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March 12, 2011, the day after the tsunami, when residents of Namie wanted to evacuate from an area near the damaged nuclear reactors,  Mayor Baba led his citizens to shelter north of the village, he assumed would be safe, but was in an area the Speedi radiation pathway computer simulations already predicted would be the most dangerous of all areas.  But, neither the Mayor, nor the public was informed of this data, because of bureaucratic snaffus, and deliberate choices to avoid alarming the public, and concerns for avoiding criticism, compensation, embarrasment, and wanting to avoid evacuation a 300,000 person city, when they had no place to send them.

The simulation data of the likely pathway of the radiactive clouds was known  by the Speedi analysts and government officials, although the senior most government minister in charge of the nuclear disaster, Goshi Hosono, says he did not know about the data until March 23, when he immediatly, made them public.  But, even Hosono, now admits he withheld subsequent data that would have enabled Japanese citizens to avoid unnecessary radiation exposure.

I give my highest recommendation to this comprehensive, and exceptionally well documented article by Normitisu Onishi, and Martin Fackler of the New York Times. Their research, Japan Hid Radiation Path, Leaving Evacuees in Peril, reports an act the Mayor Baba of Namie says 'was akin to “murder,' and reads like a  court prosecution, and is worthy of a journalism award.  This report provides a case study, raises issue, that should be discussed in courses in public policy, government, journalism, legal theory, and ethics.  

 

FUKUSHIMA, Japan — ... Given no guidance from Tokyo, town officials led the residents north, believing that winter winds would be blowing south and carrying away any radioactive emissions. For three nights, while hydrogen explosions at four of the reactors spewed radiation into the air, they stayed in a district called Tsushima where the children played outside and some parents used water from a mountain stream to prepare rice.  ...

The winds, in fact, had been blowing directly toward Tsushima — and town officials would learn two months later that a government computer system designed to predict the spread of radioactive releases had been showing just that. But the forecasts were left unpublicized by bureaucrats in Tokyo, operating in a culture that sought to avoid responsibility and, above all, criticism.

“From the 12th to the 15th we were in a location with one of the highest levels of radiation,” said Tamotsu Baba, the mayor of Namie, which is about five miles from the nuclear plant.  The withholding of this information, he said, was akin to “murder.”


Other Documented Cases Of Deliberate Withholding of Vital Radiation Data

Onishi and Fackler, document many other incidents of intentional withholding of critical information due to fear of blame, fear of having to evacuate 300,000 they did not have places to put, fear of compensation costs,  fear of personal embarrassment if they were wrong, fear of looking bad to superiors, and fear of alarming the public.

So rather than alarming the public, Tepco, and Japanese government employees, right up to the rank of ministers, allowed Japanese citizens to be exposed to levels of radiation, that scientifically, can be predicted will cause elevated morbidity, cancer deaths, and mutation.

Meltdowns at three of Fukushima Daiichi’s six reactors went officially unacknowledged for months. In one of the most damning admissions, nuclear regulators said in early June that inspectors had found tellurium 132, which experts call telltale evidence of reactor meltdowns, a day after the tsunami — but did not tell the public for nearly three months.

Is Failure of Duty To Warn of  Radiation Data Criminal? A Crime Against Humanity?

About 45 percent of children test in Fukushima have test positive for thyroid radiation, which often does not become cancerous until decades later. Some of the victim of the Hiroshima bombing did not develop radiation related brain cancers until 50 years later, leading critics to suggest that if the government had released the data sooner future fatalities could have been greatly reduced.

Some debate whether or not this is a criminal act, since not one has died yet, thought  statically we can predict elevated morbidity, and fatalities in the long-term.  The Mayor of Namie says it is akin to murder, even though we don't know, yet exactly which of the victims will die later. How do you indict someone for murder, if you do not yet, know the victims' names.

A few months ago, I suggested that the World Courts in Geneva, and the Hague investigate whether such acts, of  knowingly allowing populations to be exposed to potentially lethal doses of radiation, by withholding data, constitute crimes against humanity, under the Geneva Conventions.  If it does not, I believe it should be changed so it does.

At the very least, it is a moral failure of the "duty to warn."

Mr. Baba, the mayor of Namie, said that if the Speedi data had been made available sooner, townspeople would have naturally chosen to flee to safer areas. “But we didn’t have the information,” he said. “That’s frustrating.” “We were in the worst place, but didn’t know it,” Ms. Nozawa said. “Children were playing outside.”

Mr. Hosono, the minister charged with dealing with the nuclear crisis, has said that certain information, including the Speedi data, had been withheld for fear of “creating a panic.”

Mr. Hosono eventually, resigned in protest.

Reflecting On Our Own Response

I have to check, as my memory is fuzzy,  but I believe the Kossack who first reported his resignation was later banned, for becoming so angry at the pummeling he took from pro-nuclear forces here, he started leveling unjustified attacks on innocent bystanders.

It was complicated, and I admit I do not know all of the details. This person did report some alarmist data, that was incorrect, or not compleltely documented.  And, also, I know for a fact, he also ended up making categorical attacks against folks that were innocent.  

 I have to research the details, before taking this any further, but it might be that we should consider offering him amnesty, since we've so graciously accepted the apologies of some on the other side of those pie fights.

If we don't regulate our own collective integrity, someone else may do it for us.

Conclusion: Namie Residents Wait to Discover If They Have Been  Murdered.

This article has so many original source interviews, and is so well documented, I would not be surprised if the five assisting reporters, and the authors win some kind of award. The additional on the ground reporters who contributed to this outstanding articles are Norimitsu Onishi, from Fukushima, and Martin Fackler from Tokyo. Ken Belson and Kantaro Suzuki contributed reporting from Tokyo.

In the Nuremberg Trials after WWII, the defense of "I was only following orders," was rejected by the courts.

If such trial are held for the intentional withholding of data that could have saved lives, are held, I hope the courts reject the defense "we didn't want to cause panic, or incur higher evacuation costs."

Meanwhile, Mayor Baba, and the citizens of Namie are waiting to discover if they have been murdered. A vigil some will now conduct for the rest of their lives.

Originally posted to Japan Nuclear Incident Liveblogs on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 10:28 AM PDT.

Also republished by Nuclear Free DK, Progressive Policy Zone, and Kosowatt.

Poll

Do you believe senior Tepco, and Japanese Government officials who withheld radiation data from citizens causing them to be exposed to unnecessary radiation are guilty of crimes?

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| 53 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thing Is In WW2 the War Crimes Were For Intending (5+ / 0-)

    to maim and kill innocents as a primary objective. Here profit protection by the co. and public emotion containment by government were the primary objective.

    I definitely think it should be treated as some sort of crime but I don't think Nuremburg is the best analogy nor one that any legal system would use.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 10:43:34 AM PDT

    •  War crimes are different from crimes against (5+ / 0-)

      humanity, I think.  

      I'll have to research this more.

      But, you are right, as the Nuremberg analogy probably causes many to roll their eyes, and think, I'm going off the deep end.

      We need to broaden our mentel models to include a broader set of accountabilities.

      How was the Bhopbal disaster handled?

      Or Love Canel?

      Evironmental disastors, the BP Gulf disastor, where either negligence, or deliberate profit/safety trade-offs were made in was that jeapordize public safety, and the common good?

      Was the only accountability for BP, with the US governement?  What about Cuba, Mexico, and all the other Carribean countries affected?

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 10:50:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What happened to the corporatists (5+ / 0-)

      who used and abused slave labor? (other than the ones we rescued so that they could build rockets and bombs, etc.)
      Could these creeps at least have their names and addresses published so that they can explain to the parents why it was necessary to poison their children rather than risk "panic" -- or worse yet: comprehension.

      "Our answer is more democracy, more openness, more humanity." ~Norwegian PM Jens Stoltenberg

      by Andhakari on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 10:52:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You are so good. (6+ / 0-)

    Thanks for all you do.

    "Our answer is more democracy, more openness, more humanity." ~Norwegian PM Jens Stoltenberg

    by Andhakari on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 10:46:34 AM PDT

    •  Thanks Andhakari. You sure make me feel good. (8+ / 0-)

      I have sleep apnea and somedays my BiPap mask gets loose, causing me not to get enough oxygen as I sleep.

      So, I wake up exhausted, with bad headaches and potential brain damage, which often puts me in a grumpy mood.

      So, as I struggled to chop this 4 pages of NYT material that is worth 10 diaries down to fair use guidelines it has taken many many hours over three days, not, between taking care of my girlfried who is just back from the hospital from knee surgury.

      So, for about the last three hours, I kept struggling to resist the temptation to punt this article and just go back to bed.

      Now, with you kind words, I'm glad I stuck it through.

      Thanks, again.

      But, this is so sad for the Japanaese people.  

      I'm surprised there is not more outrage about this.

      Here, there, and everywhere.

      This should be unacceptable behavior from government, and corporate officials.

      Not surprising, but we shouldn't let our high levels of ambient cyncism let us shrug this off, like we do with GOP stupidity.  "What can we do?"

      Where such a reaction helps create the expectation, that while sad, there's nothing we can do about it.

      No!

      We need to raise hell, and help the Japanese people demand Japanese court, and Parlimentary elections, and demand that World Courts start taking reponsibility for these things.

      And, where the heck is the IAEA?

      You've done a lot of good work in this area too Andhakari.

      Keep on truckin'  (are you a sister or brother in progressive causes?)

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 10:59:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I be a brother, so to speak. (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        evergreen2, HoundDog, KenBee, Joieau, ladybug53, rja

        "Andhakari" is an incarnation of śiva, enemy of the demon gloom/Andhak, dispeller of darkness, bringer of enlightenment. It's a lot to live up to, but I try as I may.
        Once upon a time I was a hotshot eco-warrior with enemies in high places and all that, but after a few unpredicted turnings I found myself in Norway, caring for a fabulously wonderful new family. How strange is that?
        You never know what god's gonna make ya do next.

        "Our answer is more democracy, more openness, more humanity." ~Norwegian PM Jens Stoltenberg

        by Andhakari on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 11:56:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I lived 60 miles downwind of TMI (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ladybug53, rja, Andhakari

        I took our kids my soon to be ex wife and beat feet outa town to Virginia

        At that time I was (and still am) a DFH

        We knew they were lying and we knew the effects of ionizing radiation enough to blow town.

        My heart goes out to those poor people who were lied to.

        "People who see a contradiction between science and the bible don't really understand either." PvtJarHead

        by Tinfoil Hat on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 06:26:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  given that the Japanese (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, Joieau, Andhakari

    are not fond of civil litigation as a recourse for wide scale wrongs, crimes may be the best way to answer for this kind of conduct.  More likely a study commission and public apologies and some legislation for minimal compensation for displacement and medical care if it becomes necessary.

  •  OT: just to correct the record (8+ / 0-)
    And, also, I know for a fact, he also ended up making categorical attacks against folks that were innocent.  

    He didn't respond to people who were innocent, but to people who were trying to character assassinate him. But then he went to homophobic slurs in his responses, as well as just saying ugly things in general.

    Many tried to warn him, but he couldn't get his anger under control for more than two diaries.

    In retrospect, he was pretty right on about much of the data and perspective presented. Not perfect but certainly closer to what the truth is than what pro-nukers asserted as fact.

    One thing he got attacked for was his vigorous assertion that this event, and the TEPCO/Government cover-up, would overturn traditional Japanese relationship to authority. Certainly, there are a lot of examples since that many people there are getting fed up with their authorities.


    "Whatever you do, don't mention The War."

    by Jim P on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 11:54:43 AM PDT

    •  Oh, I didn't know about thie slurs Jim P. Sorry, (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim P, rja, KenBee, Joieau, ladybug53, Andhakari

      I just have a compulsion for forgiveness, and fairness, that can be over the top sometimes.

      I guess I've screwed up enough times out of ignorance, that I project that to much on others, and try too hard to leave open road to redemption.

      But, I framed it cautiously in the diary, don't you think?

      Didn't I say, "perhaps" and "we might consider", but I don't know all the facts," "so I'm going to look into it?"  I usually, put so many of these kinds of qualifier into anything potentially controversial I might say, that folks can't even tell, what I'm trying to say.

      Hey, it's good to hear from you again.  

      Thanks for filling me in on the lowdown.

      I"m glad that one case of expulsion wasn't just for being too strident about trying to warn us about the radiation thing.

      It was difficult, because, as a Three Mile Island Evacuee, and Seabrook protester, I then have taken a whole lot of college course, on radiation epidemiology, and followed the nuclear energy for a long-time.

      Also, my Dad was a Navy pilot, and kept his top secret ABC War Defense, (and offense) training mainuals, hidden in the attack, which I of course, read at a very year age.

      So, I could tell from the reports, that the Japanese officials were covering stuff up, and even "politely" accused them of such after a few weeks.

      So, I could also tell that many of this one fellow's intuitions, and arguments were basically, correct, even though he didn't  have the academic termprement, and training to correclty document all of his assertions.

      He he wasn't skilled at holding one's temper while stabbing you "opponenets" with long-knifes under the robes, as academic experts like to do.

      So, I rec'd as much of his stuff as I could, but also, held back a few times.  Both, out of an effort to build my own credibility, and JNI's.  

      But, sadly, perhaps, also out of lack of courage to do the right thing.  I hate conflict, expecially, in writing. Even, anonymously.  So, knowing, how nasty, and judgemental the other side was, I hung back a few times.

      I wonder know, if perhaps, I owe him, and the community, an apology, for not being sufficiently courageous and aggressive, in the duty to warn?

      After a really sad and bitter divorce, and 10 year custody, and financial battle, that combined with some health issues, lost me a multi-million dollars business, and home, to a bankruptcy, I did about a decade of intensive psychotherapy, and discovered just about every accusation I've ever made in anger to anyone else, could be interpreted at some level to be true about myself, which I project onto criticisms of others.

      So, I have no doubt, that my antipathy, and suspicion of the Japanese authorities, and TEPCO, around this failure in their "duty to warn,"  is in some way me projecting my guilt onto them.  

      Otherwise, why would it cause such consistent emotion in me?  There's dozens of other "atrocities" and disasters going on around the world, many of which are much more urgent, and more people are dying.  Take, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, etc.  I've written about these places, but ow where as much as Fukuahima.

      Whatever....

      Thanks for writing Jim P.  You always get me thinking.

       

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 01:24:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Jim's right. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jim P, Andhakari

        There were enough other issues that came to the fore as his stridency amplified that I don't buy any wrongdoing for banishment. I can be incredibly strident on certain issues, particularly nukes. Given what my family has suffered from them, including death. But whenever you descend to name-calling and/or cattle-calling on racist memes, you've lost the argument. There are much better arguments that can stand on their own.

      •  Better too fair than not enough in my book. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rja, Andhakari

        Suffering sure can be a quick route to empathy. And heaven knows, there's few faults I see in others that I don't have myself.

        As long is one is aware of one's own motivations, there's still an objective reality going on out there which can be seen and weighed properly. One can judge without condemnation. "well, he's just trying to impress the boss with that routine" or whatever, but not nurturing resentments and negativities against them.

        Without actually knowing you, your public manifestations bespeak of an honest guy doing his best. I'm not sure much more is possible for any of us. I used to suffer from over-criticality of myself until I came to the view that I should regard myself identically to the way I regard other people. (After learning empathy as a first response.) That big screwups need to be fixed, and petty faults are just that and no reason to beat myself up. Heck, if I didn't have flaws, then God would have competition, and what a mess the universe would be then! (Although, there would be neither toothaches nor mosquitoes if I were in charge. So if it ever comes up to a vote as to who should run things...)

        But we've gone sooooo off-topic.

        As always, best to you, and keep plugging away. Thanks for the positive feedback you give me, it helps me keep up my spirits.


        "Whatever you do, don't mention The War." Basil Fawlty, while mentally impaired.

        by Jim P on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 09:54:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Sigh (0+ / 0-)
    So rather than alarming the public, Tepco, and Japanese government employees, right up to the rank of ministers, allowed Japanese citizens to be exposed to levels of radiation, that scientifically, can be predicted will cause elevated morbidity, cancer deaths, and mutation

    Oh really?

    And exactly what were these "levels of radiation" that you're talking about? How about some figures?

    Your evidence is what? Oh yeah ... here is what you cite:

    Meltdowns at three of Fukushima Daiichi’s six reactors went officially unacknowledged for months.

    And yet the infamous Areva slide presentation on Fukushima had pervaded the Internet by the end of March. This series of slides clearly indicates that experts in the nuclear field believed that fuel had melted at the Fukushima-1 plant as a result of the earthquake and tsunami. One would have to be a complete moron to not realize by April that a meltdown had occurred.

    And so, apparently the entire thrust of your idiotic diary is that people you don't like are guilty of a "crime against humanity" for not being as alarmist as you would personally prefer them to be. Hyperbole much?

    So rather than alarming the public, Tepco, and Japanese government employees, right up to the rank of ministers, allowed Japanese citizens to be exposed to levels of radiation, that scientifically, can be predicted will cause elevated morbidity, cancer deaths, and mutation ...

    The US experienced a meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in 1979. Since then, the best science has failed to find elevated morbidity, elevated cancer deaths, or elevated rates of mutation that can be attributed to the accident or the release of radiation that accompanied it.

    Once again, I must ask: what "levels of radiation" are you talking about?

    According to everything that I have read, there are only a few workers at the plant who have been exposed to levels of radiation that have been scientifically proven to result in elevated lifetime risks of cancer. Even then, we're talking about an elevated risk of cancer of a percent or two, compared to the normal risk of contracting cancer during one's lifetime, which is over 40%. This risk is comparable to what a truck driver or a bus driver incurs from logging so many miles on the road. After all, traffic accidents typically claim about 40,000 lives in the US each year.

    Nuclear power would have to go a long way in killing people to rival this.

    An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
    -- H. L. Mencken

    by bryfry on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 03:51:31 PM PDT

    •  Fukushima is more akin to Chernobyl than (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Andhakari

      TMI and there is all kinds of evidence for morbidity at Chernobyl.

      Further this accident is worse than Chernobyl in that the problem is still far from unresolved.  The plant is still spewing out a trillion BQ of radiation a day according to Tepco and the government.  A hot spot at the plant recentlly measured 1000 REM.  

      •  Yawn (0+ / 0-)
        The plant is still spewing out a trillion BQ of radiation a day according to Tepco and the government.

        Heh ... a "trillion" Becquerels a day you say? I assume that you are referring to the activity in the radioactive material that is escaping from the plant. How far does it go? Do you know?

        A "trillion" Becquerels sounds impressive, but it's roughly the same amount of activity that is contained in one of those old-fashioned Exit signs that contain tritium to keep the light on when the power goes out. You might remember those. You might even have been in a building containing a "trillion" Bq of radiation in it.

        A hot spot at the plant recentlly [sic] measured 1000 REM.

        Once again, you have no head for units. That should be 1,000 REM per hour.

        Even so, that is a highly localized source of activity in a location that contains no people. Big deal. It was not unexpected, and it is not a problem.

        An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
        -- H. L. Mencken

        by bryfry on Wed Aug 10, 2011 at 07:56:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Why is this source is measuring (0+ / 0-)

          over one thousand REM per hour?

          We should not be in Iraq, we should not be in Afghanistan, we should be in Fukushima and every effort should be made with no regard to expense to understand what the hell is going on there.

          There is radiation escaping from the plant in the form of steam.  This steam goes into the atmosphere and then rains on the planet.  

          •  Sigh (again) (0+ / 0-)
            There is radiation escaping from the plant in the form of steam. This steam goes into the atmosphere and then rains on the planet.

            OK. You're hopeless. You have no idea what you're talking about.

            The radioactive materials left at the plant aren't going anywhere. Anything that was mobile (mostly inert gasses that left the plant in the first few days and are not a health concern) has already gone.

            It's expected that there would be several "hot-spots." The shielding at the plant is sufficient to take care of that.

            If you don't understand the fundamentals of radiation safety, then there is no point in talking to you.

            An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
            -- H. L. Mencken

            by bryfry on Thu Aug 11, 2011 at 10:02:45 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  This is a global emergency (0+ / 0-)

    The plants are still spewing enormous amounts of radiation.  The USA has already received a good dose of Fukushima radionuclides, and it will receive more if this problem is not solved.

    It is madness that the USA is fighting wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, wasting valuable resources while the earth has this nasty problem at Fukushima.

    http://youtu.be/...

    Busby has been telling us all along how dangerous this problem is for Japan and the earth.

  •  for LEGO, Tinker Toys and Lincoln Logs fans (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Andhakari

    The southwest corner support for the cover for Unit 1 should be lowered into place today.

    Aug 9, 2011 - Installation of a cover for the reactor building of unit 1, Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station(179KB)PDF

    You might be able to see it on the TEPCO Live Camera.  It will be close to the greater than 10 Sieverts of radioactivity per hour duct attached to the Unit 1 and 2 exhaust stack.

    The Mainichi Daily News - TEPCO to begin building cover over Fukushima reactor Wed.

    TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant said Tuesday it will begin in earnest on Wednesday work to install a giant covering over the plant's No. 1 reactor, with plans to complete it by the end of next month.

    The covering, a tent-like structure made of steel frames and air-tight polyester sheets, is meant to prevent radioactive materials from spreading from the crippled reactor and stop rainwater from entering the reactor building, said Tokyo Electric Power Co.
    ...
    On Wednesday, a steel structure about 6.9 meters high that weighs about 30 tons is expected to be pulled up by a crane and installed at the southeast corner of the No. 1 reactor building.
    ...
    (Mainichi Japan) August 10, 2011

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