Japanese prosecutor suspends contempt proceedings against journalist
Published on Friday 30 May 2014
Reporters Without Borders takes note of prosecutor Eiji Masuhara’s decision to suspend “criminal contempt” proceedings against freelance journalist Mari Takenouchi in connection with her coverage of the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
The prosecutor urged Takenouchi to continue her work and even wished her “good luck” with it. Takenouchi told Reporters Without Borders that her goal now was to “save the children living in contaminated areas and suffering from thyroid cancer.”
Updated on March 11, 2014
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For Japanese日本語をご覧になりたい方は、http://savekidsjapan.blogspot.jp/2014/02/ethos-leader-accused-takenouchi-of.html をご覧ください。
E-mail From Dr. Bandazhevsky to Mari Takenouchi
*Ethos is a program where residents including pregnant women and children are encouraged to keep living in contaminated areas through carrying out decontamination and radiation measurement, which most importantly resulted in sickness among majority of children. This was condcted in Belarus and now is in Fukushima funded by pro-nuclear lobbies.
The following is more detailed version.
On January 28th, 2014, I received a telephone call from Iwaki Minami police office in Fukushima, noticing me that the leader of Fukushima ETHOS Ms. Ryoko Ando (real name is Yoko Kamata) filed a legal complaint against me.
Ethos is a program where residents including pregnant women and children are encouraged to keep living in contaminated areas through carrying out decontamination and radiation measurement, which most importantly resulted in sickness among majority of children. This was condcted in Belarus and now is in Fukushima funded by pro-nuclear lobbies.
I received a following comment from observers including lawyers.
"This case comes under the violation of Article 21, Freedom of Speech. Except that the word "Criminal" was too strong, your word came from the sense of justice to protect countless number of children. If this case was indicted, it would be a chance for you to disseminate this issue to the society."
"Probably the reason why the accuser used "criminal contempt" in stead of ""defamation of character" is that the latter has the stipulation saying, "If the case is involved in public benefit, the accused shall not be punished." However, what you are supposed to do is the same in both case. You can explain that you are trying to prevent massive health damages among children in the future, which should be now and nobody has been doing this so far."
"To admit such dirty way of silencing someone's speech through legal harassment means to admit helpless people to die by giving up nuclear phase out and protection from radiation exposure."
"Isn't this a case of SLAPP(strategic lawsuit against public participation), where powerful pro-nuke people harass the weak like Ms. Takenouchi, who is a single mother. "
Ms. Takenouchi's statement is not against law, but is involved in public benefits, so if she is prosecuted, she should stand up and fight.
"An attempt to silence Ms. Takenouchi who disseminate facts about Fukushima. But truth will prevail."
"ETHOS Threat using criminal accusation against Ms. Takenouchi. I support her 100%"
"This is a case of suppression of free speech, which brings us grave concerns."
"It is truly worry some since this is the sign of coming Japan's Secrecy Act. We need to share this info and protect Ms. Takenouchi"
"It is important to establish your own standard of radiation safety to achieve your true sense of security."
↑ I really do not understand what she has been saying.
Please relocate children from Fukushima! It is dangerous to live there.
The truth is as simple as this!
Professor Ban Nobuhiko, an expert of leukemia, another ETHOS sub-leader is the director and board member of Health Physics Society in Japan. (Please see the end of this page)
I once participated in an event by Health Physics Society and asked, "Isn't there any increase of leukemia after Chernobyl?" and a member answered, "Since Russian kids have fair skin, people say that there are leukemia children after Cheronobyl."
Ms. Yoko Kamata (SNS name is Ryoko ANDO) insists that my following tweet is the subject to "criminal contempt."
Mari Takenouchi's tweet @mariscontact
Mr. Yasuhiro Nakasone passed the nuclear budget at the Diet in 1954, when anti-nuclear movement was mounting after the Lucky Dragon Bikini H-bomb case, under the slogan, "Poison can control other poison." This is a historical fact that CIA involvement has been proven.
On September 5, 2011, after the Fukushima nuclear accident, he stated the above in spite of the fact that he was the very person who introduced nuclear power to earthquake prone country like Japan.
Ms. Ryoko Ando read the above poem of her own on the Day of Nagasaki, in spite of the fact that she is the very person who disseminated false safety myth in Fukushima to encourage people to keep living in contaminated zones.
I thought these two have something in common. Though they themselves have been involved in, nuclear power introduction to Japan (Mr. Nakasone) and scattering radiation safety myth in Fukushima (Ms. Ando), they pretend that they do not know anything and they are one of the victims/observers who live in this unfortunate society.
I would like to apologize regarding the expression of "criminals of the century" to both Ms. Kamata and Mr. Nakasone.
At the same time, I would like both of them to reflect themselves what they have done.
I used the word "criminal of the century" due to my long time resentment seeing that nobody has taken true responsibility after the nuclear accident while lots of children are left being exposed to radiation.
In addition, I had a slight hope that both Ms. Ando and Mr. Nakasone whom I criticized would rethink what they have done and reconsider the situation of children who have been exposed to radiation.
I do not think the above tweet of mine with my opinion and thoughts on some facts is subject to "criminal contempt."
I hope this case would be known to public widely.
I truly hope that the dissemination of this case could contribute to form the public opinion to make the government to relocate children in contaminated areas with responsible manner. In addition, those responsible for the accident should be brought to justice in order to avert the same kind of tragedy.
Tokyo Newspaper Reported ETHOS on January 1, 2014
"ETHOS Meetings Backed by Pro-Nuke Funds"
"Prevailing Grassroots Radiation Safety Myth"
"Inviting ETHOS Missionaries from Overseas"
The following is my explanation of ETHOS.
Mr. Jack Rochard, an economist and former member of IAEA and member of ICRP and CEPN founded by pro-nuclear organization such as AREVA. He wrote "20mSv/year is a good news" and said, "Mothers do not understand science (I am a mother, too, how rude!), and food upto 20Bq/kg is OK in Fukushima."
In Belarus contaminated areas, due to ETHOS program lead by Mr. Lochard, less than 20% of kids stayed healthy in the contaminated areas after the program.
ETHOS Fukushima program was aired by NHK only in Fukushima and not nationwide.
The leader of Fukushima ETHOS is Ms. Ryoko Ando (strangely, she is not using her real name, Yoko Kamata.)
Jacque Rochard: "It is important to establish a society where residents themselves can measure radioactive materials and exchange information...Mothers would not understand science...20Bq/kg is good enough..."
However, while these figures were measured and recorded for studies of this program, the number of children with ill-health increased dramatically, sometimes more than 10 times, after years in Belarus.
Mr. Lochard was invited to give a presentation on risk of low level radiation, along with his colleague, Terry Schnider from CEPN and IRPA, at the Japanese Cabinet Office in November 2011. http://www.cas.go/jp/jp/genpatsujiko/info/twg/dai5/siryou2.pdf. (The Cabinet Office presentation was deleted now.)
In his report, there was no mentioning about children and pregnant women.
It is a criminal acts of Japanese and overseas scholar to downplay the risk of radiation, which consequently lead to a number of residents’ health hazards both in Chernobyl and in Fukushima. I believe these facts should be known to the world and eventually, those responsible should be referred to the International Criminal Court.
Increased number of leukemia in Japan
The other day, I was truly shocked to find that Professor Nobuhiko Ban from Tokyo Healthcare University had written on the mechanism of developing leukemia by radiation some years ago. According to his papers, he had already found that radiation damages the gene Sfpi1 on chromosome No. 2 and promotes the aging process of hematopoietic stem cells, thus mouse could develop leukemia only after 1 or 2 years after irradiation!!
Thesis written by Prof. Nobuhiko Ban
While, Professor Ban wrote a number of excelled thesis on radiation effects, he assistes ETHOS progam that allows even pregnant women and children to live in contaminated areas. I truly believe what he is doing is ethically wrong and this issue is a one of the most grave character which could affect the health and lives of many residents , uncomparable to the question No. 1.
Under the name of @buvery, he also kept calling me, "DEMARIN" (coined word from Dema=demagogy + Mari=my first name) on twitter. I am a freelance journalist/translator who released three radiation exposure related books from overseas and I have been calling for children's evacuation since the Fukushima accident, and Professor Ban has been slandering me trying to degrade my credibility.
His manner is clearly contrary to the one titled as the "Professor at Tokyo Healthcare University." I have written a open question letter to Tokyo Healthcare University, but I haven't received any reply as of today.(Jan 31, 2014）
One more important thing to add. Prof. Ban is denying the possibility of finding the causal relationship of radiation and child thyroid cancer that has been increasing in Fukushima, namely, 7q11 gene band inspection.
It seems that Prof. Ban is trying to hide the possibility that Fukushima children developed thyrod cancer caused by radiation.
7q11 gene test should be conducted immediately and early relocation of Fukushima children should be conducted.
My top concern is that there is an increase of leukemia in Fukushima and other areas in East Japan.
When I wrote the above blog, a citizen activist I have been trusted even tried to stop me.
(To my regret, there are many infiltrated people in the citizen side, too)
I thought, the criminal accusation against me was made in order to silence me when leukemia came to emerge in contaminated areas.
How a Single Tweet Could Land a Japanese Nuclear Activist in Jail
No officials will be prosecuted for Japan's 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. But one activist may be sent to jail for tweeting about it.
The Fukushima police, however, declined to investigate. And prosecutors quietly dropped all charges against TEPCO, arguing that it was too difficult to prove criminal negligence even though several third-party watchdogs found that TEPCO and government officials had failed to carry out measures necessary to prevent the disaster despite knowing that a devastating earthquake could potentially strike near the plant. Even an independent investigative commission set up by the Japanese National Diet had concluded, "The meltdown was a manmade disaster."
* * *
Fukushima police and prosecutors are currently investigating Takenouchi for criminal contempt; if found guilty, she could face a month in jail. Prosecutors confirmed they will be flying to Okinawa, where Takenouchi lives, to question her on May 13. Police have already traveled from Fukushima to Okinawa to interrogate her — an unusual occurrence.
“We only send police officers from one prefecture to another if the subject is really a potentially dangerous criminal,” Fukushima police spokesman Lieutenant Tadashi Terashima told VICE News.
The Japanese can't stop eating endangered sea mammals. Read more here.
Takenouchi, the potentially dangerous criminal in question, is a journalist and blogger who fled her hometown of Tokyo with her infant son days after the disaster, hoping to avoid fallout from Fukushima. (She was too late; radiation had already reached Tokyo.) Today, she reports on the health of children in Fukushima. This is the translation of the tweet that has authorities flying across the country to interrogate her:
There's a common point between the 2 criminals of the century. Yasuhiro Nakasone, who introduced nuclear plants in Japan, said: "I didn't expect Japan in 2011 to become such a battered country." Ryoko Ando, a (pro-establishment) citizen activist who hosts Ethos' human experiments in Fukushima, said: "Is this the kind of world we've arrived at over the 67 years since the end of World Ward Two?" Written on Nagasaki Day."
“Ryoko Ando blocked me on Twitter and rejected my offer to engage in an open debate with a mediator," Takenouchi told VICE News, "and instead filed a criminal accusation against me."
* * *
After the tweet appeared, Ando reported it to the Fukushima Prefectural Police, accusing Takenouchi of either criminal defamation or criminal contempt. This past January 29, Takenouchi received a telephone call from Fukushima police, notifying her that Ando had filed a complaint against her. Two weeks later, Takenouchi said police came to her apartment in Okinawa and examined her computer.
She was also asked to attend an interrogation at the Naha City police station. During the interrogation, Fukushima police asked her about her background as a reporter, her career as an anti-nuclear activist, and why she used the words “human experiment" in the tweet.
Ando, meanwhile, acknowledged to VICE News that she'd filed the complaint, but despite repeated requests to clarify her position and the position of Fukushima Ethos, she said she would not comment on the investigation until it's concluded.
The charge of criminal contempt is very different from a charge of libel in the US. Takaaki Hattori, a Japanese legal expert and co-author of Modern Media and The Law, says the charge is inappropriate. "It's unprecedented for the police to launch a contempt investigation against a journalist for a single tweet, made in the public interest," he said. "If all debates about nuclear energy in this country are going to become grounds for criminal investigations, freedom of speech will vanish. The fact that police even sent the case to the prosecution is disturbing."
Still, this isn’t the first time those with ties to the nuclear industry have used the law in an attempt to silence criticism in Japan. In 2012, the president of nuclear power safety company New Tech brought a $600,000 lawsuit against investigative journalist Minoru Tanaka, who exposed links between the Japanese mafia, politicians, and the Japanese nuclear industry.
* * *
The investigation of Takenouchi is an unusual but not unique example of an ever-increasing crackdown on freedom of the press in Japan. Earlier this year, Reporters Without Borders issued a statement condemning "the censorship and self-censorship that continues to prevail in discussion of nuclear energy in Japan three years after the disaster… [and] the treatment of independent journalists and bloggers who are critical of the government and the nuclear energy lobby."
Japan's biggest organized crime syndicate now has its own website and theme song. Read more here.
In Reporters Without Borders' press freedom rankings for 2013, Japan fell to a new low of 59th place, due in part to the Special Secrets Act passed in the middle of the night in December, and “the ban imposed by the authorities on independent coverage of any topic related directly or indirectly to the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.” Amid these discouraging trends, Takenouchi waits to learn her fate.
“We are still considering whether to prosecute or not," a prosecutor's office spokesperson said. "We’re not aware of past cases in which tweets were found to be the basis for criminal contempt, but the law is the law."
Jake Adelstein contributed additional reporting to this article.