Fukushima’s Plague

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By Erick San Juan

President Benigno S. Aquino III went to Japan the other day to re-affirm a collective self-defense agreement between the Philippines and Japan in their territorial disputes with China. China’s leadership has metamorphosed from a sleeping dragon into a fire dragon behaving like a bully to cover its internal problem which many pundits believe will implode soon.

President Aquino’s short trip to Japan was quite fruitful especially when Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vows easier entry to Japan for Filipino tourists. But I felt bad and pity the Japanese victims of the multiple explosions at Fukushima’s nuclear plant when a friend emailed me an article from Counterpunch written by Harvey Wasserman of nukefree.org entitled “Fukushima’s Children are Dying.”

Wasserman said that some months after the explosions at Fukushima, thyroid cancer rates among children in the area and nearby have skyrocketed to more than 40 times normal.

“More than 48% of some 375,000 young people and nearly 200,000 kids tested by the Fukushima Medical University near a smoldering reactors suffer from pre-cancerous thyroid abnormalities, primarily nodules and cysts. And the rate is accelerating.”

“More than 120 childhood cancers have been indicated where just three would be expected.”, according to Joseph Mangano, the executive director of the Radiation and Public Health Project.

Wasserman explained that the nuclear industry and its apologists continue to deny this public health tragedy. “Some have actually asserted that not one person has been affected by Fukushima’s massive radiation releases which for some isotopes exceed Hiroshima by a factor of nearly 30. But the deadly epidemic at Fukushima is consistent with impacts suffered among children near the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island and the 1986 explosion at Chernobyl, as well as findings at other commercial reactors.”

Wasserman narrated that atomic power could cause such epidemics which has reportedly confirmed by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, which says that an increase in the risk of childhood thyroid cancer would accompany a reactor disaster.

“Nearby children are not the only casualties at Fukushima. Plant operator Masao Yoshida died at the age 58 due to esophogeal cancer. Yoshida heroically refused to abandon Fukushima at the worst of the crisis, thus saving millions of lives. Public anger is rising over local government plans to force families, many with small children, back into the heavily contaminated region around the power plant.”

At the Three Mile Island’s accident in 1979, owners denied the reactor had melted but a robotic camera confirmed otherwise.

A wide range of independent studies confirm heightened infant death rates and excessive cancers among the populace. Excessive death, mutation and disease rates among animals were confirmed by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and by local journalists.

At Chernobyl, Wasserman stated that a compendium of more than 5,000 studies has yielded an estimated death toll of more than one million people. Physicians for Social Responsibility and the German chapter of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War have warned of parallel problems at Fukushima. “The situation can only get worse. Radiation from three lost cores is still being carried into the Pacific. Management of spent fuel rods in pools suspended in the air and scattered around the site remains fraught with danger.”

Wasserman confirmed that Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe regime wants to re-open the remaining 48 reactors. It has pushed hard for families who fled the disaster area to re-occupy irradiated homes and villages.

Scientists believe that the Fukushima cleaning system is unable to conduct a full decontamination of the accumulated volumes of liquid radioactive waste nor reduce the nominal concentration of radiation that Japan intends to dilute with clean water and then pour into the ocean. This process does not reduce the final amount of radioactive substances entering the environment and therefore could harm the region’s ecology.

Pouring of water with high content of radionuclides into the Pacific Ocean for a long time will cause serious harm to the region’s environment. It could create a real threat to the economy and food security of neighboring states including the Philippines. It could also lead to the accumulation of harmful to human health isotopes in seafoods, making them unfit for consumption.

I hope that the Japanese government can still do something about it and give the world the true state of the plague and it’s environmental threat.