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Japan's Radiation: Media Hyping Fear

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Message Diana Lee
As events continued to unfold at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the fear of radiation has spread beyond borders and more virulently than has radiation itself.

Time and time again, the mainstream media writes alarming pieces or quotes outside experts on the matter of radiation leak from the stricken Fukushima nuclear reactors, which does more harm in heightening fear than the danger of radiation itself.

Contaminated tap water, milk and vegetables in the northeast Honshu do pose a health threat for those living close to the Fukushima nuclear power plant. But the danger of radiation contamination is really localized - that is, limited to 30 kilometers from the Fukushima crippled plant, not to the rest of Japan or the rest of the world.

Fear-mongering has spread as far as the U.S. where reports of Americans hoarding iodine pills despite the fact that the risk of exposure is close to zero, and pills can have harmful side effects. Many countries around the world have halted some Japanese food exports even though Japan has a reliable monitoring food safety system that had already stopped exporting food from the affected region. And the G7 had to intervene when the yen soared to a record 76.25 in chaotic trading a week ago.

Of course, the news on radiation fear outside of Japan reaching the Japanese citizens in the country only pushes up the level of panic.

The situation is simply this: The radiation leak is NOT out of control, there still exist some measures to deal with the nuclear plant problems. However, the fear along with panic is spiraling out of control.

It's best to remain calm and listen to experts for facts than speculations or wild rumors.

One thing for sure, the experts have NOT said it's time to entomb the crippled nuclear power plant, so there's still time for TEPCO and the Japanese government to get it under control.

* Author is based in Japan
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Diana Lee is a professional writer and experienced teacher for many years. Her essays and articles have appeared in magazines, e-zines, anthologies, and news. Many of her works have been cited in research papers, studies, educational materials, (more...)
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