Much has been said about the Fukushima nuclear power-plant disaster, much of it true, some untrue.
The problem with the news coming out of the troubled complex is that the operating company TEPCO, the Japanese government and international agencies are not being completely forthcoming.
Some call it political spin, but others just say the world is being told lies.
The epitome of the falsehoods being told about Fukushima comes from no less than the Japanese prime minister himself.
At the final International Olympic Committee meeting in Buenos Aires, the one deciding who would host the 2020 Summer Olympics, Shinzo Abe assured the IOC the “situation is under control.”
Abe said there never was nor ever will be any damage to Tokyo as a result of the Fukushima disaster.
When pressed on the issue by Norwegian IOC Member Gerhard Heiberg, Abe doubled down and told the members, “It poses no problem whatsoever.”
Abe went on to say that the contamination was limited to a small area and had been “completely blocked.”
The prime minister also stated, “There are no health-related problems until now, nor will there be in the future, I make the statement to you in the most emphatic and unequivocal way.”
According to the IOC, Abe’s assurances were the deciding factor in giving the 2020 Summer Games to Toky rather than Madrid.
But just six days after Abe’s statement, Kazuhiko Yamashita, an executive officer of Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) contradicted the prime minister by saying, “We regard the current situation as not being under control.”
For its part, TEPCO hasn’t been a model of disclosure either. Last summer, it came to light that more than 300 tons of radioactive water has leaked out of a storage tank on the site.
The leak added another and possibly more dangerous dimension to the problems associated with the disaster. The water leaking from the tank into the ocean is heavily contaminated with strontium-90, cesium-137. The radiation was so high that a person standing less than two feet away would receive, in one hour, five times the acceptable annual dosage for nuclear workers. After 10 hours, the exposed person would develop radiation sickness, with symptoms ranging from nausea and vomiting to hair loss and fatigue.