tv The Stream Al Jazeera November 9, 2013 2:30am-3:01am EST
thank you for watching al jazeera america. i'm mag ford. i'll see you again -- mod ford, i'll see you again at 4 o'clock eastern. nearly three years after fukushima's nuclear disaster, how safe is it for residents and the rest of the world? >> raj, in many ways, the whole story of fukushima has passed from the world's attention, but there's so much daily suffering going on is there. >> and our videos have not forgotten. fukushima has been one of the top five favorite show topics in the last five years.
every day: >> and that first tweet hit it on the head, asking about the real danger, and that's one question we don't have an answer to right now. one japanese doctor said the radiation released by fukushima in just five months is like 29 hiroshima atomic bombs. if you are trying to imagine how much that is, it is more than
enough to fill yankee stadium to the brim. but 43% of children in that area show thyroid abnormalities, the diagnoses, called a2. >> a2. [ speaking japanese ] >> while most parents forget about kids forgetting their lunch, in japan, it's if they remembered to pack their radiation detectors. [ speaking japanese ] >> it's a standard accessory for a lot of kids near that area. it has been nearly three years since the disaster, and it seems that the bad news continues to mount. optimistic estimates put cleanup at about 40 years. so what are the continuing impacts of
fukushima's radiation, in japan and the world? she's a fukushima native, where she and her family live. and marco is with saving children from radiation, and she has worked for 42 years to educate the public about the medical hazards of the nuclear age. and radiation expert, dr. robert gale. he led the soviet assistance, and welcome to all of you. >> thank you for having us. >> so marco, when we hear about fukushima these days, we hear about the plant or the workers, but we don't really hear about what's going on on the ground. what's the daily life like for people there? and as we mentioned, your family and friends are there, and what are they dealing with every day?
>> well, it has been very, very difficult, because initially, they wanted to get out of the place, because many people are not aware of the dangers of radiation. but gradually, because of the media, because of the government, everybody is telling fukushima that fukushima is fine, and you can eat fukushima foods. you don't have to go. if you go, you can't get medical expense, or you can't join the medical tests. they have been doing. so most of them kind of like -- there are three different -- >> so if you leave the area, you don't get medical care provided by the government? >> that's right. so they have to be there. and there are basically three different kinds of groups. one group, they're very aware of all of that, the danger of the situation, so they get out of fukushima, or they are very very worried.
the other group is very unvigorous. well, someone says its safe. other people say no, it's not safe. so they are very confused. and more than half of the people think that okay, it could be fine. and i love this place, so we're going to stay here, and stick with here no matter what. as a matter of fact, there was a fukushima festival in new york city a couple of weeks ago. and i went to see what it was like, and it was very successful. performers, and i talked to the organizer, and she told me that well, they got sponsorship from big corporations, and a couple of local newspaper companies, so they had the event. >> putting a nice face on it all. >> what they're selling is that fukushima is doing fine, and people are trying to restore the place. >> i'm sure that people are
trying to restore the place, but obviously, there's a lot of confusion. what kind of information are people in japan, and getting? >> well, they're getting very little information. they are lying to them. them. in fact, the government didn't announce for three months there had been three nuclear melt downs, and they occurred in the first few days. the people fled into the paths of the highest radiation level during the accident because they were not told where the radiation was going. but the government knew, and they didn't want to create a panic. i have addressed two three large meetings of people in tokyo. many mothers desperate of what to look for in their children. they know that the children are 10-20 times more sensitive to radiation than adults, that
little girls are twice as sensitive as little boys. doctors in fukushima have been told by their superiors not to relate symptoms of radiation, saying not to tell the patients that their symptoms could be caused by radiation, which i consider as criminal as a physician. already 44 children under the age of 18 in fukushima have been diagnosed with, or suspected to have thyroid carcinoma, and thyroid cancer very rare in children. one or two per million. and as you mentioned, many have cysts. about 43% have abnormalities on their thyroid ultrasound. it really indicates that these people got a very high dose of radiatioraid, and for me as a p,
it's the tip of the iceberg. >> some think it's exaggeration: dr. gale, we're going to get new the conversation. you stated that people have less to fear from the radiation itself than the panic that it sets loose. is this really an exaggeration when you look at all of the numbers? perspective. of course all of us are being exposed to radiation all the time. and all of us are radio active. fending on where you live in january, if you live on mount fuji, there are some cities on
the slopes of mount fuji, versus tokyo, you get an entirely different dose of radiation. if you lived all of your life in certain areas of japan, just normal areas, versus living awful your life in tokyo, you will receive a much higher dose of radiation than anyone living in the fukushima area. >> oh, dr. gale, i totally disagree. there are certain areas in the world, high mountains in india and brazil, where there's a high background radiation. and studies just have shown that those people have higher than normal incidence of cancer and congenital abnormalities, but we're talking about extremely high doses of
radiation within fukushima, and from the soil and the ground and the roofs, and from vacuum cleaner dust. when measured in america, it's so radioactive, that they are qualified to be buried in a radioactive waste dump in america, so i have to disagree with you as a colleague, very strongly. >> dr. gale, why don't you jump in one more time before we take a break. >> i want to say that not me, but the world health organization. >> which is associated with the aiea. >> go ahead, dr. gale. >> so we have modeled what would happen if a one-year-old child stayed in the most radioactive area in fukushima, a city called name. one-year-old, and he remained there for his entire life.
this is not happening, because name has been evacuated. but u unfortunately, all of us have a 43% chance of developing cancer in our lifetime. and if that child remained in that heavily contaminated city his entire lifetime, his risk would increase from 43% to 44%. >> where on earth do you get that who report? >> who, world health organization, has an unholy contract with the atomic energy agency, and they're not allowed to report or investigate any atomic accidents unless they agree. >> is that true, dr. gale? >> i think it's preposterous. >> it's not preposterous, it's the truth. >> the experts on the committee. >> many are pro nuclear.
>> i'm not pro or anti-nuclear. >> you're a physician. >> i'm going to hit the pause button here because we have to get to break. as we mentioned, thousands of people have left the exclusion zone, but some stay behind and refuse to leave their homes, and one of them is a farmer who once supplied peat to tokyo's finest restaurants. he refuses to slaughter his cattle and he's making his farm a living protest against nuclear power. [ speaking japanese ] >> and the question from our community, as the farmer just mentioned, if people want to know how relevant it is to them, we want to know how relevant it is around the globe. how much radiation families have
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it's fall out nearly three years after the tsunami, and the meltdown. >> soon we won't be able to eat fish caught off of the west coast because the radioactive waste is making its way to us in the west. and anybody eating seafood will have the same problems. this is an ecological disaster. 400 tons of radiated water in the ocean, and starfish with drying, and chernobyl is the living proof that the pacific is being poisoned. >> there are reports that fish like tuna and salmon are being contaminated by fukushima and is that the case? do people need to be concerned about what they're eating in. >> what happens is that 400 tons of radioactive water have poured into the pacific every day since the accident. and the pacific is a huge body
of water, but people need to know that the biological food chain reconcentrates the radioactive elements. the algae, and the crustations that eat the algae and more in the big fish and we humans stand at the apex of the food chain, so they concentrate most highly in our bodies, so even though the radiation in the water are not going to be reaching a high, we have to worry about the fish, and the epa and the fda are not testing the fish at this time. they should be routinely tested. and it's going to hit the west coast north, oregon and washington state, early next year, and then it will hit california later in the year, but you must not eat any food from japan. a lot of the food is radioactive, and they're actually selling fukushima rice
and the like around the world at the moment. so you have to be very careful about what you eat. >> you're the cofounder of the network of saving children from radiation, and one of the reasons that we brought you on the program and the lengths that you're going to to keep kids safe. >> we found the first case of thyroid cancer last august, in 2012, and now it's raised to 44 children having thyroid cancer, and it's increasing. the next health management studies will be released on the 12th, next week. and well, the thing -- i'm a mother, and mothers are very very confused. they don't rely on the health management result. >> they don't trust the information they're getting from the government? >> so they take them to see
other doctors, for a second opinion. initially, they couldn't get a second opinion and now they can, and they find different results. today, as a matter of fact, fukushima medical university, who has been conducting health monitoring survey, announced, and made an official pop gee that they have been made 390 errors in health management as a result. >> i have a copy of that. >> that was last september, 2012, so this result is not reliable. now, ncrp, that's national consult on radiation protection, and the lead of the health management survey team, made a keynote speech last march. he is the one who tells fukushima people, mothers, children, are safe.
you can go outside and play. and you can eat food. now, at this conference, in maryland in march, he said, well, this is the lifetime survey for 2 million people of fukushima people. and the target is pregnant women and children. nd it's about the low dose radiation effects. >> dr. gale, i want you to jump in here, and talk about the results that margo is speaking on, the national error rates on these things. >> let me just say that i spent two years in the soviet union, dealing with the chernobyl accident, and i spent the last two years living in japan, dealing with the fukushima accident. the fukushima accident is tragic for a variety of reasons. the cleanup costs, $100 billion.
there have been 135,000 people displaced, from a social point of view, from an economic point of view, from an environmental point of view, it's tragic, and it's very sad. but you know, there's a huge confusion here over what the medical consequences are going to be. now, according to dr. caldecott, there's a huge conspiracy of the national academy of science, the world health organization, and there's not a single credible scientist, knowledgeable about radiation biology, who is expecting any long-term, direct radiation consequences of the fukushima accident. now, it's very unlikely that everyone is involved in a conspiracy, and all of us are wrong. >> i'm only talking about
people who are in the who, iae and the new york doctors did a sterling job of publishing the reports of 5,000 papers written in russian, and condensed into a report of what's happening in russia, and what that study showed, and it's an extremely important medical study. it should be read by all of our colleagues. 2 million people have died already as a result of chernobyl. and if you ex strap late that to fukushima, it's very very serious, and they have discredited their own report because of pressure from pro nuclear people within the new york academy of science. >> we have to go to break. we'll pick it up in 2 minutes.
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