Inside Source: Gov’t officials are withholding Fukushima radiation data — Levels much higher than expected — Releasing numbers would “have a huge impact”

Published: March 25th, 2014 at 2:49 pm ET
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Mainichi, Mar. 25, 2014: A Cabinet Office team has delayed the release of radiation measurements from three Fukushima Prefecture municipalities, and plans to release them later with lower, recalculated results, the Mainichi learned on March 24. [...] According to one source, the original measurements were higher than expected, prompting the Cabinet Office team [...] to hold the results back over worries they would discourage residents from returning. The Mainichi has acquired documents drawn up in November last year detailing the radiation measurements and intended for release. The documents, however, were never made public. According to this and other sources, the measurements were taken in September last year in the city of Tamura’s Miyakoji district, the village of Kawauchi and the village of Iitate [...] According to an inside source, the Cabinet Office team had noticed that measurements taken with older dosimeters distributed by Fukushima Prefecture municipalities to residents showed radiation measurements much lower than those recorded by aerial surveys. The Cabinet Office team had planned to release the latest measurements [...] putting special emphasis on how low the figures were. The new results, however, were significantly higher than expected, with the largest gap coming in Kawauchi. There, the Cabinet Office team had predicted radiation doses of 1-2 millisieverts per day [Corrected: PER YEAR not per day], but the data showed doses at between 2.6 and 6.6 millisieverts. Cabinet Office team members apparently said that the numbers would “have a huge impact” [...] and release of the results was put off. At the request of the Cabinet Office team, the JAEA and NIRS then recalculated the results by ditching the assumption that people would be outside eight hours a day [...] Under these new assumptions, a farmer was now expected to spend around six hours a day outdoors.

Atsuo Tamura, official on the Cabinet Office team: “We did not hold the results back because they were too high. We did so because it was necessary to look into whether the assumptions for residents’ lifestyle patterns matched reality.”

Shinzo Kimura, associate professor of radiation and hygiene at Dokkyo Medical University: “The assumption of eight hours a day outside, 16 hours inside is commonly used, and it is strange to change it. I can’t see it as anything but them fiddling with the numbers to make them come out as they wanted.”

See also: Asahi: 'Mind-boggling' cesium levels far from Fukushima plant -- Japan Times: "Health ministry in denial" -- Interview: "They force us to forget everything"; Gov't radiation levels "complete fiction"; "Mass media is biggest criminal... worse than Tepco"

Published: March 25th, 2014 at 2:49 pm ET
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242 comments

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