Video: Antinuclear "Summertime Blues" seems timely with new Fukushima controversy
Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe is eager to fire up some of his country's nuclear power plants.
But opposition to this idea remains very powerful in Japan. In fact, nuclear power has been a hot-button issue in the country for decades.
For proof, check out Japanese rocker Kiyoshiro Imawano's antinuclear version of Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues", which was recorded in the late 1980s or early 1990s. (See above.)
Imawano performed the song when there were only 37 nuclear power stations in his country.
Today, all 54 have been decommissioned in the wake of a 2011 earthquake and tsunami that crippled the plant in Fukushima and sent people fleeing for their lives.
Imawano died nearly two years before the disaster, but his cover version of "Summertime Blues" remains as relevant as ever.
A recent report by 19 different doctors' groups around the world—including the U.S.-based Physicians for Social Responsibility and Physicians for Global Survival in Canada—expresses disagreement with the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation's report on Fukushima's effects.
"While we believe that parts of the UNSCEAR report may be useful in future assessments of the public health consequences of the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns, we are concerned that this report could lay the groundwork for a systematic underestimation of the true extent of the nuclear catastrophe," the doctors' groups state.
The UN committee claimed that "no discernible increased incidence of radiation-related health effects are expected among exposed members of the public or their descendants".
The physicians' groups responds that they "share the view that many of the unexpected health effects cannot be unambiguously attributable to the radioactive contamination on north-eastern Japan".
However, the doctors emphasize that this isn't the case for rare diseases, including childhood thyroid cancer.
They state that it's "difficult to accept" the UNSCEAR report's conclusion that thyroid cancer cases in Fukushima are consistent with results from a study of Ukrainians.
"While the report was released in April of 2014, it only used the data of the thyroid examinations up to July 31st, 2013," the doctors reveal in the report. "More current publications by the Fukushima Medical University from November 12th, 2013 and February 7th, 2014 were not included, even though the number of diagnosed thyroid cancers has increased from the 9 cases mentioned in UNSCEAR's report to the current number of 33, with another 42 suspect malignancy cases waiting for further diagnostics."
The recent report also questions the UN committee's calculations about the extent of radiation emissions from the Fukushima power plant: "It is not clear why UNSCEAR decided against the more conservative approach and instead chose to rely on the lowest published source term estimates and to omit relevant radioisotopes due to 'deadline' issues."
In addition, the doctors state that estimates of radioactive doses for Fukushima workers are unreliable.
To support this claim, they cite "numerous reports about missing dosimeters, deliberate lead casing of dosimeters to disable measurement and faulty radiation measuring instruments".
"Finally, short-lived radioisotopes such as tellurium-132, iodine-132, iodine-133, and xenon-133 were excluded from the calculations of the workers' exposure doses," the doctors' groups declare.
They also point out that levels of fetal exposure to ionizing radiation are directly linked to mutations and cancer.
"Every exposure to ionizing radiation carries a quantifiable risk, as numerous studies since the late 1950's [sic] were able to show."
Moreover, the doctors charge that the UNSCEAR report ignored non-cancer diseases and hereditary effects. In addition, the physicians accuse UNSCEAR of presenting "misleading" comparisons of nuclear fallout with background radiation.