The Occupation and Glass Badges



Today, children in Fukushima are mandated to wear radiation dosimeters called ‘glass badges.’ Some of the regional governments also require pregnant women to wear them. They are a durable, modified version of film badges, one of three main types of radiation monitors: -alarm meters, film badges, and pocket dosimeters – all used by the workers in nuclear power plants.

Why are children and pregnant women, who are not inside nuclear power plants, wearing these badges? The proposal came from the National Cancer Center of Japan, which suggested to both central and Fukushima regional governments the use of dosimeters “to calm the anxiety of the children and their guardians.” The Cancer Center, prior to giving badges to children, had monitored radiation exposure on public health nurses who went to the vicinity of the Fukushima Daiichi to give medical care to the residents. Under this project, the nurses, most of whom are women, were turned into radiation monitoring devices. The Center’s official report of the project clearly states that “[the public health nurses are] to become representatives of local residents for monitoring radioactivity.”1 Since the nurses had capacity to go about every single house in the region to check health condition of the residents, the Cancer Center supposedly tried to check radiation exposure of the people by taking advantage of their role.

Every three months, the glass badges are collected from the people by various research institutions, universities and specialized companies2, who then would gather the data to report to the Cancer Center. However, aside from collecting the data, the Center as well as any other governmental agencies never give the people any advice as to how to protect themselves from exposure to radiation and how they can deal with health damages caused by radioactive materials. After reporting the levels of exposure, they neglect to offer any health management and support and leave them up to local governments. On the other hand, there is a person who advocates a very simple method to protect oneself from radiation; the representative being Dr. Shun-ichi Yamashita. His simple and honest advise is: “you will not get damage of radiation as long as you are smiling. You only do if you worry.” (There is a Japanese saying ‘Fancy may kill or cure’ – the very word that the former PM Yasuhiro Nakasone had said during his visit to Hiroshima Atom bomb casualty Hospital, trying to calm the minds of hibakusha he met there. Nakasone, known to have passed the very first budget for nuclear power plants in Japan during his term, always promoted nuclear energy.

Being a hibakusha nisei or the son of a hibakusha, Shun-ichi Yamashita is a doctor with various entitlements, who took the position of the Radiation Risk Advisor in Fukushima after 3/11, then was appointed for the vice president of the Fukushima Medical College. He also received the 2011 “Asahi Cancer Award,” which is supposed to be given to those who contributed to cancer treatment, presented by Japan Cancer Society, many of whose faculty are appointed from the National Cancer Center. This particular award was co-presented by the relatively liberal newspaper Asahi Shimbin, which came as a surprise and disgust to many, especially since Yamashita’s overly unscientific remarks had been a topic of ridicule even among mass-media.

As I described above, the residents of Fukushima today are made into the subjects of human experiments by the Japanese government, research institutions as well as mass-media that support their stance. In a TV report by WDR (Westdeutscher Rundfunk) in Germany, a school teacher, who hands out the glass badges to his pupils, says: “I’m not happy with these dosimeters. They are going to turn our students into study subjects. The dosimeters only accumulate data in them, instead of displaying the levels of radiation. I wish they were radiation alarms which warn you when you have to get out of the area.”

The people of Fukushima are expropriated of their health data without being provided with care or treatment. The very situation reminds me of what had been done to hibakushas in Hiroshima and Nagasaki under the US military occupation.

In August 1945, atomic bombs were dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, thereby many people were killed and exposed to radiation through the thermic rays and radiation. About a year later, the occupying US military under the order of Harry Truman founded ABCC (Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission) under auspices of the military regime, in order to prepare for the future nuclear wars. At the newly set-up research facility in Hiroshima, ABCC began researching the effects of radiation on human bodies. The United States Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) stated as follows: “The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki provided an exceptional and unique opportunity to monitor the effects of radiation on human groups.3” Although the ABCC collected data and human biological samples from the victims, they never provided any kind of treatment. The focus of their research was the effects on DNA. And this required the development of dynamic statistics of population, the institutionalization of pregnancy/birth registration and the establishment of public health office. Therein, crucially needed for the research was the role of mid-wives, who were to be ordered to record and report in detail the conditions of pregnancy, birth, and the newborn, and if they were safely delivered or miscarried. The research was also targeted on pregnant women and children of the resident ethnic Koreans and other foreigners. It goes without saying that the Japanese government was co-opted to this crime.

A woman from Fukushima stated at a rally last summer: “the people of Fukushima have become the subjects of a nuclear experiment. Vast amount of radioactive waste will remain. In spite of the huge sacrifice, the clout of the proponents of nuclear power prevails. We have been abandoned. (…) We are ‘the demons of the northeast’ quietly burning flames of wrath.” There are quite many who understand the meaning of having glass badges attached on their bodies. Thus the people in Fukushima ought to become demons. Not another person, child or woman should be exploited by the development of nuclear military industrial complex.4

We must recall the following phrases over and over again:

It was not that the victims were never given explanation about the research. However, one might wonder if there were any agreements between the researchers and the victims over the purpose of the research. What kind of resulting reports were given to the victims? Were they ever informed how the results from the experiments were used?

During the time [of the nuclear research], no adults ever accused the cruelty of the bomb causality research, nor they told their children what it meant. In this sense, the adults were responsible as well.

(from Masao Sasamoto, Atom-Bomb Research Under the US Military Occupation)

2 One of the companies, Chiyoda Technol, is a corporation whose facility is build in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture, under the support from both Central and Aomori governments. They are proponents of nuclear energy.

3 Hewlett, Richard G. and Oscar E. Anderson Jr. The New World, 1939-1946, (History of the United States Atomic Energy Commission, Vol.1), University Park, 1962.

4 In Manhattan Project even before the dropping of the atomic bombs, the people were made into subject of human experiments where they were injected with plutonium to see its effects. (Albuquerque Tribune, Manhattan Project: Human Plutonium Injection Experiments)

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以上の説明でお分かりになったと思うが、福島の住民たちは、政府、研究機関そしてそれらを支えるマスメディアによって実験台にさせられているのだ。西ドイツ放送(WDRWestdeutscher Rundfunk)による取材の中で、学校でガラスバッジを配布する教師は次のように語る。「この線量計は嬉しくないです。生徒達は実験台にされるのです。現在の線量を表示するわけではなく、データを保存するだけです。警報を出して逃げさせてくれるような線量計ならずっと良かったのに…」。


19458月、広島と長崎に原爆が落とされた。多くの人びとが熱線と放射線にさらされ、殺され、被ばくした。そのほぼ一年後に、ABCC(Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission 原爆傷害調査委員会)が、核戦争準備体制に備えて軍の肝いりで結成され、トルーマン大統領の指令により設立された。ABCCは広島市に施設を設置し、放射線のもたらした影響について調査をはじめた。アメリカ原子力委員会はこのように記述している。「広島、長崎の爆撃は、人間集団における放射線効果の測定のために、例外的で(特有の、見込みのある)機会を提供した」とiii。被爆者の生体や情報を収集したが、治療は行わなかった。中心となったのは遺伝影響調査である。そのために人口動態統計と妊産婦登録制度、保健所の整備が進められたが、とくにそこでは助産婦の役割が大きく求められた。妊娠の有無、出産、どのような子どもが生まれたのか、あるいは死産だったのか、逐一伝える役割を担わされたのだ。調査は朝鮮人やほかの外国人の妊産婦・乳幼児をも捕獲していた。言うまでもないが、日本政府もまた共犯者であった。

 福島のある女性は次のようにデモ前の集会で述べた。「福島県民は核の実験材料にされるのだ ばくだいな放射性のゴミは残るのだ 大きな犠牲の上になお、原発を推進しようとする勢力があるのだ 私たちは棄てられたのだ……私たちは今、静かに怒りを燃やす東北の鬼です」。ガラスバッジの配布が何を意味するのか理解している人々は少なくない。だからこそ福島の民衆は鬼とならざるを得ない。これ以上人びとを、子どもを、女性を原子力軍産業に利用されてはならないiv






ii そのひとつ、千代田テクノルは国と青森県の支援を受けて六ヶ所村に立地した誘致企業であり、原発推進事業会社である。

iii Hewlett, Richard G. and Oscar E. Anderson Jr. The New World, 1939-1946, (History of the United States Atomic Energy Commission, Vol.1), University Park, 1962.

iv マンハッタン計画は、原爆投下以前からアメリカ国内においても、一般市民にたいしてプルトニウムを人体に注射しその効果を調べる人体実験を行っていた。(アルバカーキー・トリビューン編、広瀬隆訳・解説『マンハッタン計画 プルトニウム人体実験』)

PDF (日本語)

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