Crisis? What crisis?

This album cover from 1975 seemed to fit with this blog entry.
The following pages are from a guidebook to living safely with radiation. It appeared within six months of the Fukushima disaster and was intended for mothers who were concerned about protecting their families. There are several interesting questions to contemplate while looking over these pages.

Kunikazu NoguchiProtecting Mothers and Children from Radiation
  1. Is the book opportunistic or a valuable resource of urgently needed information? 
  2. Is it wise to advise people to adapt their lifestyle to radioactive food and a radioactive environment? The people responsible for the contamination owe the victims new homes in a safe environment, so it is somewhat sinister to promote the idea that victims should adapt to their circumstances rather than demand compensation, and homes and jobs in a safe place. 
  3. Yet for practical purposes, everyone knows the victims have nowhere to go, and that they will be cheated of the compensation due to them, so why not be pragmatic and promote ways to protect oneself? 
  4. Why is the book aimed only at mothers and children? 
  5. Would a book marketed to fathers and children have had the same childish graphics? To comprehend the message, one need not even know how to read Japanese. The density of information is very low. The tips communicated by the illustrations on these pages could be condensed to text that would fit on the back of a baseball card.
Let’s play this game of condescension and infantilization…

Can you match the advice to the picture? Hint: Not all of these are depicted in the book.

  1. shake off your clothes before coming inside
  2. don't slide or play in the dirt
  3. check the radiation level of water before you swim in it
  4. don't let your pet drink from standing pools of water
  5. work together with fellow citizens to launch a class action lawsuit
  6. stay away from gullies and places where water drains and soil collects
  7. wash your food before cooking
  8. dry your laundry indoors
  9. wear a mask over your nose and mouth
  10. keep the windows closed on rainy days
  11. get a passport and emigrate
  12. clean gutters and ditches where dirt has accumulated
  13. check the surfaces of playground equipment for radiation before using it
  14. clean wounds thoroughly
  15. flip the top layer and bottom layer of soil in the garden before planting
  16. wash your bicycle seat and handle bars before riding
  17. stock up on mineral water
  18. buy foods from sources that have screened food for contamination

When people are asked to make these adaptations, we have to wonder how far it can go. Will gradual changes be accepted no matter how much people are asked to adapt, or is there a limit at which people decide to chuck it all and live with the risks, to flee to somewhere safer regardless of the costs, or even to no longer live at all?

The book:

houshano kara mama to kodomo wo mamoru hon
野口 邦和  株式会社 法研
Kunikazu Noguchi. Protecting Mothers and Children from Radiation. Pages 3-11. Houken Corporation. 2011.  

*This source has been cited and excerpted here with the intent of following the conventions of fair use for purposes of non-commercial, scholarly research.

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