Asahi: River turned brown after dumping radioactive waste into water — “I was following an order, I am sorry for polluting”

Published: January 4th, 2013 at 2:50 pm ET


Title: CROOKED CLEANUP (2): Some decontamination workers sorry for following orders
Source: AJW by The Asahi Shimbun
Authors: Compiled from reports by Miki Aoki and Jun Sato
Date: Jan 4, 2013

[…] Kajima Corp. was part of the joint venture that won the contract to decontaminate forests in Tamura. On Nov. 16 and 17, four workers for a tertiary subcontractor in their 40s and 50s were instructed to gather fallen leaves and stems along a slope by a river–and to dump it into the water. The 3 cubic meters turned the river brown.

A 43-year-old man who was part of that group took an Asahi Shimbun reporter to the site. A pile of leaves was found at the bottom of the slope by the river. The man came from Toyama Prefecture and ended the work on Dec. 26.

“Even though I was following an order, I am sorry for polluting the river,” the man said.

See also: [intlink id=”japan-headline-radioactive-waste-being-dumped-into-rivers-in-fukushima-photos” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Published: January 4th, 2013 at 2:50 pm ET


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27 comments to Asahi: River turned brown after dumping radioactive waste into water — “I was following an order, I am sorry for polluting”

  • lickerface lickerface

    How disrespectful of human life to do something like this! Apologies don't really matter when purposefully contaminating the environment with radioactive waste is done (all for the money of course since it's their "job" to follow orders). What happened to standing up for what is right? Why are these people committing crimes without a conscience, and then later they ADMIT to it? Someone is lying to them about the dangers of the wastes they clean up. Still, there's no conscience during the evil deed? It's like one collective event. Robots…

    • PavewayIII PavewayIII

      You can thank the Asahi Shimbun in part for sterilizing the average Japanese of any shred of critical thought – at least the ones living far from Fukushima and still in their own homes.

      These were the same journalists that openly assisted TEPCO with censorship and spin at the height of the crisis. This is the same paper that parroted the government's "Nothing to worry about…" line for months. This is the same paper that said little about the massive, unprecedented protests against government nuclear policy.

      Taking a whack *now* at stories of some anonymous sub-sub-contractor decontaminating by re-positioning leaves strikes me as pretty disingenuous and a little late in the game. The Shimbun: another mainstream media train-wreck heading into the dumpster of irrelevant history.

      • m a x l i

        PavewayIII said: "These were the same journalists that openly assisted TEPCO with censorship and spin at the height of the crisis."
        m a x l i says: The crisis has not really started yet. It is an uphill battle from now on – no pinnacle in sight. Between radiation exposure and diagnosis of cancer typically decades will go past. Genetic alterations in all living things will be accumulated over time – handed down to following generations, where more alterations will be added, because the radiation in the environment and in organisms will still be ongoing.

    • Radioactive Carbon 14 From Nuclear Power Plants Causing Deforestation, Disease And Death Of Plants and Trees Globally; via @AGreenRoad

  • Following orders?

    No excuse. This guy was executed!

    "Eichmann, speaking in his own defense, said that he did not dispute the facts of what happened during the Holocaust. During the whole trial, Eichmann insisted that he was only "following orders"—the same Nuremberg Defense used by some of the Nazi war criminals during the 1945–1946 Nuremberg Trials."

    IMO – Dumping RADIOACTIVE material is just as horrific.
    (maybe worse)

  • aigeezer aigeezer

    Kajima corp?… They are one smoooooth outfit:

    As for the story, I suspect we are missing some ethnocentric cultural overtones – but what, fellow Western barbarians?

    "The 3 cubic meters turned the river brown." Hmmn.


    keep in mind, the people who are doing this labor are exactly that…LABORERS! It's easy to judge from a distance.

    What are their circumstances?

    Under what pretext were they hired?

    When you're a part of a work team, do you alert management that they're on to this illegal activity, or, wait until later to alert the public?

    Those of us who've been following this catastrophe are fully aware of who's doing the hiring of these laborers. We also know these laborers are not economically independent and able to turn down available work. In reality, we wouldn't be getting any insider information if it wasn't for the revelations that are coming from these hard working men and woman.

    I for one, put blessings upon this man and feel the depths of his guilt. We all should…

  • moonshellblue moonshellblue

    What a mess and then there is Chernobyl which is still causing trouble and now the inconclusive news about Iran and a nuclear accident which I believe after viewing satellite footage of missing bldgs. and bulldozers not to mention all the earthquakes in that region. What I can't wrap my head around is why man keeps building nuke plants when we should be decommissioning all of them. JMHO

    • PavewayIII PavewayIII

      "…What I can't wrap my head around is why man keeps building nuke plants when we should be decommissioning all of them…"

      (Not directed specifically at you, MSB) I would humbly suggest – in a general sense – that this is exactly why most efforts to make them stop are ineffective. 'Greed' and 'power' are also gross simplifications of motive and typically lead to a different flavor ineffective action.

      Fukushima is about as instructive as it gets for anyone opposed to nuclear power. If you don't understand why and don't fully expect the plants to be restarted this year, then you don't understand the nature of the problem.

      • m a x l i

        Interesting thoughts… I also think greed and money as motivation for the pro-nukers is greatly overrated by many against-nukers. The whole situation – nuclear power plants exploding in Ukraine, in Japan, wherever next…, spewing deadly radiation over vast areas and the nucleocrats strictly following their chosen path, restarting, building more of the same disaster machines – constantly reminds me of a shocking scene in the movie "The green mile", where the little, timid guy is due for execution. But after the evil, sadistic guy among the prison guards secretly did some manipulation on the electric chair, it turns out the little guy will not only get killed but horribly tortured for quite a while. After this becomes clear, the team of executioners have to decide to stop or to continue. They go for continuation.

        • m a x l i

          It's the same with nuclear power. Everything goes horribly wrong, but they want to continue. If money was the main motivation, they would be building wind generators and huge solar parks by now. I expect they will not build many new nuclear power plants for much longer, because economically it does not make sense any more, and even less in coming years; but they will pretend to have intentions and plans to build more NPPs for as long as they can fool the public. If they would admit that they are stopping now, the sheeple would wake up, rub their eyes and ask: "But why?" After starting with that question, the sheeple would quickly find out that nuclear power is not a form of electric energy generation, but a crime. Everything now is about escaping the normal treatment for criminals. That's why the mass media will feed us stories about future nuclear power plants buried deep in permafrost, swimming on the ocean, deep down an ocean trench, family-friendly mini nukes for your home, nukes on the tip of jungle trees, nukes floating between the clouds… The more fantastic and sensational, the more mass media attention – all to keep up an illusion.

  • ironsausage

    This is so much hogwash. The river turned brown because of the tanins in what they threw into the river, not because of the radiation. Radiation is colorless and odorless. Yes they did contaminate the river, but the color has nothing to do with it.

    • richard richard

      you'd think. i'd agree. if they actually had some raw material like uranium or plutonium or such, then that would oxidise (to put it mildly) and colour the water. But at that quantity, the person trying to put it in the water would probably be dead by the time they reached the bank.

      (disclaimer, i'm no nuke expert, i've had to learn and understand in my layperson way for the last nearly two years. i could be wrong).

      but what mr sausage says seems to make sense.

  • RJ RJ

    This has gotten me really pissed off!! Here’s what I did, and putting this out for anyone who wants to join me. And if you’re so inclined, you can contact the state-run Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), and ask them why they are spending millions of dollars exploring for clues to the origin of life on the Ocean floor, while at the same time, their country is exterminating it.

    If it wasn’t true, it would be funny.

    A consortium that includes Kajima Corp. was awarded a 33,000,000 million dollar contract to clean up Tamura
    Kajima Corp.
    Message from the President: Title “Creating an Environmentally Orientated Future”

    188,000,000. million dollars to decontaminate the municipality of Naraha was awarded to a group that includes Maeda Corp. and Dai Nippon Construction
    Maeda Corp.
    Message from the President: (last line) “Our goal is to live up to your trust and expectations through manufacturing supported by glocalization efforts.”

    Click on the middle link at the top of the page located right next to the “English” link

    Dai Nippon Construction
    Company slogan: “To the Future for Children, Give Form to Dreams”



  • m a x l i

    After reading that Asahi article, I am in a state between being speechless and wanting to write 1000 pages, all in fat capital letters.

    YES, as someone points out here, "following orders" is no excuse for anything. Everyone is responsible for what he/she is doing. And NO, comparing this worker to Eichmann goes, in my opinion, many steps too far. Rather, I would compare this worker to a farmer harvesting hay, which will be eaten by a cow, whose hide will become leather, which will be made into boots, which will be worn by Eichmann, who will be sitting at a desk, planning the extermination of the jews. Can you blame the farmer for the holocaust?

    I am thankful for that worker to come forward and tell what he has seen (and what he has done.) Now we get a clearer picture of what goes on, whenever the word "decontamination" is being used. The words "disposal" and "plastic bag" come up in the report. What would be the better alternative to dumping the dirt in the river??? Burning – to get a radioactive fallout again and again? Storing the bags – but where? Is there a fifth main island rising up from the ocean floor besides Japan, consisting of filled plastic bags? Besides, anyone has a plastic bag at home older than five years and not yet brittle and starting to fall apart?

    • m a x l i

      Looking at the photograph, it is obvious the leaves and dirt would have landed in the river sooner or later, anyway. The worker did not contaminate anything. Those promoting, planning, approving, building and running nuclear power plants did, and still are doing it. We have to face it: radioactive substances that are already dispersed across a wide landscape, seeping into the soil, swimming in the ocean, are part of our biosphere now, as long as there is a biosphere. All activities called "decontamination" are a big hoax and a big lie. The article demonstrates that the ongoing "decontamination" does not make the AREA liveable again. It only serves the purpose to lower radiation readings ALONG STREETS a little bit for a short while, so that bureaucrats can – after the "successful" "cold shutdown" – report a "successful" "decontamination". That might spare the real Eichmanns the gallows for a few more years.


        excellent summation m a x l i. You've explained the futility in attempting to decontaminate such a widespread area, very well. And even if they directly dump these contaminated materials into the ocean, it'll only come by to haunt them on their dinner plates…

    • Your summation of the futility of the cleanup is a very good point.

      It's true that the leaves would have entered the river anyway.

      However, maybe that's sort of like saying that it's okay to go ahead and just dump it all into the ocean because, sooner or later, most of it is going to end up there (everywhere) anyway.

      I am the one who did the Eichmann comparison and I agree with you it does sound harsh.

      IMO – If the person or persons committing or assisting in the crimes are 'aware' of the harm, then they are guilty.

      Those who build these Death Machines have been and are aware of the 'risks' from these insidious catastrophe producing uncontrollable nightmares. (Perhaps, they are even more guilty.)

      They knew the risk of harm to the entire planet.
      Yet, they proceeded. 🙁

  • ncmissouri

    Whenever someone says "greed and money", I think no, it's not. It is misunderstanding. Whoever is accused of greed just doesn't know any better. When you teach someone a better way, they want that and will do everything in their power to do it. The greed and money scheme is just a smokscreen for someone's power grab. Ignorance is curable. This may step on someone's feelings, but it's how it seems to me.

    • DUDe DisasterInterpretationDissorder

      sry ncmissouri , but i disagree , i think its start with cultural supported material greed and depending on succes mutates in to the urge for domination power , inevitable the domination power thing is self reinforcing by the fear for punischment , they KNOW their conscience is as black as that of the average WAR-CRIMINAL .
      Otherwise , hurray , we just have to explain to Koch criminals , wall street etc. They don't give a flinstone , they "evolved" in to both extremely danger mental desease state of beings , and top of the foodchain predators .

    • m a x l i

      This seems to be referring in part to the same story.

      >>>The ministry's guidelines stipulate that tainted soil should be sealed and stored in places of decontamination work or at initial storage sites.<<<

      This method resembles the practice of storing spent fuel provisional on site of NPPs and leaving it to future generations to find a long-term solution for it. The word "initial" speaks volumes – they don't have a real storage site.

      >>>Violators will be imprisoned for up to 5 years or fined up to 10 million yen, or around 115,000 dollars.<<<

      That will keep potential whistleblowers quiet in the future, and the government will no longer be annoyed by newspaper articles. How much years did those responsible for contaminating the whole country get, by the way?