Press Coverage of Fukushima Misleading – Japan is Safe

Victims of Harmful Press Coverage

I just got off the Shinkansen at Fukushima Station, walked through the station, got into a car and came here. It looks like everybody is continuing life as usual. Reading the papers and watching the news, you see only the hard hit areas of Fukushima. I almost thought nobody would be here. This is where the downside of a media democracy shows all too clearly. Where a major authority or a tyrant is concerned, the media serve an important function in criticizing such a figure, but when reports deal with citizens’ lives, extensive damage is done. We need to watch out for such dangers.

People who refuse to believe in the spirit world because they cannot see it believe in radiation. Is radiation not just as invisible? Do they only believe in bad things that are invisible? In medicine, radioactive materials are frequently used for certain examinations and other procedures. In small amounts, radioactivity does not affect the body. In one week it is reduced by half, in two weeks, it disappears almost completely. People are overreacting.

Maybe the media are not aware of this but they serve as fear mongers. When we say “harmful rumors”, what this really means is “harmful press coverage”. The media know they are rumors but think – here’s where we can make money – and shamelessly reports based on rumors. I am not a fan of people pretending to do the right thing and proceeding to cause damage. If we changed the word “harmful rumor” to “harmful press coverage”, the press would have to pay compensation. Let’s spare them the trouble.
Calling it “harmful press paranoia” would be even more appropriate after all, and unfortunately, harmful press paranoia is becoming more and more prevalent.

Panicking about Radiation Makes us More Susceptible to Nuclear Missile Attacks

The Japanese reactors are being attended to night and day, and every day we are learning something new. This accident has no precedent, which makes us feel nervous, but on the plus side, this will teach us what to do next time. If we think of this as an opportunity, Japanese nuclear technology could soon be at the forefront of the world as a result of this crisis.

Nuclear accidents happen in other countries, too, but due to news censorship, we remain unaware of it. According to Shoichi Watanabe(1), China is turning its neighboring countries into autonomous regions and building nuclear reactors there, leaking radiation all around the silk road. It is possible that accidents have happened in North Korea, but as no information is disclosed, we have no way of knowing. Small amounts of radiation, however, are not harmful to the human body. There are even theories suggesting that it can have beneficial effects (2), so please do not panic.

Stirring up a panic about the radiation issue among the Japanese people is dangerous. Japan is surrounded by nations armed with nuclear missiles, and panicking means these countries’ threats are hitting a nerve. They would threaten us saying “If we drop a missile on you, this is what’s going to happen!” so we should avoid becoming too sensitive.

(1)1930- Emeritus Professor at Sophia University in Tokyo. A well known Japanese cultural critic of conservative persuasion.
(2) For example according to US Professor Thomas D. Luckey’s research:
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Press Coverage of Fukushima Misleading – Japan is Safe
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