Group Claims Elevated Radioactivity Levels At Tokyo 2020 Olympic Venues

Tyler Durden's picture

Measurements taken at 39 sporting venues earmarked to stage the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games have elevated levels of radioactivity according to a citizen's group. The South China Morning Post reports that the group "found caesium-137 at almost every place [they] carried out tests, and there was no caesium here before the accident at Fukushima." Tests were made at the Olympic Village, Media Center, and the highest radiation reading, 0.484 microsieverts per hour, was detected in undergrowth close to Yumenoshima Stadium - significantly higher than the level of 0.23 microsieverts per hour set by the government as the standard for decontamination work going on in the exclusion zone around the nuclear plant. In response to a request, a spokesman for Tokyo 2020 insisted: "Radiation levels in the air and water of Tokyo are safe." So all good then...


Via The South China Morning Post,

A citizens' group in Tokyo has found elevated levels of radioactivity at sporting facilities that will be used in the 2020 Olympic Games and is warning that competitors and the hundreds of thousands of people expected to flock to the city for the event will be putting themselves in danger.


The Citizens' Group for Measuring Radioactive Environment at Facilities for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics claims wind-borne radiation from the four crippled reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant has contaminated a number of future venues.




The tests were also carried out at the planned site of the Olympic Village and the media centre, with the highest radiation reading - 0.484 microsieverts per hour - detected in undergrowth close to Yumenoshima Stadium, where the equestrian events will be held.


Soil samples collected at the site had 3,040 becquerels of caesium per kilogram.




While the readings do not pose an immediate threat to human health, members of the group say they are still significantly higher than the level of 0.23 microsieverts per hour set by the government as the standard for decontamination work going on in the exclusion zone around the nuclear plant.


"We found caesium-137 at almost every place we carried out tests, and there was no caesium here before the accident at Fukushima," Mitsuo Tanaka, a member of the group, told the South China Morning Post.




In response to a request from the Post, a spokesman for Toyko 2020 insisted: "Radiation levels in the air and water of Tokyo are safe.

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screw face's picture



Skateboarder's picture

TEPCO Tank Jump!!! (a la wb7)


JohnnyBriefcase's picture

I look forward to seeing this story on the nightly news. Maybe Anderson Cooper will do a special on it.

MeMadMax's picture

Seriously ZH...


Thats in japan, who gives a shit...

Manthong's picture

I want tickets for the 25 meter SFP freestyle event.

Short Memories's picture

ZH needs to do some study it seems:

Even if the numbers in Tokyo are 5 times what they were before Fukushima, they are still lower than many cities in the world.
ZH normally prides itself on knowing about numbers (remember the finance theme of this site?) well, go an learn if 0.4 microsieverts is worrying compared to the normal 0.2!

The world has bigger problems. Japan has bigger problems, Fukushima however has a problem. It might become tokyos problem but these numbers tell me that it isn't tokyos problem at the moment.

But then, I'm believing the numbers, not the commentry

Bearwagon's picture

With all respect - I get the impression that it's you who ought to do some study:

For a start learn that a "Sievert" is a quite great unit of measure. Which means that 0.4 mSv compared to the (way to high) "normal" 0.2 mSv is worrying. If you indeed believe numbers, you should be worried. Very worried!

old naughty's picture

I wonder if parents of olympic athletes would send their kids to Tokyo...

unless the kids are over 18 by 2020 so will be free to choose !?


Bearwagon's picture

Personally, I'd threaten my children with sudden disinheritance, should they ever dare to set foot on that contaminated soil. Just my advice - worth what you paid for it ;-)

GetZeeGold's picture



No worries, they should have everything hammered out by 2019.....they hope.

Bearwagon's picture

Yeah, hope and change ... that rings a bell ...  ;-)

Short Memories's picture


Agree that a sievert is a huge dose of exposure

Agree that a millisievert in a small time period is a large dose

We are talking about .2 of a *micro* sievert. You get a bigger dose from passing though airport security scanners once!

Trust me on this, I live in Japan, I own a gieger counter, I measure for myself and I have studied this a lot.

The lies from the fear mongering media is almost as bad as the lies from the government.

People need to be more informed, they need to learn what numbers are worrying in what time periods and what are not. I guess you would have disinherited me though :P

Canoe Driver's picture

Sieverts measure cumulative dose. The rates cited in the article would result in the equivalent of a chest-x-ray after about 5 weeks of continuous exposure.  The caesium is accumulating, and will continue to accumulate, and is quite toxic. There will be many bone and blood cancers caused. By 2020, it's reasonable to assume the dose rate will be perhaps the equivalent of 2 chest x-rays per day. And this all discounts the inhalation of radioactive dust and partculate, which is indeed far more dangerous. There will be no Olympics in Tokyo, absent the largest disinformation campaign in human history.

Bearwagon's picture

No, I would not have disinherited you. If you live in Japan, my best wishes are with you. Nonetheless, a Sievert being such a huge dose is exactly the reason why 0.2 µSv is still a large dose. And as far as I know it roughly equals the dose you get from airport scanners. The point is not if that's a huge dose or not. You are correct in stating that time is of importance. While a dose of 0.2 µSv may indeed be bearable, a dose-rate of 0.2 µSv/h would sum up to a hazardous dose rather quickly. And see my comment below regarding the risks of measuring with geiger counters. I have studied this, too - at university. Of course fear mongering lies are bad - but what about frightening truth? I did learn what time periods and numbers are worrying, and these numbers do worry me. Does that make me a fear-mongerer? 

Keyser's picture

It's immaterial that we are discussing milli vs micro Sieverts as you have to trust the authorities in their reporting, which we know is inacurrate. Anecdotal evidence from Japan is more serious with thousands of people reporting uncontrolled nose bleeds, most likely from radiation exposure.

In other words, how can you trust the readings when you can't trust the reporting authority? 


Sparkey's picture

Poor Japan, these folks have had some discouraging days in the last couple of years, now when they have been awarded the Olympics, which should be a time of happiness and looking forward to a better future, what do we actually have? Nay sayers and trouble makers turning over every rock and bush trying to keep the agony alive as long as they can, it is all very sad, I guess they will just never be forgiven for Pearl Harbor, that is what this is all about, isn't it? right? ?

Bearwagon's picture

The only harbour we would be interested in, is IMHO the harbour from which the next fellow ZHer sets sail, because his PMs have arrived. And for the radiolympics ... do you by chance remember the Lodnon Oimplycs 2102? That did really something for the local community, didn't it? If the community would be the (three times cursed) "City Of London", that is, of course. Otherwise, you'd better get lost before some well-paying customers get annoyed by your sight, right? That's indeed a future worth looking forward to ...

outofideas's picture

mili and micro are completely different units of measure. Like almost 1000 times different :)

Not go back to those tables and the article and do some math.

Bearwagon's picture

Oh, I see what I did there. Sorry. But nonetheless it is not a harmless dose. And while we are at it: REM (Roentgen Equivalent Men) and Sievert are completely different units of measure. Like hundred times different :) (That means 0.4 µSv = 40 µREM -> anything but harmless).

But thanks for the correction of my slip of the pen, you are correct, regarding the units of measure.

edit: Anyways - one should think about dose rate, not just dose. That's where it's getting interesting ...

Anusocracy's picture

0.484 microsieverts per hour is about 4 millisieverts per year.


The conventional approach for radiation protection is based on the ICRP's linear, no threshold (LNT) model of radiation carcinogenesis, which implies that ionizing radiation is always harmful, no matter how small the dose. But a different approach can be derived from the observed health effects of the serendipitous contamination of 1700 apartments in Taiwan with cobalt-60 (T1/2 = 5.3 y). This experience indicates that chronic exposure of the whole body to low-dose-rate radiation, even accumulated to a high annual dose, may be beneficial to human health. Approximately 10,000 people occupied these buildings and received an average radiation dose of 0.4 Sv, unknowingly, during a 9–20 year period. They did not suffer a higher incidence of cancer mortality, as the LNT theory would predict. On the contrary, the incidence of cancer deaths in this population was greatly reduced—to about 3 per cent of the incidence of spontaneous cancer death in the general Taiwan public. In addition, the incidence of congenital malformations was also reduced—to about 7 per cent of the incidence in the general public. These observations appear to be compatible with the radiation hormesis model. Information about this Taiwan experience should be communicated to the public worldwide to help allay its fear of radiation and create a positive impression about important radiation applications. Expenditures of many billions of dollars in nuclear reactor operation could be saved and expansion of nuclear electricity generation could be facilitated. In addition, this knowledge would encourage further investigation and implementation of very important applications of total-body, low-dose irradiation to treat and cure many illnesses, including cancer. The findings of this study are such a departure from expectations, based on ICRP criteria, that we believe that they ought to be carefully reviewed by other, independent organizations and that population data not available to the authors be provided, so that a fully qualified epidemiologically-valid analysis can be made. Many of the confounding factors that limit other studies used to date, such as the A-bomb survivors, the Mayak workers and the Chernobyl evacuees, are not present in this population exposure. It should be one of the most important events on which to base radiation protection standards.

An extraordinary incident occurred 22 years ago in Taiwan. Recycled steel, accidentally contaminated with discarded cobalt-60 sources (T1/2 = 5.3 y), was formed into construction steel for more than 180 buildings containing about 1700 apartments, and also public and private schools and small businesses, in Taipei City and nearby counties. About ten thousand people occupied these buildings for 9 to 22 years. While this construction occurred during 1982–84, most of the buildings were completed in 1983.[1, 2] In this preliminary assessment, we consider 1983 to be the first year of the incident. The radioactive state of the buildings was gradually discovered, beginning on July 31, 1992.[2] Less than 100 contaminated apartments were identified in 1992. The number increased to more than 200 in 1993; then to a total of 896 in 1995, 1206 in 1996, and 1277 in 1997. An intensive research program was conducted in 1998, and more than 1600 apartments were finally documented by the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) of Taiwan. After approximately four cobalt-60 half-lives, most of the apartments now have relatively low levels of radiation, less than 5 mSv (500 mrem) per year, and are still in use today. Half of the residents in apartments with high radiation levels have been evacuated, starting in 1996. They all lived in these buildings for at least nine years, with some staying as long as 22 years.

Dose-rates were measured with very accurate GM survey meters calibrated in dose-equivalent units, ?Sv/hr. Doses were carefully determined using an AEC procedure specifically designed for this project. For evaluating the average dose to the residents, their average occupancy time was conservatively taken as 12 hours in living rooms, 8 hours in bedrooms, and 4 hours at other locations (i.e., half of the residents assumed to be outside 8 hours/day).[1] The dose evaluations were used to classify the apartment dwellers into three cohorts, based on contamination level (average dose rate), for government remedial measures and care:[3]
• High contamination cohort (~11%): > 15 mSv/y
• Moderate contamination (~9%): 5–15
• Low contamination cohort (~80%): 1–5


An estimation of the integrated doses to the residents was necessary to assess the health effects of the radiation exposures. Several dose reconstruction studies have been carried out and reported in national and international journals. Some used thermo luminescent detectors (TLDs) at different positions of the body;[4] some used suspended TLDs in air;[5] some relied on TLD necklaces,[6] and some used Rondo phantoms.[7] Our evaluation used a simplified method to approximate the doses received by the residents and to modify the AEC doses, estimated by the task team from the Institute of Nuclear Energy Research (INER), with reasonable factors.

In December 1996, the AEC estimated that 20% of the residents received an annual (1996) dose in the range from 5 to 160 mSv, therefore, 80% of the residents received a dose of less than 5 mSv.[1] A crude estimate of the average 1996 dose for each cohort is: • High cohort (~11%): (160 + 15)/2 = 87.5 mSv
• Medium cohort (~9%): (15 + 5)/2 10
• Low cohort (~80%): (5 + 1)/2 3

Therefore, in 1996, the mean annual dose received by all the residents was about 13 mSv (i.e., 87.5 × 0.11 + 10 × 0.09 + 3 × 0.80), and the maximum dose was 160 mSv.

For the year 1983, we calculate the mean dose to be about 74 mSv and the maximum to be about 910 mSv. Adjusting the mean dose for a residency factor of 0.7 and a correction of 0.95 to TLD doses gives 49 mSv. The individual mean dose from 1983 until 2003 was 0.40 Sv for all cohorts. For the high cohort, the mean dose was 4 Sv, with a maximum of 6 Sv, assuming half of the residents moved out in 1996. The doses are summarized in Table 1.

NaN's picture

Interesting study, but no dust is involved.

Trampy's picture

0.484 microsieverts per hour is about 4 millisieverts per year.

Give me a jingle, Anusocracy.  Very few people here are capable of understanding why radiation hormesis was found operative in many places, while the only study I know of that detected harm from dose near background levels was in the rad workers at Sizewell.

Cesium has a nasty habit of gettiing mixed in with steel, like happened at Juarez in 1984.

My email is embedded in the PGP key posted under Bio here. 

Reptil's picture

The issue is that these measurements show that there's radioactive DUST in Tokyo (which was in the plume of the reactor 3 fallout).
What you're regurgitating is an industry myth, namely that radiocativity from the soil (where the uranium or radium or whatever), which is incapsuled in rock, is equal in effect as (small particles of radioactive substances).

The dust is dangerous because it gets into everything, including people's lungs, to reek havoc 5 or 10 years later.
It's the difference between EXTERNAL (not as dangerous) and INTERNAL (very dangerous) exposure. As a part of this fallout was in alpha emitters which cannot be detected with a geiger counter evern, the situation is even more grave that the measurements show.
So how did anyone know there's these fine dust particles that are alpha emitters? They looked at car filters.

Bearwagon's picture

I'd like to add that a great amount of said dust is composed of elements with a relatively short half-life. As should be obvious, the shorter the half-life the stronger the radiation. And because of their short half-life, these elements do not occur in nature: They all decayed completely, billions of years ago. As a consequence, we now have to deal with materials that have never been a part of our natural environment!

Canoe Driver's picture

The crisis at Fukushima is also ongoing, and is widely expected to worsen. Cleanup is estimated to take decades, at least. Thus, ground contamination in Tokyo will increase. And if there is an open-air fission event during fuel pool dismantling, it'll be much, much worse.

worbsid's picture

I believe the wiki document is millisieverts per year while the tests in Tokoyo are millisiervents per hour. 

jeff montanye's picture

you may have something here, mr. briefcase.  if there is a sports tie-in, the potentially greatest man-made disaster in human history might get some news coverage.  a little like the porno aspect of the non-enforcement of the securities laws story, though it moved the story only from utterly ignored to mentioned in passing with snicker.

ebworthen's picture

OMG - marketing opportunity!

"Radiation absorbing bracelets" with the TEPCO symbols alternated with Maneki-neko's (good luck cat) and infused with powdered lead and catnip!

In rainbow colors and blessed by a priest of your chosen religion.

Kosher too!


philipat's picture

Don't forget the pink "Hello Kitty" radiation suits..

ebworthen's picture

LOL...exactly, and "Do not worry" written across it.

Just wait, someone will sell it or something(s) like it.

The people will come, there will be reassurances that "everything is safe", the money must flow!

GetZeeGold's picture



Don't forget the pink "Hello Kitty" radiation suits..


No worries if you can get damn near anything from a Japanese vending machine.

Reptil's picture

Someone beat you to it: "Coppelion" anime just released.
Three genetically modified girls wearing school uniforms enter a forbidden zone (the old capital) where even guys in hazmat suits croak.

stateside's picture

After Tokyo, in the 2024 games, there will be a new competitive event - the three-legged race.



philipat's picture

So that's still one leg per eye for the spectators??

Bunga Bunga's picture

Paralympics are going to get a lot bigger too.

fonzannoon's picture

They should have the bilderbergh meeting (however the fk you spell it) next year just to illustrate how safe it is.

BlackChicken's picture

Once the radiation games are over, the Olympic site should be turned into a prison for the bankers, politicians, and media heads.

Then use THAT venue to generate revenue by selling pay-per-view (in HD) of the slow motion death of these monsters.

Bunga Bunga's picture

No prison needed, they just assign them to the Fukushima cleanup crews.

remain calm's picture

I know the times in  track don't count if the wind speed is greater than 2 mph. Does anyone know if their are limits to nuclear propulsion energy levels?

nmewn's picture

Just trust it...the show must go on.

"Look! They're recycling!" - Diane Sawyer, noted MSM pundit & humanitarian.

philipat's picture

I'm still waiting for some clueless MSM shithead to opine that "By 2020 the radiation levels will have significantly declined".....

IridiumRebel's picture

Cesium has a half life of 4 months, right?


philipat's picture

Close. It's about 30 years....

Running On Bingo Fuel's picture

I think that was rhetorical with a touch of sarcasm and a pinch of irony.

Bearwagon's picture

I think that was outright cynical. (And rightly so.)

Dodgy Geezer's picture

...I'm still waiting for some clueless MSM shithead to opine that "By 2020 the radiation levels will have significantly declined".....

Well, the decline is asymptotic, so by 2020 the levels will have dropped to around 0.8 of current levels. Which, of course, are quite safe already. It's up to you if you consider that significant or not.


Many countries around the world have that level of radiation naturally. The highest have around 10 times that level as normal. It was rather funny to see diplomats being advised to leave Tokyo when the radiation scare was on, and to realise that they were being advised to return to their homes where there were higher levels of natural radiation than the threat they were fleeing.

Still, there is some good from this panic. Many parts of the world are quite safe from having nuclear reactors built there, because the background radiation levels are already higher than the mandatory maximum figures for radiation workers.

Panic over radiation results in stupid situations like this...


Bearwagon's picture

Spare us the irregular comparison of naturally occuring radiation with heavy transuranic elements and fission prdoucts! The level of radiation is not everything that counts. 
Irradiation is NOT the same than contamination, damn, is that so hard to understand? Also, it makes a huge difference if the particles get excreted quickly, or if they remain in the body - which has absolutely nothing to do with shieldable background radiation. For example Strontium gets incorporated into bones, where it radiates tissue all day, and all of the night. So the relatively low dose rate of a small amount of Strontium adds up to a massive dose over time.
Underestimating the hazards of ionizinig radiation results in cancer and premature death.

Dodgy Geezer's picture

Bearwagon, Caesium is not transuranic. You do not know what you are talking about, and are simply spreading misinformation in an attempt to start a scare.

You seem to be implying that naturally-occuring radiation is somehow different from radiation derived from a nuclear power station. This is on a par with claiming that electricity from a wind turbine is different to that coming from a coal-fired power station!

None of your sentences say anything unsurprising - 'Underestimating the hazards of radiation results in death' is a good example. You have actually provided NO data at all about any increased threat, merely mouthing cliches and platitudes, but you are insinuating that Tokyo has become a dangerously irradiated place place.


This is untrue, and you are trying to spread malicious propaganda.