Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture Shows Wave of Mutations
Christof Lehmann (nsnbc) : Japanese researchers are reluctant to comment, but more than 90 percent of fir trees in forests close to the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) show signs of mutations and abnormalities while plant lice species sampled in a town more than 30 kilometers from the disaster site either have deformed legs or are missing legs. The mutations are a probable precursor of what is in store for Japanese people who are being resettled in allegedly de-contaminated towns and villages.
Japanese scientists are reluctant to comment on the record. Several attempts by nsnbc to reach out resulted in off-protocol confirmations of suspicions and references to Japanese law that makes revealing of unauthorized information about the Fukushima disaster a criminal offense that can be punishable with up to ten years in prison.
The official line is that Japanese scientists are trying to figure out whether there is a causal relation between the wave of mutations and the still ongoing release of radiation and radionucleides into the environment. Studies focus primarily on hos radioactive cesium spread in forests and forest soil after the catastrophic triple meltdown at the TEPCO operated Fukushima Daiichi NPP after it was struck by an earthquake and a subsequent tsunami in 2011.
Results of a 2013 study already revealed that levels of the radioactive isotope cesium from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant in northern Japanese forests had almost doubled within one year and that it will continue increasing as the forests bioaccumulate the isotope. The 2013 study and ongoing studies have major ramifications even though these studies largely ignore a cohort of other, potentially more dangerous isotopes such as plutonium.
The wave of mutations in insects, fir trees and other animals is according to Japanese experts who are relutant to speak on the record a precursor for what populations who live within a 100 km radius of the crippled power-plant can expect to see in human populations. The Japanese government’s push for resettling populations that were evacuated to so-called de-contaminated villages and towns is particularly problematic and controversial.
The Japanese government’s definition of a de-contaminated village, for example, means that the village itself and an area of a few hundred meters leading to these villages have been de-contaminated by e.g. top-sol removal. Water and airborne isotopes will, however, move with the waters and winds and easily re-contaminate these so-called safe zones. Evacuees who refuse to be resettled risk losing government support.
Another serious issue is that radioactive contaminated waste from the region is incinerated in facilities throughout Japan, thus spreading airborne contamination throughout the entire country. Some critics stress that this program may aim at making it extremely difficult to conduct epidemiological studies.
In November 2015 the former Japanese Ambassador to Switzerland, Mitshei Murata, called on the President of the International Olympic Committee to move the 2020 Olympics from Tokyo or to cancel the games.
Murata noted that he, as many others feel the Olympic Summer Games under these circumstances should be canceled and the preparations abandoned. Murata wrote:
Not only do we have a continued contamination of the groundwater and the Pacific Ocean by the unstable plant, but the brittle structure of the damaged plant represents itself a serious threat, in particular in our earthquake prone region. Given the relative proximity of Tokyo, just some 200km South of Fukushima, represents in my view an ongoing risk for our largest city, for its citizens and all visitors. You might agree that one more alarming development as the recent earthquake of magnitude 8.1 just some weeks ago might indeed increase the pressure to stop the planning process of the 2020 games all together.
Murata urged IOC President Dr. Thomas Bach to discuss sending independent experts to Japan to assess the current and future risk situation emanating from the damaged nuclear plant. Murata added:
In October 2015 Japanese concluded that they detected an excess of thyroid cancer by ultrasound among children and adolescents in Fukushima Prefecture within four years of the release of radioactive isotopes, that is unlikely to be explained by a screening surge.
Considering that thyroid cancer is caused by radioactive iodine and that hundreds of other carcinogenic isotopes with a far greater half-life have been released it is likely that the thyroid cancer merely is the tip of an iceberg of long-term increases in cancers.
CH/L – nsnbc 30.12.2015