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Friday, July 29, 2011

New Japan Law 'Cleanses' Bad Nuclear News



Friday, July 15, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (METI) – Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, opened a call for bids (tender) regarding the “Nuclear Power Safety Regulation Publicity Project”, for contractors to monitor blogs and tweets posted about nuclear power and radiation.

Saturday, July 23, The Japan Times reported, about 1,500 cows that were fed hay containing radioactive cesium, in excess of the government limit, were found to have been shipped from Fukushima and other prefectures to all of Japan except Okinawa, as of Thursday, July 21. Evidence of rising contamination in and around the plant has tempered optimism, and new reports has consumers raising questions about whether it remains safe to eat beef, chicken and pork.

Since March 11, 2011 it has been reported that YouTube videos containing footage or comments unfavorable to Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) or the Japanese government have been removed within several hours of their posting. Examples of offending YouTube videos include excerpts of TV shows with controversial comments like footage showing smoke emitted from the nuclear reactors, and an ex-TEPCO employee speaking on his Fukushima experiences. Likewise, Twitter accounts with too much content regarding nuclear power and radiation issues have been disrupted.

On June 17, 2011 the Japanese Parliament passed “The Computer Network Monitoring Law” . Prof. Ibusuki of Seijo Univ. Law Dept. comments that “The Computer Network Monitoring Law will enable the police to monitor anyone’s internet activity without restriction.” Although this appears, on the surface, to be beneficial when targeting cyber-attacks, some Japanese commentators are suggesting that the law is un-Constitutional.

While many radioactive cattle have been discovered long distances from Fukushima, what is more important is where their feed is coming from.

Uncanny Terrain: Yoshizawa’s ranch is 14km downwind from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The government ordered him to kill his 300 cows. Most of his neighbors’ animals are gone, but some have been released and joined his herd. Yoshizawa refuses to kill his cows. He wants them to be studied for the effects of radiation.

Straw found 45 miles from Fukushima is highly contaminated with radioactive cesium, which is an indication that radiation has contaminated large portions of Northern Japan. More than half a million disintegration per second in a kilogram of straw are comparable to Chernobyl levels.

The American Nuclear Regulatory Commission was correct when it told Americans to evacuate beyond 50 miles from Fukushima – the Japanese should have done the same. Ex-Secretariat, Gundersen, of Japan’s Nuclear Safety Commission blames this contamination on “Black Rain”. “Rather than minimize the information the Japanese people receive,” Gundersen suggests, “minimizing their radiation exposure..”

“Nuclear Power Safety Regulation Publicity Project” stipulates that, “The Contractor is required to monitor blogs on nuclear power and radiation issues as well as Twitter accounts (monitoring tweets is essential) around the clock, and conduct research and analysis on incorrect and inappropriate information that would lead to false rumors, and to report such internet accounts to the Agency. The “Contractor” is required to keep the Agency well informed on the internet accounts and keywords used in the blogs and Twitter accounts that are posting incorrect and inappropriate information. The Contractor is required to maintain sufficient number of personnel for around-the-clock monitoring. The Contractor is required to submit reports on internet accounts via CDR.” The document, however, does not state that blogs or Twitter accounts, which run afoul of METI’s guidelines, are to be banned or frozen.”

The question is, will METI draw the line at “clarifying” erroneous information, or will it act to clamp down and suppress sources of information that it finds inconvenient?

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