Behold this sake, ordered for a dinner we’ll have on March 11, the 10th anniversary of #Japan’s 3/11 disaster.
It’s from #Fukushima. My wife, kids and I have eaten *lots* of Fukushima food over the past decade.
Think we glow in the dark?
Gather ’round for a thread.🧵1/
When the quake hit, our house rocked and rolled. Then we heard about the situation at Fukushima Dai-ichi. Sounded alarming!
But after a little research I realized the hysteria was overblown, and wrote this.
It aged pretty well, doncha think? 2/…
My WaPo op-ed got 1000s of Facebook shares, many from expats who wanted to reassure folks back home. I also got abuse from people who said I must be 1) crazy, or 2) a nuclear industry shill.
Crazy? LOL, whatevs.
As for the nuke industry, my connection is ZERO.
Not long thereafter, when scare stories about Fukushima food began popping up, I again became convinced that the fears were excessive—and grievously unfair to Fukushima farmers. The food is rigorously tested! So I wrote about that too. 4/…
Took a lot of grief for that piece! My wife and I were accused (online) of "child abuse" for feeding our kids Fukushima food.
The concern for our kids’ welfare was heartwarming. I’m sure my accusers will be hugely relieved to hear that we’re all perfectly healthy.😏
I’m afraid I became a pain in the neck to some in the Tokyo press corps, because I took potshots at some of their coverage in various fora.
Please don’t get me wrong—much of the journalism they did in 2011 (especially about the tsunami) was outstanding. But…
Now that so much time has passed, I think it’s increasingly evident—irrefutable, really—that the radiation threat in Japan was grossly exaggerated.
You may wonder, given the above, do I also think that COVID risks are exaggerated? Hell, no! I double-mask at the supermarket.
Point is, if you believe in “following the science” on COVID, you should do the same for Fukushima.
To be sure, people living near Fukushima Dai-ichi have suffered horribly. But not from physiological effects of radiation! The best science shows that those effects have been negligible, arguably zero. Remember, anti-nukes predicted 1000s of cancer deaths.
Now, what about the claim that Japan had a “narrow escape” from a much worse disaster that would have necessitated the evacuation of Tokyo?
Glad you asked!
I ended up digging into US govt documents about events in 2011, and was astounded at how much has been overlooked. So I wrote this.
It’s long. Sorry. But I think it debunks many commonly-held beliefs about Fukushima, including the “narrow escape.” 11/…
And here’s a sidebar (much shorter!) to my Slate piece. It shows that, for all the criticism the Japanese govt and TEPCO got for playing down the risks, the worst dishonesty came from ...a high-ranking US official!
That dishonesty--again, by an *American*--caused serious damage after 3/11.
By utterly destroying the faith of Japanese in their own officials, it increased psychological stress—about food, kids’ health, etc. That took a big toll, especially in Fukushima Prefecture.
So now that the 10th anniversary looms, and retrospectives will be written and broadcast, here’s hoping we’ll see an accurate depiction of what happened. For any journalists working on such retrospectives, I hope my thread will be helpful.
Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to our March 11 dinner, which will include Fukushima rice, fruit and veg.
We’ll mourn the 16,000 who died in the tsunami. Their tragic loss, and the other tsunami-related misery, will be the proper focus of attention on this somber occasion. /End
Serendipitously, our monthly box of #Fukushima produce was delivered just as I was scrolling through responses to my thread. This often inspires my wife to new heights of culinary artistry. Yum, yum!
Here's a link for the organization:

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2 Oct 18
We interrupt this well-deserved jeering at the new NAFTA, aka USMCA (ptui! spit three times!) to ask a couple of awkward questions.
Even though Trump’s “victory” was pretty meaningless in trade policy terms, it’s appalling that he “won” by threatening Canada with unilateral auto tariffs based on national security grounds, and even more appalling that he’s planning to do the same with the EU, Japan et al.
And as pernicious as China’s trade practices are, Trump’s bullying tactics pose a far more lethal threat to the rules-based system. If WTO members can start jacking up tariffs on each other willy-nilly based on spurious nat sec grounds, what purpose will the WTO serve anymore?
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