Masashi wrote to inform us that Iitate mayor Mr Kanno reported on the situation of the village in a telephone interview by a Japanese TV news program (NHK's 9 p.m. news on March 26). Mr. Kanno expressed concerns about the the way in which various negative items are reported via the news media. For example, TV programs reported about the results of radioactive materials in Iitate without providing a detailed explanation to the village beforehand. Also, the simple announcement of results [regarding radioactive material from the soil, in particular] by TV news reporters creates very serious concerns for all the people involved - especially where there are no updates. This makes it very difficult for them to understand the situation.
Mr. Kanno's concern seems to be related to media reports that tend to focus on sensational news but do not provide further updates even if the situation improves. Mr. Kanno's comment seems to have made a strong impact on the interviewer of the TV program since the reporter mentioned that this kind of issue needs to be seriously taken into account from now on.
While the data regarding radioactive material in water and the environment gradually improves, the situation of Iitate's farming is still unpredictable. The agricultural cooperative in Iitate has asked farmers not to start spring farm work since the situation is still unclear. Usually around this time of year, preparatory work for rice farming begins. But farmers cannot start their work because of this request by the cooperatives.
Spring is a very important season for every farmer. This is also a very serious situation for all the farmers in neighbouring prefectures; Fukushima, Ibaraki, Gunma and Tochigi.
As for the radioactive material found inside sea water, extremely high levels of radiation were found near the plant today. Radioactive iodine levels were 1250 times higher than the allowable standard. It is ten times higher than it was 4 days ago.
The Nuclear Safety Commission explained that the materials would be diluted by sea water and radioactive iodine is quickly degraded as time passes, therefore, there is no urgent health risk even if people eat fish. However, we know many countries are beginning to stop importing seafood along with vegetables and milk from Japan.
It is very hard to understand this situation for lay people.
The toll of death and missing has reached more than 27,000 and is still increasing.
The evacuation zone (20 km radius from the power plant) has not been actively searched for missing people, so the death toll will definitely increase.