Tokyo Contaminated & Not Fit for Habitation, Doctor Says

All 23 districts of Tokyo contaminated with radiation, worse than at Chernobyl after the accident, and blood cells of children under ten are showing worrying changes; the WHO, the IAEA & the Japanese government cannot be trusted.

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by Susie Greaves

In July 2014 Dr Shigeru Mita wrote a letter to his fellow doctors to explain his decision to move his practice from Tokyo to Okayama city in the West of Japan [1]. In it, he appeals to their sense of duty to answer the anxieties of parents in Japan who do not believe the information coming from the authorities. He says “I must state that the policies of the WHO, the IAEA or the Japanese government cannot be trusted.” and “if the power to save our citizens and future generations exists somewhere, it does not lie within the government or any academic association, but in the hands of individual clinical doctors ourselves.”

Mita claims that all 23 districts of Tokyo are contaminated, with the eastern area worst affected — up to 4 000 Bq/kg. (The becquerel is a unit of radioactivity. One Bq is the activity of a quantity of radioactive material in which one nucleus decays per second.) These findings confirm what the nuclear physicist Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Nuclear Education found in 2012, when he picked up five random soil samples in Tokyo from between paving stones, in parks and playgrounds. The levels of contamination were up to 7 000 Bq/kg; in the US, anything registering these levels would be considered nuclear waste [2].

While practising in Tokyo, Mita also discovered changes in the white blood cells of children under 10.

Independent science & independent reporting in Japan outlawed

In December 2013, the Japanese parliament passed a bill whereby public officials and private citizens could face ten years in prison for divulging “special state secrets”, and journalists, five years, for seeking to obtain classified information. The bill is widely interpreted as a way of preventing sensitive information about Fukushima (among other topics) reaching the Japanese public and by extension the rest of the world [3].

The independent organisation Reporters without Borders has downgraded Japan in its world press freedom index from 22nd place in 2012, to 53rd in 2013 and to 59th in 2014, following the passing of the state secrets bill. Reporters without Borders say that Japan“has been affected by a lack of transparency and almost zero respect for access to information on subjects directly or indirectly related to Fukushima” [4].

Nuclear lobby put in charge

Back in December 2012, the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) whose mission is to promote the peaceful uses of the atom, signed agreements with Fukushima Prefecture, Fukushima Medical University and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. These “Practical Arrangements” have in effect, handed over the management of the post-accident situation at Fukushima and its health consequences to the nuclear lobby. Among other clauses regarding cooperation and funding, we read that “The Parties will ensure the confidentiality of information classified by the other Party as restricted or confidential” [5].

But this should come as no surprise. Anyone who doubts the heavy hand of the nuclear lobby in the “management” (i.e. minimisation) of nuclear accidents should read the account by the physicist Bella Belbéoch entitled “Western responsibility regarding the health consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe in Belarus, the Ukraine and Russia” [6]. The initial Soviet cover up of the accident is well known. Less well known are the “stages of submission” in which the IAEA forced the Soviets to accede to their demands to minimise estimates of the health effects of the accident. In a series of manipulations and bullying tactics, they forced the Soviet officials to divide their estimates of the health effects by a factor of 10. One Soviet delegate, Legassov, committed suicide, a few days after he capitulated to the IAEA demands, on the 26th April 1988, the second anniversary of the Chernobyl accident.

A travesty of reporting on risks and cancers

How has the nuclear lobby reacted to Fukushima? A preliminary assessment published in 2012 by the World Health Organisation (but actually emanating from the IAEA) managed to draw optimistic conclusions, while ignoring two critical groups, the workers at the TEPCO plant, and the people who were evacuated from the immediate area (See [7] WHO Report on Fukushima a Travesty SiS 55). Then in 2013, the UNSCEAR report [8] described the risks of people developing thyroid cancer, leukaemia and breast cancer as barely discernible, even though the rates of childhood thyroid cancer in Fukushima prefecture are already 40 times what would be expected [9]. The UNSCEAR report has been criticised by the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War because it consistently underestimates the radiation dose received, underestimates internal radiation, ignores the vulnerability of the human embryo to radiation, ignores hereditary effects, ignores the unreliability of the dose received by workers at the stricken plant, and only considers some cancers as potential health effects, whereas the experience of Chernobyl shows that every vital organ and system of the body is affected [10].

Raising the ‘safe’ limit of radiation

The Japanese people are faced with a government whose response to the dangers of the radiation was to increase the acceptable limit from 1 mSv/year to 20 mSv/year and who are now encouraging people to move back into areas that had previously been evacuated. (The millisievert is a unit of radiation dose. Before the Fukushima accident, Japan, like the rest of the world, respected the limit of 1 mSv/year recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP).) Meanwhile, the nuclear lobby wants to see the resumption of nuclear power in Japan as quickly as possible. This is not an atmosphere in which doctors are encouraged to report health effects that could be the result of radiation, and certainly not in Tokyo, whose residents have been led to believe that they have nothing to fear.

Changes in white blood cells in children

Mita began work as a general practitioner in Tokyo in the 1990s. In the letter to his colleagues explaining his decision to move his practice from Tokyo to Okayama City, he claims that contamination in the eastern part of Tokyo is 1000-4000 Bq/kg and in the western part, 300-1000Bq/kg. He compares these levels with Kiev, in Ukraine, after the accident at Chernobyl, of 500 Bq/kg, and with measurements taken before the 2011 Fukushima accident at Shinjuku, the site of the Tokyo municipal government of 0.5 – 1.5 Bq/kg. He says that

Tokyo should no longer be inhabited, and that those who insist on living in Tokyo must take regular breaks in safer areas.

Mita conducts thyroid ultrasound tests for parents who are concerned about the health of their children but he is now concerned about the results of another test on children under 10, the differential white blood cell count. This test is undergone routinely by workers in the nuclear industry who are exposed to radiation. Blood is produced in bone marrow, which is one of the organs most vulnerable to radiation. The white blood cells consist of five different kinds of cells, neutrophils, lymphocytes, eosinocytes, basophils and monocytes, and it is the relative numbers of these five cell types that is examined. Mita has found a decline in neutrophils in children under 10, in areas that are not considered to be highly contaminated or even contaminated at all. His patients come from Northern Kanto, the area around Tokyo and including Tokyo itself [11].

"The pediatricians’ general textbook says that the reference value of neutrophils for healthy children (6-12 years old) is between 3000 and 5000. 3000 is considered as the threshold value.” Mita says. “But the mean value of neutrophils of the children who have visited our clinics since the accident has decreased to 2500. … It is lower than the threshold value of 3000. I think this points at a serious problem."

Mita explains that although the decrease in neutrophil does not directly cause lowered immunity, it is “the last bastion of the immunity system” and could play a role in fatal illnesses such as septicaemia in the case of aggressive colds. “In the summer of 2011, there were many children with bloodshot eyes; and what we saw most were children with dark circles under the eyes. We also had increased occurrence of sinusitis. Previously, these patients got better soon after they were given proper treatment; however, we are seeing more cases of sinusitis accompanied with mild case of asthma continuing for longer periods. And when these children spend some time in the West, they get better. If at all possible, I would like them to move away from East Japan.”

In adults, he has found increased nosebleeds, hair loss, lack of energy, subcutaneous bleeding, visible urinary haemorrhage, skin inflammation, and coughs. He has found an increase in infectious diseases such as influenza, hand, foot and mouth diseases and shingles. “We also see more patients with diseases that had been rare before; for example, polymyalgia rheumatica is a disease common among those above age 50 and contracted by 1.7 people out of every 100,000. Before 3.11, [the date of the accident at Fukushima] we had one or less patient per year. Now, we treat more than 10 patients at the same time.” Dr Mita wonders “Could these be the same symptoms of muscle rheumatism that were recorded in Chernobyl?”

Finally, Mita says that the radioactive contamination of Tokyo is increasing because of the Japanese government’s policy of transporting radioactive waste from the Fukushima zone all over Japan for incineration or burial. The Japanese government and the nuclear authorities claimed that filters on the stacks of the incineration plants would remove most of the radioactivity, but this is not the case, and in the opinion of many, it is adding to the contamination. Arnie Gundersen, for instance says, “They are creating 100 to 1000 times more radioactive material by burning debris than keeping it in concentrated form” [12].

To conclude

Mita is talking about his perceptions of the changes in health of a population living in an area that is not considered contaminated. It will be all too easy to dismiss his findings. He himself is not optimistic. He acknowledges that to prove any of his suspicions would require teams of doctors, and expensive research projects to compare groups of people, their radioactive contamination and the illnesses from which they suffer. That’s something simply beyond the reach of any single physician. In other words, “it’s impossible under the present state to collect the kind of data that would be printed in a prestigious science magazine. Still, as long as I know that something strange is clearly happening, I can’t just sit here doing nothing.”

And here is Professor Yablokov talking about the difficulties that doctors and scientists experienced in the Chernobyl territories, to prove a correlation between radiation and illness [13]: “The demand by IAEA and WHO experts to require “significant correlation” between the imprecisely calculated levels of individual radiation […] and precisely diagnosed illnesses […] is not, in our view, scientifically valid. […] We believe it is scientifically incorrect to reject data generated by many thousands of scientists, doctors and other experts who directly observed the suffering of millions affected by radioactive fallout in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia, as “mismatching scientific protocols.” It is scientifically valid to find ways to abstract the valuable information from these data.” Yablokov goes on to list the ways in which this could be done.

But it was not done in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia, and, in this way, the true health consequences of the Chernobyl accident remain hidden. The 2 million people, including 500,000 children still living in the worst contaminated areas around Chernobyl suffer a myriad of illnesses. (According to the Ministry of Health and Sciences in Belarus in 2000, 85% of the children in the contaminated areas were ill, whereas that figure was 15% before the accident in 1986 [14].)

Mita has made a brave decision. The pressure on health professionals and other citizens in Japan to remain silent about the health consequences of Fukushima, will lead to a health catastrophe there — not now, but in the decades to come.

For more on Fukushima and Chernobyl see [15] Truth about Fukushima and other articles in the series (SiS 55) and [16] Fukushima Crisis Goes Global (SiS 61).

References:

  1. World Network for Saving Children from Radiation (2014). A Tokyo doctor who has moved to western Japan urges fellow doctors to promote radiation protection: A message from Dr Mita to his colleagues in Kodaira, Tokyo. Accessed 25 August 2014, http://www.save-children-from-radiation.org/2014/07/16/a-tokyo-doctor-who-has-moved-to-western-japan-urges-fellow-doctors-to-promote-radiation-protection-a-message-from-dr-mita-to-his-colleagues-in-kodaira-city-t/ 
  2. ENENews (2012). Gunderson: Tokyo soil so hot it should be sent to nuclear waste dump – Really severe releases hit city. Accessed 25 August 2014,  http://enenews.com/gundersen-tokyo-soil-hot-be-shipped-radioactive-dump).
  3. “Japan whistleblowers face crackdown under proposed state secrets law.” Justin McMurray, Guardian, 5 December 2013. Accessed 25 August 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/05/whistleblowers-japan-crackdown-state-secrets  
  4. Reporters without Borders (2013). Press freedom index 2013: Dashed hopes after spring. Accessed 25 August 2014,  http://en.rsf.org/press-freedom-index-2013,1054.html
  5. Practical Arrangements between Fukushima Medical University and the International Atomic Energy Agency on Cooperation in the Area of Human Health. Accessed 25 August 2014, http://www.mofa.go.jp/policy/energy/fukushima_2012/pdfs/fukushima_iaea_en_06.pdf
  6. Belbéoch B. Responsabilités occidentales dans les conséquences sanitaires de la catastrophe de Tchernobyl, en Bélorussie, Ukraine et Russie. In Radioprotection et Droit nucléaire (eds. I Rens, J Jakubec, E George). Collection SEBES, 1998. English translation: Western responsibility regarding the health consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe in Belarus, the Ukraine and Russia. http://www.dissident-media.org/infonucleaire/western_responsability.html 25/8/14
  7. Greaves S.  WHO report on Fukushima a travesty. Science in Society 55 2012, 38-39.
  8. United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation. Sources, Effects and Risks of Ionizing Radiation. United Nations, New York, 2014. Accessed 25 August 2014, http://www.unscear.org/docs/reports/2013/13-85418_Report_2013_Annex_A.pdf 
  9. Wasserman H. Fukushima, the continuing catastrophe.  The Ecologist, June 2014.http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2433355/fukushima_the_continuing_catastrophe.html
  10. Physicians for Social Responsibility USA et al. Critical Analysis of the UNSCEAR Report “Levels and effects of radiation exposure due to the nuclear accident after the 2011 Great East-Japan Earthquake and tsunami.” International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW). Berlin, 2014. Accessed 25 August 2014, http://ippnw-students.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/UNSCEAR-Critique.pdf
  11. World Network for Saving Children from Radiation. Dr Shigeru Mita addresses the need of blood examination among children in the Kanto area. 2013. Accessed 25 August 2014, http://www.save-children-from-radiation.org/2013/11/11/title-dr-shigeru-mita-addresses-the-need-of-blood-examination-among-children-in-the-kanto-area/
  12. “Radioactive rubble reaction to haven in Japan.” Arnie Gundersen, Youtube.  Accessed 25 August 2014,   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIr-QcsjKxE)
  13. Yablokov AV, Nesterenko VB and Nesterenko AV. Consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe for public health and the environment 23 years later. Proceedings of the New York Academy of Sciences 1181, 2009, 318-326.
  14. UN Human Rights Council. Seventh session. Point 3. A/HRC/7/NGO/33 22 February 2008.
  15. Ho MW. Truth about Fukushima. Science in Society 55 2012,18-23.
  16. Ho MW. Fukushima crisis goes global. Science in Society 61 2014, 4-9.

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30 thoughts on “Tokyo Contaminated & Not Fit for Habitation, Doctor Says

  1. Here is my theory on whey Japan went nuclear after world war 2. They had to pay recompense for losing they had nothing the 1st world wanted….so the 1st world told them what they wanted…..plutonium….Japan had to make plutonium to pay the war debt….after having the first nuclear boom dropped on their people they now are suffering the second effects…

    1. and the left coast of the ussa is getting 3-5 hot particles a day of cesium. google yakima washington birth defects and see the stats on the children being born w/o brain stems a direct consequence of exposure to radioactive cesium.

    1. Good point Bruno ! All this fear mongering is pushing the world toward a corporate takeover and a possible nuclear conflict that will be far worse than one defective power plant that has been in operation since before the U.S. landed on the moon in 1969 ! These plants have engineered life spans and you can’t hire private contractors to run these facilities that cheap out on required maintenance and upgrades, the Japanese people are paying the ultimate price for that now !

  2. Open-ness and honesty amongst scientists and government officials in a free society is essential to understanding the truth, and finding ways to improve future prospects for everyone.

  3. The only thing “positive” about all of this is the revelation that Japan’s government is as ‘rogue’ as America’s.

  4. Secrecy is the curse of society. Without secrecy to hide behind the elites would not be able to get away with what they are doing. Keeping us in the dark allows high crimes to be committed against the human race with impunity.

    What is needed is a better kind of democracy than what we have now. One which allows for greater transparency and accountability by putting citizens in charge of the legislature instead of parties and politicians.

  5. The sad thing is we cannot produce the amount of power the world requires without Nuclear .There are over 400 plants worldwide and many more being planned or constructed so we need to tighten up on safety standards . Hopefully thorium reactors ,once perfected, will replace these and reduce the risks . If you close all the nuclear plants people will freeze to death . The choice is yours

    1. We have no need to freeze to death. EVER.

      We can have all the electrical energy we want from gravity, generated cheaper than nuclear (and far less destructively). Syria was embargoed about the time they offered it to the world ( see http://peswiki.com/index.php/Directory:Karra_Green_Energy:Gravitational_Power_Generation ) .

      A Bangladeshi student has developed a system that can produce electricity without any fuel, claiming it to be the world’s cheapest form of power. http://news.asiaone.com/news/asia/student-invents-technology-produce-worlds-cheapest-power .

      A David Johns has invented some technology labeled ‘the John Device’ , which would compete with the other gravity technologies. See http://www.thejohndevice.com/index.html . ( It is very similar to William Skinners technology, which was buried in the dust bins of old news. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeOIGV294PM …etc.

      …and that is not getting into gravity inventions that scare the gov. into sending out scare teams to make sure us dumb americans never really know about the inventors of gravity powered – hydraulic implemented motors for POWERFUL vehicle motors. …Fuel revenues are that huge to the gov..

      So… get off it man. We don’t and We haven’t needed nuclear …since at least 1939 gravity could have been harnessed. …but that would not have suited the military-industrial complex, now would it. …no bombs for Hiroshima… etc.

    2. The issue is not “do we need nuclear power?”… the issue is “we all need to have an open discussion on nuclear power and it’s advantages/disadvantages”.

  6. Actually there are six morphologic types of white cells – in addition to neutrophils there are non-segmented neutrophils or “bands”. The percentage of bands in blood are often critical for the intelligent evaluation of someone’s white cell population. Unfortunately, with the current automated differential white cell counts bands are difficul to count and are ,therefore, sacrificed on the alter of cheap pathology.

  7. Maybe everyone should move out of Tokyo, put a fence around it, and leave the government and its shills, the corporations responsible for the catastrophe, and the Press inside for several decades. Maybe then the wonderful people of Japan will have some hope for the future. Would love to move the US Government there as well. Then maybe the world will have a period of peace.

  8. Another problem with drawing solid conclusions that increases in radiation are to blame for the observed health problems is that Japan has been burning a lot of coal and natural gas to offset electrical generation capabilities lost by nuclear reactor shutdown. So a lot of particulate matter and possibly ash are being put into the air that didn’t exist when the reactors were operating. Difficult to statistically separate this effect from possible increase in ground radioactivity. But I agree that a thorough open study is required to assess.

  9. Nuclear energy technology has been with us only since 1942. It is not too late to stop being spoiled energy hogs. Boost alternative sources such as solar farms and phase out nuclear plants. No one will freeze to death if we take the time to do it right. As it is, nothing is happening to stop further investment in nuclear. There are solar farms appearing on the landscape. The utility companies of course are looking at their bottom line, and will run these nuclear plants as long as they can, because their investors and shareholders have to be placated, in spite of the obvious risk which has come to realization after Fukushima and Chernobyl, and other less dramatic spills and releases (3 mile island for example), all of which point to the complete insanity of continuing to pursue this dangerous technology. We only have one planet, and once it’s contaminated and polluted beyond recovery by the greedy, indifferent ‘members of the board’, we and our descendants will be history.

    1. I agree we only have one planet, …and we have to get our technology right, or we will lose everything. …some are so damn selfish they don’t care about the future or others.

      Beyond that, there is no need for us to have less energy, just less greed, destructive systems and use.

  10. 1) Open info is made by bureaucrats. Politicians do not know whether they are really open, i.e. facts. When IAEA team came and warned Japanese government Iidate village surface soil should be replaced by German supercomputer analysis. This is a common measure to avoid propagation of radioactive material through ground water. Nuclear safety commission chief denied speaking that in Japan air measurement is ordinary way. He did not know this IAEA readily available recommendation measure. So, even safety chief knowledge is non reliable. After 6 months or so, Iidatemura village soil is in the worst radioactive condition. Too late to avoid immersion to ground water.By the way Japan has also a super computer program to analyse propagation to do the same thing with the German’s. They did not make its analysis open even today.
    2) Mr. Kan who was the prime minister of Japan when the accident happened now opposes to re-start any nuclear power plants. Mr.Koizumi, his predecessor, is in the same position. Most provably, they know real facts not open to public.
    It should be judged by each person whether Dr. Mita is a fear monger or his uncertainty is rational.

  11. A brave man. May the gods bless him. He will of course be hounded by the cowardly, “realistic” majority of his caste and very likely lose his practice. But to those cowards we say that this man has a treasure which you will remain incapable of even imagining until you join him. “What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his divinity?” It is situations like this which deepen our understanding of these words.

  12. In Chernobyl area… before Chernobyl nuclear accident, Kiev had 90% healthy children, another village 85%… but after the accident, that dropped to 20% and 15%, respectively… and since the the Chernobyl book (Yablokov et al, reference #12, add pg viii) was first written, that number has continued to decline.
    pgs 318 plus, Yablokov spells out how and why the research demonstrates a very clear association between radiation and myriad break down of all species…

    “The evidence from the Chernobyl affected territories reveals the real-world consequences of a simple and terrible new discovery: that the effects of low dose internal irradiation cause subtle changes in the genome that result in an increase in the general mutation rate. … first seen in cells in the laboratory. The Chernobyl evidence, shows that this seems to be true for all species, for plants and
    animals and humans. It has profound implications that go beyond radiation protection and risk models.

    “Krysanov …find that mice living in the high irradiation zone, 22 generations after the initial exposure, are MORE radiosensitive than mice living in lower exposure areas. The same effect is reported for plants by Grodzhinsky who wryly points out that plants cannot exhibit the ‘radiophobia’ that many of the Chernobyl effects have been blamed on. This flies in the face of current ideas about genetic selection.

    “The effects of genomic instability are apparent in the evidence of massive harm to the organs and systems of living creatures at low doses of internal exposure, resulting in a kind of radiation ageing associated with random mutations in all cells. At the higher doses in the ‘liquidators’, after some years, their bodies seem to simply fall apart. In an astonishing statement we hear from Yablokov that in Moscow 100% of the liquidators are sick, in Leningrad 85%. These are men that ran like hares into the radiation fields with improvised lead waistcoats cut from roofs and who, by stabilising the situation at the reactor, saved Europe from a nuclear explosion equivalent to 50 Hiroshima Bombs – an outcome that would have made most of it uninhabitable. They are forgotten.

    “WHOLE BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS COLLAPSE; at the cell level, at the tissue level and at the population level. Burlakova and Nazarov describe these subtle effects at lower doses of internal irradiation in laboratory cell systems and also people, Grodzhinsky shows the effects in plants, – higher for internal exposures than external, Krysanov shows the effects in wild animals and Yablokov and the Nesterenkos in the children and adults living and continuing to live in the contaminated territories. The effects clearly operate at what are presently thought to be vanishingly low doses.”

    pg 2, “ECRR Chernobyl: 20 Years On”
    ECRR = European Committee on Radiation Risk
    Dr. Chris Busby, Scientific Secretary wrote Introduction.
    book, 2006, was co-edited with Dr. Alexey Yablokov
    “ECRR Chernobyl: 20 Years On”
    the book!! http://life-upgrade.com/DATA/chernobylebook.pdf
    Spanish http://ciaramc.org/ciar/boletines/cr_bol226.htm

  13. Let’s invite the Japanese people to come live here with us – to leave the Island and its radiation behind – as nature slowly reclaims it, and it crumbles back into the sea?

  14. This is nonsense and scaremongering. It is true that there is some radioactivity, gather by water inyo the wto main rivers that flow into Tokyo Bay (I wouldnt eat the fish from anywhere in northern Japan) however Tokyo is safe and is being independently monitored by many individuals. I’ve been researching this for years for my first book (see link to my website). The danger to Tokyo passed long ago. Fukushima, esp east Fukushima is a different story, but Tokyo is safe, and has been for years. The danger for us is a big earthquake which is imminent. Now THAT scares me.

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