A little cryptic title for my long-overdue first post in 2013, but I’ll quickly explain. Having a wisdom tooth removed is not an experience I would wish on many people, yet is something I had to go through this past week. A couple of weeks ago I got a pain at the back of my [...]
“Support by Eating” Campaign in Japan Claims its First Victim
On something of a roll here, a brief scan around of some of the blogs got me looking at a few stories that the media here will probably not be reporting. And it’s a good way to follow the previous article about radiation from Fukushima entering the food chain, even here in Okinawa.
So, sometime after March 11th last year, the government realised that people, unsurprisingly, wanted nothing to do with Fukushima’s produce. But there was all of this produce going to waste and… well a little radiation can’t do any harm, can it? So with that in mind they hired Dentsu, one of Japan’s largest advertising companies, to devise a campaign to get people eating produce made from northern Japan once again, regardless of whether it’s safe or not.
The result was the “Let’s Support by Eating” campaign. For a start, the English in suspiciously correct (I would have hoped for a “Let’s Supporting the Japan by Enjoying Eat… in English!” campaign). But, Engrish humour aside this campaign was set up to sound like a charity or NPO set up to promote Japanese food, rather than being the brainchild of a government-sponsored advertising campaign. The advertisement comes from an organization supposedly called Food Action Nippon, but whose headquarters is the same as the Dentsu advertising company. While not a crime in itself, it is another example of attempted deception by the government, and potentially putting a lot of the population at risk.
I should also add, there were numerous reports that Dentsu were also being hired by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry to track articles on blogs and social media accounts for anti-nuclear stories that may be perceived to be contrary to the government’s/TEPCO’s line on things. Blogs were getting spammed with comments, Twitter accounts hacked, and other things happening to these sites and accounts. Could just be a coincidence, although I’m not a big believer in those.
And this provides a convenient segway to the second part of this article. As part of this campaign, a face was needed that Japanese customers would trust. That ruled out any politician, AKB48 were busy promoting every other product in the whole of Japan, and Hello Kitty was reported as saying, “I ain’t going anywhere near that ****.” So it wasn’t looking good. They needed someone they could control, someone without an opinion of their own who could be manipulated at will, but who the public would trust. Of course, a Japanese idol!
First off, I am not talking about some Japanese version of American Idol. The Japanese idol community is a group of around 30-50 people who seem to be on almost every TV show. On the whole the are vacuous, soulless creatures; the men having less testosterone than your average nunnery, and the women portrayed as either super-cute squeaky-voiced beings, or frumpy comedians who should be laughed at and not with. But Japanese people seem to lap them up so who am I to criticise? And on the whole they seem to be believed by many Japanese, regardless of what they say.
Cue Yamaguchi Tatsuya, from the group TOKIO. I really hope he was forced by his talent agency (most likely) and didn’t know or have any option in doing what he did, but he was to be one of the main advocates of this campaign. He was pictured all over, eating produce from the Fukushima area and beyond, claiming that it’s so “oishiiiiii” (meaning “delicious”) and that everyone should do the same to support Japan at this time.
Well, at the last measurement, he had a radiation level of 20.47Bq/Kg of Caesium 137 in his body. This has a half-life of around 30 years and accumulates in the bones. I sincerely hope it doesn’t happen, but with levels like that, it is surely only a matter of time until he is diagnosed with some sort of cancer. But the campaign continues, telling people that they should do their bit to support Japan by eating Japanese produce, regardless of where it’s from, and especially if it’s from the Tohoku area.
At the very least it’s negligent, and is a campaign that’s putting the whole country at risk. That warm fuzzy feeling you’re getting inside you isn’t because you’re helping the country; it’s the caesium eating away at your organs.