Monday, July 18, 2011

Radiation-contaminated food fears and government buck-passing

With the unfolding (unraveling) story of radiation-contaminated beef making it to market and being consumed, I am left almost numb at the prospect of what this means for all the other products in our supermarkets. If the "checks" didn't work for the beef...

There are fears (both justified and not) about eating products from Fukushima Prefecture, the home of the damaged nuclear power plant. But let's be honest: the radioactive particles have been blown all over the place and are not contained in neat little circles drawn with a compass by a bureaucrat in Tokyo.

A Japanese friend said to me yesterday: "It isn't just the beef, is it." The Japanese people around me are just now figuring out that they have been lied to. And yet many others would rather believe that it is just the beef.

Are the checks being carried out on our vegetables? How about the fish and seafood that may have come into contact with the radioactive water that was dumped into the ocean? What about this year's rice crop? And our water supply? Shall I mention what is in the air and rain?

Some might say that the amounts of radiation being found in the food supply are, at the moment, small. But let us not forget that our annual exposure to radiation is calculated as our TOTAL cumulative exposure.

And this is the same government that is talking about easing the restrictions on the zone 20-30 km from the nuclear power plant (a decision that is is in my opinion both premature and dangerous) and yet still can't even figure out how to give the people living there access to full medical care.

The residents of Minami Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, are still being denied full medical services even though more than four months have passed since radiation leaks started...the primary reason for this denial is "buck passing" by the central and prefectural governments.
This is just another shocking example of governmental impotency.

(Note: I would like to thank Katsuyoshi Ueno who is on Twitter @44de256 and is a great source for all the latest news stories on what is happening in Japan.)

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