Last updated on March 1, 2013
A powerpoint presentation made by professor Majia Holmer Nadesan is getting some attention around the web, in the presentation she claims that the Japanese authorities, among others, lied and covered up information about the Fukushima accident. So let’s have a look at it.
But first things first; who is professor Nadesan? From her web page at Arizona State University we can read:
Majia Nadesan is a professor of communication in the Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences in the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. She received her Ph.D. in communication studies in 1993 from Purdue University after earning her B.S. and M.S. in the same subject from San Diego State University. Prior to joining the faculty at ASU’s College of Human Services in 1994, Dr. Nadesan was an assistant professor at Syracuse University.
At ASU’s West campus, Dr. Nadesan teaches courses in gender and community; theory and research in organizational communication; rhetorical, interpretive and critical methods in communication; and rhetoric of social issues.
The title and abstract of her presentation is
“Lessons From Fukushima: Governments and the Media Will Deceive the Public and Withhold Vital Information, Leaving Citizens to Create Informal Information Sharing Networks”
This paper will demonstrate that the Japanese and U.S. Governments withheld vital information from their citizens about the direction and risks of Fukushima radiation plumes and the degree and consequences of radioactive fallout. Second, the paper will demonstrate that the mainstream news media, including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, were complicit in hiding information about fallout levels, dispersion, and plant conditions. The U.S. media are commonly recognized as more independent from government than Japanese media. This disaster demonstrates that the U.S. mainstream news media censor information, even when public safety is at issue. Finally, this paper examines the spontaneous creation of information sharing sites and the subsequent development of a robust network of citizen-supported information sites in Japan and the United States.
She has divided the presentation into three “lessons learned” and the three lessons are:
Lesson 1: Democratic governments may elect to withhold vital information in the event of severe disasters
Lesson 2: The Western media may censor vital information
Lesson 3: Spontaneous citizens’ networks can emerge in response to government censorship and these networks have multiple functions, benefits, and drawbacks
I will focus on lesson 1 and look at lesson 2 and 3 in later blog posts.
Before I start going over the points she makes in the presentation I want to highlight one thing; Professor Nadesan has no background in engineering or hard science. Normally I would say that it doesn’t really matter what kind of education someone has, it is what they say that matters. But it matters in this case because she is a professor, and it is likely people will refer to her as a professor, without specifying in what field that she does research. Secondly, if a person has no background in a field that they want to examine, it becomes very hard to separate the junk from the facts. To expand on this point, we take a look at page 5 of her presentation and find that as her references she cites:
Enenews, Fairewinds,, Fukushima Diary, Ex-SKF, Enformable, If You Love This Planet, NukePimp,etc
Now let’s consider these sources. Ex-SKF is a blog that has repeatedly spread the claims of people like Busby and Gundersen. He has made blog posts where Busby claims the reactor 3 explosion was a nuclear explosion etc. Fairewinds is Arnie Gundersen’s homepage. The same Gundersen that spices his resume and that claims one of the spent fuel pools exploded in a prompt criticality explosion (obviously Busby and Gundersen are not satisfied with good old fashion hydrogen explosions). After taking a quick glance, Enenews and NukePimp look no better than Ex-SKF. The greatest surprise to me is “If you love this planet“, which is a weekly radio program with Helen Caldicott of all people! So let’s consider this lineup; Busby is a guy that seriously claims that the Japanese government is intentionally spreading radioactive material around Japan to hide future cancer clusters around Fukushima. He is also a 9/11 “truther”, claiming America was dropping neutron bombs over Fallujah and that such a bomb brought down the World Trade Center. Caldicott is not much better. She claims, among other things, that the IAEA, WHO and the UNSCEAR are involved in a big cover up of the health consequences of Chernobyl. So there is the grand lineup of sources that professor Nadesan gets her information from. To put it bluntly they have a history of spreading outrageous claims. For more on Busby see our earlier posts (here, here, here and here).
Is this character assassination? To some extent perhaps, but if someone uses the above people as sources it is warranted, it highlights that professor Nadesan has gotten her information about nuclear engineering and radiation sciences from sources that have no formal qualifications in the fields and that are known to be less than strict about staying truthful. This sets the stage for all that is to come. So now let’s go through some of the points in the presentation itself. I will try to evaluate Nadesan’s arguments by judging its truthfulness, i.e was the information really hidden; and importance, i.e was the information of any importance for the general public.
Lesson 1: Speedi Censored
Japan used a system called Speedi – System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose information — to model March radiation releases and blamed the delay in reporting results to the public in mid-April to their efforts to narrow the margin of error in their calculations, although nuclear regulators in other countries were privy to Speedi’s results early on.
In July, the Atomic Energy Society of Japan publicly criticized the Japanese government and TEPCO for delays in reporting Speedi data to the public:
-the society notes that there is the possibility that the damage to people’s health from radiation exposure has increased because the government, Tepco and related institutions did not properly disclose information on the status of the nuclear accidents and the environmental contamination by radioactive substances.
SPEEDI is a network system that gathers local meteorological data from around nuclear power plants and combined with estimates of radiation release can create a map that shows radiation dose rates in different regions. The SPEEDI system also collects gamma dose rates from different monitoring posts run by the local authorities in each prefecture. SPEEDI is coordinated by MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology). From all accounts it seems true that SPEEDI information was not given freely and the Atomic Energy Society is quite correct in its critique. But what was the reason for withholding this information? If one reads through the English summary of the report, from the “Investigation Committee on the Accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Stations”, on page 9 and 10 it is written:
The communication links were disrupted and inoperative due to the earthquakes, and the SPEEDI could not receive the basic source term information of released radioactivity. It was therefore not possible for the SPEEDI to estimate atmospheric dispersion of radioactive materials on the basis of the basic source term information. Nevertheless, it is possible for the SPEEDI to estimate the course of dispersion of radioactive materials, making assumption of the reference release rate of 1 Bq/h. And actually those estimates were then calculated by the system. Such calculation only predicts the direction of dispersion and relative distribution of radioactivity. But, if the information had been provided timely, it could have helped local governments and population to choose more appropriate route and direction for evacuation.
So did the government withhold information that could have mitigated the consequences? The committee’s conclusion is not clear and SPEEDI could not give any absolute dose rates, only an estimate of how the radiation will spread, i.e. a map that shows fractionally how much will go where, for instance 0.01% goes to Ibaraki, 0.03% to Fukushima etc. It is hard to evacuate based on that information because it gives no clue if any dose rate limits are exceeded or not. Now after the incident it seems clear that one could have used the map given by SPEEDI combined with the gamma measurements to extrapolate where doses are likely to be high, but this was probably not thought of in the heat of the moment. This kind of oversight might have caused the delayed evacuation of Iitate. It is a bit strong however to suggest the government withheld information to the public , simply because the information the government had did not give dose rates, only the fractional distribution. Releasing that information would not clarify the situation.
Nadesan further states that the government did not go public with the location of a hot spot in Namie. But Namie was evacuated during March 12 – 13, the days after the tsunami. Releasing that information would not have made any difference. We of course do NOT agree with withholding such information. However, in this case it seems like withholding the information had no consequences and there is no reason to assume there was any malicious intent or an attempted cover up of the whole issue. Regarding dose rates, MEXT did release information about dose rates around the evacuation zone weeks before before mid April. On this blog for instance we posted this picture from MEXT on March 23. Measuring spots 31, 32 and 79 is in Namie and its clear that it is hotter than the rest of the points. The information of the Namie hotspot was then clearly open to anyone. I do not know at which date MEXT started publishing such maps, and the MEXT homepage has apparently been redesigned and I can’t find any archive. It is clear that information was released sometime in mid March, not mid April.
In summary, information about dose rates outside the evacuated areas was available earlier than Nadesan claims, but exactly when it became available we can not tell. It is not good that MEXT withheld SPEEDI data and the critique from the Atomic Energy Society is warranted, but it doesn’t seem like it has had any consequences. Within two weeks clear information about where the fallout was deposited was publicly available.
Japanese Officials Failed to Dispense Potassium Iodide Pills
Fukushima area municipal entities had supplies of potassium iodide pills but the Japanese disaster manuals stipulated that local officials wait for orders from the national government to distribute.
Tokyo waited 5 days after Mar 11 before ordering distribution
WSJ writes: “The failure to disburse the preventive pills follows other examples of how the Japanese government failed to implement available measuresaimed at protecting local residents from the harms of radiation”
According to the IAEA, iodine tablets where distributed to evacuation centers already on March the 14th (Tokyo didn’t wait 5 days, it was rather 3 days) but no decision to give the pills to the evacuees was taken. Why was this decision not taken? We do not know, naively it would seem prudent to give such pills as soon as possible, but without full information about the circumstances it isn’t easy to judge. The recommended prophylactic iodine dose by WHO for people over the age of 12 is 130 mg and 65 mg for kids under age of 12. This is close to 1000 times the normal nutritional need and in the range for where adverse side effects can take place. The benefits of iodine has to be weighted against the adverse side effects. It is certainly plausible that the authorities judged that the side effects of iodine might outweigh the benefits in this particular case.
A better question to ask is: Did the Japanese government follow guidelines regarding iodine? The WHO guidelines regarding iodine states this:
In regions where only the likelihood of stochastic effects is a cause for concern, stable iodine prophylaxis should be considered for sensitive population groups if potential exposure to radioactive iodine by inhalation or exposure by ingestion is expected to approach the reference levels given in Table 1, and cannot be prevented by sheltering or food and milk control.
The table they refer to gives these values:
- Children under age of 18 and pregnant and lactating women: 10 mGy avertable dose to the thyroid
- Adults under 40: 100 mGy avertable dose to the thyroid
- Adults over 40 years: 5 Gy projected dose to the thyroid
IAEA guideline (table 3 in the document) is to give iodine if the dose might exceed 50 mGy.
The main purpose of taking iodine pills is to stop the uptake of radioactive iodine by inhalation. Regarding radioactive iodine in food the WHO writes:
Stable iodine could also be used as prophylaxis against ingested radioactive iodine from contaminated food. However, because the risk of exposure from ingestion of iodine will remain for a longer time, iodine prophylaxis will also be required for a longer period of time, leading to a need for repeated doses. The side effect rate from multiple doses would be higher, but the frequency is not known. It is probably low in children but may be significant in adults, especially in areas with dietary iodine deficiency. Exposure by ingestion can also be considerably reduced by agricultural countermeasures such as removing grazing animals from contaminated pasture or by the imposition of appropriate controls on agricultural products. In general, food controls would be easier to implement and more effective in the long term in reducing the collective dose than stable iodine prophylaxis (note emphasis added). Therefore, agricultural and food control measures are preferable to repeated doses of stable iodine.
According to an article in The Asahi Shimbun (22 February 2012) the Japanese Nuclear Safety Comission released a report where they had screened 1080 children from the Fukushima prefecture, out of those 11 kids under the age of 15 received a dose between 5 – 35 mSv to the thyroid. The second highest dose was 25 mSv and the third highest was 21 mSv. Thyroid doses in the Tokyo region was around 1 mSv. Based on the available information it was justified not to give out the iodine pills, less than 1% of the evacuated kids received a thyroid dose high enough to justify iodine pills according to WHO guidelines and none exceeded the IAEA guidelines. Giving out the pills could possibly have caused unnecessary damage. It is hard to find any concrete information regarding scanning of food from the Fukushima prefecture, the earliest mention I can find of any stopped food shipments is from the 19th of March. Edano’s wording suggests they were monitoring food and dairy products before that date.
In summary, the inhalation doses were below IAEA limits and possible dose due to ingestion was excluded due to monitoring of food and dairy products which means thyroid pills were not necessary. There is no sign that iodine pill distribution was delayed in order to downplay the severity of the accident. One can criticize the emergency preparedness procedures based on the fact that no iodine pills where available for three days, in case they would have been needed earlier. But we don’t see how any information was withheld regarding iodine pills.
Lesson 1: Governments Censor Risk: Leading to Inadequate EvacuationOn March 11, the Japanese government ordered persons within a 1.9 mile radius of the Fukushima I plant to evacuate and recommended that those within 6.2 miles stay within their homes.On March 12, the evacuation was extended to 20 kilometers.On March 13, after the first explosion, the World health Organization reported that the risk from the reactors was “probably quite low.”On March 17, the U.S. declared that U.S. citizens and troops should stay atleast 50 miles from the Fukushima reactors.March 25 the Japanese government declared a voluntary evacuation for people within 30 kilometers of the plant while the official evacuation zone remained 20 kilometers, or approximately 20 miles.On April 4, The Wall Street Journal reported that Japanese authorities had finally acknowledged that the evacuation zone needed to be expanded beyond the 20 kilometer zone.April 8 Evacuation zone still at 20 kilometers intends to limit exposure to 50 millisieverts
Let’s again ask the question if the Japanese government was following evacuation guidelines. The IAEA guidelines (table 8) is to, immediately following an nuclear accident, evacuate a zone with a radius of 5-30 km. The Japanese government choose to evacuate an area of 20 km and make a voluntary evacuation area out to 30 km. Further IAEA guidelines (table 3) for evacuation is to immediately evacuate areas where the dose might exceed 50 mSv in the first week and to gradually relocate people from areas where the dose might exceed 100 mSv in a year.
The important question then is, are there any areas outside of the 20 km evacuation zone that have received cumulative doses above 100 mSv since the accident, or where residents were exposed to more than 50 mSv in the first week? If we look at the latest MEXT map of integrated air gamma dose we see this (click on it to make it more clear).
Measuring point 32 clearly has an accumulated dose larger than 100 mSv. Together with measuring points 31 and 79 it is located in the town of Namie. Namie was promptly evacuated despite being outside the 20km zone. Measuring point 33 clearly exceeds 50 mSv and is in Iitate village. Iitate was not evacuated immediately but the government asked the people to evacuate on the 22 April (one month and 11 days after the accident). Iitate is a borderline case. It would certainly not have been bad to evacuate it earlier and the dose rate two weeks after the accident was actually higher in Iitate than in Namie, but it is also plausible that the area did not exceed 50 mSv in the first month. The guidelines for temporary relocation is if the dose will exceed 30 mSv during first month and 10 mSv the following month. Likely Iitate fell under this category and evacuating sooner than the first month would have been advisable. Regardless if Japan followed international guidelines or not it is still surprising that they did not evacuate in an area that more closely resembles the fallout plume from the accident. The shape of the area affected by fallout was known quite early, the map below shows the dose rates currently. Evacuation could easily have been expanded into the entire yellow area outside of the 30 km zone. Why this was not done is not known, but it might be because of the unreliability of the SPEEDI network.
Nothing in this however indicates that the government censored risk and due to the censorship failed to evacuate areas. The Japanese government appears to have followed standard guidelines with the possible exception of Iitate village. It is also worth mentioning this section from the IAEA guidelines:
Typically, following a nuclear or radiological emergency a number of people (not all of whom may be experts) will make estimates of a radiation induced increase to be expected in the incidence of cancers and other effects (e.g. birth defects) that may appear among those population groups who were exposed to radiation as a result of the emergency. Such stochastic health effects would not be individually attributable to radiation exposure (as they could not be distinguished from health effects with other causes). Estimates of consequences for a population may be made on the basis of the collective radiation dose (i.e. the sum total of all individual doses in an exposed population, expressed in man-sieverts) and levels of radiation health risks derived from observations made on exposed population groups who received high radiation doses (e.g. survivors of the atomic bombing in Japan). However, health consequences to be expected are generally estimated for people who have received only low radiation doses. In estimating such health consequences certain assumptions have to be made because of scientific uncertainties concerning the biological effects of radiation exposure at low doses and low dose rates. For the purposes of the system of radiation protection the assumption is made that there is no threshold level of radiation dose below which there is no associated radiation risk. This is only an assumption, however; data on radiation health risks that are yielded by studying the effects of exposure at high doses are not directly applicable for low dose exposure. Moreover, the very small projected increases in the incidence of cancers among those people exposed with such low levels of dose would in any case be undetectable epidemiologically against the fluctuations in the spontaneous incidence. Incautious estimates of the health effects of low dose exposures have led to what many consider is an exaggerated view on the part of the public of the risks associated with radiation, and consequently in inappropriate and, in some cases, counterproductive and harmful ‘protective’ actions being taken by the public and by officials. Risks of stochastic effects occurring as a result of low radiation doses (e.g. lower than 100 mSv) that are quantified for the purposes of radiation protection should therefore be interpreted for and communicated to the public with great caution, if at all. Any such quantification should be accompanied by a plain language explanation that makes it clear that, for such low doses, any radiation induced increase in the incidence of health effects in a population would be inherently very difficult, if not impossible, to detect (note – emphasis added). This plain language explanation should also discuss the risks and consequences of any actions taken to reduce the risks associated with exposure. If others (e.g. official or unofficial parties within or outside the State) make such estimates, consideration should be given to providing a clear explanation that puts these estimates in perspective.
Regardless of whether one agrees with that or not, the Japanese communication strategy might have been lifted straight out of the IAEA guidelines. We don’t agree with avoiding to discuss risk from radiation doses below 100 mSv, it just opens the field for people like Busby. But one should certainly point out that there is no evidence of damaging effects from such low dosages and keep that in mind when examining the media handling of the accident by the Government.
Japanese Government Understated Radiation Threats and Set High Standards for Exposure
Toshiso Kosako resigned from the Japanese Government’s panel of nuclear experts on April 30 in response to the government’s ceiling on “unacceptable” standards of radiation levels in schoolyards.
Dr Kosako claimed that the Japanese government understated radiation risks and was slow to test for risks posed by contaminated seawater and seafood “Hayashi, Y. (2011, July 2-3). Ex-Advisor Says Tokyo Understated Radiation Threats. The Wall Street Journal, p. A7
Professor Kosako’s reason for resignation from the panel can be found in this link. Regarding the children he wrote this:
This time, upon discussing the acceptable level of radiation exposure for playgrounds in primary schools in Fukushima, they have calculated, guided and determined a level of “3.8μSv per hour” on the basis of “20mSv per year”. It is completely wrong to use such a standard for schools that are going to run a normal school curriculum, in which case a standard similar to usual radiation protection measurement (1mSv per year, or even in exceptional cases, 5mSv) ought to be applied, and not the one used in cases of exceptional or urgent circumstances (for two to three days, or at the most, one to two weeks). It is not impossible to use a standard, perhaps for a few months, of 10mSv per year at the maximum, if the public is rightly notified of the necessity of taking caution, and also if special measures are to be taken. But normally it is better to avoid such a thing. We have to note that it is very rare even among the occupationally exposed persons (84,000 in total) to be exposed to radiation of 20mSv per year. I cannot possibly accept such a level to be applied to babies, infants and primary school students, not only from my scholarly viewpoint but also from my humanistic beliefs.
You rarely come across a level of 10mSv per year on the covering soil if you measure the leftover soil at a disposal site in any uranium mine (it would be about a few mSv per year at the most), so one needs to have utmost caution when using such a level. Therefore, I strongly protest the decision to use the standard of 20mSv per year for school playgrounds, and ask for revision.
Professor Kosako’s protest seems to have been heard, the target dose rate for this fiscal year for schools and other places that children occupy will be 1 mSv according to MEXT.
With a basic stance to reduce the exposure of pupils and others to radiation as much as possible, using the annual dose of 1–20 mSv indicated in the interim policy as a guide level, MEXT will aim to reduce the annual dose that pupils and others receive in school to 1 mSv or less this fiscal year. MEXT will consider possibilities of additional measures, while continuing to seek the opinions of experts, etc. about the physical and mental health and development of pupils and others.
Getting into a discussion if 20 mSv/year is an unacceptable dose or not is tricky business and it is not a discussion we will delve into now. It involves arguments from all fields of science, from physics to biochemistry and it is not known if small radiation dosages do any harm or not. As the quote from IAEA guidelines states, it is assumed there is no threshold and that damaging effects can occur all the way down to zero dose. Professor Kosako’s opinion is clearly that 20 mSv/year is unacceptable and his own moral code did not allow him to stay in the panel if they accept that dose limit for children. It is however worth mentioning that 20 mSv/year is not outside of what occurs naturally in certain areas of the world. One such startling example is the black sand beaches in South America. The dose rates on those beaches can be as high as 50 microSievert per hour. If a group of kids play on the beach 1-2 hours per day on average they would get a yearly dose of 18 to 36 mSv per year. In some densely populated areas of India dose rates can go as high as 35 mSv/year. It would be interesting to discuss those areas with professor Kosako and find out if he would advice Brazil to close of the beaches and India to evacuate areas of Kerala. We don’t write that to be callous, it is an honest curiosity. It is however clear that a discussion regarding the dangers of 20 mSv/year is not needed since the target goal is to get doses down to 1 mSv/year in areas occupied by children.
Lets’ again ask the question if the actions of the Japanese government follows international standards The IAEA guideline for permanently resettling an area is if the cumulative life time dose in the area is less than 1 Sv. Assuming all of the dose is caused by Cesium-137 (a conservative assumption since part of the radiation is due to Cesium-134 which has a shorter half life) and assuming a initial yearly dose of 20 mSv/year it is trivial to calculate that the life time dose (assuming a person lives in the area for 70 years) would be about 0.7 Sv. Once again the Japanese government was following international guidelines and then choose to go beyond them and adopt a much stricter limit for playgrounds and schools. Professor Kosako’s opinion is thus not shared with the majority of the worlds radiation experts. It is also interesting to observe that, according to the “1 Sv/lifetime” standard, the aforementioned areas in Kerala and Brazil should not be considered fit for occupation.
Lesson 1: Japanese Government Censored Disaster Report
Cabinet Kept Alarming Nuke Report Secret
Japan Times January 22
Japanese Government buried a worst-case account of the Fukushima disaster by treating it as a personal document of Japan’s Atomic Energy Agency. The report projected that in the worst case scenario the plant would intermittently release radiation for about a year.
The report was buried in part because the Japanese government recognized it could not successfully evacuate citizens the necessary 170 kilometers out.
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120122a1.htmlAn interim report produced by the Japanese Government found that the government delayed relaying vital information to the public about the seriousness of the meltdowns and the radiation releases
This is an example of taking something fairly insignificant and make it into a much bigger deal than it was. It is nothing strange about postulating an absolute worst case scenario, but doing so says nothing about the likelihood of such a scenario. Professor Bernard Cohen explains this perfectly in his book “The nuclear energy option”, especially under the headline “The worst possible accident“. With regards to this particular case it seems to refer to the possibility of cascading reactor failures if one reactor suffers such a horrendous hydrogen explosion that the containment completely fails and all reactors have to be abandoned. I won’t reinvent the wheel and simply link to a well done review of the issue written on the Brave New Climate blog, “The Fukushima Question: How close did Japan really get to a widespread nuclear disaster?“. This is what the then Prime Minister Kan has to say on the issue of worst case scenario:
In an interview conducted for that program, then-Prime Minister Naoto Kan suggests that the fear of cascading plant failures was nothing more than panicked speculation among some of his advisers. “I asked many associates to make forecasts,” Kan explained to PBS, “and one such forecast was a worst-case scenario. But that scenario was just something that was possible, it didn’t mean that it seemed likely to happen.”
In other words it was not a scenario the government took seriously, it was simply an attempt to get a feel for what could possibly happen if everything goes wrong. Likely there was no censorship of data simply because there is no reason to go public with every unlikely projection that they contemplated. Is anyone blaming them for not releasing any best case scenarios they made?
Let’s look at professor Nadesan’s lesson one again:
Lesson 1: Democratic governments may elect to withhold vital information in the event of severe disasters
The presentation demonstrates that the Japanese and U.S. Governments withheld vital information from their citizens about the direction and risks of Fukushima fallout.
What can be concluded from reviewing Nadesans points? Our conclusion is that it is not a very clear situation. Let’s remember the context, a huge earthquake followed by the worst tsunami in recorded history hit a densely populated region of Japan. Roads where destroyed, trains where swept of their tracks, tens of thousands of people died, countless buildings where ruined, chemical plants exploding in flames and three reactors suffered complete loss of power and were in different stages of meltdown. Communications were severed, key decision makers were trapped in different regions of Japan, unable to reach their home offices. In all of this mayhem the flow of information must have been staggering, in the case of the SPEEDI data for instance it seems like most people simply forgot about it. As the comission concludes:
Since the local NERHQ (Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters) lost its functionality, the Government NERHQ or NISA should have taken the role of providing the SPEEDI results to the public. But none of them had the idea of making use of this information. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), the competent ministry for SPEEDI, also did not come to realize the provision of the SPEEDI information to the public on its own or through the Government NERHQ. Furthermore, since March 16, the clear division of responsibility was kept undefined between MEXT and NSC on the utilization of the SPEEDI. This was one of the reasons for the delay of making the SPEEDI results public.
Can one look at the situation and draw the conclusion that the government was withholding information in order to cover up a nuclear accident? We feel that is a very unfounded accusation, too many things where happening at the same time. Human error was abundant and it was not clear who had responsibility for what. Despite the circumstances it appears that any information not shared with the public would not have made any difference anyway from a public health perspective. Japan followed the IAEA guidelines in appropriate ways with regards to evacuation, iodine distribution and other emergency responses.
Relevant blogs and articles (mixed Swedish and English).