Top Fukushima Advisor: “This is nuts. I’m out of here.” *

April 29, 2011


TOKYO — A senior nuclear adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan submitted his resignation on Friday, saying the government had ignored his advice and failed to follow the law.

Toshiso Kosako, a Tokyo University professor who was named last month as an advisor to Kan, said the government had only taken ad hoc measures to contain the crisis at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant.

The Tokyo University professor stated the government had ignored not only his advice, but the law, in dealing with the catastrophe.

Tokyo officials had drafted measures to deal with the accident that were not in strict accordance with the law, and the decision-making process had been unclear, he said.

“There is no point for me to be here,” as the Kan administration had failed to listen to him, said Kosako, an expert on radiation safety.

Wall Street Journal

TOKYO—A special advisor to the Japanese government on radiation safety resigned Friday, saying that he was dissatisfied with the handling of the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Toshiso Kosako, a professor at the prestigious University of Tokyo, said at a news conference that the prime minister’s office and agencies within the government “have ignored the laws and have only dealt with the problem at the moment.” Holding back tears, he said this approach would only prolong the crisis.

Mr. Kosako was appointed on March 16. In announcing the appointment, chief government spokesman Yukio Edano described him as someone who “possesses outstanding insight and expertise in the field of radiation safety.”

* a reasonable translation into midwestern colloquial english

5 Responses to “Top Fukushima Advisor: “This is nuts. I’m out of here.” *”

  1. Wondering what “ad hoc” means in midwestern colloquial English – “Government Adviser Quits Post to Protest Japan’s Policy on Radiation Exposure for Fukushima Schools”

  2. My point was to find out what specific advice the Japanese government ignored, vaguely described by the article as “ad hoc” – and a riff of Peter’s footnote.

    • igoddard Says:

      The article only cited the advice the government was following, not what they were ignoring. It smacked framing the ethical professor as a kook.

      About the allowed increase, Physicians for Social Responsibility says:

      “[Twenty millisieverts] for children exposes them to a 1 in 200 risk of getting cancer. And if they are exposed to this dose for two years, the risk is 1 in 100. There is no way that this level of exposure can be considered ‘safe’ for children.” [1]

      The article also notes that the ICRP’s recommendation specifically states that it is only for areas affected by a disaster where “the radiation source is under control,” but of course Fukushima is not under control.

      Another article notes this, which doesn’t even account for children’s extra vulnerability to radiation damage:

      “The U.S. National Academy of Sciences BEIR VII report estimates that each 1 mSv of radiation is associated with an increased risk of solid cancer (cancers other than leukemia) of about 1 in 10,000; an increased risk of leukemia of about 1 in 100,000; and a 1 in 17,500 increased risk of dying from cancer.” [2]

      So the ICRP’s recommendation is ad hoc — or arbitrarily pulled out of thin air — as science can’t define ethical guidelines.


      • Ian, This is a good example of how “balanced” (/irony) climate science reporting confuses the public. The AFP article condensed specifics to the expert’s use of “ad hoc” (/quote). Following the Fukushima disaster on this blog, even knowing little about radiation safety, one would assume that the expert’s outrage was valid. Wanting to know more, I found the AAAS article, and then posted with a neutral (perhaps misleading) comment. From a distance, AAAS does not overtly challenge Professor Kosako’s integrity. After carefully reading the article, it can indeed be interpreted either way. Thanks for providing more detail.

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