Monthly Archives: January 2013

Assorted stuff (Fookooshimar-free)

Where to begin… How about the Prime Minister’s speech, which according to the NHK coverage I watched focused on economic recovery, Tohoku reconstruction, restoring Japan’s strength, and education reform, but the main focus was on the economy. However, I then saw a Reuters article that decided it was half about invading China, judging by the column-inches used, despite the DPJ’s Kaieda complaining that China and Korea were never mentioned, and Ishihara bemoaning the lack of talk on rewriting the constitution and upgrading the SDF to a real armed force. I’ve seen people writing in English saying that he is keeping it quiet until he wins a two-thirds majority in the upper house.

Talking of invading China, Abe sent in an advance force of New Komeito’s Yamaguchi to sweet-talk Xi Jinping, and he seems to have been quite well received. That’s another conspiracy theory to write off.

Talking of conspiracy theories, I remember when the DPJ set up the Nuclear Regulation Authority people complained that it was loaded with industry-friendly faces who would just rubber-stamp restarts. However, they have been busy finding faults – anything that might have moved within the last 400,000 years is grounds for concern – and even recently added a new qualification of reactors being terrorist-proof. Godzilla attack is next on the list, but the conspiracy theorists are already postulating that they are putting these restrictions in place to force the government to disband them.

OK, I lied – here is a poster I found through this reddit thread:

Searching the text, we get this entertaining fellow, who is less Fookooshimar and more just FOOOOOOOK!

English subtitles by, apparently, Benjamin "Putting the fool into" Fulford.

Fookooshimars: bigger murderers than TEPCO

Nature prints an interesting article that puts hard facts behind what I have suspected, that the fallout from fear is most likely a greater risk than that from Fukushima Daiichi. (Note that the picture at the head is rather confusing; it is a snapshot from early 2011 yet a casual reader might take it as current radiation levels.)

It is true that the government did not handle the initial reaction very well (which is understandable to some extent), but they then compounded the problem by not being more proactive at explaining the issues, nor promptly setting up comprehensive monitoring schemes to reassure the public, thus leaving a gaping hole that scaremongers have been more than happy to jump into.

A further problem is that people are very bad at risk perception; take the above article:

The children carry dosimeters provided by the health survey to collect radiation data and to calm public concerns. But Yuka wonders whether they will one day develop cancer.

[I’ll bet that line will be quoted on many Fookooshimar sites] On the other hand, we have real, measurable risks that Fookooshimars seem to care little about:

The 39-year-old father of three spends hours each evening playing video games and drinking shochu

These days, he exercises less and rarely socializes. He drinks more and has put on weight.

Yuka is prone to public outbursts of anger

Kenichi was in the smoking room at the plant when he felt the ground shudder for several minutes. [Implying he smokes]

Roughly 15% of adults showed signs of extreme stress, five times the normal rate, and one in five showed signs of mental trauma

Two decades after the accident, those who had evacuated [from Chernobyl] as children complained of physical ailments more often than their peers, even though there was no difference in health. And the mothers of those children suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder at about twice the rate of the general population

Other studies of Chernobyl’s aftermath found that evacuees had elevated rates of depression and that a subset of clean-up workers committed suicide at a rate about 1.5 times that of the general population.

76% of Japanese people believed that food from Fukushima was not safe

Yuka got a flyer in the post inviting her to talk to someone over the phone. She thought about it but decided not to.

It really does annoy me when I see Fookooshimar voices of doom casually talking about stuff like the irradiated food chain (at a level that would be safe in just about every other country in the world, and that is based on eating the foodstuff three times a day for a year) as they are yet another voice adding to the stress that will kill people in measurable quantities.

Tokyo is not Fukushima; Fukushima is not Fookooshimar

When I started off I did state that I would not cover individual posts on, but a recent comment thread has convinced me to break my promise, but I’ll not make a habit of it, I promise!

The comment from Mr Arudou was:

The logic becomes, “Radiation? Well, it must be safe, as all those other athletes are risking it. And I’m not losing my opportunity for a medal to some other jackasses who are willing to risk it.”

Unless they introduce Gutter Silt Swimming or fill the long jump pit with incinerator ash (in the first few months there was a definite problem with radioactive residue in Tokyo, but the current burning of residue from prefectures other than Fukushima has little more than just normal background as far as I am aware) anyone talking about radiation risk in Tokyo now, let alone 7 years later is either a scaremonger or ignorant, or both. That goes for both Mr Arudou and the athletes he imagines might consider this.

As for Fukushima not being Fookooshimar, Japan Times does a good article on the lack of exposure in everyone tested.

Oh, and as for the main reason for the thread, Hidehiko Nishiyama does appear to be an idiot, although one bureaucrat uttering "an incredibly racist insult" (I think that’s an over-reaction myself) doesn’t somehow prove that "racism being endemic in the heart of the Japanese state".

A competition!

I was going to write about yet more stupidity from the Japan Times, but I’ve perhaps flogged that dead horse enough in the last week or two. Therefore, instead here is a relatively tame article from Shukan Jitsuwa ( :roll: ) via Tokyo Reporter entitled "Tokyo cops reluctant to crack down on foreign club touts over racism fears".

Now, the competition is to report on this in the style of your favourite Japan-related character, from the ultimate apologist to Japan’s drunkest greatest investigative reporter. Anything is welcome, but stuff I consider might be libellous or otherwise dodgy will be removed.

Prizes are to be decided or might not even exist at all, but first prize could be a copy of In Appropriate; second prize, as the old chestnut goes, two copies…

Premier sings wartime anthem!

If you squint really hard you can see Angela Merkel on the stage, apparently, and The Telegraph tells me it is a Nazi song.

In other news, singing the national anthem should be made compulsory at some occasions.

In yet other news, she poses with blacked-up kids.

Oh, and Abe had a little sing-song too.

What is up with the Japan Times?

All I can conclude is that they have decided that there is not enough hits/money in being mildly anti-nuke, so they are going down the Russia Today route of printing any old bollocks to get controversy and traffic. Two more examples from today’s web site front page were:

Additives: Let’s hope we are not what we eat

This is a promising article, but instead it leaves me hanging, perhaps because the truth might not be as sensational as the article implies. For example:

Do consumers know what such external flawlessness requires in terms of chemical soil disinfectants and special fertilizers?

What is actually required? We are not told.

The point is, of course, that it’s not real pork broth. What is it? Only your friendly neighborhood food chemist knows for sure. Would he feed it to his family?

Yes, what is it? The guy doing the experiment knows too, so why doesn’t he tell us? Did you ask him if he would feed it to your family?

One of the village children had a question for him: "While you’re here doing research, who’s looking after your rice field in Japan?" The researcher’s answer, unfortunately, is not recorded.

No answer, and no obvious point to this anecdote, or am I just being thick?

Let’s finish off with a Fookooshimar:

Another is a study on child obesity released on Christmas Day by the education and science ministry. The problem was found to be most aggravated in Fukushima Prefecture. A probable cause, the study suggests, is that radioactive air is keeping kids indoors and preventing them from getting enough exercise.

What radioactive air? The JT also reprinted a reasonably neutral Kyodo article that says schools in Fukushima still have restrictions on outdoor activity based on "local atmospheric radioactive fallout readings", whatever these may be. However, under 10% of the schools in Fukushima still have restrictions, yet the rates for first- and third-graders were up about 5 percentage points, which would suggest that these 10% of the schools had about half their pupils overweight (on second thoughts, that’s a gross over-simplification of the numbers). Over-worried parents, increased family stress, temporary housing with no play facilities, breaking up of local friendships, moving from the countryside to the city, etc, etc, are just as probable contributory factors in my opinion.

Abe returns to ‘retrieve’ Japan from its history — or will he just repeat it?

It’s yet another rant about Shinzo Abe, although it is well-written:

Way back in the heady 1960s, Japan was one big Cathedral of Optimism

But then…

By 2000, the cathedral was emptied of Japanese optimists, and most of the foreign ones were climbing out of its windows, too. I found myself, inveterate optimist that I am, pretty much alone in that gaping space.

And finally:

I, for one, am leaving that new Cathedral of Optimism. It’s getting too crowded with people whose shouts deafen the nation with chauvinistic sloganeering.

Expect a reprint of this on…