By Richard Wilcox, PhD
“All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.” – I. F. Stone
In this new age of instant information, navigating the pitfalls of overload (too much); uncertainty (lack of); misinformation (poor quality); disinformation (intentional distortion, lies); is key in determining the scope of the Fukushima nuclear disaster and assessing immediate and long-term impacts on the international and Japanese public health. Fortunately we have one of the first attempts from researchers to set the record straight and calculate the death toll from the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The report comes from the courageous men and women of International Physicians for Preventing Nuclear War (IPPNW) who expose the Big Lie being perpetrated by the World Health Organization (WHO) that few ill health effects will occur.
Consider that it is standard operating procedure for governments and industry to obfuscate, cover-up and lie about a nuclear disaster as soon as it occurs. The chaos that unfolds during a nuclear disaster such as Fukushima is used in a carefully orchestrated Big Lie process whereby damage control and perception management allow the perpetrators of the Big Crime – Tokyo Electric Power Company, the Japanese government and the international nuclear apologists and nuclear industry – to eventually get off scot free (1).
Even though the Japanese government was fully aware that three reactors had melted down and another one severely damaged, and that people should have been evacuated in a much more bold and expedient manner, the phrase that will live in infamy, “there is no immediate danger,” was repeated during the worst days of the nuclear crisis by the government. In Orwellian fashion they might as well have announced over loudspeakers across the entire country that “The Moon Is Made Of Green Cheese, The Moon Is Made Of Green Cheese,” in order to prove that whatever the government says is true and no one should question it.
The extent and quantity of radiation released from the accident has intentionally been suppressed, and unless the public can gain access to the highest echelons of governmental secrets, we will never know the full truth of how much radiation was released, where it was deposited and whose health was or will be affected.
WHO Do You Trust?
The WHO published their Fukushima report just before the two-year anniversary of the March 11, 2011 nuclear disaster, and – incredibly – announced that there will be practically no ill health effects to the public despite documented evidence to the contrary. A typical “mainstream media” headline reads that thyroid radiation doses in Fukushima infants are well within safe limits (2). Imagine that, the world’s “premiere” health organization and supposedly top medical “watchdog” stating for the record that the most vulnerable population within the most radiated zone is somehow magically “within safe limits.”
The continuing and endlessly repeated message from the media based on WHO’s report is that health damage from the Fukushima nuclear disaster is more psychological than actual (3). If you are worried about radiation you are probably paranoid, and that victims “should smile often” to reduce the negative health impacts of radiation. These depraved assertions are indicative of the specious and insidious lengths WHO and their media lackeys are prepared to go in order to obfuscate and cover-up what is one of the most severe threats to human health in modern history.
Even though the global media is controlled by just a handful of mega-corporations (4; 5), some people (perhaps too few of them) – to their credit – do not instantly accept the WHO’s findings and are now becoming more vocal in their demands for accurate information.
The results of an investigation are only as good as the effort put into it. Many observers have criticized the WHO for ignoring relevant data and basing their conclusions on theoretical assumptions, a biased selection process and insufficient empirical data. According to Simply Info:
The methodology used for the WHO cancer projection risk report fails in a number of ways. Instead of attempting to build a few sample detailed profiles of exposure, they used highly generalized on paper estimates then applied them to entire populations. The WHO study is not based off of real world recorded exposure data in humans. It is instead very rough on paper estimates based off of government environmental radiation readings and food testing. The WHO study also threw out all data from the evacuation zone, where most people were actually exposed. Their study completely lacks this important data in their calculations (6).
The WHO threw out or otherwise selectively omitted data from the very areas where people were most affected. This is fraudulent science at best if not flatly criminal in intent. As nuclear critic Paul Zimmerman has found in his lengthy investigation of the radiation industry, “a clever campaign of misinformation has succeeded in making malignant deeds appear benign.” It is typical of governments that “[f]ollowing a radiation release, [they] avoid adequate radiation monitoring” because it is costly and might alarm the public (p. 23; pp. 209 – 211) (7). There is little concern for the number of people contaminated as the Japanese government’s mishandling of the Fukushima tragedy has clearly shown (8).
Physicians Who Do No Harm
In contrast to WHO disinformation and what may only be described as pro-nuclear propaganda, a report from the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) has analyzed some of the available data from Japan and found “[t]he initial health consequences of the nuclear catastrophe are now, two years after the incident, scientifically verifiable” (9).
Depending on which demographic group is included in the survey and the radiation level that is considered a risk, the IPPNW estimated that upwards to 136,872 cancer cases or serious illnesses, apparently not including precancerous tumors on children, could occur. Bear in mind that the IPPNW findings are conservative compared to some general estimates that put potential cancer incidences as high as a million (10; 11; 12).
Differences in risk models tells the story. The IPPNW derive their estimate model from the European Committee on Radiation Risk (ECRR). The WHO derives their estimates from such agencies as the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) and the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR). One of the ECRR’s founding members, Dr. Chris Busby, has offered an extensive and convincing critique as to why the WHO and their establishment methodology for radiation risk is outdated and inaccurate (13).
Doctors For The People And Planet
The IPPNW was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985 and “is a non-partisan federation of national medical groups in 63 countries, representing tens of thousands of doctors, medical students, other health workers, and concerned citizens who share the common goal of creating a more peaceful and secure world freed from the threat of nuclear annihilation…” (14).
Obviously, this group consists of highly professional, courageous and conscientious individuals, most of whom have medical backgrounds and all of whom uphold the Hippocratic Oath admonition “first, do no harm.” IPPNW are opposed to the “nuclear annihilation” of life on planet Earth, which is being threatened on a daily basis by the psychopaths in criminal-controlled governments and militaries around the world.
With a cool 100 trillion dollars in their pocket, we know that it is not only the powers-that-be that are behind our perpetual wars for perpetual peace, but a particular group of supremely evil individuals who employ the threat of the ultimate form of violence in order to maintain their wealth, power, enslavement of humanity and ongoing destruction of the biosphere (15; 16; 17).
The Cult of Nuclearists is comprised of people of a common mentality. They embrace nuclear and radiological weapons as a reasonable element of warfare and statecraft and are responsible for maintaining these weapons in our midst. They have never made a serious effort to forge an international consensus to banish nuclear weapons. They venerate the power they wield, the threat they project, the advantage they possess over the less powerful. They have created a world that 99.999% of humanity abhor…. Our well-being is at the mercy of those with a genocidal mentality. In violation of our sensibilities and sense of decency, we have been forced to live our lives inextricably entangled in the intrigues of petty potentates who derive their right to dictate affairs from the brutality of the weapons they wield. The people of the earth have unfinished business with the Cult of Nuclearists (Op. cit., “Paul Zimmerman,” pp. 29 – 30).
As laudable as the IPPNW’s work is, unfortunately their report, “Health consequences from Fukushima,” which relies considerably on Japanese Ministry of Health data, is very technical, translated from German, not very well written and disappointing in some respects. It is a very short report (four pages) and some important information is not clearly explained (Op. cit.).
For example, why did they not consider the number of people who were doused with radiation from the initial accident but may have moved out of the Fukushima region? Also, they present figures for radiation in food that do not seem logical given food in Western Japan, where almost no radioactive fallout occurred is listed as radioactive.
As the report states:
Some of the quantitative results of this work are subject to uncertainty, as much of the original data has only been published in an imprecise form and certain calculations involved making further assumptions. Nevertheless, the IPPNW has deemed it necessary to present this quantitative estimate in order to make clear the true dimension of the nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima.
Despite these shortcomings we should consider the IPPNW report as an important starting point for understanding the extent of health damages caused by the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Much to their credit, this is the first attempt by independent researchers to analyze available empirical data according to the ECRR’s critical methodology, which is the reason the numbers of deaths that may occur is quite startling and in stark contrast to the mainstream discourse and disinformation campaign being waged.
The IPPNW report is “based on publications in scientific journals on soil contamination in 47 prefectures in Japan…. Approximately 20% of the radioactive substances released into the atmosphere have led to the contamination of the landmass of Japan with 17,000 becquerels per square metre of cesium-137 and a comparable quantity of cesium-134.” In addition to the estimate that over a hundred thousand people could have serious if not fatal health affects, it is also reported that:
- “Throughout the whole of Japan, the total drop in number of births in December 2011 was 4362, with the Fukushima Prefecture registering a decline of 209 births. Japan also experienced a rise in infant mortality, with 75 more children dying in their first year of life than what would be expected statistically.”
- “In the Fukushima Prefecture alone, some 55,592 children were diagnosed with thyroid gland nodules or cysts. In contrast to cysts and nodules found in adults, these findings in children must be classified as precancerous. There were also the first documented cases in Fukushima of thyroid cancer in children.”
It’s A Gigantic Lie
In addition to the above estimates it must not be forgotten that contrary to the propaganda that “no one died” specifically from the nuclear disaster (separate from deaths from the tidal wave), in fact, many people did. Professor Shimizu of Fukushima University has stated that “[i]t’s a lie to assert nobody died [due to the] Fukushima accident. Over 1,300 deaths are reported to be related to the disaster” because of the stress of evacuation (18). That evacuation was caused by the nuclear meltdown, not directly due to the tidal wave.
But how many of these deaths may have in fact been radiation related?
Something that was apparently not within the scope of the IPPNW’s report has been exposed by the formerJapan Times Weekly Editor, Yoichi Shimatsu.
Here Shimatsu referred to the issue of spiking death rates among elderly Fukushima evacuees:
Pneumonia is nearly always the final cause of death among the elderly (in hospitals and institutions) and therefore is often mis-reported as the underlying or actual cause of mortality. Most Japanese hospitals did not measure or have adequate equipment for measuring radiation dosages (and lack the funds to pay for lab tests if the victims were not obviously wealthy and requested radiation exposure tests on blood) and so the effects of large radiation dosages following March 15 on respiratory and cardiac condition of patients remains unknown for lack of relevant data.
The government and ministries of Health and Emergencies is guilty of negligence with probable consequences of failure to provide proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment of patients with high levels of radiation exposure.
The Asahi Shimbun notes the higher death rate among evacuees but attributes it to exposure to cold, without detailed substantiation – as to whether those patients actually came down with flu prior to their pneumonia infection. As far as I know, there was no general or local outbreak of flu in 2011, meaning that exposure to the elements may have contributed to the death but was not necessarily the primary cause of death in most cases.
A chart attached to the Asahi article shows that the rate of death, compared to previous year, remained somewhat higher for the remainder of 2011 (personal communication, 3/13; 19).
Shimatsu also analyzed this aspect of the issue in an article posted at the Rense.com website (20).
The March 11, 2011 9.0 mega-quake changed Japan forever (21). Two years after the nuclear disaster there is an unending list of seemingly insurmountable technical challenges to be faced at the damaged reactors (22). The social and political upshot of the nuclear disaster is that the Japanese population has lost confidence in their government which with the glee of madmen continues to push forward with the resumption of nuclear business as usual. The vast majority of Japanese people are now opposed to the now obsolete nuclear power industry in any form and are rightfully very worried about the future nuclear direction of the country, but seem helpless to change the course of history.
However, given that the pro-nuclear LDP party won an overwhelming victory in last December’s election, one might diagnose the Japanese electorate of having a kind of political schizophrenia, or perhaps it is simply a lack of viable choices offered to them in the political process. Simply Info reports that:
While the government has been intent on restarting reactors, public opinion has shown a desire for just the opposite.
- 70% want an end to nuclear power in Japan as recently as of February 2013.
- 80% do not trust the government on nuclear safety.
- 84% of businesses do not want reactors restarted.
- Twitter scored considerably higher than NISA or TEPCO as a reliable source for information on the Fukushima disaster in an Asahi Shimbun poll.
- 90% want no nuclear power in Japan according to responses to a government public survey.
- Only 9.6% wanted a continuation of nuclear power in Japan according to a December 2012 poll” (23).
The environmental and human health impact from the nuclear disaster has been complex and profoundly troubling, especially for the victims, flora and fauna inhabiting the region of Fukushima (24).The one inescapable certainty is that the deaths resulting from this man-made catastrophe will continue to impact and cause untold deaths, disease and mutations worldwide from radiation far into the future. Consequently, before this accident is repeated a second and a third time – as it surely will be if people fail to act – it is time for humanity to learn its lesson and put an end to nuclear power forever.* This article could not have been written without editorial support from my colleagues, Tony Boys, Robert S. Finnegan and Yoichi Shimatsu.
Richard Wilcox holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies from a social science, holistic perspective. He teaches at a number of universities in the Tokyo, Japan area. His articles on environmental topics including the Fukushima nuclear disaster are archived at http://wilcoxrb99.wordpress.com/ and are regularly published at Activist Post and Rense.com. His interviews with Jeff Rense are available at the website http://www.rense.com.
1. Managing Public Perceptions of Fukushima: First Emergency Response of the Nuclear Complex
2. U.N. panel: Thyroid radiation doses in Fukushima infants within safe limits
3. Report: Fukushima’s radiation damaged more souls than bodies
4. These 6 Corporations Control 90% Of The Media In America
5. The New Communications Cartel
6. WHO Fukushima Report Methodology & Crisis Management Failure
7. Paul Zimmerman, A Primer in the Art of Deception: The Cult of Nuclearists, Uranium Weapons and Fraudulent Science (778 pgs., 2009).
8. Japan Held Nuclear Data, Leaving Evacuees in Peril
9. Nuclear catastrophe in Japan: Health consequences resulting from Fukushima
10. Fukushima’s Nuclear Casualties
11. Fukushima: Two Years Later
12. Powerful Lies: The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster And The Radioactive Effects On Human Health
13. Chris Busby speaks in Tokyo, July 17, 2011
14. International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War
15. The United States of Murder: A cancer on the world
16. Beavis & Butt-Head Meet The Predator Drone
17. Organized Jewry: destroyers of Western civilization
18. “It’s a lie to assert nobody died for Fukushima accident”
19. Asahi: Death rate spikes among elderly Fukushima evacuees
20. Is Fukushima A Factor In Japan’s Record Deaths In 2011-12?
21. Humanity At The Height Of Folly: Nuclear Power And Earthquake Zones
22. Fukushima Year 2; Part 1
23. Fukushima Year 2; Part 2 Politics & Protest
24. Fukushima Year 2; Part 3