Insiders: State secrets bill meant to suppress Fukushima news — Japan public stunned, citizens could face years in prison — Man has mouth “stuffed with cloth” after voicing opposition — Toxic leaks into ocean seem unstoppable, must plug the information instead
Panel: Govt. should propose nuclear waste sites
A panel of experts says the Japanese government should play a more active role in selecting sites for disposing of nuclear waste.
The panel offered a set of proposals on nuclear waste disposal at an industry ministry meeting on Thursday. Highly radioactive waste is left from nuclear plant operation.
The government plans to store the waste deep underground. It has been asking local authorities to offer candidate sites since 2002. But no municipality has applied.
The panel says preparing underground disposal sites is the most promising option for now.
But it adds that the government has failed to secure public confidence that the underground sites are safe.
Fukushima school to close due to lack of students
A private senior high school in Fukushima Prefecture will formally close down at the end of March due to a lack of students in the wake of the 2011 nuclear accident.
Shoei High School in Minamisoma City will be the first of the prefecture’s schools to close since the accident.
The high school is less than 30 kilometers from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi power plant, and was included in the evacuation zone. All of its 100 students had to transfer to other schools after the accident. The school has been shuttered since then.
TEPCO to build advanced coal plants in Fukushima
Tokyo Electric Power Company will build 2 advanced coal-fired power plants in Fukushima. The utility says it wants to contribute to the prefecture’s recovery from the nuclear disaster.
TEPCO’s Fukushima headquarters chief announced the project on Friday. Yoshiyuki Ishizaki said the coal-fired power generation systems will be built on the compounds of 2 existing power plants in Iwaki City and Hirono Town.
Ishizaki said the planned facilities will use both gas and heat from coal to achieve the world’s highest level of power-generating efficiency.
Each facility will have a capacity of 500 megawatts and will be operational by the early 2020s.
TEPCO says the project will create up to 2,000 construction jobs per day, and its total economic benefit to the region will amount to 1.5 billion dollars.
Ishizaki said Japan has the top-of-the-line coal gasification technology. He added TEPCO will make sure the investment won’t affect nuclear compensation payments or delay the decommissioning of its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Taiwan Considers its Energy Future:
Public opinion in Taiwan is divided over the operation of a 4th nuclear power plant that is currently being built. Construction started in 1999 but has been delayed by building problems and disagreement between political parties. After the catastrophe at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, opposition to nuclear power in Taiwan increased.
Seismologist: Coastline beneath Fukushima nuclear plant could crack open during quake — Japan sits with possibility of having it ripped open (AUDIO)
Yale Professor: Ongoing Fukushima fallout on West Coast is scary, but not alarming — I don’t think it’s safe to eat Pacific seafood (AUDIO)
Fox News: Radioactive wave from Fukushima nears US… Is it safe? Expert: Risk of cancers or genetic effects ‘not zero’ for people on West Coast; Ongoing leaks increase the odds
Hidden gov’t forecast shows Fukushima contamination spread throughout Northern Pacific Ocean in 5 years (VIDEO)
AFP: Scientist warns of new flood of radioactive particles around Fukushima — Those who escaped initial fallout could now be exposed — People in coastal areas at particular risk
Typhoons spreading Fukushima fallout
Japan Reacts to Fukushima Crisis By Banning Journalism
Japan – Like the U.S. – Turns to Censorship
2 weeks after the Fukushima accident, we reported that the government responded to the nuclear accident by trying to raise acceptable radiation levels and pretending that radiation is good for us.
We noted earlier this month:
Japan will likely pass a new anti-whistleblowing law in an attempt to silence criticism of Tepco and the government:
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is planning a state secrets act that critics say could curtail public access to information on a wide range of issues, including tensions with China and the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
The new law would dramatically expand the definition of official secrets and journalists convicted under it could be jailed for up to five years.
In reality, reporters covering Fukushima have long been harassed and censored.
Unfortunately, this is coming to pass. As EneNews reports:
Associated Press, Nov. 26, 2013: Japan’s more powerful lower house of Parliament approved a state secrecy bill late Tuesday [...] Critics say it might sway authorities to withhold more information about nuclear power plants [...] The move is welcomed by the United States [...] lawyer Hiroyasu Maki said the bill’s definition of secrets is so vague and broad that it could easily be expanded to include radiation data [...] Journalists who obtain information “inappropriately” or “wrongfully” can get up to five years in prison, prompting criticism that it would make officials more secretive and intimidate the media. Attempted leaks or inappropriate reporting, complicity or solicitation are also considered illegal. [...] Japan’s proposed law also designates the prime minister as a third-party overseer.
BBC, Nov. 26, 2013: Japan approves new state secrecy bill to combat leaks [...] The bill now goes to the upper house, where it is also likely to be passed.
The Australian, Nov. 25, 2013: Japanese press baulks at push for ‘fascist’ secrecy laws [...] Taro Yamamoto [an upper house lawmaker] said the law threatened to recreate a fascist state in Japan. “This secrecy law represents a coup d’etat by a particular group of politicians and bureaucrats,” he told a press conference in Tokyo. “I believe the secrecy bill will eventually lead to the repression of the average person. It will allow those in power to crack down on anyone who is criticising them – the path we are on is the recreation of a fascist state.” He said the withholding of radiation data after the Fukushima disaster showed the Japanese government was predisposed to hiding information from its citizens and this law would only make things worse. [...] The Asahi Shimbun newspaper likened the law to “conspiracy” regulations in pre-war Japan and said it could be used to stymie access to facts on nuclear accidents [...]
Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan president Lucy Birmingham: “We are alarmed by the text of the bill, as well as associated statements made by some ruling party lawmakers, relating to the potential targeting of journalists for prosecution and imprisonment.”
Activist Kazuyuki Tokune: “I may be arrested some day for my anti-nuclear activity [...] But that doesn’t stop me.”
Lawrence Repeta, a law professor at Meiji University in Tokyo: “This is a severe threat on freedom to report in Japan [...] It appears the Abe administration has decided that they can get a lot of what they want, which is to escape oversight, to decrease transparency in the government by passing a law that grants the government and officials broad authority to designate information as secret.”
U.S. Charge d’Affairs Kurt Tong: It’s a positive step that would make Japan a “more effective alliance partner.”
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: “This law is designed to protect the safety of the people.”
See also: Japan Deputy Prime Minister talks about “learning from the Nazis” — Previously said to let elderly people “hurry up and die” (VIDEO)
Rather than addressing the problems head-on, the Japanese government is circling the wagons.
Unfortunately, the United States is no better. Specifically, the American government:
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