These two articles regarding the Olympics in Japan and the situation in Fukushima were shared by mission co-worker Jeffrey Mensendiek and leadership of the Aizu Radiation Center.
So that the Fruitless Deeds Can be Exposed
by Terumi Kataoka (representative, Aizu Radiation Information Center)
On October 26th, 2019, Greenpeace Japan, a famous international NGO, took measurements of radiation in the air at J-Village (the soccer field located in Taruha and Hirono townships in Fukushima Prefecture) the starting point for the Tokyo Olympics torch relay. They discovered one hotspot at ground level measuring 71μSv/h. On November 18th, Greenpeace sent in their investigation results which also included periodic monitoring results and suggestions for areas that needed decontamination, to the Minister of the Environment, the chair of the International Olympic Committee, chair of the Japan Olympic Committee chair, and governor of Fukushima Prefecture. On December 3rd, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) carried out decontamination in these areas, and yet since then other hotspots have been discovered in the area.
Oshidori Mako and Ken have been committed to investigating and disseminating information regarding the TEPCO Fukushima disaster. According to their investigations, TEPCO had taken the contaminated topsoil to be stored on the grounds of the Fukushima Dai-ni Nuclear Power Plant, but analysis results of the topsoil contamination had not been released to the public. In February 2020, after the issue was pursued at three press conferences, authorities admitted orally that TEPCO had taken six topsoil samples, and had made three measurements on the topsoil mentioned above from the hotspot measuring 71μSv/h. Measurements of cesium 134 and 137 combined came to 1,030,000 becquerel/kg.
Oshidori Mako and Ken have summarized their journalistic findings as follows. “Negative information will never be released. Information will be hidden. Hiding information will entail not only the falsification of records, but also the decision “not” to look into the matter and make analyses. After all, if information is not sought out in the first place, there is no need to hide anything. This is precisely the situation alluded to in the Bible. Such are “the fruitless deeds” (Ephesians 5:11), and “it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.” (Ephesians 5:12)
In September 2013, prime minister Shinzo Abe made a groundless declaration that “Everything in Fukushima is under control” and the IOC was foolish to approve the hosting of the Olympics in Japan. In the days to come many Japanese citizens including children will be gathered on the grounds of J-Village where countless hotspots still exist.
“Have nothing to do with fruitless deeds, but rather expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11) These words from the Bible encourage us to take action. On February 29th, there will be a multilingual demonstration held at the J-Village to highlight the fact that there has been no closure to the nuclear crisis. This demonstration will be sponsored by the Nuclear Disaster Victims Coalition and the Fukushima No Nukes Network, to protest the holding of the Tokyo Olympics. Encouraged by the above words from the Bible that call us to take action, I will be joining my friends in this demonstration.
How We Anticipate the Olympic Torch Relay: The Olympics Have No Place in Fukushima
February 13th, 2020
Nuclear Disaster Victims Coalition (Hidanren)
Fukushima No Nukes Network
The Olympic Torch Relay for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics is about to begin in Fukushima. As we find ourselves caught in the middle of an unprecedented nuclear crisis, we can’t find better words other than to say Fukushima has no place for the Olympics. We, as survivors of the nuclear disaster, cannot afford to welcome with open arms the deceiving term “Recovery Olympics.”
We will never forget. In September 2013, Prime Minister Abe appealed to the International Olympic Committee on behalf of Tokyo candidacy to host the 2020 Olympics with these words: "The situation [in Fukushima] is under control," "The effects of radiation-tainted seawater have been completely contained within a small margin offshore," "There has never been and will never be any health risks."
Six years have passed since then. What has everyday reality been like for us?
TEPCO still cannot even locate the highly radioactive fuel that melted down. The still-damaged nuclear reactor building has been pumped full of hundreds of tons of groundwater daily, and tainted water has been accumulating after getting filtered through an infamously unreliable purification system. Ultimately TEPCO is planning on dumping it all into the Pacific ocean, bypassing strong opposition from fishers and local residents. They still do not have a clear roadmap for a full decommissioning plan, which was initially estimated to take 40 to 50 years. Over 14 million tons of contaminated soil and debris which have accumulated from surface “decontamination” programs have been left piling up at more than 760 interim stations across Fukushima prefecture. The Japanese government is even planning on “recycling” this massive amount of toxic soil by distributing it throughout the country.
Meanwhile, we have a high incidence of thyroid cancer, officially confirmed in 231 young people who were 18 and under at the time of the meltdown in 2011. There have been reports of higher rates of heart attacks and perinatal mortality. Health effects from the nuclear disaster indeed have always and will always haunt many people.
As soon as Tokyo won the 2020 Olympics, the government established the “Guideline to Accelerate Fukushima Recovery,” issuing the order to “recover by 2020.” The Fukushima prefectural government followed suit with the slogan ”Recovery Vision” aiming for “zero evacuees by 2020” (bringing the number of nuclear evacuees to zero). To accomodate this national program, Fukushima began eliminating one exclusion zone after another, cutting off basic financial aid to victims of the disaster. Even housing support for government-recognized evacuees is slated to end by the end of this March. On top of these unjust programs, Fukushima prefecture has been harassing evacuees who remain in state-subsidized housing by sending monthly letters telling them to vacate their homes and even demanding that they pay double the amount of rent in “damages” for continuing to live there. The prefecture has filed eviction lawsuits against five evacuee families. This is the reality of Fukushima.
Soon it will be nine years since the disaster. More than 48,000 people are still forced to live away from home while many more remain in Fukushima and are working hard to rebuild their lives and towns. All of us are sincerely hoping for a speedy and true recovery of the people, where our rights to live are ensured. However, we refuse to recognize the false recovery that our government officials impose by covering up the realities of the disaster and treating with contempt those of us who cannot yet heal from wounds inflicted by the disaster. We refuse to accept “Recovery Olympics,” which uses sports as a tool of oppression and deceives athletes worldwide. Both national and prefectural governments must commit to a true recovery of the people, instead of spending money and effort on the “Recovery Olympics.”