Japan: Fallout levels twice initial estimate according to new study

The Fukushima nuclear accident released double the amount of cesium-137 into the atmosphere than the government initially estimated, reaching 40 percent of the total emitted during the Chernobyl disaster, a preliminary report said.

The estimate of much higher levels of cesium-137 comes from a worldwide network of sensors. Report coauthor Andreas Stohl, of the Norwegian Institute for Air Research, said the government estimate came only from data in Japan and didn’t include emissions blown out to the Pacific Ocean.

Cesium-137 is considered harmful because it can remain in the environment for decades, releasing cancer-causing radiation. The report did not consider the health implications of the emissions.

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Japan to Open Call Centers Over Public Concerns of Radiation

Japan’s government will issue guidelines on testing for radiation and open call centers for the public after more so-called hotspots were found in Tokyo and other areas far from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant.

The guidelines will provide advice on using dosimeters to improve the consistency of surveys, Hirotaka Oku, an official handling the response to the Fukushima disaster at the science ministry said by phone. The guidelines will be issued as early as Oct. 22, he said.

Two more locations with radiation levels exceeding safety limits were found this week in Tokyo, which is about 220 kilometers (137 miles) from the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear station that was wrecked in the March earthquake and tsunami. Local and central government bodies are expanding testing to alleviate public concern over the discoveries.

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Japan’s beef import policy to change

The Japanese government is considering lifting restrictions on U.S. beef imports, sources told The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper.

Import restrictions currently ban U.S. beef from cattle 20 months or older. The change, likely to be announced at a November Japan-United States summit, would change that restriction to cattle under 30 months of age, which includes 95 percent of all U.S. beef products, the newspaper said.

The restrictions, which began in 2003 after an outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy — commonly called mad-cow disease…

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Sales of nuclear protector coats for dogs soar in Japan

DOG coats that repel nuclear radiation are in high demand in Japan as the nation seeks to protect its pets in the aftermath of the countrys nuclear disaster.They come in a range of styles and colours, they repel water and radiation — and anxious Japanese are buying them as fast as they can be manufactured.The Japanese spent 1.38 trillion yen $17.9 billion on their pets last year, but the meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant has convinced many that dog clothing is a question not just of fashion, but of canine survival.

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Sharapova admits Japan fears

World number two Maria Sharapova Sunday admitted to concerns about playing in the Pan Pacific Open in Japan after the March earthquake-tsunami sparked the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.

But the popular Russian said that the presence of seven of the worlds top 10 womens players in Tokyo should serve as "a big statement" of support for Japan in a time of crisis.

"There was definitely a lot of talk before the tournament, a lot of players having concerns whether its safe to come here," Sharapova said.

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Update on Japan

An oil spill and an explosion added to the woes of the operator of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant Tuesday. Japan’s health minister ordered several workers away from their duties at the plant amid worries over radiation exposure. Opera stars, fearing radiation, skip tour of Japan.

Japan: Radiation fears spur the ‘fashionable’ surgical masks of Tokyo

Reporting from Tokyo— Leaning against a wall in the busy Akihabara electronics district here, Tomomitsu Funayama was enjoying a do-nothing day off from his architectural job. Yet he looked less like a slacker than a surgeon late for a big operation.

For years, the 26-year-old Tokyo native had resisted the urge to follow the millions in this city who don face masks during the "wheeze and sneeze" hay fever and flu seasons to protect against allergens and help stop the spread of germs.

This year, Funayama joined the pack. But it wasnt pollen that concerned him; it was radioactive isotopes.

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Japan files protest over Snow White cartoon about nuke emergency

Japans Consulate General in New York lodged a protest with New York Times Co. on Thursday for publishing a cartoon in which Snow White, carrying a newspaper with the headline "Japan nuclear radiation," asks an old woman offering an apple if she comes from Japan.The consulate said that since the cartoon refers to a story in Grimms Fairy Tales in which Snow White falls into a stupor after biting a poisoned apple, it may stir up what the consulate called unfounded anxieties over the safety of foods from Japan.The cartoon was carried on the editorial page of the International Herald Tribune, which is owned by the New York Times, in its Thursday edition.

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