Japan gov’t ignores Fukushima, focus now on Europe and Myanmar

Unwilling or unable (honesty not a particularly widespread characteristic of the Japanese ruling class) to be honest about the situation in Fukushima, the Japanese government has put tens of thousands of Japanese citizens in a dangerous and unsustainable spot.  While it pushes for the rehabilitation of parts of the Fukushima evacuation zone (in order, of course, to limit the cost of compensation despite the long-term danger to residents), it is ignoring the plight of many who have not been evacuated but still live in highly radioactive areas.

The Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported on Monday that residents will not be able to return to at least seven of the municipalities around the damaged Daiichi nuclear plant in Fukushima for at least five years.

According to a government report released on Sunday, it is estimated that six of the seven municipalities will have dangerous levels of radiation – above 20 millisieverts of radiation (mSv) per year – for a decade.

Experts have told Al Jazeera that this level is considered too high.

Radiation too high

The national government has yet to articulate a decontamination plan for the the areas around the plant, which has continued to leak contaminated water and experience surges in radiation – so high that even robots could not function inside it at the end of March.

Indeed, a February Greenpeace report showed that in many of the contaminated areas, there was hardly anything in the way of decontamination, and farmers told Al Jazeera in March that their fields were laid to waste with highly contaminated soil and no cleanup plan in place.

“It’s been a year already, and nothing,” organic farmer Muneo Kano, 61, said when asked if the government had made any effort to remove the layer of radioactive soil that blanketed his seven-hectare farm.

“The Japanese government at last recognizes that the return to contaminated zones will be far more complex than they originally stated,” Jan Vande Putte, radiation expert at Greenpeace International, told Al Jazeera on Monday.

“For about a year, they have been creating false expectations to the evacuated population. However, they still miss the point. Tens of thousands of people are still living today in highly contaminated areas…This population gets no help and by giving priority to the return of population to evacuated zones, the government has effectively abandoned this critical group.”

He said the government had now admitted that decontamination would be “far more complex that [it] originally said”.

The government has apparently found other ways to waste the nations dwindling financial resources offering Myanmar almost $1 trillion in forgiven loans and new aid.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said Saturday that Japan will forgive about 300 billion yen of Myanmar’s debt and restart real development aid to the long-isolated country for the first time in a quarter of a century. – Nikkei


Japan pledged Saturday to provide about 600 billion yen ($7.4 billion) in official development assistance to five Mekong basin nations over the next three years to boost the region’s development, with an eye to countering China’s growing influence there.

This is in addition to the vast resources being spent on Europe through debt purchases and funding of the IMF.

Japan’s pledge to lend the International Monetary Fund $60 billion (\4.9 trillion) as part of its resource drive makes the Asian country the fund’s top contributor, taking the lead from the U.S.

The U.S. was one of the few countries in the Group of 20 largest economies that said it wouldn’t contribute any cash to bolster the IMF’s lending base. Japan, meanwhile, was one of the first non-European countries to commit money to the IMF.

U.S. commitments to the fund currently total around $172 billion. Japan’s committments, including a promise made earlier this week to loan the IMF $60 billion, pushes Tokyo’s total to $186 billion, giving it a $14 billion edge.

(Seetell: It should be noted that the US economy is 3 times larger than Japan’s while Japan’s debt it 2.5 times larger than the US … more unequal treatment by the US and its sycophants in the Japanese government)

Japan claims that these foreign expenses are beneficial to the nation.  The question is which nation?  Certainly Myanmar.  But even in Europe, the money is not making life better for the Europeans, only making sure that European banks don’t suffer losses from their bad investments in sovereign debt.

The money sent to Myanmar is meant to pave the way for Japanese companies to do business in that emerging nation which promises cheap labor and lax regulations.  And, because companies are not forced to repatriate income from foreign nations (to be taxed), their is little benefit to the millions of Japanese who are underemployed or unemployed.

So, Japan is spending its wealth on a foreign nation, subsidizing foreign investments of Japanese companies, and bailing out foreign banks in Europe.  Meanwhile, the Japanese citizens and taxpayers in Fukushima live in the toxic pool of radioactive without help because the government feels the need to protect the reputation of the nuclear industry.

Something is seriously wrong with the priorities of the Japanese government.

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