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"Uninhabitable" Japan? No, unchecked sources

June 12th, 2011

Saw this on the front page of Twitter today. Sounds awful, obviously. The source? This article, from, ahem, 'Natural News' (which carries on the same page an advert promising to 'cure almost cancer for $5.15 a day'). It says:

…And senior political official Ichiro Ozawa suggested in an interview with The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that the Fukushima situation could make the entire country of Japan "unlivable".

And the source for that? The WSJ. It's behind the paywall, but there's a copy here. The section in question:

Q: If you had been in charge, would you have disclosed all the information about the meltdown in the initial stage?

A: Yes. I would have. There is no use in holding back information. We have to decide what to do, based on the premise of the information we have. This problem may be contained in Fukushima for now, but the contamination may spread outside of Fukushima. Anxiety and frustration are growing. People cannot live in the contaminated areas. These areas are becoming uninhabitable. Japan has lost its territory by that much. If we do nothing, even Tokyo could become off limits. There is a huge amount of uranium fuels in the plants, much more than in Chernobyl. This is a terrible situation. The government doesn’t tell the truth and people live in a happy-go-lucky…

So, is all of Japan likely to become uninhabitable? No. Did the Japanese government say that it would or could become uninhabitable? No. Ozawa Ichiro is not a Government minister or spokesperson, but is in fact a key rival attempting to oust the current Prime Minister, and a man with an extremely chequered political past.

But never let the facts get in the way of a sensationalist story that'll drive traffic, right?