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Thread: 9.0 Earthquake Strikes Japan

  1. #151
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Nice.

    Just when you thought mowing lawns and cleaning bathrooms was the worst for a corner worker...

  2. #152

  3. #153

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    High Radiation Found in Japanese Rice

    SEPTEMBER 24, 2011, 2:24 P.M. ET

    By YOSHIO TAKAHASHI

    TOKYO—Japan has detected high levels of radiation in rice growing near the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant, a government official said Saturday.

    A preparatory test ahead of the official examination of the safety of rice in Nihonmatsu, a city about 30 miles west of the stricken power plant, found that a sample of unharvested rice contained 500 becquerels of cesium per kilogram, the maximum permissible level, the Fukushima Prefecture official said.

    Rice with up to 500 becquerels of cesium per kilogram is considered safe for consumption, but shipments of rice exceeding that level are banned in Japan.

    The cesium level found in the rice sample in Nihonmatsu is the highest discovered since the regulations were set in April, and no rice shipments have been banned, an official at Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said. Rice with 500 becquerels of cesium per kilogram still can be shipped.

    Fukushima Prefecture will conduct the official tests of rice for radiation in Nihonmatsu as soon as possible at 300 spots—many more than the initially planned 38 spots—as a a result of the latest discovery. Preparatory tests are aimed at determining how many spots rice should be tested in each area.

    Fukushima has conducted more than 340 preparatory tests, of which the highest level of cesium previously found was 136 becquerels per kilogram, the Fukushima prefectural official said.

    Fukushima is one of 17 prefectures in eastern Japan that are testing rice for radiation, the ministry official said.

    The safety of foods remains a major concern among consumers after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami crippled Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, and the government has been testing vegetables and fish, among other foods, for radiation.

    Consumers are likely to be wary of purchasing rice tested with the upper-limit level of cesium, given that rice is one of Japan's staple foods.

    Copyright 2011 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

  4. #154
    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
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    A Belgian soccer match was temporarily stopped on Saturday after visiting fans taunted Japanese goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima over the recent Fukushima nuclear disaster.
    What the hell is wrong with so many Europeans when they get to a soccer game? You hear about this horrible stuff all the time at their games. Horribly racist taunts, violence, disgusting references to tragedies like the Japanese earthquake mentioned above...I just don't understand it. More of that glorious European moral superiority on display for the world to see, I guess.

  5. #155
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    Sports fans in general represent the underbelly of society.

  6. #156
    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
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    I tend to agree with that. Maybe the crotch.

  7. #157
    Forum Veteran Daquan13's Avatar
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    Won't be eating any Japanese rice!

  8. #158

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    I don't think the US imports much, if any, rice from Japan. About 40% of the US rice crop is exported, and ranks somewhere in the top five, along with India, China, Thailand, Vietnam.

    Rice is a staple crop in Japan, sort of like the corn crop in the US.

  9. #159

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    I don't know the latest statistics, but Japan frequently has a shortfall in their rice harvest and often has to import, typically from Thailand. This news will mean that even more is imported, but for how long is anyone's guess.

  10. #160

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    Quote Originally Posted by MidtownGuy View Post
    What the hell is wrong with so many Europeans when they get to a soccer game? You hear about this horrible stuff all the time at their games. Horribly racist taunts, violence, disgusting references to tragedies like the Japanese earthquake mentioned above...I just don't understand it. More of that glorious European moral superiority on display for the world to see, I guess.
    Just to show that not all the idiocy can be attributed sports or Europeans --

    The fear of radiation was prevalent after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings and it stigmatized the survivors, known as hibakusha, or people exposed to radiation. Many hibakusha concealed their past for fear of discrimination that would prevent them finding work or marriage partners, according to the Japan Confederation of A-and H-bomb Sufferers Organization.

    Some people believed A-bomb survivors could emit radiation and others feared radiation caused genetic mutations, said Evan Douple, Associate Chief of Research at the Radiation Effects Research Foundation in Hiroshima.

    An examination of more than 77,000 first-generation children in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombings found no evidence of mutations, he said.
    While radiation readings are lower in Fukushima than Hiroshima, Abel Gonzales, the vice-chair of the International Commission on Radiological Protection, said similar prejudices may emerge.

    “Stigma. I have the feeling that in Fukushima this will be a very big problem,” Gonzales said in a symposium held in Fukushima City on the six-month anniversary of the disaster.


    Some children that fled Fukushima are finding out what Gonzales means.
    Fukushima schoolchildren were being bullied at their new school in Chiba prefecture near Tokyo for “carrying radiation,” the Sankei newspaper reported in April, citing complaints made to education authorities. An 11-year-old Fukushima boy was hospitalized in Niigata prefecture after being bullied at his new school, Kyodo News reported April 23.

    Produce from Fukushima’s rich soil is also being shunned. Peaches, the prefecture’s biggest agricultural product after rice, have halved in price this year. Beef shipments from the prefecture were temporarily suspended and contamination concerns stopped the town of Minami Soma from planting rice, according to local authorities.

    Source: Fukushima Desolation Worst Since Nagasaki as Residents Flee

    September 27, 2011

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-26/fukushima-desolation-worst-since-nagasaki-as-population-flees.html

    On the other hand, this places European football idiots on the same footing with mean junior high school adolescents in Japan.

  11. #161
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Humans, in general, are stupid.

    We get used to talking to a bunch of people that, in our own self imposed isolation, we begin to believe represent a good portion of the people out there. Maybe a "little" more informed...

    But, all one has to do is look at the TV to see a good representation of what is really out there. Now I don't mean you SEE what is out there on TV, but you see what THEY see and what THEY want to see. The mere fact that Two and a Half Men was one of the most popular comedies speaks volumes.

    And one nations borders does not make a hell of a lot of difference in what we are basically made of. Slight differences may be noted on the "average", but that boils down to nothing when the individual is concerned.

    We are all stupid. It is only our nationality and upbringing that determines how we express that shortcoming and the resulting ignorance.

  12. #162

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    Football morons -- not a nation but a state of mind.

  13. #163
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    PBS / NOVA is airing a show right now about Surviving the Tsunami and what's been learned about specifics that made survival possible.

  14. #164

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    Citizens’ Testing Finds 20 Hot Spots Around Tokyo
    By HIROKO TABUCHI

    Kazuhiro Yokozeki for The New York Times
    Toshiyuki Hattori, who runs a sewage plant in Tokyo, surrounded by sacks of radioactive sludge.

    Published: October 14, 2011

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/15/wo...-problems.html

    TOKYO — Takeo Hayashida signed on with a citizens’ group to test for radiation near his son’s baseball field in Tokyo after government officials told him they had no plans to check for fallout from the devastated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Like Japan’s central government, local officials said there was nothing to fear in the capital, 160 miles from the disaster zone.
    Then came the test result: the level of radioactive cesium in a patch of dirt just yards from where his 11-year-old son, Koshiro, played baseball was equal to those in some contaminated areas around Chernobyl.
    The patch of ground was one of more than 20 spots in and around the nation’s capital that the citizens’ group, and the respected nuclear research center they worked with, found were contaminated with potentially harmful levels of radioactive cesium.
    It has been clear since the early days of the nuclear accident, the world’s second worst after Chernobyl, that that the vagaries of wind and rain had scattered worrisome amounts of radioactive materials in unexpected patterns far outside the evacuation zone 12 miles around the stricken plant. But reports that substantial amounts of cesium had accumulated as far away as Tokyo have raised new concerns about how far the contamination had spread, possibly settling in areas where the government has not even considered looking.
    The government’s failure to act quickly, a growing chorus of scientists say, may be exposing many more people than originally believed to potentially harmful radiation. It is also part of a pattern: Japan’s leaders have continually insisted that the fallout from Fukushima will not spread far, or pose a health threat to residents, or contaminate the food chain. And officials have repeatedly been proved wrong by independent experts and citizens’ groups that conduct testing on their own.
    “Radioactive substances are entering people’s bodies from the air, from the food. It’s everywhere,” said Kiyoshi Toda, a radiation expert at Nagasaki University’s faculty of environmental studies and a medical doctor. “But the government doesn’t even try to inform the public how much radiation they’re exposed to.”
    The reports of hot spots do not indicate how widespread contamination is in the capital; more sampling would be needed to determine that. But they raise the prospect that people living near concentrated amounts of cesium are being exposed to levels of radiation above accepted international standards meant to protect people from cancer and other illnesses.
    Japanese nuclear experts and activists have begun agitating for more comprehensive testing in Tokyo and elsewhere, and a cleanup if necessary. Robert Alvarez, a nuclear expert and a former special assistant to the United States secretary of energy, echoed those calls, saying the citizens’ groups’ measurements “raise major and unprecedented concerns about the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.”
    The government has not ignored citizens’ pleas entirely; it recently completed aerial testing in eastern Japan, including Tokyo. But several experts and activists say the tests are unlikely to be sensitive enough to be useful in finding micro hot spots such as those found by the citizens’ group.
    Kaoru Noguchi, head of Tokyo’s health and safety section, however, argues that the testing already done is sufficient. Because Tokyo is so developed, she says, radioactive material was much more likely to have fallen on concrete, then washed away. She also said exposure was likely to be limited.
    “Nobody stands in one spot all day,” she said. “And nobody eats dirt.”
    Tokyo residents knew soon after the March 11 accident, when a tsunami knocked out the crucial cooling systems at the Fukushima plant, that they were being exposed to radioactive materials. Researchers detected a spike in radiation levels on March 15. Then as rain drizzled down on the evening of March 21, radioactive material again fell on the city.
    In the following week, however, radioactivity in the air and water dropped rapidly. Most in the city put aside their jitters, some openly scornful of those — mostly foreigners — who had fled Tokyo in the early days of the disaster.
    But not everyone was convinced. Some Tokyo residents bought dosimeters. The Tokyo citizens’ group, the Radiation Defense Project, which grew out of a Facebook discussion page, decided to be more proactive. In consultation with the Yokohama-based Isotope Research Institute, members collected soil samples from near their own homes and submitted them for testing.
    Some of the results were shocking: the sample that Mr. Hayashida collected under shrubs near his neighborhood baseball field in the Edogawa ward measured nearly 138,000 becquerels per square meter of radioactive cesium 137, which can damage cells and lead to an increased risk of cancer.
    Of the 132 areas tested, 22 were above 37,000 becquerels per square meter, the level at which zones were considered contaminated at Chernobyl.
    Edwin Lyman, a physicist at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, said most residents near Chernobyl were undoubtedly much worse off, surrounded by widespread contamination rather than isolated hot spots. But he said the 37,000 figure remained a good reference point for mandatory cleanup because regular exposure to such contamination could result in a dosage of more than one millisievert per year, the maximum recommended for the public by the International Commission on Radiological Protection.
    The most contaminated spot in the Radiation Defense survey, near a church, was well above the level of the 1.5 million becquerels per square meter that required mandatory resettlement at Chernobyl. The level is so much higher than other results in the study that it raises the possibility of testing error, but micro hot spots are not unheard of after nuclear disasters.
    Japan’s relatively tame mainstream media, which is more likely to report on government pronouncements than grass-roots movements, mainly ignored the citizens’ group’s findings.
    “Everybody just wants to believe that this is Fukushima’s problem,” said Kota Kinoshita, one of the group’s leaders and a former television journalist. “But if the government is not serious about finding out, how can we trust them?”
    Hideo Yamazaki, an expert in environmental analysis at Kinki University in western Japan, did his own survey of the city and said he, too, discovered high levels in the area where the baseball field is located.
    “These results are highly localized, so there is no cause for panic,” he said. “Still, there are steps the government could be taking, like decontaminating the highest spots.”
    Since then, there have been other suggestions that hot spots were more widespread than originally imagined.
    Last month, a local government in a Tokyo ward found a pile of composted leaves at a school that measured 849 becquerels per kilogram of cesium 137, over two times Japan’s legally permissible level for compost.
    And on Wednesday, civilians who tested the roof of an apartment building in the nearby city of Yokohama — farther from Fukushima than Tokyo — found high quantities of radioactive strontium. (There was also one false alarm this week when sky-high readings were reported in the Setagaya ward in Tokyo; the government later said they were probably caused by bottles of radium, once widely used to make paint.)
    The government’s own aerial testing showed that although almost all of Tokyo had relatively little contamination, two areas showed elevated readings. One was in a mountainous area at the western edge of the Tokyo metropolitan region, and the other was over three wards of the city — including the one where the baseball field is situated.
    The metropolitan government said it had started preparations to begin monitoring food products from the nearby mountains, but acknowledged that food had been shipped from that area for months.
    Mr. Hayashida, who discovered the high level at the baseball field, said that he was not waiting any longer for government assurances. He moved his family to Okayama, about 370 miles to the southwest.
    “Perhaps we could have stayed in Tokyo with no problems,” he said. “But I choose a future with no radiation fears.”
    Matthew L. Wald contributed reporting from Washington, and Kantaro Suzuki from Tokyo.

  15. #165

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    Anyone thinking at some point they're going to have to evacuate Tokyo?

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