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Tag Archives | PTSD

Fukushima’s Rice: Mental Health Crises in Fukushima


In Japan, rice is life. It is the core of the Japanese diet and its importance cannot be overstated.

Rice farmer planting rice in Fukushima, Japan. colincookman/Flickr

After the Fukushima meltdown, since radioactivity in rice grown in the irradiated ground is not visible to the naked eye, tests must be conducted to determine its levels of radioactive cesium. If the levels are too high, the rice can’t be sold. As a result of tests instituted by the government, shipments of rice from an extensive area around Fukushima prefecture have been banned after the tests revealed they contained levels of radioactive cesium that exceeded safe levels. It is the first time the government has banned shipments of rice since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that badly damaged the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

A larger issue remains: health problems faced by the Japanese people after the meltdown, particularly mental health problems, did not appear to command the same degree of importance with government officials, farmers, and the people at large. The negative effects of the meltdown are not limited to just the harm caused by radiation levels present immediately after the Fukushima disaster. Simply living through this catastrophic disaster caused severe and persistent shock and trauma.

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Afghan War Enters Tenth Year

DoD Photo

DoD Photo

The Afghan War has entered its tenth year and shows no sign of abating. Furthermore, the Afghan War has the dubious distinction of being America’s longest conflict surpassing U.S. involvement in Indochina. However, military progress has been made in wrestling significant portions of the country from the Taliban and eliminating Al Qaeda elements. Despite these gains there is widespread doubt that the war can be successfully brought to a conclusion. What gains have been made are increasingly tenuous and any military successes could be reversed once some American troops begin to leave in July 2011 as scheduled.

Additionally, there are concerns that the war could prove to be a colossal waste of effort and lives once the U.S. military completely evacuates by 2014 with the exception of support units. There are legitimate concerns that U.S. and NATO forces are propping up the Afghan government which will be unable to hold onto major population centers without a direct American troop presence. Continuing Western military involvement beyond 2014 depends on domestic political support on Capitol Hill and in many European capitals.

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