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Does the advertising giant Dentsu pull the strings of the Japanese media?
June 1, 2016
Volume 14 | Issue 11 | Number 5
Sachie Mizohata, Translation from French and Introduction
Introduction: How the Advertising Giant Dentsu Dominates Japanese Media Presentation on Nuclear Power?
French journalist Mathieu Gaulène describes the business practices of Dentsu and its competitor Hakuhodo, the biggest and the second biggest advertising companies of Japan respectively. Specifically, it examines how their close relations to the media and the nuclear industry play out in the wake of the 3.11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. Focusing Dentsu, Gaulène discusses how the marketing and public relations (PR) giant has dominated major media which large advertising contracts from the nuclear industry. The article is particularly timely as Dentsu unveils its deep ties to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic bid and the Panama Papers. Regrettably, however, with rare exceptions, there is little media coverage of the influence of Dentsu in mainstream Japanese newspapers and magazines.
According to the author, a partial translation of the French original was made by Kazparis (username), and quickly received more than 70,000 views on Twitter. Then, Uchida Tatsuru, a specialist in French literature, and HACK & SOCIETAS published two other Japanese translations. Soon after, Tokyo Shimbun and Mainichi Shimbun published long articles about Dentsu.
Dentsu, the fifth largest communication group in the world, holds a large share of the Japanese advertising market, which impacts media freedom in Japan. This is particularly true in relation to the nuclear power industry.
– Dentsu and information on nuclear power
– Indirect pressures on press journalists
– The 2016 comeback of nuclear advertisements and the resignations of TV journalists
The moment remains famous. On the eve of Japan’s Upper House elections, former actor Yamamoto Taro, an anti-nuclear power candidate supported by no party, campaigned on Twitter to win an upper house seat in the Diet. Censored by the media, the young candidate, famous for his verve, had mainly campaigned against nuclear power, but he also called out the big media, accusing it of being in the pay of sponsors and thus of electric companies and of systematically censoring critical information on nuclear power.
A television channel granted him an interview at the end of a program, but only after presenting a journalist to defend his profession. On screen, the young senator was given only one minute to respond. “I will take a simple example. Food can now hold up to 100 becquerels per kilogram; that means even just via eating we are irradiated. It is never said on television… ” Yamamoto had to stop. The ending jingle started, and the presenter at the studio announced, bantering, that the show was over, before launching an advertising page.
The video, which was available online for 3 years, was removed on May 16, 2016 shortly after the publication of this article.
Advertisements in Japan are literally everywhere: a veritable hell of posters or screens in trains and stations, giant posters on buildings, bearers of advertising placards or lorries with huge posters and loud PA systems in the streets: even advertising displays mounted atop urinals in some restaurants. In this advertising empire, the media are no exception. In the press, naturally, as in France, major companies pay for full page advertisements. But, above all in television. An entertainment show generally starts with the announcement of sponsors, and is interrupted every five minutes by numerous short advertising spots, where we often find the same sponsors. There is virtually no time for thinking, most TV channels offer programs close to the world of pachinko: garish colors, constant noise, and frat humor even of the most vulgar kind.
In this immense television arena, advertising is orchestrated by one of the global giants, Dentsu, the 5th communication group in the world and the number one ad agency. With its rival Hakuhodo, 2nd in the archipelago, the two agencies nicknamed “Denpaku,” combine advertising, public relations, media monitoring, crisis management for the largest Japanese and foreign companies, the local authorities, political parties or the government. Together they hold nearly 70% of the market. A true empire that some accuse of ruling the roost in the Japanese media.
A figure allows sizing up Dentsu’s reach: in 2015, the group secured nearly 7 billion euros in revenue, second only to the French Publicis with 9.6 billion euros during the same period. Most of its business is in TV advertisements. For example, Dentsu has created a commercial series for Softbank for almost ten years: the famous “Shirato” family characterized by a white dog as the father; an American black actor as the older brother; and Tommy Lee Jones as a housekeeper.
In July 2013, the group expanded internationally by acquiring the British Aegis for 3.7 billion euros to establish the Dentsu Aegis Network in London. This international network, consisting of ten advertising agencies in more than 140 countries, allowed the Japanese to beef up their activities, particularly in digital marketing, and to secure a position in the international market which accounts for more than half of its total global business (54.3% in 2015). Dentsu employs 47,000 people worldwide, including 7,000 in Japan.
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ref. Le publicitaire Dentsu tire-t-il les ficelles des médias japonais ? via Television
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Woman breaks silence among Fukushima thyroid cancer patients
KORIYAMA, Japan (AP) — She”s 21, has thyroid cancer, and wants people in her prefecture in northeastern Japan to get screened for it. That statement might not seem provocative, but her prefecture is Fukushima, and of the…
出典:Woman breaks silence among Fukushima thyroid cancer patients
出典:Woman breaks silence among Fukushima thyroid cancer patients
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KORIYAMA, Japan (AP) — She’s 21, has thyroid cancer, and wants people in her prefecture in northeastern Japan to get screened for it. That statement might not seem provocative, but her prefecture is Fukushima, and of the 173 young people with confirmed or suspected cases since the 2011 nuclear meltdowns there, she is the first to speak out.
That near-silence highlights the fear Fukushima thyroid-cancer patients have about being the “nail that sticks out,” and thus gets hammered.
The thyroid-cancer rate in the northern Japanese prefecture is many times higher than what is generally found, particularly among children, but the Japanese government says more cases are popping up because of rigorous screening, not the radiation that spewed from Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant.
To be seen as challenging that view carries consequences in this rigidly harmony-oriented society. Even just having cancer that might be related to radiation carries a stigma in the only country to be hit with atomic bombs.
“There aren’t many people like me who will openly speak out,” said the young woman, who requested anonymity because of fears about harassment. “That’s why I’m speaking out so others can feel the same. I can speak out because I’m the kind of person who believes things will be OK.”
She has a quick disarming smile and silky black hair. She wears flip-flops. She speaks passionately about her new job as a nursery school teacher. But she also has deep fears: Will she be able to get married? Will her children be healthy?
She suffers from the only disease that the medical community, including the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, has acknowledged is clearly related to the radioactive iodine that spewed into the surrounding areas after the only nuclear disaster worse than Fukushima’s, the 1986 explosion and fire at Chernobyl, Ukraine.
Many Japanese have deep fears about genetic abnormalities caused by radiation. Many, especially older people, assume all cancers are fatal, and even the young woman did herself until her doctors explained her sickness to her.
The young woman said her former boyfriend’s family had expressed reservations about their relationship because of her sickness. She has a new boyfriend now, a member of Japan’s military, and he understands about her sickness, she said happily.
A support group for thyroid cancer patients was set up earlier this year. The group, which includes lawyers and medical doctors, has refused all media requests for interviews with the handful of families that have joined, saying that kind of attention may be dangerous.
When the group held a news conference in Tokyo in March, it connected by live video feed with two fathers with children with thyroid cancer, but their faces were not shown, to disguise their identities. They criticized the treatment their children received and said they’re not certain the government is right in saying the cancer and the nuclear meltdowns are unrelated.
Hiroyuki Kawai, a lawyer who also advises the group, believes patients should file Japan’s equivalent of a class-action lawsuit, demanding compensation, but he acknowledged more time will be needed for any legal action.
“The patients are divided. They need to unite, and they need to talk with each other,” he told AP in a recent interview.
The committee of doctors and other experts carrying out the screening of youngsters in Fukushima for thyroid cancer periodically update the numbers of cases found, and they have been steadily climbing.
In a news conference this week, they stuck to the view the cases weren’t related to radiation. Most disturbing was a cancer found in a child who was just 5 years old in 2011, the youngest case found so far. But the experts brushed it off, saying one wasn’t a significant number.
“It is hard to think there is any relationship,” with radiation, said Hokuto Hoshi, a medical doctor who heads the committee.
Ash’s video interview:
Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama
Her work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/yuri-kageyama
Read the whole article here.
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By Alejandro Davila Fragoso
New and higher radioactivity limits for drinking water tainted in the case of a nuclear emergency were put forward by the Environmental Protection Agency this week, a move that environmental organizations are calling “egregious.”
“The upshot really is that the [nuclear] industry really wants to be able to release more radioactivity and not be responsible for it,” Diane D’Arrigo, a project director at the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, told ThinkProgress. “This is really a big loss.”
On Monday, the EPA proposed new guidelines for radiological emergencies — like a nuclear meltdown or a dirty bomb, a weapon that combines conventional explosives such as dynamite with radioactive material. During a radiological emergency, radioactive material could be released into the rivers, lakes, and streams used by public water suppliers. EPA is proposing non-regulatory guidance that authorities can use “to protect residents from experiencing the harmful effects from radiation in drinking water following an emergency.” Guidelines influence radioactive limits that trigger safety measures like local water use restrictions or deploying alternative water supplies. The EPA calls these guidelines the Protective Action Guide, or PAG.
According to Bloomberg BNA, rural water utilities welcomed the new PAG as it allows local decision makers to identify the best solutions. “When faced with contamination in the drinking water supply, local officials have to make immediate and difficult public welfare decisions,” Mike Keegan, an analyst for the National Rural Water Association, told Bloomberg BNA. “Their options may be limited by lack of alternative sources of drinking water or no possible way to immediately treat the drinking water.”
These guidelines have raised tension for years. The Bush administration unsuccessfully tried to update limits as the incoming Obama administration pushed back. And even before that, the nuclear industry has sued the EPA on related issues over the years. Now, environmentalists question the move, saying the PAG would allow people to drink water hundreds to thousands of times more radioactive than what is now legal. “These levels are even higher than those proposed by the Bush Administration, really unprecedented and shocking,” said D’Arrigo.
The proposed PAG says water use should be restricted when it has a radionuclide concentration of at least a 500 millirem projected dose in the first year. However, a more stringent 100 millirem should be the limit for children or women pregnant or nursing. A rem is a dose of radiation while the millirem describes a thousandth of a dose.
Radiation doses in rems are calculated based on various assumptions. The Safe Drinking Water Act, EPA’s standards for drinking water quality limits, calls for a four millirems per year limit. A chest X-ray gives about two millirems. Changing the definition of dose describes radionuclides limits differently, environmentalists said, so the allowable concentration would be thousands, tens of thousands, and even millions of times higher than set under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
According to environmentalists, the new PAG would allow iodine-131 limits to be 3,450 times higher than now permitted, while for strontium-90 there would be a 925 increase. Iodine may cause thyroid gland disturbance. And animal studies showed that eating or drinking very large amounts of stable strontium can be lethal, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
PAGs apply not just to emergencies such as a “dirty bomb,” and Fukushima-type nuclear power meltdowns but also to any radiological release, like a spill, for which a protective action may be considered — even a radiopharmaceutical transport spill. The proposed drinking water PAG would apply not to the immediate phase after an emergency, but rather after the contamination has been controlled.
The public has 45 days from Friday to comment on the PAG-Protective Action Guides.
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「。。。」The appeal was filed by the NRDC and attorneys general from New York, Massachusetts and Vermont, with amicus briefs filed by the California State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission, the Sierra Club and one “Native American community.” It called for a review of an NRC rule and generic environmental impact statement concerning the continued, and possibly indefinite, storage of spent fuel from nuclear power plants in the United States.
The petitioners argued the NRC has failed to comply with its obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act, in that the NRC did not consider alternatives to and mitigation measures for the continued storage of spent nuclear fuel, miscalculated the impacts of continued storage, and relied on unreasonable assumptions in its environmental impact statement.
“Because we hold that the NRC did not engage in arbitrary or capricious decision-making, we deny the petitions for review,” wrote the court.
While the court noted the U.S. has committed to the development of nuclear energy, “(T)o-date it lacks a permanent solution for one consequence of that commitment — the generation of spent nuclear fuel, which ‘poses a dangerous, long-term health and environmental risk.'” This matter has been before the Columbia court in the past, noting “every foreseeable approach to the nuclear fuel cycle still requires a means of disposal that assures the very long-term isolation of radioactive wastes from the environment. … virtually all spent fuel remain(s) radioactive for thousands of years …”
While Congress passed the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 to establish a location for a long-term repository, and the Department of Energy had selected and invested billions of dollars in Yucca Mountain in Nevada, “a change in the presidential administration brought with it a shift in nuclear energy policy, and in 2010 the Department of Energy withdrew its application.”
At this time, noted the court, “there is not even a prospective site for a repository, let alone progress toward the actual construction of one.”
Because of this indecision, the majority of spent nuclear fuel remains stored on-site at reactors.
At Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon, Vt., since its closure in December 2014, all of the fuel has been removed from the plant’s reactor and what has not already been moved to dry casks is being stored in the spent fuel pool. Storing all the spent fuel produced at Vermont Yankee will require 58 dry casks; 13 are already loaded and are on the original pad at the plant. There are 2,996 spent fuel assemblies in the spent fuel pool and 884 spent fuel assemblies loaded in 13 casks. The current pad dimension is 76 feet by 132 feet. The second proposed pad dimension is 93 feet by 76 feet. Entergy needs the certificate of public good from the Vermont Public Service Board to begin construction of the second storage pad in early 2016. If the certificate is issued, Entergy hopes to complete construction of the second pad in 2017. According to Entergy, it will take six months to a year to prepare the second pad.
The NRC has relied upon what is called the “Waste Confidence Decision” to assess the risk of on-site storage of spent nuclear fuel and the likelihood that a permanent off-site storage solution will be available. In 2010, the circuit court invalidated an update to the rule, which included an environmental assessment with a finding of no significant impact. The court ruled that the NRC’s analysis was deficient because: the Waste Confidence Decision did not examine the environmental effects of failing to establish a repository; the NRC failed to properly examine the risk of pool leaks in a forward-looking fashion; and the NRC failed to examine the potential consequences of pool fires in addition to the probabilities that such fires might occur.
In response, the NRC prepared a Generic Environmental Impact Statement and proposed a Continued Storage Rule to standardize its analysis of the effects of continued on-site storage of spent nuclear fuel. The rule incorporates the findings of the GEIS into all future reactor licensing proceedings and precludes reconsideration of those findings absent a waiver.
The petitioners requested that the court vacate the rule and the GEIS and send it back to the NRC for further proceedings. Despite the “panoply of challenges” raised by the petitioners including a non-site-specific analysei, wrote the court, “the NRC has done exactly what NEPA requires for major federal actions; it prepared an environmental impact statement. So long as that environmental impact statement complies with NEPA, and we hold that it does, no more is required.”
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Scientists think they have found a smart way to constrain carbon dioxide emissions – just turn them to stone.
The researchers report an experiment in Iceland where they have pumped CO2 and water underground into volcanic rock.
Reactions with the minerals in the deep basalts convert the carbon dioxide to a stable, immobile chalky solid.
Even more encouraging, the team writes in Science magazine, is the speed at which this process occurs: on the order of months.
“Of our 220 tonnes of injected CO2, 95% was converted to limestone in less than two years,” said lead author Juerg Matter from Southampton University, UK.
“It was a huge surprise to all the scientists involved in the project, and we thought, ‘Wow! This is really fast’,” he recalled on the BBC’s Science In Action programme.
With carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere marching ever upwards and warming the planet, researchers are keen to investigate so called “carbon capture and storage” (CCS) solutions.
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