armed clash. Japan’s conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has vowed no compromise on the sovereignty of the islands and recently announced a boost in military spending.
Tensions were heightened in recent months after Beijing announced an air defence identification zone covering a large swathe of the East China Sea, including the disputed islands.
The war of words (and deeds) is once again escalating between China and Japan. As we detailed last night, this has been a long time coming and as Reuters reports today took a further turn for the worse. In an op-ed in Britain’s Daily Telegraph, the Chinese ambassador to Britain, Liu Xiaoming, wrote last week: “If militarism is like the haunting Voldemort of Japan, the Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo is a kind of horcrux, representing the darkest parts of that nation’s soul.” Liu’s commentary was followed by another published on Sunday by his Japanese counterpart, Keiichi Hayashi, in the same newspaper, headlined: “China risks becoming Asia’s Voldemort“. As was noted, “Five thousand years of traditional virtues have been turned into this?”
China lambasted Japan on Tuesday for comparing it to Lord Voldemort, the villain in the Harry Potter stories, after both countries used the character to describe each other in a tit-for-tat diplomatic spat.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s December 26 visit to Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine, where Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals are enshrined along with other war dead, infuriated China and South Korea and prompted concern from the United States, a key ally.
Both China and Korea suffered under brutal Japanese rule, with parts of China occupied in the 1930s and Korea colonized from 1910 to 1945.
In an op-ed in Britain’s Daily Telegraph, the Chinese ambassador to Britain, Liu Xiaoming, wrote last week: “If militarism is like the haunting Voldemort of Japan, the Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo is a kind of horcrux, representing the darkest parts of that nation’s soul.”
Liu’s commentary was followed by another published on Sunday by his Japanese counterpart, Keiichi Hayashi, in the same newspaper, headlined: “China risks becoming Asia’s Voldemort”.
“I would like to point out that, to Asia and countries in other regions of the world, militaristic invasion is the darkest devil in the history of Japan,” Hua said at a daily news briefing, according to a transcript posted on the foreign ministry’s website.
the People’s Daily, said the “Sino-Japanese war of public opinion is facing an escalation on all fronts“.
“We need to make our demands simple and clear, that is, the Japanese prime minister cannot visit the war criminals in Yasukuni because it is equivalent to paying homage to criminals like Hitler and Goebbels,” the newspaper said, referring to the leaders of Nazi Germany.
“Five thousand years of traditional virtues have been turned into this?” wrote another microblogger.
Hayashi’s letter was an apparent response to an earlier op-ed by Chinese ambassador to London [AP]
|The diplomatic bickering between Japan and China has descended into name-calling in the British press, with claim and counter-claim by the countries’ ambassadors invoking the fictional evil wizard of the Harry Potter series, Lord Voldemort.
In an opinion piece published in Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper on Monday, Tokyo’s envoy to London, Keiichi Hayashi, compared Beijing to the villain of JK Rowling’s multi-million selling books.
“East Asia is now at a crossroads. There are two paths open to China,” Hayashi wrote.
“One is to seek dialogue, and abide by the rule of law. The other is to play the role of Voldemort in the region by letting loose the evil of an arms race and escalation of tensions, although Japan will not escalate the situation from its side.”
Hayashi’s letter was an apparent response to an earlier op-ed – also invoking Voldemort – published by the paper on January 1 by Liu Xiaoming, Chinese ambassador to London.
In the letter, Liu harshly criticised Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent visit to Tokyo’s controversial Yasukuni war shrine, which honours Japanese war dead, including men convicted of serious war crimes in the wake of Japan’s 1945 World War II defeat.
On Monday, Abe said he wanted to explain to leaders in China and South Korea why he visited a controversial shrine.
He expressed his hope that the leaders could meet to diffuse tension over longstanding territorial disputes and historical issues.
The shinto shrine is seen by China and other Asian nations as a symbol of Japan’s militarist past.
“If militarism is like the haunting Voldemort of Japan, the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo is a kind of horcrux, representing the darkest parts of that nation’s soul,” the Chinese envoy wrote.
In the Harry Potter series, a horcrux is a receptacle in which evil characters store fragments of their souls to enable them to achieve immortality.
Japan’s population declined by the most on record in 2013, highlighting the demographic challenges faced by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in his campaign to revive the world’s third-biggest economy.
The population fell by 244,000, according to Health Ministry estimates released yesterday, a seventh straight year of decline. Births fell about 6,000 from a year earlier to 1,031,000 and deaths increased about 19,000 to 1,275,000.
Rising welfare costs for an ageing nation threaten to worsen a debt burden that is already twice the size of the Japanese economy. At the same time, a shrinking population caps consumer demand, making it harder for Abe to drive an exit from 15 years of deflation.
The government’s decision to raise a sales tax to 8 percent from 5 percent in April is aimed at helping to secure funds for social welfare payments. That move threatens to undermine the momentum building in the economy from unprecedented monetary stimulus.
Radiation cleanup work in 11 areas in Fukushima Prefecture was scheduled to be completed by March 31 under a government plan announced in January last year, according to Kyodo. The environment ministry expects a delay in the project to the year beginning April 2016 amid opposition from locals to the setup of temporary storage facilities, Kyodo said.
A record earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 wrecked the nuclear plant run by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501), causing radioactive leaks that forced the evacuation of about 160,000 people. The government said last week it will assume decontamination costs from the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns in order to accelerate the rebuilding of the region.
Decontamination costs near the Fukushima site, 150 miles (240 kilometers) north of Tokyo, are estimated at about 2.5 trillion yen ($24 billion), the government’s Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters said in a statement Dec. 20. The government plans to recover the costs through a sale of its shares in Tepco.
The environment ministry will release a revised schedule for the cleanup work soon, according to Kyodo.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gearoid Reidy at firstname.lastname@example.org