News from Fukushima from media outside of the mainstream
Let's face facts. For more than two years after the coverage died down from 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, major North American media outlets pretty much ignored the problem.
That was tremendously disheartening for Japanese antinuclear activists, who've been confronted with a terrifying situation caused by the meltdown at the crippled power-plant.
The lack of western interest also gave the Japanese government a free hand to cover up the problem, notwithstanding the fine efforts of Japanese media outlets like the Asahi Shimbun, which diligently tried to expose what was happening.
The North American media slumber on Fukushima has also contributed to public-health officials in this country downplaying the issue.
But the media and western governments received a wake-up call when the Japanese government admitted in August that 300 tonnes of contaminated water per day continued leaking into the Pacific Ocean.
It caused a short-term flurry of coverage in North America, which has since died down.
That was briefly punctured when Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe claimed that the situation is "under control" during Tokyo's successful lobbying to host the 2020 Summer Olympics.
It takes jam for any politician to claim that a situation is under control when 300 tonnes of radioactive water per day are spilling into fish-bearing seas.
In the meantime, here is what some lesser-known media outlets have reported recently:
• The Voice of America reported that South Korea has charged 100 nuclear-industry officials and suppliers in connection with faked security certificates for nuclear parts. "The scandal, coming on the heels of the Fukushima disaster in Japan, has led to much criticism about how the nuclear industry is regulated," VOA declared.
• The Voice of Russia radio service has quoted University of California at Berkeley nuclear-engineering professor Edward Morse saying that the three damanged reactors and spent-fuel pool have the potential to release larger levels of radiation than have escaped in the past. However, he also stated that Tokyo is "completely safe" and that California received more radiation than Russia's Far East because the winds from Japan carried it westward.
• Al Jazeera has created a clever infographic on the Fukushima accident, which reveals that the cleanup bill has reached $58 billion, according to Greenpeace.
• The Doctors TV show presented a "truth or scare" segment on whether the Fukushima nuclear accident should influence our approach to eating fish. It brought forth concerns, but also noted that mercury contamination may be a greater risk.
• And on the lighter side, Rocket News 24 has reported that Fukushima Industries has a new mascot with the name "Fukuppy". The "Fuku" part is pronounced "Foo-koo", not "fuck you".