Tag Archives: fookooshimar

Hopeless Fookooshimar news articles still exist!

The Independent recently published utter dross about Fukushima, displaying a lack of journalistic integrity along with scientific ignorance.

First there is a set of slides which are full of insinuations, but free from facts such as all food must pass Japanese radiation standards (they make no claim that these checks are being bypassed) that are lower than anywhere else in the world. They mention tea specifically, which as far as I am aware is not produced in any significant quantities anywhere north of Shizuoka.

The alarm is being sounded after Taiwanese investigators uncovered more than 100 radioactive food products which had been produced in Fukushima but falsely packaged to give their origin as Tokyo.

Well, all food products are radioactive, and do they mean 100 items or 100 different brands? Here is a relevant Asahi article, but the implication from that seems to be the false labeling is the issue, not any radioactivity.

They then follow-up with a picture that is from an oil refinery in probably Chiba, but the casual reader will assume it is the radiations burning.

There is no firm evidence that any radioactive food has entered the UK, but experts say there is a risk, and products could already have arrived.

There is also a risk that there might be chemicals in the food!

They also have another strange graphic, giving a fifty mile (80 km) fallout radius, which seems rather high too me. Fortunately the comments for the article mostly restore some sanity.



Fookooshimar TIME

There’s a new TIME article on Fukushima entitled The World’s Most Dangerous Room, containing a pull “quote” that I think will offend many people in the prefecture and beyond. First, the story’s lead picture of this “most dangerous” room has a new-looking notebook PC seemingly fixed in position, which would suggest to me that it can’t be that radioactive otherwise the PC would soon get fried, and if I remember correctly, the reactor control room is heavily shielded, so it is actually relatively safe, I think.

The latest plan by TEPCO, Japan’s largest power provider, is to build a wall of frozen earth around the damaged reactors and other highly radioactive areas to prevent radiation from seeping out of the site.

I thought the point of the ice wall was to prevent ground water entering; I suppose the ground water currently picks up radiation and some inevitably leaks out, but that is a side-effect; the wall is primarily for keeping water out, not in.

Fukushima was not just an epic natural disaster

*sigh* It was not the Fukushima earthquake, it was all of the north-east coast that suffered from the quake and subsequent tsunami.

Half-way down the page there is a bizarre photo of a topless women standing in a washing machine while washing her hair.

Many suicides aren’t reported by families who worry about being stigmatized, say local doctors, obscuring the real death toll.

Err, what? How does that work?

Now, the most offensive part of the article in huge lettering:

“[Fukushima] is finished. It’s only fit for ghosts.”

Note the square brackets – the actual comment from a former resident of Futuba in the article is:

Still, Shiga has no wish to return to her farmhouse, one of the few in her community to have escaped the tsunami’s wrath. “That place is finished,” she says. “It’s only fit for ghosts.”

“That place” is either her house or her community, not the amorphous “Fukushima”.

I wanted to log in to post a comment to this effect, but the comment system won’t let me.

Bleedin’ (nosed) straw men

Japan Focus never ceases to amaze me with the quality of their articles, with this one on the Oishinbo controversy being a non-stop parade of straw men. The executive summary is that we can’t be sure, so FOOKOOSHIMAR!

The controversy, centered on the issue of the main character suffering nose bleed after a visit to the plant, and another character modeled on the former Futaba Mayor, warning people against living in the prefecture.

Curiously, this most important point is not addressed; are we to take the author’s silence as agreement?

Essentially there are two views. One is “denial of the fact” that many people have experienced nose bleeding after the Fukushima incident, with the assertion that nose bleeding cannot be caused by the radiation emitted from Fukushima Dai-ichi. The other view is that it is reasonable that the nose bleeding observed among the people of Fukushima prefecture and surrounding areas including Tokyo could be caused by radiation, as suggested in the comic.

Just two views? It is reasonable that nosebleeds in Tokyo could be caused by radiation? Of course, they “could” be caused by a wide variety of things, but the point of science is to try to uncover the truth by examining whether observations fit a hypothesis, not spreading doubt for the sake of it.

The fact is that no scientifically definitive proof has been found for the cause-effect relationship in the case of nose bleeding.

Good, so that’s the article finished then?

No serious studies have been conducted on this issue.

Perhaps because there isn’t a serious hypothesis?

The question is then whether the scientific arguments “against” causality are more reasonable than the arguments “for” causality or the reverse.

Nope, it’s whichever is backed by more evidence.

If the former (against) is reasonable, and is very likely based on the best human knowledge available, it would suggest that it is not necessary to worry about the entire issue of radiation effects on living organisms at current levels.

Oh, for goodness sake! A towering giant of a straw man!

They deny categorically the facts depicted in the comic.

(My emphasis) No bias here from the author!

The incident suggests the desperation of the government and the industry to suppress the facts concerning the danger of radiation.

He’s still remaining quite neutral.

However, it is to be recognized that the damages caused by radiation are indeed more serious than rumors such as these.

By whom? Is he saying Fukushima radiation is even worse than nosebleeds?

Unfortunately, precise, accurate and detailed data are non-existent or have been hidden from public scrutiny.


This indicates that nose bleeding incidence was significantly higher (by 3 to 4 times) in towns close to Fukushima Dai-ichi compared to that in a place far from it. Other symptoms including headache, dizziness, nausea and fatigue were also high among people living in Futaba-machi.

OK, so we have an observation – what scientific reason is there for it? “The radiations did it” is not one. If I were from any town along the Tohoku Pacific coast having had my home destroyed, perhaps some relatives died, and living in a Portacabin, I suspect I would have many of these symptoms. This has been well-documented, with alcohol abuse being a serious problem, as it was in Chernobyl. 

The government is of the opinion that these [thyroid] cancers have nothing to do with radiation from the Fukushima Dai-ichi accident.

The incidence of thyroid anomalies in Fukushima is a concern, and ongoing real science will uncover the reason, I hope. Furthermore, it is not just the government that is of that opinion, many of the doctors involved also believe that it is the Screening Effect they are witnessing.

How low is the radiation level in Fukushima? This question cannot be answered immediately.

Yes it can.

How is Sv defined? Exposure dose of who? How is Sv determined, and how meaningful is the Sv value thus determined?

I think the author is just spewing out questions. All these questions have quite simple answers, but a “Think of the children!” cry attracts more ears than cold scientific fact, sadly.

A number of organizations as well as individuals have measured radiation in various locations.

I thought he just said “precise, accurate and detailed data” was non-existent? I suspect his come-back might be “Not precise enough!”

It shows that more than 40 kBq/m2 has been deposited over the area about 300 km from Fukushima Dai-ichi; this includes Tokyo.

That sounds like a big number (which is probably why he used it), but converting to mSv, it comes to somewhere in the order of 0.5 mSv per year, and most of that decayed or was washed away pretty quickly.

Common sense indicates that “internal” exposure is more serious than “external exposure”

We’re talking science, not common sense.

“NO, it is Not Caused by Radiation” – Mistaken Reasoning

Now we will try to see how reasonable or unreasonable the “NO” answers are.

This is where it gets fun.

nose bleeding can only be induced by damage to platelets produced in bone marrow. Damage to platelets can be brought about only by severe destruction of the bone marrow. Destruction would occur only at a high exposure dose, something like more than 2 Sv. Therefore, the current level of exposure, i.e., less than 20 mSv, would definitely not cause nose bleeding

This argument comes from a K Noguchi, who was published in the Oishinbo manga magazine. I have no idea who he is.

Besides, this argument entirely ignores a possibility that a minute radioactive particle may get into the nose through breathing and stick to the surface of the capillary vessel in the nose. The radioactive particle emits a, b or g rays (depending on the radioactive isotopes contained therein) in the surroundings and may destroy the membrane of the blood vessel. In this situation, a and b as well as g can cause damage to the tissue. How large this damaging effect is on the capillary membrane is yet to be studied, but it is likely possible9. However, to prove it scientifically may not be easy.

I have no idea about the validity of this argument, but it seems wonky to me. Looking at the reference, the argument is proposed by a Ochiai, E., none other than the author of this article.

Another “NO” answer depends on the notion that the damage causing nose bleeding is due to active oxygen produced as a result of radiation from the radioactive particle stuck to the surface of the capillary […] The argument includes certain quantitative calculations which themselves may be reasonable, though the assumptions are wrong.

They can be found on this random blog.

Anyway, the basis for the argument of denial is flawed, and hence its conclusion that the current low level would not cause nose bleeding is questionable.

Apparently the rebutter ignored hydroxyl free radical, thus s/he is wrong. However, the nasal demons theory is accepted as fact, but if it were true, wouldn’t there also be lots of cases of lung damage? Is there any evidence of this?

“Stress caused by fear of radiation effect rather than radiation itself is the cause.” This idea was first expressed by the Soviet government right after the Chernobyl incident.

It’s all a communist plot!

In order to absolve themselves of responsibility for the consequences of the disaster, particularly the ill health effects on people, they invented this excuse.

Err, nope, there’s studies from both Chernobyl and Fukushima on this.

This opinion is difficult to debunk but also difficult to prove. To prove it scientifically it would be necessary to start with defining “stress, what kind of stress, its causes, its seriousnes etc” and then see how it affects people’s health, and determine causality.

Unlike Mr Ochiai’s radical nasal demons, which are a scientific fact.

Yet, the so-called authorities are making many baseless arguments

Now, now, your biases are showing just a little too much!

“Yes, it could be Caused by Radiation” – some Scientific Reasoning

The argument for the causal relationship between nose bleeding and low-level radiation is based on a reasonable assumption that minute floating radioactive particles might enter a nose and stick on the surface of the capillaries. […] There is again not enough data to verify this hypothesis.

…but let us assume it is true. Scientific Reasoning indeed!

It has been argued, however, that the trade deficit has increased because Japan has to import more petroleum and natural gas, as a result of shutdown of nuclear powers. Yet the main reason for the trade deficit is not increased imports of energy sources, but lowering the exchange rate of Japanese “yen”. 

The reference for this is an anti-nuclear blog.

Moreover, nuclear power reactors are inefficient in using nuclear energy. They convert only about one third of the energy produced by the reactor into electricity, and the remaining two thirds of heat is released into the environment.

As does fossil fuels. Here the 10,000 figure represents about 30-40% efficiency, and the lower the more efficient. Furthermore, steam turbines, due to Carnot’s Efficiency Law, can never be more than 40% efficient!

Should I really give Vice a link to their stupid Fookooshimar nonsense

I’ll put a nofollow on this link where we see that an anti-nuclear activist (Ms Takenouchi) said a pro-nuclear (well, I’m not sure of their exact stance, but to most Fookooshimars, anything not death-filled is pro-) activist (Ms Ando) was “host[ing] human experiments in Fukushima“, so Ms Ando decided to talk to the police about the defamation. Cue much outrage about censorship, victimisation, etc, etc. I’m also reminded (but let’s not go there) that the writers credited for this article have been involved in a similar situation…

Anyway, Ms Ando represents an NPO that according to the article:

Fukushima Ethos encourages residents to continue living in contaminated areas as long as decontamination procedures and radiation measurements continue to be done.

No biases there from the journalist. If you’d rather read the NPO’s own statement of policies, it is here. Some legal expert or other said:

If all debates about nuclear energy in this country are going to become grounds for criminal investigations, freedom of speech will vanish.

Try not calling people human experimenters to avoid being grounds for investigation!

In Reporters Without Borders’ press freedom rankings for 2013, Japan fell to a new low of 59th place, due in part to the Special Secrets Act passed in the middle of the night in December, and “the ban imposed by the authorities on independent coverage of any topic related directly or indirectly to the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.” 

I think we’ve previously criticised the RSF quotes here, and I don’t really see what the point in mentioning the middle of the night is, and if my memory serves me correctly, it was just after 9 pm. Can anyone else recall?

David McNeill defends his JT Fookooshimar article, writes a new one on the NY Times

David McNeill wrote up a credulous look at the US sailor-related ambulance-chasing law suit on Fukushima, then despite all evidence that authors defending articles in comments never works, he gave it a try. There’s a lot of good comments, and you can also try to match our regulars with the handles. (I don’t know myself, but I can hazard a guess at two!)

However, today I found another awful article full of innuendo for the New York Times, entitled Squelching Efforts to Measure Fukushima Meltdown, which contains no evidence of squelching and no-one willing to go on record with a claim. Let’s have a look:

[Michio Aoyama] said levels of radioactive cesium 137 in the surface water of the Pacific Ocean could be 10,000 times as high as contamination after Chernobyl

Given that Chernobyl is slightly further from the Pacific, and the prevailing winds blew all its crap over Europe, that’s a pretty useless number, quite frankly. Looking at related stuff it appears to be a local maximum. He currently poo-poos the idea that Fukushima is polluting the whole Pacific.

Joji Otaki, a biologist at Japan’s Ryukyu University who has written papers suggesting that radioactivity at Fukushima has triggered inherited deformities in a species of butterfly.

Dodgy science. No wonder he finds it difficult to get funding.

Timothy A. Mousseau

Oh dear.

In one case, a Japanese professor and two postdoctoral students dropped out of a joint research paper, telling him they could not risk association with [Timothy A. Mousseau’s] findings.

Perhaps they Googled him?

Mr. Mousseau is careful to avoid comparisons with the Soviet Union, which arrested and even imprisoned scientists who studied Chernobyl. Nevertheless […]

…he does.

Much of the government funding for academic research in Japan is funneled through either the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science or the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Proposals are screened by government officials and reviewed by an academic committee.

Umm, isn’t that the way most countries distribute research grants?

Japan Focus? Japan Fookoos would be more appropriate

 In the history of this site looking at Japan Focus, this article by Adam Broinowski entitled Fukushima: Life and the Transnationality of Radioactive Contamination is the worst I have seen. VK took a preliminary peek, and here I’ll examine some of the details that tell me the peer reviewers are peers in the Fookooshimar teepee commune, not peers in science. To save time, I’ll just look at the most egrerious passages in the article.

miracle cures for cancer

As VK pointed out, the cryogenic treatment has nothing to do with Fukushima. And talking of people pimping miracle cures:roll:

natural background potassium K40 radiation in bananas is 0.0117 Bq/kg

While the Banana Equivalent Dose is perhaps a dodgy measure, did no reviewer stop and think that the figure looks a little small? Like four orders of magnitude too small? Fun fact: Carbon-14 from the sugar in a kilogram of fresh bananas is around 250 grams of sugar * 40% carbon * 0.25 Bq/g, or 25 Bq/kg.

1 mSv = 1 X-ray

Nope, that’s getting into CT territory; however, being out by two orders of magnitude is an improvement, I suppose.

Although some authorities now recognize that this measurement [negligible risk from 100mSv/year] understates risk by between 100 and 1000 times

Weasel words! Which authorities? I think we can all guess.

Caesium has been detected in 70% of 85 children measured in the Ibaraki Prefecture Cooperative Association study

This links to what seems to be an anecdote at the end of a news piece. Googling didn’t turn up anything bar the usual suspects. Has anyone further information?

On 12 September 2013, a local diver witnessed large numbers of sunflower starfish (Pycnopodia helianthoides), that feeds mostly on sea urchins and snails, in various stages of disintegration on the sea floor [near Vancouver island].

Similar incidents occurred on the Atlantic coast of Canada, so it seems a bit premature to associate with Fukushima radiation.

UPDATE: I forgot this one:

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan announce that radiation dispersed from Chernobyl […] had caused chronic illness in 7 million more people, and the premature deaths of 3 million children.

The footnote points to not a primary source, but to an anti-nuclear blog where we see what Mr Annan said was:

Second, more than seven million of our fellow human beings do not have the luxury of forgetting. They are still suffering, every day, as a result of what happened 14 years ago. 

No mention of chronic illness or of 3 million dead children. To me it reads like mention of the mental scars, scars that the likes of that blogger and Japan Focus’s writer keep picking at to further their own objectives.

Lets get all fookooing excited about some vague data trend!

I’ve noticed in the recent months Jake Adelstein getting a bit more excited about Fukushima. Previously he focused on the links between the Yakuza and TEPCO and their subcontractors, obviously his area of expertise, but recently he’s been straying into not quite Fookooshimar territory, but at least into overexaggeration of the contamination. It used to be just on Twitter, but now I have seen an article on The Daily Beast looking at birth defects which is trying to find controversy where there is most likely none.

The article leads off with:

The prevalence rate—the frequency of malformations among childbirths, such as holes in the heart (atrial septal defect)—was 2.43 percent, a number that is still below what is considered a normal figure among radiation experts.

So, err, nothing. I’m also trying to parse exactly what “a normal figure among radiation experts” means, but reading ahead shows me that it should actually be “a normal incidence rate among medical experts”. (Please feel free to correct my paraphrasing!)

Near one group of tanks the levels reached 2,200 millisieverts per hour. An unprotected person standing close to the contaminated areas would receive a lethal radiation dose within hours.

Where “unprotected” means “nude” and “close” means “within tens of centimetres”.

The 2011 Report on Congenital Malformations notes the prevalence of malformed infants as 2.43 percent

I don’t like the word “malformed” here – the report title is obviously a medical understanding of the term, but “malformed infants” suggests extra legs or whatever, whereas both I and my step-nephew have the holes-in-the-heart menioned above but the requisite number of limbs. Furthermore, the survey was for children born during the 2011 calendar year, but as far as my Googling goes, the reasons for holes in the heart are not well known; is it hereditary (yes to some extent), a genetic artifact at conception (don’t know), or something during pregnancy (smoking, perhaps?).

British radiation expert Dr. Ian Fairlie

Get Googling guys! He has real qualifications, but he hangs around with the usual suspects. :roll: Here is an interesting paper that he has produced which I think takes about the worst-case scenario that he as a scientist can honestly produce, and assumes the Linear No-Threshold Model to get 3,000 additional deaths over 70 years, which also assumes everyone who doesn’t die from radiation manages to keep going for another 70 years, yet for the majority of Fukushima Prefecture residents, medical X-rays, airplane flight, and even natural background radiation is likely to be a bigger factor.

Of the roughly 360,000 children, there were 44 suspected cases of thyroid cancer. […] In the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, thyroid cancers cases started to show up after four to five years after the accident.

I think we can all read between the lines. :roll:

BTW, I wish I could find a link to it, or even remember what the name was, but one of the towns near Fukushima Dai-ichi paid for all children to have some expensive DNA-level blood test (I think that was what it was) to see if their genes had been spliced by radiation. About 20% of the children have been tested so far, and the one child they covered came back 100% clear, no dodgy DNA. Cynics would say that of course NHK would make sure they covered someone who was OK, especially as they didn’t report overall statistics on what percentage had been found to have damaged DNA.

A quick geography lesson

Fukushima, Osaka:

View Larger Map


Fookooshimar, Osaka.

I count four out of six straying towards Fookooshimar, and the Tai-chi instructor on about spirulina, chlorella and modifilan is in total tinfoil hat territory.

Chinese paper making more sense on Olympics than Japanese one

The South China Morning Post had this to say on Tokyo winning the 2020 Olympics, regarding Fukushima, quoting an expert:

Watanabe said fish caught outside the harbour had shown a gradually decreasing level of caesium contamination, more markedly so in waters 20 kilometres from the plant.

Despite also quoting Hiroaki Koide, the whole article is quite well balanced.

However, in the English-language edition of the Akahata, we have nonsense like this:

Ahead of the International Olympic Committee’s announcement early Sunday, foreign media outlets repeatedly asked the Tokyo 2020 Bid Committee whether the Fukushima plant was really safe. The question was artfully dodged with empty guarantees and statistics on where some of the radioactive material in the ocean had settled, rather than what kind of sea life may have consumed it before migrating along the coast.

What a disappointment that no-one would admit we are ALL going to DIE!

Then we have a quite fanciful article about Kansai hating on Tokyo winning. Note that although I heard lots about Scotland complaining that the London Olympics spending would be at the expense of the Scots, I’ve not heard similar views from Kansai television. We have this text:

There has even been local speculation that the International Olympic Committee might be forced to consider taking the games away from Tokyo if the problems at Fukushima worsen over the next couple of years.

Who has been speculating? Anyone important? The article author and a few friends in the pub? We are never told.

Finally, we have this wonderful letter from a reader, with some advice on how to remove the radioactivity from the waste water:

There is a new technology, called capacitive deionization […]. It has only recently been introduced to the market, but I imagine that it would be possible to locate some that could be drop-shipped.

I find the idea of TEPCO searching the web to try to find a few online shops where they can order some quite hilarious. Mind you, given their overall uselessness, I suppose TEPCO could do worse…

A reluctant Fukushima kenmin and a Fookooshimar fail

I read an article in the Japan Times entitled "Fukushima: health disaster or PR fail?", written by their resident scientist of exemplary qualifications. To save you the bother of reading, the answer is, of course, B. However, especially when you contrast the tone with last month’s anti-whaling article by the same author, where he even went as far as putting italics in the headline, his lack of passion for the lack of health problems forecast by the professor he interviewed is quite, quite disappointing.

Here’s also a Tokyo equals Fookooshimar site that tried and failed to chase away the Olympic committee, and all I can see reading the numbers is that there is absolutely nothing to worry about. I wonder what the figures would be if a similar survey was conducted in Istanbul or Madrid?