Japan asks for objective reporting from media

Japanese authorities have asked the international media to refrain from sensationalist reporting on the continuing nuclear crisis at the Fukushima power plant.

The Foreign Ministry blamed incorrect and sensationalist reporting for concerns that led to import restrictions on Japanese products.

State Foreign Secretary Chiaki Takahashi said some of the reporting since the earthquake and tsunami hit on March 11 has been “excessive”.

He cited one story – that the plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. has hired homeless people to tackle the ongoing crisis – to highlight how some erroneous reporting had been carried out.

Meanwhile, at Fukushima, workers have successfully injected nitrogen into the number 1 reactor to avert a possible hydrogen explosion.

The move was taken on the advice of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which warned of the possibility of explosions at the plant. An internal report by the commission explained superheated fuel rods are pulling hydrogen from the water and causing the gas to mix with oxygen which is seeping in through cracks in the plant.

However, problems still remain as the plant is running out of space to store contaminated water that was used to cool fuel rods in the stricken reactors. Cooling pumps have still not been fixed which means water must be pumped in to prevent overheating but then this water becomes contaminated and must be moved out.


The government of Japan is considering allowing people who were evacuated from the Fukushima Prefecture because of the dangers of radiation to return to their homes for a brief period.

Residents have expressed wishes to return to Fukushima to pick up belongings and necessities.

Nuclear experts are currently studying how to secure the safety of evacuees during the possible hometown visits.

The exclusion zone is set to 20km around the plant.

People in other areas of the country, including Tokyo, have started to return to normal life but foreigners are still rare sights in the capital.

The tourism sector has faltered as a result of the natural and nuclear disasters. Airlines continue to run reduced schedules and Japan will lose out from the usual boost it receives during cherry blossom season, which is currently in its peak.

International concerns

Japan’s nearest neighbours have also started to worry about the risk of radiation.

China’s health ministry said traces of radioactivity had been found in spinach grown in three of its provinces.

South Korea, in particular, has become increasingly fearful.

Many schools have been closed as parents worry about rain carrying radioactive materials from Japan.

“We’ve sent out an official communication today that schools should try to refrain from outdoor activities,” an education official in South Korea told Reuters.

The President said it was understandable that the country was worried because of its geographical proximity to Fukushima.

South Korea’s nuclear safety agency reported a small level of radioactive iodine and caesium particles in rain in the south but said it was not enough to be a public health concern.

Image from twitpic.com (@torreon)