The Japanese were kept in the dark from the start of the Fukushima disaster about high radiation levels and their dangers to health, writes Linda Pentz Gunter. In order to proclaim the Fukushima area 'safe', the Government increased exposure limits to twenty times the international norm. Soon, many Fukushima refugees will be forced to return home to endure damaging levels of radiation.
Nuclear power is a uniquely hazardous technology that can destroy entire nations, Japan's prime minister at the time of the Fukushima nuclear disaster has warned British MPs. The lessons of from such catastrophes must be heeded in other countries that believe that nuclear fission can be harnessed safely, writes Linda Pentz Gunter - or they, and the world, will reap the whirlwind.
As worldwide stocks of plutonium increase, lightly-armed British ships are about to carry an initial 330kg of the nuclear bomb metal for 'safekeeping' in the US, writes Paul Brown. But it's only the tip of a global 'plutonium mountain' of hundreds of tonnes nuclear power's most hazardous waste product.
In this new age of austerity money is a perpetual struggle for the public sector and ordinary people, writes Pete Dolack. Yet central banks have squandered trillions to boost profits in the financial sector, reward speculation and push up real estate values. In fact, the world is awash with money as never before - our money. Just don't expect to get your hands on it any time soon.
As a first 'official' cancer case is admitted at Fukushima, a study of over 400,000 young people in the prefecture identifies a 30-fold excess of thyroid cancer, writes Oliver Tickell. With the high rate and early onset of the disease the scientists fear many more cases to come - and that WHO underestimated the scale of radiation release.
Radiation can be carried long distances by marine currents, concentrated in sediments, and carried in sea spray 16km or more inland, writes Tim Deere-Jones. So Fukushima poses a hazard to coastal populations and any who eat produce from their farms. So what are the Japanese Government and IAEA doing? Ignoring the problem, and failing to gather data.
New evidence from Fukushima shows that as many as 2,000 people have died from necessary evacuations, writes Ian Fairlie, while another 5,000 will die from cancer. Future assessments of fatalities from nuclear disasters must include deaths from displacement-induced ill-heath and suicide in addition to those from direct radiation impacts.
Following the atomic bombs exploded over Japan in 1945 a second crime against humanity took place, writes Chris Busby: the deliberate falsification of science to hide the dangers of ionising radiation, perpetrated to quell public opposition to a new age of nuclear bombs and energy. The fraud continues to this day, but finally the truth is winning out.
Nuclear weapons are the ultimate evil that threatens us all, says Matsui Kazumi, Mayor of Hiroshima. We must listen to the message of Japan's atom bomb survivors and join their efforts to abolish nuclear weapons completely by 2020.
Japan is living under the shadow of US militarism, write Taisuke Komatsu & Semanur Karaman - and most of all in Okinawa, the nation's southernmost archipelago. Against overwhelming local opposition but backed by Japan's government, the US is building a new military base that is seizing land and threatens the unique ecology of Oura Bay with its seagrass beds, dugongs and coral reefs.
Japanese rice farmers won a reprieve last week when TTP negotiations in Hawaii ended without conclusion on opening Japan up to cheap US rice imports, writes Nicole L Freiner. But with Japan keen to export more cars to the US, the victory is a temporary one. At stake is a way of life, an ancient land-rooted religion, and the future viability of Japan's farming villages.
A massive decontamination exercise is under way in Iitate Village near Fukushima, writes Kendra Ulrich: step one in a plan to force 6,000 residents back into the evacuated zone in 2017. But as radiation levels remain stubbornly high, it looks like the real plan is to 'normalize' nuclear catastrophe, while making Iitate residents nuclear victims twice over - and this time, it's deliberate.
Japan and Germany have much in common: both are major industrial countries that have gone nuclear-free, writes Peter Matanle - Germany by choice, Japan by necessity. But while Germany is actively pursuing its renewable energy revolution, or Energiewende, Japan, possessed of the richest renewable energy resources in East Asia, is stuck in a fossil fuel pit.
Japan's latest plans for 'scientific whaling' in the Southern Ocean have fallen at the first hurdle, writes Tony Press. The IWC's expert panel says Japan's proposal contains 'insufficient information' on which to judge its validity, in particular the need for the 'lethal sampling' of over 3,996 Minke whales that is central to the research plan.
Public opposition to nuclear power in Japan remains strong, writes Jim Green, but piece by piece, Shinzo Abe's right-wing government has been putting the country's infamous 'nuclear village' back in control - boosted by draconian press censorship laws, massive interest-free loans, and a determination to forget all the 'lessons' of Fukushima. Is another big accident inevitable?
The Fukushima catastrophe four years ago today was no natural disaster, writes Arnie Gundersen. Operator TEPCO and nuclear regulators were well aware of the danger of tsunamis, but put money before safety. Nuclear power remains the only energy source that can destroy a country overnight - and it's time to ditch it!
Four years ago today the world's biggest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl took place at Fukushima, Japan. Total clean-up costs are estimated around $0.5 trillion, writes Jim Green - but work to defuse the dangers has barely begun, the site is flooded with radioactive water making its way to the sea, and underpaid and illegally contracted workers are suffering a rising toll of death and injury.
The global rebirth of nuclear power was meant to be well under way by now, writes Jim Green. But in fact, nuclear's share of world power generation is on a steady long term decline, and new reactors are getting ever harder to build, and finance. The only real growth area is decommissioning, but that too has a problem: where's the money to pay for it?
Austria's pledge to strive for the elimination of nuclear WMD kindled fresh energy and hope at this month's Vienna Conference on Nuclear Weapons, writes Rebecca Johnson. Now we must maintain the momentum towards global nuclear disarmament at the May 2015 meeting of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The nuclear industry and its supporters have contrived a variety of narratives to justify and explain away nuclear catastrophes, writes John Downer. None of them actually hold water, yet they serve their purpose - to command political and media heights, and reassure public sentiment on 'safety'. But if it's so safe, why the low limits on nuclear liabilities?
The clean up at Fukushima faces enormous challenges, writes Justin McCurry. First, managing 500,000 tonnes of contaminated water stored onsite. Next, removing molten fuel from reactors 1, 2 and 3, a task so hazardous that it's been put off until 2025. Even robots have been unable to enter the reactor buildings - and no one knows where the molten fuel has gone.
Since Japanese knotweed won a gold medal in 1847 as 'interesting new ornamental of the year', it has become far too much of a good thing, writes Kate Constantine. But could the oriental triffid be tamed following the UK introduction of a specialist pest from Japan's volcanic uplands?
Japan's government is trying to get its failing nuclear power industry up and running, write Jim Green and Peer de Rijk. But in the post-Fukushima world, it faces formidable obstacles. Experts believe most reactors will never restart - and Japan's stricken utilities may have to find $30 billion or more to finance their decommissioning.
Research on the biological effects of radiation near the Fukushima nuclear disaster site finds a powerful response in rice seedlings, writes Gregory McCann. The discovery will do nothing to boost consumer confidence in resumed rice exports from the Fukushima region.