"The Good News Guys."
By Yoichi Shimatsu
Following a high-level meeting called by the lame-duck prime minister, Japanese agencies are no longer releasing independent reports without prior approval from the top. The censorship is being carried out following the imposition of the Article 15 Emergency Law. Official silencing of bad news is a polite way of reassuring the public. According to the chief Cabinet Secretary, reactor heat is being lowered and radiation levels are coming down. The Unit 1 reactor container is not cracked despite the explosion that destroyed its building. The explosion did not erupt out of the reactor.
So what caused the explosion that blasted away the reinforced concrete roof and walls? Silence.
Yes, there's nothing to worry about if residents just stay indoors, turn off their air-cons and don't breathe deeply. Everyone, go back to sleep.
The radiation leak at Fukushima No.1 nuclear plant is now officially designated as a "4" on the international nuclear-events scale of 7. This is the same criticality rating at an earlier minor accident at Tokaimura plant in Ibaraki. Technically, there is no comparison. Tokaimura did not experience a partial meltdown.
Enough of the Good New
The mayor of Tsuruga City, home of the trouble-plagued Monju plutonium-breeder reactor in Fukui Prefecture, isn't buying Tokyo's weak explanation about the Fukushima 1 blast and demanded the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency to conduct an all-points investigation immediately.
A specialist medical team from the National Radiology Health Institute, flown by helicopter from Chiba to a field center 5 km from the No.1 Nuclear Plant, found radiation illness in 3 residents out of a sample group of 90. Overnight that number of civilian-nuclear "hibakusha" shot up to 19, but in other counts to 160. The evacuation zone has been further widened from 10 km to 20 km.
A third reactor, Unit 6, has lost its cooling system and is overheating along with Reactors 1 and 2.
Fukushima No.2 plant, further south, is ringed by a wall of silence as a quiet evacuation is being conducted.
Firefighters are pumping seawater into the three overheated Fukushima 1 reactors. The mandatory freshwater supply is missing, presumably due to tsunami contamination from surging ocean waves. An American nuclear expert has called this desperation measure the equivalent of a "Hail Mary pass"…
So, the Prime Minister should be hoping that Japan's tiny Christian community is feverishly praying. Because right now, Japan and much of the world are living on a prayer.
Players not prayers.
USA: The White House sent in a team to consult withe US-friendly Naoto Kan government. Instead of dispatching in experts from the Department of Energy, Nuclear Safety Agency and Health Department, President Obamas sent representatives of USAID, which is cover for the CIA.
The presence of these paranoiac bumblers only confirms suspicions of a top-level cover up. Why would the Agency be worried about the disaster? There are security considerations, such as regional "enemies" Pyongyang, Beijing and Moscow taking advantage of the crisis. To the contrary, China and Russia have both offered carte blanche civilian aid.
Second, to coordinate a pro-American public campaign synchronized with the US relief effort from the nuclear carrier USS Ronald Reagan. Many Japanese might actually be alarmed by Navy ships offshore, reminding them of the firebombing campaign in the big war, and US helicopters rumbling overhead as if Sendai was Danang Vietnam 1968. The whole "aid" exercise smacks of a con job aimed at keeping US military bases in Okinawa and surreptitiously at a Japanese Self-Defense Force firing range at the foot of Mount Fuji.
Third, to ensure the safekeeping of Misawa Air Force Base in quake-hit Aomori Prefecture. Misawa, the hub of US electronic warfare and high-tech espionage in East Asia with its fleet of P-3 Orions and an ECHELON eavesdropping antennae.
PRC: In contrast to Washington's ulterior motives, China in an unprecedented move has sent in an emergency team into Japan. Unbeknownst to the world, China has world-leading expertise in extinguishing nuclear meltdowns and blocking radiation leaks at their uranium mines and military nuclear plants. This was discovered on a 2003 visit to a geological research center in the uranium-rich Altai mountain region of Xinjiang, where a scientist disclosed "off the record" China's development of mineral blends that block radiation "much more than 90 percent, nearly totally". When asked why the institute doesn't commercialize their formulas, he responded: "We've never thought about that." That's too bad because if one of China's exports was ever needed, it's their radiation blanket.
Russia: Moscow too, is offering unconditional aid, despite ongoing territorial conflict with Japan over four northern islands. The Russian Air Force, from bases in Kamchatka and the Kuriles, could play a key role in cloud-seeding to prevent radioactive particles from drifting over to the United States. Americans should learn how to act as team players in an international community, especially now their own children's lives will be at stake in the event of a total meltdown in Fukushima.
Canada: Meteorology is becoming evermore interesting, despite the "what me worry" attitudes of the global-warming skeptics. A freak of nature called El Nino Variable, if it occurs later this spring, could push the Pacific jet stream northward, meaning western Canada and more U.S. states could find themselves along a winding stream of radiation fallout from Japan.
Japanese nuclear power plants.
Yoichi Shimatsucurrently with Fourth Media (China) is former editor of the Japan Times Weekly, has covered the earthquakes in San Francisco and Kobe, participated in the rescue operation immediately after the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 and led the field research for an architectural report on structural design flaws that led to the tsunami death toll in Thailand.