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Japanese Government Will Censor Fukushima "Illegal Information"

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the for-your-own-good dept.

Japan 411

dgilzz writes "The Japanese government says that the damage caused by earthquakes and by the nuclear accident are being magnified by irresponsible rumors, and the government must take action for the sake of the public good. The project team has begun to send letters of request to such organizations as telephone companies, internet providers, cable television stations, and others, demanding that they take adequate measures based on the guidelines in response to illegal information. The measures include erasing any information from internet sites that the authorities deem harmful to public order and morality."

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Japanese Flag (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35922236)

Burn it [flagburningworld.com]

they should get together with Apple (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35922248)

and Sony.

Seems like... (3, Funny)

folderol (1965326) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922250)

They just found their copy of 'Censorship 101'

Good luck with that! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35922262)

The measures include erasing any information from internet sites that the authorities deem harmful to public order and morality.

Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahah! Ha! Ha!

And HA!

Buy, do they have a supplies coming to them!

Re:Good luck with that! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35922954)

Please note that Japan's internet infrastructure is very localized, they don't have very much bandwidth to the rest of the world, compared to their national connections. There isn't much need for that either, no reason for the general internet using public to use non-local services. Of course that means that even though technically, their censoring won't be 100% effective, it's still close enough.

You free speech defenders (3, Insightful)

trifish (826353) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922266)

Next time someone makes fun by shouting authentically "Fire! Fire! Run!" in a theater or some other 'suitable' place, and your relatives die there having been crushed by the panicking crowd trying to get out, maybe then you'll remember that there are certain situations where Freedom of Speech is limited, and rightfully so, precisely to prevent panic and to save lives.

BTW, the above behavior is illegal in the EU (spreading false alarms) -- don't know about the US. This seems to be the case in Japan too.

Re:You free speech defenders (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35922312)

The fear for me is not that they will be censoring people who say stupid things like nuclear clouds will kill us all, or that there will be a massive melt down that will destroy Tokyo. It is more so in that they might start deeming criticism of the handling of the situation as inspiring fear and want that censored. I don't think that Japan will do this, but only time will tell.

Re:You free speech defenders (3, Insightful)

GIL_Dude (850471) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922636)

Agreed 100%. I'd add that there is one of those slippery slopes between honest difference of opinion and people spreading intentionally false or misguided (uninformed) information. Obviously even experts in the field differ between themselves on some of the details. It would be chilling to see only the "government version" of the 'truth' be available. Honestly, I don't know how someone entrusted as the 'censor' is supposed to tell the difference unless they themselves are also an expert on all things nuclear.

Re:You free speech defenders (4, Informative)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922742)

There's also information that while true, is formulated in a falsely alarmist way.

Like, true fact coming from authoritative measurements: the Iodine-131 levels in Poland have risen some 1000-2000 times above their usual level.
Conveniently omitted fact: that's still about 500-1000 times less than levels causing any measurable increase of risk of thyroid cancer.

Re:You free speech defenders (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35922322)

You really have no idea what free speech is, do you? Nice troll.

Re:You free speech defenders (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35922640)

"Free speech" in US too excludes the right to shout "fire" in a crowded cinema hall. Perhaps you can educate us on what free speech means.

Re:You free speech defenders (3, Informative)

Lazareth (1756336) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922988)

Freedom of speech is, roughly speaking, the freedom to express your opinions without fear of retribution or censor. This does not inherently include "freedom to deceive" or "freedom to threaten". You can use your freedom of speech to advocate more freedom to threaten people or scare them, but good luck convincing society at large to implement it. You cannot use your freedom of speech to threaten people, that will land you in jail or with a fine.

Nations implement freedom of speech to varying degrees. For example, some would consider freedom of speech to include freedom to blasphemer and provocate. Indeed, if you think some guy is a huge dickwat, isn't that an opinion you're allowed to voice often and openly? Others view this as an attack and therefore outlaw it. Most often in cases where you offend somebody, the line is drawn depending on how well founded your opinion is. Well founded criticism is therefore not viewed as an attack, even if the end result is calling somebody an embezzling incompetent.

Hope it makes sense.

Re:You free speech defenders (5, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922328)

Next time someone makes fun by shouting authentically "Fire! Fire! Run!" in a theater or some other 'suitable' place, and your relatives die there having been crushed by the panicking crowd trying to get out, maybe then you'll remember that there are certain situations where Freedom of Speech is limited, and rightfully so, precisely to prevent panic and to save lives.

BTW, the above behavior is illegal in the EU (spreading false alarms) -- don't know about the US. This seems to be the case in Japan too.

True enough, but even the most idiotic, hyperbolic rant on the Internet doesn't equate to yelling "fire" in a theater. Otherwise most of the garbage that passes for "news" in the US would end up yielding criminal charges. The Japanese government (or whatever subset is responsible for this) just doesn't get the Internet. They should go back to being to not being responsible for Gundam.

Re:You free speech defenders (1)

whereiswaldo (459052) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922638)

Personally, I wouldn't be waiting for the government to tell me to move far, far away from a nuclear disaster site. Use whatever level of precaution you see fit.

Re:You free speech defenders (5, Insightful)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922804)

When sites claim Face-melting radiation levels and contamination of food to attack competitors in Fukushima, or to intentionally undermine Japan and its economy, it's equally as bad as shouting "fire" in a crowded theater. It may not have as immediate of effect, but in the long run the impact would be even higher.

The fact is, unless you're within 6 or so blocks(not counting the ocean) of the Fukushima plant, there is no dangerous level of radiation. Not in the plants, not in the animals, not at all.

Shouting "Radiation!" is no less bad than shouting "Fire!".

Re:You free speech defenders (2, Interesting)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922994)

You talking bout the cesium levels that exceed dose-rates that even the soviets, known for their care for the fellow citizen, decided to be high enough to evacuate, 30km from the plant? Hey, go on, take a vacation there and rid us of your stupidity please. The mods getting this to +3 may follow accordingly.

Re:You free speech defenders (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922974)

True enough, but even the most idiotic, hyperbolic rant on the Internet doesn't equate to yelling "fire" in a theater. Otherwise most of the garbage that passes for "news" in the US would end up yielding criminal charges. The Japanese government (or whatever subset is responsible for this) just doesn't get the Internet. They should go back to being to not being responsible for Gundam.

Speech that presents a "clear and present danger" (like falsely yelling "fire" in a theater) hasn't been criminally illegal in the US since Brandenburg v. Ohio in 1989...

Re:You free speech defenders (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922346)

The problem here, to my mind, is that you have a government that has been heavily criticized both inside Japan and by outside experts and international agencies for withholding information and disseminating inaccurate information, who will now proclaim itself the arbiter of the reliability of information being transmitted by others. This likely means that such censorship will not be used to make sure only accurate information is disseminated, but rather to make sure that only information favorable to the government is being disseminated. In other words, the results will be the exact opposite of the stated aims.

I can see the point of laws against spreading false rumors, and I assume in most cases a judge will be making that determination. In this case it distinctly sounds like the government itself will be deciding, and this was a government under fire prior to the natural disaster. It has everything to gain by making sure accurate information about its ineptitude cannot be spread.

Beyond that, it cannot hope to accomplish what its stated goal is. Japan is one of the most wired nations on the planet, and its citizens know perfectly well how to surf and find foreign sites that will disseminate this fearful information. It's a knee jerk reaction by a faltering government.

Re:You free speech defenders (3, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922348)

You're an idiot. Yelling fire in a theater when you know that not to be the case is a completely different situation than what the Japanese authorities are trying to clamp down on. In this case the authorities have been caught spreading their own incorrect information and this move is just a way of them curtailing legitimate discussion.

I take it that you haven't noticed that the information that's been provided has been wildly inaccurate and getting worse over time.

Re:You free speech defenders (1, Insightful)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922432)

wildly inaccurate? Seems to me TEPCO and the japanese government have been the biggest offenders as later reality proves their lies: "don't need an exclusion zone, just stay indoors and you'll be fine"

"no fuel has melted

"the rods in the spent fuel pool aren't uncovered"

"containment hasn't been breached"

Re:You free speech defenders (0)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922956)

Give it up. You are dealing with liars, scum and their apologists. Nuclear power is the holy grail, so nothing CAN GO WRONG, EVER! Even if they have to falsify every record. The fanclub is even more disgusting that TEPCO, tbh.

Re:You free speech defenders (4, Interesting)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922362)

Comparing the right of the public to information with crying "Fire" in a theater plainly shows you have no idea what you're talking about. That is especially true for Japan -- a country whose government has a history of covering up industrial disasters (look up Minamata, for example), and whose nuclear industry is practically unanswerable to anyone.

Just last week TEPCO was outed to have ordered subcontractors at the Fukushima-1 site not to record exposures over the legal minimum. Helping these people to cover up information further instead of sending them to jail is a disgrace.

Re:You free speech defenders (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922446)

Doh. Legal MAXIMUM, of course.

Re:You free speech defenders (1)

Vektuz (886618) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922386)

Except that in the USA that kind of limitation has a very specific life-and-limb type of specification. "Harming the public order" etc is VERY nebulous and can be interpreted by those in power as anything which harms THEIR order.

Re:You free speech defenders (1)

Senes (928228) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922476)

This isn't about people who create a false panic; it's about people who expose deadly wrongdoings. They're not going to stop that 4chan image saying dangerous fallout is raining on California. They ARE going to stop rational discourse over negligence and mismanagement. The government is looking bad in this situation; they want to 'solve' this 'problem' the only way they know how - with force.

Re:You free speech defenders (3, Insightful)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922546)

It's getting tiresome to hear this example. The right to falsely "shout fire in a crowded theat[er]" principle is upheld in Brandenburg v. Ohio, the only legitimate restriction to free speech considered that which might incite a riot before the police could arrive.

Have you even thought about the implications of making myself responsible for the outcome of shouting "fire!" in a crowded theatre? It means that any alert I make results in my becoming responsible both for the actions and the environment of people who respond to my alert. Consider my saying, "The government is sending troops to an illegitimate war!"

Now imagine someone reads into that, "The government must be stopped!" (You must get out of the theatre.)

And then, "The government must be stopped by force!" (You must get out of the theatre by force.)

And then, "The representatives of government must be stopped by force!" (You must get out of the theatre by force against other people.)

And then, "The representatives of government must be killed!" (You must get out of the theatre by hurting people.)

For saying something bad is happening in government, even if I am wrong, I'm suddenly responsible for potentially influencing someone to kill some member of the government.

Free speech must include the right to shout "fire!" in a crowded theatre.

+Mod Up (1)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922730)

Well reasoned.

Re:You free speech defenders (2)

ENIGMAwastaken (932558) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922810)

This is just false. The only time this example is mentioned in that ruling is in Douglas' concurring opinion where he writes:

"The line between what is permissible and not subject to control and what may be made impermissible and subject to regulation is the line between ideas and overt acts.

The example usually given by those who would punish speech is the case of one who falsely shouts fire in a crowded theatre.

This is, however, a classic case where speech is brigaded with action. See Speiser v. Randall, 357 U.S. 513, 536-537 (DOUGLAS, J., concurring). They are indeed inseparable, and a prosecution can be launched for the overt [p457] acts actually caused. Apart from rare instances of that kind, speech is, I think, immune from prosecution. Certainly there is no constitutional line between advocacy of abstract ideas, as in Yates, and advocacy of political action, as in Scales. The quality of advocacy turns on the depth of the conviction, and government has no power to invade that sanctuary of belief and conscience. [n3]"

What he says is that speech and action are inseparable in the case of of yelling "Fire" in a crowded theatre, meaning that such an action is prosecutable.

So in short, you're totally wrong.

Re:You free speech defenders (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922924)

(1) Prosecution can be launched for the overt acts actually caused - Douglas is providing an exception to immunity for actual consequences of the speech, while Japan is trying to make the speech itself illegal;

(2) Concurring opinions are not majority opinions, so are not binding precedent.

Try again.

Re:You free speech defenders (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922922)

The difference is that you could have no reasonable expectation that saying "the government is doing bad things" would directly, in itself, be responsible for pushing someone to commit a murder. Any 10 year old could understand that yelling fire or pulling a fire alarm in a crowded theatre has a moderate risk of causing a dangerous stampede.

By your logic, you could never be prosecuted for leaving valuables in plain sight near a window and rigging up a lethal trap on any would be robbers. I mean, you didnt TELL someone to try to break in, so you cant be responsible for their death right? Except that there are very few states where you could even hope to get away with that; any reasonable person would understand that such a scenario is likely to lead to someone's death.

Finally, and most emphatically, the case Brandenburg v Ohio did NOT uphold "shouting fire in a crowded theatre". In fact, the court SPECIFICALLY stated that that is one of the exceptions to free speech [wikipedia.org] (last paragraph) -- to quote (from the actual case [justia.com] ):

The example usually given by those who would punish speech is the case of one who falsely shouts fire in a crowded theatre. This is, however, a classic case where speech is brigaded with action. [...] They are indeed inseparable, and a prosecution can be launched for the overt acts actually caused.

And further, in an earlier supreme court ruling [wikipedia.org] , we have this gem--

The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic. [...] The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.

So your logic is wrong, and the courts seem to disagree. Using speech that is likely and can reasonably be understood to cause riots or dangerous situations is NOT protected in our law books, and I really doubt you would like living in a country where that was not the case.

Re:You free speech defenders (1)

JD770 (1227350) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922966)

And if I grab a street corner in a nearby village and start announcing that the radiation has been contained and the plant is hiring laborers for clean-up efforts at $attractive/hour and applications will only be accepted in person at the plant by noon next Wednesday?

Though not all will take the bait, some might rush to the plant and contaminate themselves. Do I shoulder any responsibility for what may occur beyond their stupidity & gullibility? Could I (should I) get away with claiming freedom of speech?

Re:You free speech defenders (2)

stumblingblock (409645) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922566)

But is there no moral or ethical consequences of NOT shouting fire in a theatre, when you know there is one? Which is more insidious?

Re:You free speech defenders (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922958)

Some of the stuff being reported on the news is true. Most of it is bogus scaremongering.

I dont think that the US could get away with this kind of censorship, because there is very little risk of someone being injured directly from this irresponsible reporting. It may do long term harm in various ways, but our media does have that freedom.

However, just because the Japanese govt may be wrong in the actions it takes, its concern is very valid-- all of this frothing-mouthed reporting does very little good, and increases the ignorance of the populace in general.

Re:You free speech defenders (1, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922580)

Next time someone makes fun by shouting authentically "Fire! Fire! Run!" in a theater or some other 'suitable' place, and your relatives die there having been crushed by the panicking crowd trying to get out, maybe then you'll remember that there are certain situations where Freedom of Speech is limited, and rightfully so, precisely to prevent panic and to save lives.

BTW, the above behavior is illegal in the EU (spreading false alarms) -- don't know about the US. This seems to be the case in Japan too.

The problem here is that there actually _is_ a fire in the theater and the fire warning system has been turned off by unscrupulous profiteers (Tepco) and the sprinkler system (working and sufficiently redundant emergency cooling) has never been implemented to save money. Under those circumstances it becomes criminal (or at least severely malicious) to not yell "fire". The few crushed people are still better than a large number of burnt to death people.

In reality, Japanese officials already have caused a few 10'000 cancer deaths beyond what was unavoidable. The increased allowable dosage for Children (who are hugely vulnerable to radiation) is just the last batch of randomized death sentences they are implementing.

Re:You free speech defenders (4, Insightful)

DamonHD (794830) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922668)

It is still exceedingly unlikely that even *one* extra cancer death will be attributable to Fukushima.

To the best of my understanding there are habitable towns throughout the world whose background radiation levels are higher than anything yet encountered outside the Fukushima plant boundaries.

Rgds

Damon

Re:You free speech defenders (1)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922868)

Sure, but background radiation, and especially radon exposure, is generally accepted as causing numerous cancer deaths. Increasing the radiation received thus causes more cancer cases than would otherwise occur. That something exists in nature does not make it all nice and dandy. The only reason we're not doing more to limit background radiation is that it is completely impractical trying to do so. When it comes to nuclear plants it is quite practical to prevent events like Fukushima, but Japan's industry and regulatory framework is absolutely rotten. Japan also appears to have a bit of a cultural thing against admitting mistakes, as failure is seen as shameful, so cover-ups are preferred to actually fixing things, even when it would be in a company's self interest to do the latter.

I very much do believe nuclear power can be done safely, but like so many other industries it relies on actually having effective and transparent government regulation. The same applies to pharmaceuticals, food production, transportation and so on. The free market is useful for setting prices and basic resource allocation, but it will not magically create safety and environmental regulations and ensure that they are followed. You need a transparent government with a spine to do that.

Re:You free speech defenders (0)

Renraku (518261) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922948)

I guess those few guys that died from radiation poisoning for 'getting a quick look' don't count as cancer deaths, since they technically died from radiation poisoning.

Re:You free speech defenders (2)

gweihir (88907) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922960)

Sure, statistical death projections do not give you direct cause-death relationships. But that is just putting your head in the sand. Or a way to lie with statistics. Incidentally this fact is used by the nuclear industry to deny compensation to the people it kills, since each one could have been killed by other radiation or other cancer causing effects. If you look at larger numbers though, the relation is striking and undeniable.

Re:You free speech defenders (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922740)

In reality, Japanese officials already have caused a few 10'000 cancer deaths beyond what was unavoidable

Citation?

Re:You free speech defenders (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922772)

In reality, Japanese officials already have caused a few 10'000 cancer deaths beyond what was unavoidable.

Reasonable estimates don't put the total extra cancer death toll due to Chernobyl at more than 1000, so I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that your figure of 10,000 is either totally fabricated or based on faulty assumptions.

I'm not saying Tepco have necessarily behaved reasonably, and I'd hate to see them unnecessarily muddying the reputation of nuclear power further, but that doesn't justify totally spurious accusations against them.

By the way, if you do happen to have a reputably sourced paper (free of any glaring omissions or logical errors) with that 10,000 deaths figure stated as a realistic scenario, I will quite willingly eat my hat.

Re:You free speech defenders (2)

gweihir (88907) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923010)

1000 for Chernobyl is totally bogus, even the WHO is currently at 9000. In addition, of the liquidators (not contained in the 9k number), 66'000 are now dead and 160'000 are permanently disabled.

Re:You free speech defenders (2)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922622)

Y'know all those people in China who disappear for pissing off the state? That tends to be justified under censorship legislation using nebulous terms such as "harmful to public order and morality". The government are there to keep order, after all, and if you're speaking against the government, then you must be disrupting public order. Or so the horrifically oppressive reasoning goes.

Re:You free speech defenders (2)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922926)

Next time someone makes fun by shouting authentically "Fire! Fire! Run!" in a theater or some other 'suitable' place, and your relatives die there having been crushed by the panicking crowd trying to get out, maybe then you'll remember that there are certain situations where Freedom of Speech is limited, and rightfully so, precisely to prevent panic and to save lives.

Except that Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969) overturned Schenck v. United States (1917), and holds that falsely shouting "Fire" in a theater cannot be restricted alone for presenting a "clear and present danger", and setting the now current and much higher bar that the speech has to provoke "imminent lawless action".

So, basically, in the US, you can falsely shout fire in a theater without committing an illegal act... (I do not however recommend it, as civil liability for wrongful death can be harsh... unless you're OJ Simpson...)

Re:You free speech defenders (2)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922936)

.... correction, "without committing an illegal act" should read "without committing a CRIMINAL act."

"Illegal Information"? (3, Interesting)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922282)

"Illegal Information"? Orwell would be proud.

Re:"Illegal Information"? (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922340)

nuclear lying continues

Re:"Illegal Information"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35922442)

Down through the memory hole with ye!

Re:"Illegal Information"? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35922522)

Fine, please post all your personal financial information here!!!

Re:"Illegal Information"? (2)

SquirrelDeth (1972694) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922718)

In Canada they fire the nuclear watchdog if they say anything.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chalk_River_Laboratories
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Lunn

Re:"Illegal Information"? (2)

gilbert644 (1515625) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922728)

He wrote 1984 as a cautionary tale not a wishful fantasy you know.

homer simpson is at fault and he will blame the gu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35922830)

homer simpson is at fault and he will blame the guy who can't speak English T-bore.

Re:"Illegal Information"? (2)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922850)

In the US it is against the law to spread false information about people and events...how is Japan saying the same any different?

Libel and Perjury are nothing but stops on 'Illegal Information'.

Re:"Illegal Information"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35922940)

Because the japanese government is blocking real information and spreading their own false indormstion.

Re:"Illegal Information"? (0)

trapnest (1608791) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922970)

Information implies truth. That's why the modifier "false" is required in your first sentence. Japan is trying to stop the spread of facts. That's a bit different than your example.

Re:"Illegal Information"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35923004)

No, they are stops on "incorrect and harmful" information.

Political suicide (1)

eyenot (102141) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922284)

Why would they risk their image? The upcoming elections are going to be haRd enough on the ruling party. This is like suicide. There is already strong resentment because of allegations and discoveries of cover ups.

Jurisdiction (4, Insightful)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922308)

Putting aside the issue of censorship in general, what do they intend to do when their requests are ignored? Are they only going after Japanese media companies? If so, then there's nothing to stop people in Japan from getting information from other sources. For media hosted in Britain they could probably sue for libel, but they'd have a hard time doing anything to media hosted in the US.

I'm also having a hard time telling from the article if they're actually concerned about real scaremongering news, of which we've certainly seen a lot of in the west, or if they're just using that as an excuse to express "scary" but accurate news.

Health threat (3, Insightful)

ilguido (1704434) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922314)

According to the WHO, the biggest impact on public health of the disaster of Chernobyl was to the mental health, thanks to a lack of accurate information. I'm with the Japanese Government. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2005/pr38/en/index.html [who.int]

Re:Health threat (3, Insightful)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922458)

except the Japanese government has been going along with TEPCO's lies until later truth is revealed. No melted fuel, no need for exclusion zone just stay inside you'll be fine, no breach of containment, not a Chernobyl (already the same order of magnitude of contamination released and it's still rising), etc. As an engineering physicist, I could tell weeks ahead of time that B.S. an lies were being spewed by certain tell-tales (e.g. chlorine detected reveals ongoing fission) I'm not with the Japanese government, since when has a bunch of bureaucrats been qualified to advise on safety or correct steps of action to any accident involving scientific or engineering principals? Never ever, they are just power and money grubbing parasites, in every age and every civilization.

Re:Health threat (1)

zugedneb (601299) | more than 3 years ago | (#35923012)

yes, but the state has to go along with what it is told - for a time. so if tepco says "no leak" than there is no leak - it is no good solution to have "know it alls" like you telling the "truth", neither in government or corporation.

IF LATER it is possibile to show that any part did intentionally lie, then, I think, they should be tortured to death rather slowly. that way one can't be trusted are (evolutionally) elimintated.

Old Sayings (4, Interesting)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922316)

When information is made illegal only outlaws will have information.

Re:Old Sayings (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922354)

When information is made illegal only outlaws will have information.

That makes many high-profile government employees, ministers and presidents outlaws... Hmm.

Re:Old Sayings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35922682)

That information isn't illegal - just exposing it to the wrong people is.

Re:Old Sayings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35922720)

Well, yeah. Duh.
You must be new on this planet...

Re:Old Sayings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35922404)

09 F9

Re:Old Sayings (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35922468)

Makes it easy to spot the outlaws.
Unless of course, in this case, you don't know that it's illegal to have information... but then... ...oh darn

Re:Old Sayings (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922610)

Makes it easy to spot the outlaws.
Unless of course, in this case, you don't know that it's illegal to have information... but then... ...oh darn

Yes... it is indeed, a TRAP!

They have a record of doing this... (1, Insightful)

Essequemodeia (1030028) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922336)

And so the official underreporting and censorship of the magnitude of the Fukushima incident by official governmental agencies begins. Or, really, continues. And all I got was this irradiated tee-shirt.

This just in... (4, Funny)

Jyunga (2040832) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922402)

Newly announced Japanese Information Minister Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf: "No radiation in Fukushima. I can assure you that those villains will recognize, will discover in appropriate time in the future, how stupid they are and how they are pretending things which have never taken place".

Authority gone - this is what you get (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35922426)

Considering how they handled public communications in the early going.
They wouldn't be in the position they are today was it not for their own incompetence.
Lesson learned.

Let the rumours & conspiracy theories start (5, Insightful)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922440)

This may have been done with the best of intentions, but it is crassly stupid. People will now start to doubt official reports as to what is happening if they think that ''inconvenient truths'' might be erased.

Slippery Slope (3, Insightful)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922448)

Now, if we judge this purely on the current situation and setting, it is logical and justifiable. There's a reason "freedom of speech" was listed in the Bill of Rights before "right to bear arms" - speech, if used improperly, can be more damaging than bullets. IF this is strictly limited to "blatantly and dangerously false information" AND strictly limited to the current crisis, it is an appropriate action for the government to take.

However, I'm hesitant to flat-out support this due to several things. First is the ever-present "Slippery Slope" factor - if we permit this, then what is to stop them from deploying such measures inappropriately later? Second is the fact that, until it is used in action, we do not know the scope of "illegal information". It could be as restrictive as banning only "there is no meltdown IT'S ALL A CONSPIRACY" and "it's 4,000,000 times worse then Hiroshima", but it could also be as restrictive as banning anything that isn't essentially parroting the Official Government Report.

Re:Slippery Slope (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922916)

The tradition of 'the pen (speech) is mighter than the sword (killing)' is very misleading. Speech itself in this context is mainly a motivator for killing. It's a shorthand that says that one good speaker can get you access to a lot of swordsmen, while one swordsman gets you precisely one swordsman.

Morality (1)

iDuck (1435169) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922490)

"...authorities deem harmful to public order and morality" Well, this must be bad information if it's corrupting the population's sense of morality... or should that be morale? :-)

There is no "illegal information"... (4, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922492)

... except in totalitarian states. Or states that have so massively screwed up as Japan has in its oversight (or better lack of it) of Tepco that now have to face a panic as the truth begins to dawn on those ripped off. Quite possibly this could be the end of Japan as a 1st world country. They have been spiraling down for some time now.

The real tragedy is that Tepco could not even make ends meet with reactors built and running and paid for. If you take into account the cost they have to face now and the cost for permanent storage of the regularly spent fuel, you can see how hugely expensive (in addition to the risk of incrementally poisoning the biosphere) nuclear power really is. Seems to be the most costly way to generate electricity by a very large margin. Why people still stick to it is possibly that the largest part of the cost will be to future generations. Despicable.

Re:There is no "illegal information"... (2)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922584)

oil and wars in the mid-east. THAT's why people consider nuclear.

Re:There is no "illegal information"... (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922704)

Be sure you're talking about the Nuclear Power that TEPCO is using. Liquid Salt Thorium and Pebble Bed Reactors don't pose the risks you mention, for example.

Re:There is no "illegal information"... (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922806)

And they are not commercially viable. For example, the pebble-bed reactor has a problem with cracked fuel spheres and the feeder system that they could never work out. I read the technical reports. They still have the long-term waste storage problem.

Re:There is no "illegal information"... (3, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922856)

Be sure you're talking about the Nuclear Power that TEPCO is using. Liquid Salt Thorium and Pebble Bed Reactors don't pose the risks you mention, for example.

Liquid Salt Thorium and Pebble Bed reactors don't exist as commercial products. That's a subtle, but important distinction. While it's potentially possible that some nuclear technology might be relatively safe and non polluting there is very little push to have any industrial level research. Supposedly, the Indians are working on a Thorium based reactor. The Chinese are trying to improve current PWR designs. But MOST of the plants running in the world are older style BWRs or PWRs. And up until Fukushima most of the utilities were hell bent on keeping them going past their original design lives. Now that this behavior has suddenly become politically unpopular, you either have to decommission the things or ???? (who knows what).

We've boxed ourselves in quite nicely as far as nuclear power goes. Long term prevarication by governments and industry has left us with few useful choices in the short term. And the long term is quite a bit away. Might as well work on improving solar and wind.

Re:There is no "illegal information"... (1)

arf_barf (639612) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922896)

So you have a "safe" liquid salt / single fluid reactor. What happens when there is a disaster and that fluid comes in contact water (like from a Tsunami)?

Re:There is no "illegal information"... (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922928)

Pebble bed existed as a research facility in Germany, at the Juelich site. And it was an utter failure. Possibly the most contaminated site in the country by now, depends on how the storage facility at Asse works out. As for liquid salt - cooling stuff with molten beryllium fluoride? How nuts can you get?

Re:There is no "illegal information"... (1)

arcade (16638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922904)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AVR_reactor [wikipedia.org]

Also, do read the german wikipedia article about it through Google Translate.

It's rather interesting that Pebble Bed is continously pushed as 'the future of nuclear power' on the internets, at the same time that AVR turned out to be rather .. interesting.

Re:There is no "illegal information"... (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922714)

Seems to be the most costly way to generate electricity by a very large margin.

A typical nuclear power plant the size of the Fukushima complex will cost $20 billion or so to build (including money to get past the lawsuits from the treehuggers).

A typical coal-fired plant the same size will cost much less to build, but spend more than $60 billion over the thirty year lifespan of the nuke plant to buy coal.

Note that this isn't counting the cost for disposal of coal ash and such. Just the cost to get the coal to the plant.

Re:There is no "illegal information"... (2)

gweihir (88907) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922918)

And it will cost something like 10..100x time that to deconstruct it as the end of its lifetime. Then there is the cost for the long-term storage of the nuclear waste. True, at this time nuclear fuel is about a factor of 1000 cheaper per energy contents than coal. But you need to ignore all other costs and the costs of accidents to run with that figure. You also need to ignore that the world supply or uranium is dwindling, less is produced than used and that nuclear reactors need to run a very, very long time to be cost-effective, again not including long-term waste storage, risk of major disaster and the cost for tearing down the plant at the end of its lifetime.

Suddenly the cost figure looks bleak. But with misdirection and outright lies nuclear power can be made to look reasonable. Sad though that so many intelligent people fall for the scam.

Re:There is no "illegal information"... (1)

johanw (1001493) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922968)

[quote]... except in totalitarian states.[/quote] Like the USA. Just ask Julian Assange or Bradley Manning. Or that Whitehouse dude that told the press someone was working for the CIA.

makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35922530)

Reads to me as: "media from the USA incorrigible; information kept from would-be helpful country in attempt to improve the general state of things."

To defend against misinformation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35922564)

Provide accurate and detailed information, and more of it.

Idiots.

Hey you dicks!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35922602)

If you would supply *correct* information ("woah, sorry, our measurements where off by a factor 1000000"), there wouldn't be so many rumors!

what if all the .govS told the truth up front? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35922630)

absurd for sure, but then wouldn't there be less/0 need for all the other conspiratorial.chosen.neogod.whackos.govs rumoristic glowbull warmongering terrorism campaigns, if the 'offending' .gov told the truth to start with, ever, once? as the topic of disarmament is no longer anywhere in with any notion of stuff that really matters, is that not a realistic indication of our plight, & expected outcome, like in sci-fi? no wonder we really don't want to know.

Gee (2)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922642)

i wonder why such a move is necessary, since everything is alright and under control. despite it being already officially declared to be a level 7 (chernobyl) disaster by japanese government itself.

A statement of the obvious... (2)

whizbang77045 (1342005) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922678)

Isn't this just an admission of what they are already doing? It's been evident since day one that the news released by the Japanese government was heavily censored.

Can anyone say "Barbera Streisand" ? (1)

burisch_research (1095299) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922700)

Streisand effect all over again. Except this time, the Japanese government may actually be right. It seems to be trendy these days to over-hype the scaremongering.

Illegal information? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35922710)

What if the information is true? Information that is true should never be illegal.

What I think is... (3, Interesting)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922746)

I remember seeing an article about how little they were taking care of the really poor workers which did all the 'dangerous' jobs. Something about not letting them leave when they saw the tsunami or something like that.

I think it makes the government look like a bunch of savages and I'm pretty sure that sort of stuff will disappear very quickly. Not just the "Don't eat bananas, they're radioactive" rubbish.

Idiots! (2)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922784)

As I have said before, it is a cultural standard not to be forthcoming with information and I still hold this is true. But the other side of the issue is that people WANT to know, regardless of their cultural ways and Japanese people TALK. They talk a lot. In fact, I hold the most significant reason Japan has such a low obesity rate is the fact that people talk about each other and they are actively seeking not to have people talk about them. So how is this relevant? Obviously, there are results to the government and big business withholding information that the public wants and even needs to know.

The government obviously doesn't care about issues of public trust. That's really too bad.

It seems a wrong step (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35922786)

Do They learn that from their Chinese neighbor?

Fight bullshit with data, not censorship (4, Insightful)

Trerro (711448) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922800)

I can understand them wanting to stop all the "ZOMGOURCOUNTRYISDOOMED!" reports, but this is very much not the way to do that. If anything, it makes the public MORE scared, as they assume if you're stopping reports, you're covering up the truth rather than trying to release it.

If you want the reality known, publish the exact numbers, and make sure that creditable scientists unaffiliated with the government or TEPCO are allowed to go in there and verify your data. How much radiation is leaking, how fast is it spreading, what's the half-life, and based on these numbers, what is a reasonable safe estimate of the contamination area? How long will it take to fully shut down the reaction, and once that's done, how long before no significant additional radiation will be leaked, and therefore, how long will the existing radiation take to decay to negligable levels? Include a handy chart like the XKCD one (http://xkcd.com/radiation/), as most people have no clue what a sievert is.

Remember the swine flu panic? Remember how badly the MSM blew the details out of proportion? Remember how fast the panic died once it was clearly explained that "epidemic" doesn't mean to the CDC what is does to the general populace... and that it was just a new strain of flu, and thus nothing to worry about if you weren't worried about normal flus? People pretty quickly realized it amounted to "if you have a weak immune system or are otherwise abnormally vulnerable, get a flu shot. If not, ignore it. You might get it, but you'll get it over it like every other flu. The CDC is monitoring it on the very low chance it mutates into something more dangerous, and is increasing flu shot reserves as a precautionary measure." Sure, it took a few weeks, but the panic died once the average person had the exact numbers.

Airborne diseases and radiation are similar in that both are scary because you can't see them, and it's quite possible to die from them. The only way to fight that fear of the unknown is by making it known - full data, full facts, realistic risk assessment that neither over- nor understates the problem.

OH HAI! (0, Troll)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922892)

Hello, dear apologists! This is the crowd you are associating with. Feel in good company? Yes? Though so. Scum attracts scum. Shall I dig out all the "nothing happened here", "this is proof of nuclear safety", "no meltdown is happening" - posts from 4 weeks ago?

elements of modern journalism (2)

zugedneb (601299) | more than 3 years ago | (#35922932)

reminds me of a documentary film I saw about political journalism, where one of the commenters pointed out that in the old days the journalists sat in the back listening and taking notes, but nowdays they stand in the front, both in person and in words - that is they say and write the interpretation they think they can get away with...

this is a downside of "the free market" - those who live on talking are dependent of your mony, so they say what sells...

Who descides? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35922972)

So who exactly decides what is illegal and what is not? Oh wait...

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