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Tokyo 2020 in the Shadow of Godzilla

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Tokyo 2020: “Tokyo Ready to Proceed With $1.3-Billion Olympic Stadium,” Los Angeles Times, Dec. 1, 2015. (Note: Beijing’s Bird’s Nest cost $414 million.)

When Tokyo was first awarded the 2020 Olympics, Nature News opined: As Fukushima Radiation Rages, Tokyo Awarded Bid to Host 2020 Summer Olympics, Hilariously Named the ‘Safe Games’ (Sept. 8, 2013): “Why would any sane organization vote to host a global event that brings hundreds of thousands of people to a location just a short distance away from a collapsing nuclear power plant that is utterly and completely out of control with no end in sight?” Good question.

According to Bloomberg Business, Debt-Strapped Japan Planning a No-Frills Olympics, Sept. 17, 2015: “Japan is struggling to control a public debt (ed. $10.5 trillion) more than twice the size of its $4.6 trillion economy (ed. U.S. public debt, by way of comparison, is $18 trillion in an $18 trillion economy), as social security costs spiral due to an aging population. With the risk of another recession as his Abenomics policies fail to boost growth in Asia’s second-biggest economy, Abe is looking to avoid a public backlash by keeping a cap on Olympic spending.”

In sharp contrast to the positive funding announcement for Tokyo’s Olympic stadium, Mitsuhei Murata, the former Japanese ambassador to Switzerland, claims efforts should focus on the Fukushima crisis “by retreating from the Tokyo Olympic Games that disseminate the false impression that Fukushima is under control.”
(Source)

Ambassador (former) Murata: “The lack of the sense of crisis over Fukushima is in stark contrast to the gravity of the crisis. Fukushima is now undeniably a global security issue. The unstoppable contamination of the Pacific Ocean and the atmosphere with ionizing radiation from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear reactors is seriously menacing the West Coast of the United States.”

As a prologue to Tokyo’s $1.3-billion Olympic stadium announcement, Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe testified before the International Olympic Committee in 2013, stating the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant was “under control,” furthermore: “The effect of radioactive substances in nearby waters is blocked within 0.3 sq. km of the plant’s harbor.” (Source: Time has Come for an ‘Honorable Retreat’ from Tokyo 2020 Over Fukushima, The Japan Times, Nov. 4, 2015).

Subsequently, events at Fukushima have turned graver than ever. Fukushima is an out-of-control monster, like Japan’s iconic pop culture image of unrelenting horror, Godzilla, conceived (1954) as a metaphor for nuclear weapons, awakened from the sea and empowered by nuclear radiation.

As for example, according to The Japan Times, October 30th Edition, 2015: “Extremely high radiation levels and the inability to grasp the details about melted nuclear fuel make it impossible for the utility to chart the course of its planned decommissioning of the reactors at the plant.” Yet, the games go on.

Additionally, making matters worse yet, The Japan Times reported that deadly 9.4 Sieverts were detected outside containment vessels. According to that same article: “People exposed to the maximum radiation dose for some 45 minutes will die.”

And, as for icing on the proverbial nuke cake, TEPCO cannot locate the hot melted nuclear core (corium) in Reactor No. 2. If in fact a melted nuclear core penetrates the steel-reinforced concrete containment vessel and burrows into the ground, it is very likely that deadly isotopes uncontrollably spread erratically, ubiquitously into surrounding underground soil and water. As it stands, nobody knows where the hot melted nuclear core is located, inside or outside of the containment vessel, but the games go on.

Making matters only worse, PM Abe (doubling down) also said, when testifying to the IOC (Source: September 2015 issue of Gekkan Nippon): “Fukushima has never done and will never do any damage to Tokyo.” Au contraire, according to Mitsuhei Murata, Japan’s former ambassador, there have already been several incidents showing that Tokyo was negatively affected by Fukushima, for example, the discovery of radiation contaminated water at the purification plant in the Kanemachi district of Tokyo.

Hence, Murata’s plea to PM Abe: “In my recent message addressed to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, I suggested that he cancel the Tokyo Olympic Games, announcing at the same time Japan’s candidature for the 2028 or 2032 games. The estimation of the total cost, ¥ 3 trillion (ed. USD 24 billion) according to the Governor of Tokyo, has shocked the public. Nearly 90 times less funding ¥ 34.5 billion (ed. USD 275 million) has been spent by the Government for coping with the contaminated water problem at Fukushima Daiichi. The Tokyo Olympic Games diverts attention from Fukushima and gives the false impression to the world that Fukushima no longer poses a threat. The advancement of the Tokyo Olympic Games comes at the expense of the funds needed to address the host of environmental disasters created by the destroyed Fukushima nuclear reactors.”

The former ambassador also sent a June 2015 letter to the president of the International Olympic Committee (“IOC”), informing the president of “the worsening situation in Fukushima, which regrettably is being downplayed by our Government and does not seem to be well known internationally,” further stating that the Fukushima situation, “contrary to the assurances of the Japanese Government and TEPCO, the situation at the site… is not at all under control.” (Source)

The ambassador is not the only prominent person in Japan voicing concern, Yauemon Sato, president of electric power company Aizu Denryoku, in an interview with Asahi Shimbun (May 2015) stated: “The nuclear disaster continues to recur every day,” characterizing the crippled reactors as “caldrons of hell.”

Additionally, Mr. Murata bases some of his opinion on an interview (April 2015) with Dr. Norio Iriguchi (PhD Engineering, Tokyo University) professor emeritus of Kumamoto University, claiming: The containment vessels for units No. 1, 2, and 3 are broken, exposing radioactive materials to the external environment. “Cesium 137, a deadly isotope, within the three vessels is equivalent to 14,000 Hiroshima bombs,” whose radioactivity will last hundreds of years. Fukushima is a serious existential threat, according to Dr. Iriguchi: “If molten nuclear fuel rods are exposed through cracks to the atmosphere due to a mega earthquake or the liquidization [sic] of the site causing the collapse of the nuclear reactors, Japan’s landmass would become uninhabitable to a large extent.”

Wherefore, one would think that the slightest, even the very slightest probability of Japan’s “landmass becoming uninhabitable to a large extent” would be an all-out emergency situation, ringing crises bells for Japan’s officialdom to utilize whatever, and all, resources to fix it before holocaust hits. However, on a dollars and cents basis, the government’s all-out effort for funding is directed at the upcoming Olympics whilst kneeling and praying it somehow placates international concerns about Fukushima.

Lamentably, according to available information, the integrity of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is about as secure as a warehouse filled with fireworks located next door to a welding center!

And, spending only USD 275 million on a Godzilla-type out-of-control nuclear tinderbox in the neighborhood of an elaborate ¥ 24 billion Olympic event is a slap in the face to 10,000+ attending Olympians. Not only that but Fukushima Prefecture wants to be part of the momentous event, possibly hosting the soccer matches, which hopefully fulfills the Belgium team’s slogan “Expect The Impossible!”

In point of fact, spending 275 million would be absolutely acceptable vis a vis spending 24 billion on the Olympics (if Japan can really afford it in the first instance), if assuming, supposing, conceding that Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant was fixed, under control, but that’s not even close, not even close at all. Rather, it is totally, absolutely, 100% out of control, beyond comprehension.

Regardless of the horrendously frightening status of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, which seems almost hopeless, in fairness to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Committee, a spokesman for Tokyo 2020 claims: “Radiation levels in the air and water of Tokyo are safe… Measures have been done even before the 2011 nuclear accident in Fukushima, and they show that radiation levels in Tokyo are absolutely safe and normal – comparable to levels in other major cities like London, New York and Paris,” (Source: Opposition Overshadows Tokyo Olympics Excitement, Deutsche Welle, Oct. 30, 2013.) Well, okay fair enough, but would anybody in the whole wide world expect them to say: Radiation may be a problem.

The question of whether Japan should host the 2020 Olympics is not an open question, not at all. The decision has been made. The financing is underway. Japan wants to showcase its country to the world.

Along those lines, showcasing Japan may very well reveal a deep, dark secret that nobody yet fully understands, an unaddressed problem of unimaginable magnitude, an unaddressed problem that’s an unaddressed monstrosity, like Godzilla. Imagine that!

Hopefully, for the hundreds of thousands of attendees from around the world, the Olympic motto: Citius, Altius, Fortius (Latin for Faster, Higher, Stronger) remains true to its centuries-old legacy.

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Robert Hunziker lives in Los Angeles and can be reached at rlhunziker@gmail.com.

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