NYT: Authorities hid radioactive plume forecasts to avoid evacuations, officials reveal — Mayor says akin to “murder”

Published: August 8th, 2011 at 11:23 pm ET


Japan Hid Radiation Path, Leaving Evacuees in Peril, Ko Sasaki for The New York Times, August 8, 2011:

[… Forecasts from a] government computer system designed to predict the spread of radioactive releases […] were left unpublicized by bureaucrats in Tokyo, operating in a culture that sought to avoid responsibility and, above all, criticism. […]

As the nuclear plant continues to release radiation, some of which has slipped into the nation’s food supply, public anger is growing at what many here see as an official campaign to play down the scope of the accident and the potential health risks. […]

The Reasoning

  • Some current and former government officials have admitted that Japanese authorities tried “to limit the size of costly and disruptive evacuations in land-scarce Japan and to avoid public questioning of the politically powerful nuclear industry.”
  • Current and former officials interviewed by the Times said “a wider evacuation zone would have meant uprooting hundreds of thousands of people… the government [was] desperate to limit evacuations beyond the 80,000 people already moved from areas around the plant.”
  • Toshiso Kosako, a top Japanese expert on radiation measurement who resigned from an advisory group to Japan’s Prime Minister said “the prime minister’s office refused to release the results even after it was made aware of Speedi, because officials there did not want to take responsibility for costly evacuations if their estimates were later called into question.”

The Pattern

  • “Officials have admitted that Japanese authorities engaged in a pattern of withholding damaging information and denying facts of the nuclear disaster.”
  • “The computer forecasts were among many pieces of information the authorities initially withheld from the public.”
  • Meltdowns went officially unacknowledged for months.
  • “In one of the most damning admissions, nuclear regulators said in early June that inspectors had found tellurium 132, which experts call telltale evidence of reactor meltdowns, a day after the tsunami — but did not tell the public for nearly three months.”

Namie’s mayor Tamotsu Baba said the withholding of information was akin to “murder.”

h/t Anonymous tips

Published: August 8th, 2011 at 11:23 pm ET


Related Posts

  1. ABC: Official says Japan betrayed its own people over radiation dangers — Gov’t actions akin to murder — “We didn’t think of that” says Science Ministry (AUDIO) January 18, 2012
  2. Radiation forecasts in Japan kept secret to avoid “panic in the whole of society” May 3, 2011
  3. NRC Email: Fukushima ‘evacuations’ being reported by media are actually ‘relocations’ January 1, 2012
  4. Mayor: Fukushima “an unforgivable murder’s act” — Reality is the disaster has not been contained October 31, 2012
  5. Canada Medical Journal: Experts calling for wider Japan evacuations — Officials would have to evacuate 1,800 km² using Chernobyl standard December 21, 2011

30 comments to NYT: Authorities hid radioactive plume forecasts to avoid evacuations, officials reveal — Mayor says akin to “murder”

  • Jebus Jebus

    I smell smoke. If this happened in the USA, it would be like GB is right now, in the streets.
    Oh Wait, it did happen that way here!

  • SlickVick

    Yay for the NYT, Japan gov. is akin to murder but NEVER the US gov.. That’s the same thing that happened here, but of course our authorities would NEVER hide information about airborne radioactivity.. NYT can eat shit..

  • CB CB

    It’s sickening, disgusting, and murderous of their own people. I’m sure Canada and America are on the same page. Like the EPA not publicising radiation fallout after the nuclear incident. #@$!ers

    • CB CB

      Maybe I’m old fashion, but wheres the dignity, moral, and ethical values of the authorities? Don’t answer, it’s disgusting. After the tsunami who would have thought the their biggest threat was the government. Lies, deceit, and ignorance are rampant in Japan. What a !%@#ing nightmare.

      • Steven Steven

        Agreed CB. As far as I am aware there is no more morally bankrupt collection of peacetime leaders and advisors who’s principal achievement in their public lives was to unleash such apalling misery and devastation on those they had sworn to protect and serve. If this is democracy may God save us from it and return us into safer and more caring hands, although I confess to having no idea how that might be arranged. Pretty sure we could trust the Dalai Lama not to sell us out like that though.

  • Jebus Jebus

    However, Mr. Kosako said, the prime minister’s office refused to release the results even after it was made aware of Speedi, because officials there did not want to take responsibility for costly evacuations if their estimates were later called into question.

    A wider evacuation zone would have meant uprooting hundreds of thousands of people and finding places for them to live in an already crowded country. Particularly in the early days after the earthquake, roads were blocked and trains were not running. These considerations made the government desperate to limit evacuations beyond the 80,000 people already moved from areas around the plant, as well as to avoid compensation payments to still more evacuees, according to current and former officials interviewed.

    That freakin statement right there says a mouthfull.

    If you have an industry, a process that is so deadly next to your citizens and you know that you can not possibly keep and make them safe in the event of an accident or disaster at that facility, then that industry should not be allowed to exist no matter the benefits of that industry. Knowing that you will not or can not take responsibility for the results of something so grave to the populations that you are sworn to protect, is akin to premeditated mass murder.

  • SteveMT

    What is the penalty for deliberate, premeditated genocide?

  • Undertow

    Funny how the NYT fails to mention their own silence shortly after the meltdowns occurred. Journalism is dead.

    • Misitu

      Gravy train is now off in a new direction and fat cats puffing hard to jump on before too late. Don’t laugh at them! Please!!

  • shockwave shockwave

    Says who?

    How come so many forecast down without US gov’s meddling?

  • farawayfan farawayfan

    Terrible minimization, if you read the article. Discussing one small group of refugees who “may” have been affected, downplaying and not even mentioning current events, etc etc. This article brings MSM to about 3 days after the accident.

    Another pathetic example of admitting to a lesser crime to distract from the greater.

  • alehopio

    more crimes against humanity


    (k) Other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health.

    What is doing International Criminal Court about this?

  • john lh john lh

    Just read the news in Chinese:

    Japan gov. is consider to setup its Secondary Capital, in fear of Tokyo paralyzed “under terrorist attack “…….

    They do not know that they are actually the worst terrorist attacking all the human being on the earth?

    The hell is prepared for them already.

    • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

      Hi John Ih, that’s interesting news. Where did you find that?
      So do you think they are considering / preparing the evacuation of the government?

      • Misitu

        I am wondering why the hypothetical “Fukushima Risk Assessment Appendix B – Multiple Nuclear Incidents On Site” did not include government migration.

        Oh! Maybe it did!

        Is anyone watching the logistics companies and checking for lots of empty loads back into Tokyo?

  • Misitu


    article gets (as Beeblebrox might say), ten out of ten for lifting the lid on honourable Japanese kettle, minus several million out of ten for not mentioning worthless American pot.

    Nevertheless, good to get a blow by blow account, entirely plausible, of panic, stupidity, and irresponsibility in the honourable Japanese authorities actions at the time,

    – although most of this article could have been written by an Antarctic Explorer with an internet connection and a bookmark to enenews?

  • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

    Gov’t to lift evacuation advisory outside 20-km zone around nuke plant

    From the article: “…The government decided on the measure for the five municipalities — the town of Hirono and some districts in Naraha, Kawauchi, Tamura and Minamisoma — after it determined that the situation at the power plant is stable and the areas are now safe.”

    No words.

    • Undertow

      I understand the Japanese cultural need for keeping face against all odds and never criticizing, as I have traveled there more than a dozen times and worked for a major Japanese company for several years.

      But seriously, this is stupid and wrong.

      They are killing their own citizens, as well as many others who may be required to travel in those areas, with companies outside Japan now thinking it is safe to go there.

      Notice that the US State Department still has not lifted their evacuation advisory for 50 MILES (more than 80 km) from the plant. Still too small a number, but it underscores that what Japan is doing is so very wrong and unethical.

      So I’ll start here. Boycott Japan. Do it as a protest and do it for your safety. Especially, don’t buy a Honda (radios made by Alpine, 25 miles from Fukushima) or anything by Sharp (TVs made 70 miles from Fukishima).

  • Bobby1

    Canada has its own SPEEDI-like model:

    “Radioactive substances released from
    the Fukushima nuclear power plant, following the
    devastating tsunami of March 11 2011, were measured at many locations over the Northern Hemisphere. During the initial phases of the accident, the Canadian Meteorological Centre used its Lagrangian Dispersion Models to provide
    advice on the fate of the radioactive plume in fulfilment of its national and international commitments.”


    So where are these radiation dispersal results that Canada has?

      • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

        That wasn’t my find. I just found the url for Bobby1’s find (1 letter missing from his url).

        • On 12 March 2011 at about 6:30 UTC, the first explosion was reported from block 1 of the nuclear power plant in Fukushima Daiichi. Only minutes afterwards, the
          Meteorological Service of Austria (ZAMG) started its model simulation of the event. As transport model, the Lagrangian Particle Diffusion model FLEXPART Version 8 based on
          ECMWF input data was used. The simulated substances were 131-I, 137-Cs and 133-Xe. The simulation showed a hemispheric-scale spread of radioactivity during the first 14
          days (see Figure 1). ZAMG has real-time access to the global radioactivity data of the CTBT Organization (CTBTO). CTBTO stations are distributed all over the globe and measure radioactive particles as well as Xenon gases with very high accuracy. These data were used to validate the model simulation, and to estimate the source terms of 131I, 137Cs and 133Xe. First results show that the model worked well in predicting the radioactivity detections in North America as well as Europe (see Figure 2). The concentrations of 131-I transported towards Europe were underestimated. This was due to the fact that a significant percentage of 131-I was released and transported as gas. Regarding emissions
          from Fukushima, the comparison of model results with measurements demonstrated that significant amounts of 131-I, 137-Cs and 133-Xe were set free during the first days.
          The estimates for 131-I amounted to 10*17 Bq, for 137-Cs to 10**16 Bq per day. This is on the same order of magnitude as daily emissions of these substances from the Chernobyl accident. Our estimates exceeded initial estimates from Japanese authorities, IAEA and CTBTO by orders of
          magnitude. http://www.zamg.ac.at

  • StillJill StillJill

    Wow anne,…awesome find! You guys, gals,…blow my little mind! In a good way for once! 🙂

  • bleep_hits_blades

    Speaking of crimes in high places, I am no legal expert, but there is a crime of ‘reckless endangerment’ and also mis- and mal-feasance of office. Also misprision of felony. Gee, as far as that goes … constructive treason might even be one of them.

    The crimes are there, the criminals are there … but who is there to ‘bell the cat,’ so to speak – to call a spade a spade and actually have the muscle and chutzpah to do something about it? They’re all ‘on the take.’

    Anyway, the intelligence and awareness of what is really a-foot amongst our ‘controllers’ and the clever dark humor in these comments is much appreciated.

    Energy News has become the first website I check every day.