Tuesday, May 03, 2011



Mistrust of the media has surged among the people of Fukushima Prefecture. In part this is due to reports filed by mainstream journalists who are unwilling to visit the area near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. But above all it is the result of contradictory reports...

...at TEPCO press conferences, which are now being held at company headquarters, foreign correspondents and Japanese freelancers regularly ask probing questions while mainstream journalists simply record and report compa...ny statements reiterating that the situation is basically under control and there is nothing to worry about. One reason for this, Uesugi suggests, is that TEPCO, a giant media sponsor, has an annual 20 billion yen advertising budget. "The media keeps defending the information from TEPCO!”
There is one particularly telling example of the media shielding TEPCO by suppressing information. This concerns “plutonium”. According to Uesugi, after the reactor blew up on March 14, there was concern about the leakage of plutonium. Howe...ver, astonishingly, until two weeks later when Uesugi asked, not a single media representative had raised the question of plutonium at TEPCO's press conferences.
On March 26, in response to Uesugi’s query, TEPCO stated, “We do not measure the level of plutonium and do not even have a detector to scale it.” Ironically, the next day, Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano announced that “plutonium was detected”.
When TEPCO finally released data on radioactive plutonium on March 28, it stated that plutonium -238, -239, and -240 were found in the ground, but insisted that it posed no human risk. Since TEPCO provided no clarification of the meaning of the plutonium radiation findings, the mainstream press merely reported the presence of the radiation without assessment.

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