California candidate Jonathan Jaech pledges Fukushima action

Jonathan Jaech is running for Attorney General in the California primary election June 3.

He pledges specific action on the Fukushima crisis as part of his platform. His knowledge of this serious situation and the breadth of action he wants to take on this and other issues is refreshing.

This is his statement on Fukushima.

 Jonathan Jaech on Fukushima

As a large landowner and recipient of property taxes from all private land holders in the State, the State of California has legitimate interests in the protection of its property interests. When those property interests come under assault by parties outside of the State through environmental pollution, it should act to protect its property interests.

One such large-scale environmental attack is currently going on, and the present Attorney General has shown too little interest in investigating the damage or mitigating its effects. The meltdown, explosions and continuing releases of radioactive Strontium and Cesium from the Fukushima facility into the Pacific Ocean pose a very serious health and environmental risk to California property and residents. Both Strontium 90 and Cesium 137, with half-lives of about 30 years, were released to the ocean in large quantities, and some release may be ongoing still. These radioactive materials are arriving in California coastal waters by action of the Japanese current, and will accumulate here for many years to come. Bioaccumulation of radioactive materials in marine animals and residents may cause illness and early death of marine flora and fauna as well as people, and possibly extinction or permanent genome damage of less mobile species. Fukushima radiation undoubtedly poses a serious threat to California, yet is poorly understood and little investigated. This apathy and state of denial must end.

As Attorney General, I would use all available means to rouse the United States federal government from its deliberate denial and inaction, filing suit under environmental or other laws if necessary. I would also initiate proceedings against Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) and the national government of Japan in any appropriate forum, possibly including Japanese, U.S., or International courts, seeking information and injunctive relief from inadequate mitigation and remediation measures at the Fukushima site. Longer term, I would seek appropriate recovery of damages, if possible, against Tepco and the national government of Japan for licensing and operating the Fukushima site without adequate safeguards, for covering up the full extent of radioactive releases, and inadequate remediation.

I would seek to form legal and investigative alliances with the states of Alaska, Washington, and Oregon, the province of British Columbia, the Mexican coastal provinces from Baja California southward, and other interested stakeholders. The purpose of these alliances would include pooling resources for environmental monitoring and remediation, and to apply legal and political pressure on national governments to put in place effective long-term solutions to radioactive pollution threats. This may include taking legal action directed towards phasing out all nuclear reactors operating in California. I am not anti-nuclear power in general, but Fukushima has proven that current fission designs susceptible to meltdown in the event of coolant loss are not safe in the event of natural disasters or war.

In short, if elected, I would direct the resources of the Attorney General’s offices away from prosecuting victimless crimes and serving special interests, and towards mitigating what is potentially the gravest environmental threat this State has ever faced.


Nosebleeds: Japan Environment Minister lies to public, ignores science

Nosebleeds have been widely reported in Japan following the Fukushima disaster, including for those who simply visit the most contaminated region. However, on May 9, Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara called the connection of Fukushima radiation to nosebleeds “unfounded rumors”.

He also criticized a manga for its coverage of this issue, including carrying the story of Katsutaka Idogawa, the former mayor of Futaba.

“In a recent episode of popular food manga “Oishinbo,” published in Shogakukan Inc.’s weekly Big Comic Spirits magazine on April 28, the lead character suffered a nosebleed after a visit to the TEPCO plant, which experienced triple meltdowns after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.” Japan Times, May 10, 2014  

Minister Nobuteru said that “doctors with special knowledge” deny a causal link.

It is strange that Minister Ishihara and his ”doctors with special knowledge” have not read what the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH) says about radiation sickness.

On the website of its National Library of Medicine, the NIH lists symptoms of radiation sickness.

What is the first symptom on the list?

Bleeding from the nose


See the related collection of articles at

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Fishermen exposed to H-bomb warn of Fukushima radiation
Fishermen exposed to H-bomb test warn of dangers of radiation after Fukushima
February 26, 2014

For decades, former crew members of a Japanese fishing boat exposed to a U.S. thermonuclear hydrogen bomb test kept quiet about their experiences, fearing discrimination from a public with little knowledge about the dangers of radiation.

But as the 60th anniversary nears of their exposure to the hydrogen bomb blast, surviving crew members, many now over 80 years old, have begun passing on their experiences in the waters near Bikini Atoll.

The Fukushima nuclear accident, triggered by the March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, thrust the dangers of radiation exposure back into the spotlight, just like 60 years ago.
At the time, during the Cold War, the United States and Soviet Union were engaged in a nuclear arms race. In the first test of the U.S. Castle Bravo project, the 15-megaton bomb detonated on March 1, 1954, was 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in August 1945.

The men aboard the Daigo Fukuryu Maru, a tuna fishing boat based in Yaizu, Shizuoka Prefecture, were exposed to the fallout from the blast. Of the 23 crew members, only seven are still alive.

Masaho Ikeda, 81, remembers an exchange among older crew members on deck at the moment the bomb was detonated at dawn on March 1.

“The sun has risen!” a crew member shouted.

“The sun never rises in the west,” replied a perplexed shipmate.

Ikeda was a 21-year-old engineer who was checking machinery in the engine room when the blast occurred. He quickly started up the engine when someone yelled, “Let’s get out of here.”

Ikeda and the other crew members who were exposed to the fallout were hospitalized. He would later return to his home in Yaizu, only to face discrimination. People were afraid to approach him, concerned that radiation was contagious. Not wanting to trouble his family, he rarely spoke about his experiences to an audience.

However, in September 2013, he began speaking at schools and other locations in response to a request from a local citizens group.

“I may not have much longer to live,” Ikeda says. “After seeing the Fukushima nuclear accident, I strongly felt I had to pass on my own experience of being exposed to radiation.”

Although he eventually underwent surgery for stomach cancer, Ikeda worked as a truck driver until reaching retirement age. There is still a scar on the back of his left hand where fallout from the sky landed that March morning 60 years ago.

“I feel as though I have always been ill, but I want to continue talking as long as I am alive,” Ikeda says.

Another former crew member who has begun talking about his experiences is Susumu Misaki. Last September, the 87-year-old invited about a dozen senior high school students to his home in Shimada, Shizuoka Prefecture, also in response to a request from the same citizens group.

He talked about what it was like when he first returned home to Yaizu from Bikini Atoll.

“Once, when I was taking a bath, I used a dosimeter to measure the bathwater and the needle went beyond its limit,” Misaki says.
Misaki spent 14 months in the hospital. After being discharged, he opened a tofu shop. On more than one occasion, he heard insensitive people joke about “nuclear bomb tofu.” He chose to ignore their comments, realizing it would be useless to get into arguments over it.

The tuna caught by the Daigo Fukuryu Maru on that fateful fishing expedition had to be destroyed. Yaizu also suffered for a long time from the negative publicity associated with the incident.

Misaki feels sorry for the fishing ports in Fukushima Prefecture that are now facing a similar fate because of the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

“Radiation is dangerous,” he says. “Fukushima is going through the same thing we faced.”

One crew member who has been relating his experiences for many years is 80-year-old Matashichi Oishi.

In late January, Oishi spoke at a junior high school in Tokyo.
“I want to talk about what happened when the ‘ash of death’ was created,” he tells the students. “Unlike Hiroshima, there was no black rain, but we were showered by white rain. It had no smell or taste.”

The black rain that fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the 1945 atomic bombings was fallout composed of dust, ash and debris.
The white rain that Oishi referred to was fallout made up of pulverized coral that was blown into the sky by the hydrogen bomb. The fallout caused dizziness and nausea among the exposed crew members. Blisters formed on their skin where the white ash landed. About 10 days later, the hair of many crew members began falling out.

A fisherman since he was 14 years old, Oishi was 20 when the hydrogen bomb was detonated. After facing discrimination and prejudice, Oishi also had to deal with jealousy among those who learned that he and other crew members received about 2 million yen ($19,550) in compensation from the U.S. government.

He moved from Shizuoka to Tokyo and ran a laundry shop while keeping secret his experience on the Daigo Fukuryu Maru.

Oishi married, but their first child was stillborn. He also was diagnosed with liver cancer. Still, no additional support was provided because the compensation from the U.S. government was considered the final settlement. His former crewmates began dying
when they were still in their 40s and 50s.

That led Oishi to begin speaking about his experiences when he was about 50.

“Politicians are hiding the dangers of radiation,” he says.
While the United States and Soviet Union were building up their nuclear weapon stockpiles during the Cold War, Japan began constructing nuclear power plants in earnest.

“Even though we went through frustrating times, we were all but forgotten,” Oishi says. “It was as if the term ‘Bikini Atoll’ itself no longer existed.”

However, after the Fukushima nuclear accident, Oishi was flooded with lecture requests.

“What happened on Bikini Atoll 60 years ago is being quietly repeated in Fukushima,” he says.

Oishi could not help but link the evacuees from Fukushima Prefecture with the residents of the Marshall Islands, many of whom could not return to their homes after they were exposed to radiation. The United States conducted 67 tests of nuclear weapons in the Marshall Islands, the site of the U.S. Pacific Proving Grounds, between 1946 and 1958.

Oishi temporarily suspended his speaking engagements after suffering a brain hemorrhage in 2012. He still finds it difficult to speak because of the aftereffects. He has resumed speaking, but now relies on the assistance of Mari Ichida, a curator at the Daigo Fukuryu Maru Exhibition Hall in Tokyo’s Koto Ward, where the fishing boat is on display.

On Feb. 25, Oishi left for the Marshall Islands to attend a meeting to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the fishing boat’s exposure to fallout that is planned for March 1.

It will be his first visit to the Marshall Islands in 10 years. Although he may not be in the best of health, Oishi said he wants to continue speaking out to remind people that mankind cannot exist alongside nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants.

(This article was compiled from reports by Sokichi Kuroda, Koichi Tokonami and Masato Tainaka.)

Posted under Fair Use Rules, with deep appreciation to Asahi Shimbun for publicizing this important issue.

The ignored, dying victims of U.S. atomic testing

All of us are “down-winders” to the atomic radiation unleashed by weapons testing and use by the U.S. and other countries, as well as from nuclear accidents across the globe, from Chernobyl to the Santa Susanna Field Laboratory in Simi Valley, California. More severe exposure happened in states like Nevada and Utah, and in the South Pacific near Castle Bravo atomic work. Those areas continue to suffer much more severely.

Yet, none of this matters to the United States government. This year, showing his commitment for more of the same, President Obama increased the budget for nuclear weapons, including the design and production of new nuclear devices, like Boeing’s “nuclear smart bomb”.

The current victims of nuclear power in Japan and other places are ignored and censored out of the news media. The historical victims of nuclear weapons are also ignored and kept away from the American consciousness.

This article from Japan is on a few of the 1000s of victims from the boats which were in the vicinity when the American atomic bombs were detonated. Shunned in their own country, disease-ridden from the radiation, denied any financial help, dying before their time – this is the legacy of atomic weapons and United States government policies. That legacy and those policies constitute an excellent definition of the word “evil”.
‘Forgotten’ victims of U.S. H-bomb testing dying in despair, hopelessness
February 28, 2014

While the world marks the 60th anniversary of the crew of the fishing boat Daigo Fukuryu Maru’s deadly exposure to fallout from a U.S. hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific, hundreds of “forgotten” victims who were also exposed to the testing are reliving the painful memories.

“It is too late (to seek out the truth),” said a former crew member of the Yahiko Maru, a cargo ship sailing in waters near the Castle Bravo test on March 1, 1954, one of the most powerful U.S. thermonuclear blasts.

The Daigo Fukuryu Maru, a Japanese tuna fishing boat based in Shizuoka Prefecture, is memorialized as a victim of the Castle Bravo test, one of a succession of U.S. nuclear tests carried out in the mid-Pacific 60 years ago, with all of its crew members being exposed to radiation.

When six nuclear tests were conducted between March and May 1954 on Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, a total of 1,000 boats and ships are also estimated to have been sailing in nearby waters.

Because the Daigo Fukuryu Maru incident occurred when Japan was about to introduce nuclear power plants from the United States, both Tokyo and Washington hoped to settle the issue as quickly as possible.

They, therefore, limited acknowledging the consequences of radiation exposure from the hydrogen bomb testing to the Daigo Fukuryu Maru, and ignored the crews of other boats and vessels possibly exposed to fallout.

The Yahiko Maru, which set off from then Kuchinotsu town (present-day Minami-Shimabara city) in Nagasaki Prefecture in 1954, is one of the forgotten victims.

At the port town located at the southern tip of the Shimabara Peninsula, which was known as the “town of sailors,” Mitsuyoshi Taira, Toshiyuki Miura and Toyofusa Nakajima boarded the 7,000-ton cargo ship.

Taira and Miura were 39 and 51 years old, respectively, when they climbed aboard the vessel, and worked as a steersman and the No. 1 oiler. Nakajima, then 50, was a cook.

From January through May 1954, the Yahiko Maru twice shuttled between Japan and Makatea Island in French Polynesia. On March 1, 1954, the day of the Castle Bravo test, the vessel was on its first voyage, which began on Jan. 13, and was sailing 500 kilometers northeast of Bikini Atoll.

After the journey, Taira, Miura and Nakajima were diagnosed with cancer and other afflictions, and died over the next 30 years.
Although the government has not acknowledged their deaths were due to radiation exposure, their bereaved families suspect the cause was connected to the Castle Bravo test.

“My father had contracted every disease (until his death),” said Taira’s oldest daughter, Kyoko Nakagama, 68, who currently lives in Oita Prefecture.

According to Nakagama, her father collapsed from a bout of sudden dizziness and nausea around 10 days before the Yahiko Maru returned to Tokyo Port from its second trip to the South Pacific on May 30, 1954.

All 48 crew members underwent blood tests at medical centers in Tokyo or Tamano, Okayama Prefecture. Six of them, including Taira, were diagnosed as “having leukopenia caused possibly by exposure to radioactive substances,” and hospitalized at Okayama University Hospital.

Taira was discharged from the health-care center 20 days later, but subsequently suffered from anemia, angina and other afflictions, and was repeatedly hospitalized.

In 1975, Taira submitted a shipping company-issued document that said “he was exposed to radiation on Bikini Atoll” as well as doctor’s certification to apply for a “hibakusha” nuclear weapon survivor’s certificate. But his application was refused because the certificate was intended only for victims of the 1945 U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The former steersman passed away because of decreased cardiac function in January 1986.

“I can’t help but feel that the government had left the matter unresolved,” said Nakagama.

The eldest daughter of Miura, who died of lymph node cancer in October 1967, one and a half months after being hospitalized, also said her father would have been able to live longer if the state had acknowledged the relationship between his condition and his exposure to radiation.

“If we had been able to prove he was exposed to radiation, my father could have been provided with better treatment,” said Kuni Miyake, 80.

Nakajima passed away in May 1973 due to gastric cancer.

“If there are no records, one’s cause of cancer is regarded as unexplained,” said Kazue Oshima, 76, Nakajima’s second daughter. “Unless continuous follow-up research is conducted, whatever happens in the future can be dismissed with the simple words, ‘The cause cannot be identified.’ ”

The Yahiko Maru’s 48 crew members also included Kinya Yamamoto, the ship’s doctor.

The 32-year-old physician, who learned of Washington’s nuclear testing over the radio, instructed other crew members to stay out of the rain. Yamamoto died of myelodysplastic syndrome, a type of hematopoietic disorder, in 2008.

His oldest daughter, Yumiko Urayoshi, 55, said her father had repeatedly stressed that “my body is evidence” and continued taking detailed notes on changes in his condition until shortly before his death.

As former crew members of the Yahiko Maru become increasingly elderly, the number of those who possibly bear witness to the dangers of radiation exposure declines–only six members were confirmed still living via the latest Asahi Shimbun research.

The former Yahiko Maru sailor, who resides in Hiroshima
Prefecture, said there is no choice for crew members but to accept the current situation.

“Japan at that time made few complaints to the United States,” said the man, who was hospitalized for a month after returning from the second 1954 voyage. “I feel sorry for those who died previously, but I could not endure the situation unless I delude myself into believing their ages at death were their natural life spans given by heaven.”

(This article was written by Hajimu Takeda and senior staff writer Yasuji Nagai.)

Posted under Fair Use Rule.

Radioactive dumping coming to Great Lakes?

Canadian ‘Experts’ Comfy with Radioactive Pollution of Great Lakes
By John LaForge
Posted at

“No matter how cynical you become, it’s never enough to keep up.” — Lily Tomlin

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) — which owns or leases 20 nuclear reactors across Ontario — would save loads of cash by not having to contain, monitor and repackage leaky above-ground radioactive waste storage casks. Last Sept., I testified in Ontario against the company’s plan to deeply bury some of this waste next to Lake Huron.

OPG officially plans to let its waste canisters leak their contents, 680 meters underground, risking long-term contamination of the Great Lakes — a source of drinking water for 40 million people, including 24 million US residents.

The Bruce reactor complex — the world’s biggest with 8 reactors —is on Huron’s Bruce Peninsula and is the storage site for radioactive waste (other than fuel rods) from all of OPG’s 20 reactors. Digging its dump right next door would save the firm money — and put the hazard out of sight, out of mind.

OPG’s public statements make clear that it intends to poison the public’s water. First, the near-lake dump would be dug into deep caverns of porous limestone. The underground holes are to “become the container” OPG testified last fall, because its canisters are projected to be rotted-through by the waste in 5 years. (On April 13 the Canadian government was shocked to learn that OPG grossly understated the severe radioactivity of its waste material, some of which, like cesium, is 1,000 times more radioactive than OPG had officially claimed. (See

Second, OPG’s callous poisoning plan was broadcast in a December 2008 handout. Radioactive contamination of the drinking water would not be a problem, OPG says, because, “The dose is predicted to be negligible initially and will continue to decay over time.”

The ‘expert’ group’s report says it’s possible that as much as 1,000 cubic meters a year of water contaminated with radiation might leach from the dump, but calls such pollution “highly improbable.” (Emphasis on “predicted” and “improbably” here: The US government’s 650-meter-deep Waste Isolation Pilot Project in New Mexico was predicted to contain radiation for 10,000 years. It failed badly on Feb. 14, after only 15.)

OPG’s pamphlet goes further in answer to its own question, “Will the [dump] contaminate the water?” The company claims, “…even if the entire waste volume were to be dissolved into Lake Huron, the corresponding drinking water dose would be a factor of 100 below the regulatory criteria initially, and decreasing with time.”

This fatuous assertion made me ask in my testimony: “Why would the government spend $1 billion on a dump when it is safe to throw all the radioactive waste in the water?” Now, what I thought of then as a rhetorical outburst has become “expert” opinion.

‘Experts’ unworried about drinking industrial radiation

On March 25, the “Report of the Independent Expert Group” was issued to the waste review panel. The experts are Maurice Dusseault, Tom Isaacs, William Leiss and Greg Paoli. They concluded that the “immense” waters of the Great Lakes would dilute any radiation-bearing plumes leaching from the site.

Dusseault advises governments and teaches short courses at the Univ. of Waterloo on oil production, petroleum geomechanics, waste disposal and sand control.

Paoli founded Risk Sciences International and the company’s web site notes his position on Expert and Advisory Committees of Canada’s National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy.

Isaacs, with degrees in engineering and applied physics, works at the plutonium-spewing Lawrence Livermore National Lab, studying “challenges to the effective management of the worldwide expansion of nuclear energy.” Of course, hiding the effects of radioactive waste from public scrutiny is one of his industry’s biggest challenges.

Leisshas degrees in history, accounting and philosophy, and has taught sociology, eco-research, risk communications and health risk assessment at several Canadian universities.

So what level of expertise do the experts bring? None of them have any background in water quality, limnology, radio-biology, medicine, health physics or even radiology, hazardous nuclides, health physics, or radiation risk.

As plumes of Fukushima radiation spreading into the Pacific continue to show, the poisons spread from the source and can contaminate entire oceans. (See:
Fish large and small, and other organisms, bio-accumulate the cesium, strontium (which persist for 300 years), and cobalt (persisting for 57), etc. in the plumes. The isotopes also bio-concentrate in the food chain as albacore tuna studies repeated in April. (>)
Canada’s expert group’s opinion on how radioactive waste might spread and be diluted in Great Lakes drinking water is inane and meaningless; its cubic meter estimates and risk assessments nothing but fairy tales. You could call the report a rhetorical outburst.

John LaForge writes for PeaceVoice,is co-director of Nukewatch—a nuclear watchdog and environmental justice group—andlives at the Plowshares Land Trust out of Luck, Wisconsin.