Asahi: Japanese not allowed to get on bus in Germany because “people from Tokyo are contaminated”

Published: May 13th, 2012 at 6:40 am ET


Nuclear disaster casts shadow on Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic bid
AJW by The Asahi Shimbun
May 12, 2012

[…] Sports officials have had to deal with the reassignment of several events scheduled for Japan and some cancellations after the nuclear disaster.

One example was the 2011 World Figure Skating Championships, originally scheduled to be held in Tokyo in late March, but later reassigned to Moscow. The 2011 World Gymnastics Championships in Tokyo in October also appeared to be in danger at one point, but the Japan Gymnastic Association waged a successful campaign to reassure officials in other countries that Tokyo was safe enough to host the event as scheduled. It should be noted, however, that when some members visited Germany as part of that campaign, they were not allowed to get on a bus on the grounds that “people from Tokyo are contaminated.”

The association invited German gymnasts to Tokyo and uploaded a video on its website of the visit to try to dispel the concerns of Germans and other Europeans. […]

Published: May 13th, 2012 at 6:40 am ET


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54 comments to Asahi: Japanese not allowed to get on bus in Germany because “people from Tokyo are contaminated”

  • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

    Frankly, I find that hard to believe. But I can imagine the Japanese Olympic Committe not being so happy about Germany having reservations about sending athletes and visitors to Tokyo.

    • I personally won't be too afraid unless a disaster happens like a big earthquake or so — the exposure for a short trip is really low (dont visit the reactor !!) — I would only check the food with a rough measurement.

      • ANY level of contamination is a hazard. It is playing Russian Roulette to willingly increase the level of radiation exposure for an individual. The ONLY question is:
        How many empty chambers in the gun you point at your head, and how many are loaded with bullets?
        Then you have to consider that the "bullet" may hit YOU with a cancer or it may hit your child or grandchild with a mutated chromosome giving him/her cancer, deformities, mental retardation or other mental disorder.
        Yes, at very low level exposure an individual's risk is low… but we are not exposing ONE individual… we are exposing the poulation as a whole. Multiplies over large populations, even "tiny" risks can exact grisly tolls of life, health, and well-being.

        • Multiplied over large populations, even "tiny" risks can exact grisly tolls of lives lost, health ruined, and well-being stolen. But I guess it comes down to what is sacred or impotant to a person, and what is not… unfortunately most people get no choice in the matter, or at least not an informed choice. To me, it seems that protecting the healthy genetic information contained in the human genome and the natural world is our first sacred duty. Without protecting the basis for ALL life that exists on our planet everything else is irrelevant. Imagine if all life depended on the computer programs on a hard drive remaining perfect. Would you allow a child to play with ifmagnets next to the hard drive? NO! He could accidentally (or on purpose) corrupt the drive by getting a magnet too close to it, and the stakes are far too high. The only difference between the hard drive and the human genome is that humans can fix hard drives easily and we know exactly how they work… the genome is a far more complex thing that we are only just beginning to understand and tinker with like a child.

          • fully agree – one of the first important security rules is to avoid exposure — but then as a consequence you should not fly, you get around 10 uSv/h in 10km this is much more than most places in Japan – if you add this up and add the dose (depends of course on the place in Japan) then using a fast flight will compensate for the risk, its always a matter of duration etc. — but sure better to reduce where possible — difficult topic of course — but where shall we make a consequence out of it. For example in brasil there are areas with natural sand (monazit) or at india where you get 100 uSv/h when you sit there … not much people know about this. We should look at this more in a global fasion — but to say I am strikt against Nuke power and uncontrolable things like this.

      • Think again – read the last sentence:

        "From 1987 onwards Busby has worked in particular on the health effects of ionizing radiation, developing the 'Second Event Theory' and 'Photoelectric Effect Theory' which distinguishes between hazards from external radiation and internal irradiation from ingested radioisotopes, upon which he claims the widely accepted linear no-threshold (LNT) model substantially underestimates the risk of low level radiation (the LNT model is largely constructed from the 1958 to 2001 'Life Span Study' of the 120,321 Japanese Atomic Bomb Survivors (hibakusha (被爆者?)) who were exposed to a powerful external burst of neutron and gamma radiation).[15] Busby claims that in the low dose regime, radiation moderately above background causes more cancer than much higher levels of radiation i.e. a biphasic (bimodal) curve; a claim based on the work of Elena Burlakova."

    • HamburgGeiger

      I can`t believe it either. Fukushima and the radiation spread across japan and the globe is NOT realized here in Germany. Only very few people know. So that can`t be true.

  • "…they were not allowed to get on a bus on the grounds that “people from Tokyo are contaminated.”
    What is this ??? Crazy behavior — I cannot believe — As I am German (not to say this too loud) — Might be more information about radioactivity needs to be given to the german (and other) people.

    Or are the Japanese people now glowing in the dark ??? Trigger Alarms in the airports, make the X-ray scanners dark with dots, or illuminate photos ???? — really sorry —

    • Even if there is one contaminated, then he wont spread this around unless he carries dust of material with him (what about the airplane) — assuming he comes from Japan, how should this happen??? —wordless…

      • Anthony Anthony

        Agreed… I found this shocking too!

        • StillJill StillJill

          I don't find it shocking at all.
          (I don't AGREE with it,….but I'm certain it happened.) And,…I'm certain it was Germany!

          • Anthony Anthony

            I guess I am afraid of sitting by nuclear fuel but not by irradiated people. Besides, just because a person is from Japan that doesn't automatically mean they are contaminated….I believe. It just never occurred to me that people would treat the Japanese people this way. I would never try to re-victimize people who are already victims.

            • MaidenHeaven MaidenHeaven

              Anthony I am not surprised. I can see that happening around the world.

              This will seem so OT. My g/f told me about a show she was watching about someone who ate dirt. My first reaction was that it was a show created so that *we can not only feel we have a right to gossip about these people but to feel like we were so much better than them. This I believe is the intent behind these shows.

              So with these type of attitudes being pushed more & more, we will see more racism & prejudices.

              I no longer own a TV.

  • DUDe DisasterInterpretationDissorder

    There was someone here that had his daughter killing the fish in the aquarium just by sittin next to it after being treathed with radiation. Sry can't remember name of person . But if a living being can be so radioactif i don't want it next to me either if possible. So, being alive and not glowing does not mean he/she/it is safe.

    • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

      Hi DID, I remember that story. But wasnt it more like "if you want to know if your water is radioactive, put it in a bucket and see if / when the goldfish you put in it dies"?

      • DUDe DisasterInterpretationDissorder

        Hi BAB, not sure, but if i remember correctly, the inhabitants (crabs? or something) of the aquarium died within one day just by sitting next to it. Other pets got symptoms too but don't remember what. Basically it was a few weeks the daughter needed to be quarantained because she was , well , damaging radioactif to her surroundings.

      • Cindy Cindy

        I remember that article too! Didn't the girl get her Thyroid irradiated hence the "contamination" issue?

  • The A-bomb survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki have been stigmatized, marginalized, and discriminated against INSIDE Japan since the end of the war. Why should Japanese people be surprised that others would act that same way? Maybe if the Japanese "leaders" and citizens would stop supressing the truth, shilling for nuclear power, and sending radioactive food around the planet people in Germany and elsewhere would be more trusting. You can't lie to the world and feign outrage when people mistust you. The U.S. could learn that lesson a little better too.

  • Gotham

    <b>Radioactive Man Pulled Over By Cops</b>

    <blockquote>Mike Apatow was minding his own business Wednesday, driving to an appointment for work in Washington Depot when a state police car appeared suddenly and signaled for the Milford, Connecticut resident to pull over.

    Earlier that day, Mike, who'd experienced a recent spike in his blood pressure, had a nuclear stress test at Cardiology Associates of Fairfield County in Trumbull. In the test, a small amount of a radioactive material is injected into the veins and used to help track blood flow to the heart.

    State Police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance of Stratford, Connecticut confirmed that many of the state police cars have the radioactivity detectors. "It's part of our homeland security operations here," Vance said. "It's just another layer of public safety that we have in this state. They're very sensitive."</blockquote>

    • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

      Wow Gotham. There would've been widespread use for those detectors during the past 14 months other than controlling people coming from the doctor!

      • Gotham

        Sure makes one wonder what the priorities are concerning protecting public safety. If international trade (MONEY) is involved the safety rules are ignored and people die years later from cancer. Thus, the EPA and media blackout on Fukushima.

      • MaidenHeaven MaidenHeaven

        Curious how long they have had the detectors in their cars. Hmmm since 3/11 ?!? Wouldn't the police need to be informed of the dangers as a result of the Fuku fallout in North America? Since these detectors are sensitive enough to detect a radioactive person in a moving car then they certainly know where the hotspots are around the country. So they also know how radioactive citizens are as a result of both internal & eternal exposure to radiation from reactors too.

        So although MSM & the government have kept this info hushed they are so very concerned that they need officers to be alerted to the dangers. I wonder what the officers have been told to watch for….terrorists that are so contaminated to set off alarms?

    • Just trying something here — comment can be removed:

      <blockquote><p>Is HTML working on this site?</p></blockquote>

      They should work, unless the document is trying to validate as Strict HTML:

      Note: To validate a <blockquote> element as strict HTML/XHTML, it must contain only other block-level elements, like this:

      <p>Here is a long quotation here is a long quotation</p>

      For short quotations, use the 'q' tag:

      <q>Which probably also doesn't work …</q>

    • aigeezer aigeezer

      Interesting find, Gotham.

      I am mildly skeptical about the existence of the technology to make that kind of rapid detection at moving-car distances.

      One possibility (speculating here) is that it is a disinformation gimmick to deter bad guys and reassure citizens – sort of like the "all commercial cockpits are safely locked" message that everyone believed before 9/11.

      I note that the guy pulled over was a fire-fighter, so it's conceivable that he could be helping a government get its message out.

      Hehe – hanging out here is turning me into a conspiracy person. A year ago I would have accepted the story at face value without a pause, now maybe not.

      Can anyone explain how this technology would work?

      I can't resist adding the obvious… that this technology would be handy for finding missing coriums, assessing black dust, rounding up scattered chunks of fuel rods, and the like.

  • MaidenHeaven MaidenHeaven

    @BreadAndButter & DisasterInterpretationDissorder RE: Someone being so radioactive that they are a danger to others.

    Radioactive Iodine for Hyperthyroidism

    After Treatment
    In the days following radioactive iodine therapy, you will need to take certain precautions to prevent radiation exposure to others.

    You should sleep alone for 3 to 5 nights after treatment, depending on the strength of your dose.

    Personal contact with children (hugging or kissing, for example), should be avoided for 3 to 7 days, depending on the strength of your dose.

    For the first 3 days after treatment, stay a safe distance away from others (6 feet is enough). Avoid public places and drink plenty of water (to encourage the removal of radioactive iodine through your urine).

    For the first three days, do not share items (utensils, bedding, towels, and personal items) with anyone else.

    Do your laundry and dishwashing separately.

    Wipe the toilet seat after each use. Wash your hands often, and shower daily.

    The most common side effect of radioactive iodine may seem ironic, yet it makes perfect sense—hypothyroidism.

    • Anthony Anthony

      Thanks for this – I didn't know this info.

      • There are other therpies which have similar effects — I was asked some time ago for my App to measure the decay of a wife at home, so the man can watch the decay and when his wife (getting a isotop cancer therapy) is not longer a danger for the children.

        Also hospital investigation with radioisopes are measureable after being there, but not as high as the radioactive iodine therapy and with shorter decays.

        • Anthony Anthony

          Holy you guys this is stuff we need to know about. There seems to be strong opinions that we (us) are overreacting to the supposed dangers of radiation. If there are safeguards when radiation is used medically and safely, then the Fukushima emissions SHOULD remain a concern.

          • tomarsandbeyond tomarsandbeyond

            Most people are probably underreacting to this stuff. Medical use is a known quantity but contamination from Japan even on people's shoes could bring a little dust not good to breathe in.
            I would like to see new smartphones come with a rad counter built in. They add in all sort of goodies on these phones and can make those parts really small. Given what we now know about nuke pollution, it would be awesome if we could all measure this stuff ourselves.

    • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

      Hi MaidenHeaven, my point was that I couldn't believe those group of people were denied access to a bus here in Germany due to radiation fears. En plus, they surely didn't travel alone, but were accompanied by their German hosts, as this was an official visit.
      I'm pretty sure that this behaviour would've caused quite a media response here, and I couldn't find anything about it.
      My guess is that the Olympic Committe made this story up as they were annoyed by the concerns of German athletes (remember? a whole orchestra refused to travel to Japan at that time).

    • MaidenHeaven MaidenHeaven

      I do recall the story vaguely & that it was a child who had received radiation treatment but not the type.

      • Of course there are other therapies where you "only" get radiation (for example CO60 also used in cancer therapy with really high doses) but no isotopes into the body, the radiation stops when you leave the room, so the body is not radiating after this.

    • HamburgGeiger

      I remember a youtube video of a girl with a mother that received some kind of medical radiation. The mother set off the girls geigers alarm several meters away in the garden… Can`t find the video today.

      It is so sad that people from Japan or Fukushima will be regarded as a danger to others. But that is what will happen. And its not the careful people to be blamed but those who prevented a fast information an evacuation last year! We knew at that time that all this would be the consequences as sad as it is.

      Anyway, I doubt that this happened in Germany because german people are not aware of the extent of the fuku accident.

    • Cindy Cindy

      OOPS! I guess I would have seen that you answered my question..if only I had read a little farther down! Thanks for the info MaidenHeaven!

  • Bobby1

    Donald "Duck" Dunn went to Tokyo to play in a nightclub. He played for 2 shows in a club crowded with people who had radiation exposure. That night, he was dead.

    • Sickputer

      Maybe they were serving up Tokyo Tonic and water and hot tobacco. I have often wondered how the tobacco crops are doing. Big leafs in the air and the Japanese smoke like fiends

      • Bobby1

        2011-10-28 00:21:39

         I saw the results of radiological investigation of tobacco leaves by JT. Another, I decided to tobacco and naming radioactivity. Tobacco leaves is to contain a cesium Bq / kg a few hundred in total from Bq / kg dozens. Nasushiobara leaf is, 389Bq/kg, 338Bq/kg Nasu-machi, Shirakawa leaves and sunlight 201Bq/kg. Producer of tobacco leaves in Miyagi Prefecture, Ibaraki Prefecture, Gunma Prefecture, Tochigi Prefecture has been done across the board. Moreover, with the smoke can inhale these leaves, radioactive material will directly get into the lungs. There are people that are trying to suck such a thing, I do not understand at all. (Japanese)

  • MaidenHeaven MaidenHeaven

    Your Welcome Anthony. I agree BreadAndButter it should have made the news. So yes more than likely a remark made becasue the Japanese were insulted.

    I was just showing that there are indeed times that a person can be so radioactive as to be a danger to others.

    Unfortunately I would not be surprised if they are prejudiced against. And I mean that any person or country may feel threatened or at risk. Interestedly though, the prejudice may indeed make people more aware of the dangers of radiation….sigh…

    • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

      ..prejudiced…in a poll among young Japanese I read that many were indeed fearing they wouldn't be able to find a partner if they disclose they're from the Fuku area. So sad. Surely a consequence of Hiroshima/Nagasaki experience.

  • DUDe DisasterInterpretationDissorder

    Thx for the info MaidenHeaven, i guess we are not realizing to what extent it is true when we say "nothing will be the same again" . This includes social fysical interaction.

    I'm late so i need to hop in a cab, o wait someone heavely radiated has just used it before me. Omg my boss is a sexist ahole always massaging my shoulders and i need the job but now he's radioactif too, etc etc…

    I think its a good idea to have shoes/clothes only for inhouse and separated clothes easy to clean for outside use only. Immediat change when passing the doors for not contaminating your house to much too soon. Especially the shoes kickin the dirt are important i think. Soon lots of people will start wearing dust masks and gloves too. It is what it is. Sad.

    • MaidenHeaven MaidenHeaven

      You are welcome. And you are correct.."nothing will be the same again". Good point about the clothes & yes especially shoes. Gundersen & or Busby did a video where they showed that children's shoelaces in Japan were so contaminated as to be a danger to the children. Because they touch their faces & even fingers in their mouths after touching their shoe laces.

      "No degree of prosperity could justify the accumulation of large amounts of highly toxic substances which nobody knows how to make “safe” and which remain an INCALCULABLE danger to the whole of creation for historical or even GEOLOGICAL AGES. To do such a thing is a transgression against life itself, a transgression infinitely more serious than any crime ever perpetrated by man. The idea that a civilization could sustain itself on the basis of such a transgression is an ethical, spiritual, and metaphysical monstrosity. It means conducting the economic affairs of man as if people (all life forms) really did not matter at all.” — E.F. Schumacher

      • DUDe DisasterInterpretationDissorder

        I hear you HeavenMaiden
        I have be seeing todays fate beeing manmade since i was six by observing humanity and the forest nearby home , it was
        completely build out of funny and cute smelly honest things and everything was part of something bigger and build out of something smaller

        and they all fitted perfectly in its own timeframe and thogheter they made up the body of a forest humming true its goofy day's beïng part of

        something bigger the biomass of the planet untill mankind decides otherwise and they do …
        And everything eats and grows and multyplies and feed on eachother and craps and falls apart and becomes food for life (including its own

        offspring) again . I saw and understood and how it reacts to manmade pollution from the progress we where so proud off and learning in

        school that mankind is growing rapidly and the world is a (fixed/finite) round ball in space, which is probably round so we need that forests and

        oceans and biodiversity not only for cute and wise but also the foodchain an every other chain we need , like breathing etc
        Unfortunatly mankind got smart, mankind got ego and mankind got greedy and they broke the chain.
        And i too have, as a western human beïng socially locked up in the ratrace, my share of the guild in transforming all original life-filled space in

        to a stinking toxic graveyard .
        Soo basically , these day's where to be expected ,
        But i thought it would come as air water and food pollution and…

        • DUDe DisasterInterpretationDissorder

          But i thought it would come as air water and food pollution and desertification and i estimated it would take mankind to lose half of its offspring from pollution before the pressure from instinct to survive would force a drop off the blindfold to REALLY see and unite to reverse our attitude in order to survive. Because its pretty mandatory.
          Now thanks to nuclear beïng forced down our throaths at gunpoint democratically speaking there is a big chance my body can't even
          decompose and continue its natural recycling proces on this planet. Because it will probably to toxic even for good ole bacteria.
          I think thats the biggest flippin finger one could possible trow in the direction where we came from and makes the chances that processes can be reversed astronomical small. But you never know for sure untill perception proces dissapears altogheter…

          Bury my heart at wounded knee, put the pieces back together let them be,
          Feed my body to the birds let them eat my peacefull words
          won't you bury my heart at wounded knee.

          Play LOUD
          Richard Digence

          Traitors of life is what we are ! Is there still time too become something else ? We will never know if we don't try huh ?

  • Gotham

    If the state police in the USA have such sensetive radiation detection machines I would imagine Germany does too. So, perhaps the bus device alerted the driver that contaminated people were boarding?

    • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

      No, not that I know of. The fire brigade has trucks equipped with those devices – just recently during an emergency drill at an abandoned military site in northern Germany one of those took part (just to "match the scenery", if you will). Funny enough, it accidently found quite high radiation which nobody expected there – ooops!
      Greenpeace investigates – the Ministry says "nothing to worry blah blah"

    • The german BFS (Bundesamt for Radiation Protection = STrahlenschutz) sometimes when driving around with their cars detects radiation, for example from Granite STones when stacked up – they have quite sensitive devices, or sometimes if a x-ray medical praxis is not properly shielded.

  • andii

    I think it's a crazy idea to even think about the possibility of Tokyo Olympic. 1. They don't have enough space 2. Radiation is already at dangerous level. Who would want to visit such place?
    But I guess it's not the first that crazy idea has been promoted as something good.

    Am I missing the point? So they were allowed to enter the country (no radiation detected at that point?) but they couldn't get on the bus?

  • Myme

    After the WW II, the people from Hiroshima and Nagasaki were widely stigmatized by fellow Japanese citizens. People from those cities were descriminated in employment, traditional arranged marriage, housing, etc. This continued on for decades.

    Tokyo people should not be surprised by the way the Germans reacted to the Japanese visitors. They are acting on the same kind of discrimination and fear, whether it is baseless or not.

    On the other hand, Japanese are now spreading radioactive contamination wider and deeper because of their refusal to acknoweldge the seriousness. You see on videos that cars, people, and materials are allowed to go in/out the restricted zone pretty much freely without inspection. They are also burning the debris in Tokyo and many cities, further spreading contamination. So, I do think the IOC's concern about Tokyo safety is legit, not mentioning that there are enough data that show Tokyo has been compromised.

  • jedi jedi

    This is not right,japan live every day with it ? Why can;t we all
    act normal ? stand strong,show no fear ! hope for the best .

    • Anthony Anthony

      I agree with you. I keep getting to (in my mind) that the worst contamination has passed, therefore there is not a need to be in anyway hysterical. I get upset for sure but I am not *losing it* in fear of unknowns.

      I don't get how people would treat people like this. If people are willing to shun victims of nuclear in any capacity then they should shun the nuclear reactors a hundredfold.

      My instinct is to help and not hurt people who are coping with their situations.

    • richard richard

      It's not right that Japan (and the rest of the world) live it every day… so therefore acting 'normal' is denial and will not rectify the problem … so 'hope for the best' is passive inaction and that, also, will not retify the problem.

      Show no fear, sure, if you're a blind and indifferent unthinking kind of person, but a dose of fear may actually help the cause for change.

      Your statement sounds like a japanese politician that says there is 'no immediate harm to people, go eat the rice from fukushima'.