more errors in Monbiot's Busby attack

George Monbiot's November 2011 attacks in The Guardian
His mistaken view of official precautions in Japan

----- Original Message ----- (reproduced here with permission)
From: Azumi Hayakawa
To: george.monbiot@guardian.co.uk ; justin.mccurry@guardian.co.uk
Sent: Thursday, December 01, 2011 1:46 AM
Subject: Your Article on Prof. Busby


Dear Mr Monbiot and Mr McCurry,
In your article of 21 November,'Post-Fukushima 'Anti-Radiation' Pills Condemned by Scientists', you write, 'The Japanese government already monitors human exposure to radiation and tests food and water, banning contaminated products from sale.'

This is a false statement. The Japanese government has "safety" levels for products. If contamination is found to be below those levels, then contaminated food enters the market. There are no labels. Furthermore, the government uses sampling, only testing a small amount of produce. This has been condemned by Professor Tatsuhiko Kodama, Head of Tokyo University's Radioisotope Center. He has also criticised the government's failure to take adequate decontamination measures, doing a lot of that work himself [Ref. 1].

The government recently admitted its limits for food were too high and will lower them next year. It made the announcement after your article was published, but you can easily add an amendment [Ref.2].

Also, you did not say when the monitoring of human exposure started or where it takes place. For example, Fukushima prefecture only started distributing dosimeters to children in September [Ref.3]. In addition, there was a lack of monitoring stations throughout the country, for example, there was only one government run monitor for Tokyo, stationed over 12 meters above ground on top of a building.

You continue, 'It works to stricter radiation limits than the EU.' This statement is misleading. First, the EU is not a health body. Some Japanese government limits, such as on water, are far above WHO standards, and were raised on March 17th (e.g. from 10bq/L for iodine 131 (the WHO standard) to 300bq/L). The US is 0.111 bq/L whilst Germany - an EU country - is 0.5 bq/L [Ref.4]. The government also decided to raise the annual exposure limit for children and adults from 1 millisievert per year to 20 to reduce evacuation numbers. Tokyo University Professor, Toshiso Kosako, resigned as Special Adviser to the Cabinet over this policy [Ref.5]. At Chernobyl, the limit for evacuation was 5 millisieverts [Ref.6]. In the past, the Japanese government has compensated workers who contracted cancer from exposure to 5.2 millisieverts [Ref.7].
As Masamichi Nishio, director of the Hokkaido Cancer Centre, stated, one must proceed on the basis of 'we donít know so we must assume that it is dangerous' [Ref.8]. You rashly persist in doing the opposite.

We trust you will allow Dr. Busby the right to respond in your newspaper.

Sincerely,
Piers Williamson and Azumi Hayakawa

Posted by LLRC 2nd December 2011


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