With World Focused On North Korea, Japan Quietly Expands Its Military Might

Authored by Peter Korzun via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Washington claims China is rapidly expanding its military might, posing a threat to the US and its allies in the Asia Pacific region. Beijing is one of the focal points of America's national security plan that was unveiled in January, singled out along with Russia. The US military brass hats have raised the alarm over China’s recent defense budget hike, despite the fact that its per capita defense spending is lower than that of other major world powers. They say China is not transparent enough and that this further complicates the problem.

Transparency is a good thing but it may not reveal the whole picture. One may appear to be open and above-board but still be hiding one’s real plans and intentions. For instance, Japan is ranked among the world’s ten most peaceful nations. Threatened by N. Korea and China, it appears to be an innocent victim looking to the US for protection.

That’s one side of the coin. But there is also another side.

The Japanese constitution forbids offensive weapons.

Aircraft carriers are generally considered to belong to this category, and for this reason they are called “helicopter destroyers” in Japan. For instance, the Izumo-class air-capable destroyers are as big as British Invincible-class aircraft carriers. The warships can be modernized to turn them into real flat tops and that’s exactly what the Japanese government plans to do. Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said on March 2 that the military is considering the possibility of deploying US-made F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) fighters on the helicopter carriers. China has already expressed its concern over the plan.

The F-35 Lightning II supersonic stealth aircraft can be easily configured to carry nukes. Arming the air-capable warships of a non-nuclear state with nuclear-capable aircraft constitutes a violation of the NPT Treaty, which prohibits nuclear states from transferring nukes to other recipients. It also bans non-nuclear states from acquiring them.

The first land-based nuclear-capable F-35A variant fighter was delivered to Japan in late February. US military instructors would train Japanese military personnel to operate this offensive weapon. South Korea also plans to follow Japan’s example and put American aircraft on its aviation-capable ships. That’s how the policy of nonproliferation slowly begins to crumble.

Japan uses Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions to justify its plans to acquire US-made Tomahawk sea-based cruise missiles – another weapon that could potentially be nuclear tipped. The plans also include the acquisition of JASSM-ER and LRASM missiles, each of which has a range of roughly 900 km (559 mi). These are not defensive weapons.

Last year, US President Trump said at a joint press conference with Japanese PM Abe that “Japan is going to be purchasing massive amounts of military equipment.”

Tokyo is also looking into developing its own standoff cruise missile that can be launched from ships, aircraft, and land launchers to strike ground and sea targets. Any new long-range cruise missile could be integrated with Aegis Mk-41 launchers. It’s almost certain that ground-based Aegis Ashore systems will be at least partially operated by US military personnel. So, a medium-range missile with nuclear capability and operated by American servicemen will be deployed near Russia’s and China’s borders. Is this not a cause for legitimate concern?

The 2,100-member Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade is expected to be operational this month, enabling first-strike capability. The Japanese military already has amphibious assault ships as well unmanned aerial vehicles to support such operations.

Plans are underway to build a three-tier missile defense. The Japanese government decided to acquire US Aegis Ashore systems, in order to join the American global BMD effort. The Aegis Mk-41 launcher can fire long-range Tomahawk cruise missiles that could be nuclear tipped.

Japan is to establish a space and cyberspace command center that will also be responsible for electronic warfare. The unit is already operational and will expand by about 40%, bringing it up to 150 members, in FY 2018, which starts on April 1. That command center has confirmed Japan’s intention to extend its military operations into space. A network of radar for monitoring space is expected to be operational in FY 2022.

Japan possesses almost 47 tons of separated plutonium. That’s enough to produce 6,000 nuclear devices. The idea of going nuclear has not been abandoned and it even enjoys support from the US. Sharing nuclear capability is an option.Japan’s Epsilon rocket that is used for its civilian space program could be used as an intercontinental nuclear-delivery vehicle with a range of 12,000 km. Experts believe the conversion would take less than a year, including the acquisition of a multiple independent reentry vehicle. There are no technical obstacles.

North Korea's nuclear program is being adroitly used by Tokyo as a pretext for militarization that will threaten Russia and China. While the global media “cry wolf” over Iran's and N. Korea’s nuclear programs, they are surprisingly quiet when it comes to nuclear capability Japan could acquire in just one year. Tokyo is also clearly well on its way to boosting its conventional capabilities—thus changing the balance of power in the Asia Pacific. This is not a high-profile issue. But it should be.

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Comments

spag gummydaddy Mon, 03/12/2018 - 02:26 Permalink

here is the ZH schedule for the week.

Mon. death by chink and nip niggers

Tue. death by vulcano niggers.

Wed. death by nork niggers.

Thu. death by meteorite nuggers.

Fri. death by mexi and mussie niggers.

Sat. death by emp niggers.

Sun. world saved by trailer trash.

 

 

ZH, something for everyone!

In reply to by gummydaddy

any_mouse MuffDiver69 Mon, 03/12/2018 - 06:14 Permalink

"The Constitution forbids offensive weapons."

The USA Constitution says a lot of things that are no longer observed.

Obviously, Japan needs to import some constitutional scholars from Harvard, or UCLA. (The Japanese officer corps liked that school a lot pre WW2.)

They will have Japan getting around a piece of paper, filled with words, in no time.

Weapons are only to be used for self defense.

Reasons for an aggressive self defense are easily put together. Mukden, Manchuria, 1931. Poland 1939. USS Maine, Havana 1898. NYC 9/11/2001. Iraq 2003.

Offensive acts can be called "preemptive strikes".

When Japan has more old people than young people, combined with a low birth rate, will a war help that imbalance?

Sounds like a way for someone outside to take Japan away from the Japanese.

In reply to by MuffDiver69

MuffDiver69 Mon, 03/12/2018 - 02:09 Permalink

Excellent...absolutely no reason they shouldn’t be able to defend themselves. The Japanese should have at the least a Navy worthy of their status...Let them spend the damn money we don’t have and ditto for the stingy Krauts

lolmao500 Mon, 03/12/2018 - 02:23 Permalink

Japan population is dying, china is expanding. Japan needs option in case China does what dictatorships do, go nuts and invade folks... which they have threatened to do with okinawa and the senkaku islands...

The japs arent hell bent on conquering the world thinking they are the master race like the chicoms are.

any_mouse lolmao500 Mon, 03/12/2018 - 06:32 Permalink

"The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere was an Imperial concept created and promulgated for occupied Asian populations during 1930-45 by the Empire of Japan."

Yup, no racial superiority there.

Japanese, Koreans, and Chinese are racists. You may think they're all "Orientals, err, Asians", but they see each other as very different people who are not their equals.

Much like tribes in Africa. Arbitrarily lumped together inside lines on a map. Blood will flow.

It is only when whites try to defend their culture and spaces is racism an issue.

As for the Khazars, they claim to have a "Jew gene" that makes them superior, and closer to G-d, than the goyim.

How such a gene ended up in the DNA of those in Eastern Europe who converted to Judaism, is almost a Bible worthy miracle.

In reply to by lolmao500

Spartacus72BC lolmao500 Mon, 03/12/2018 - 15:51 Permalink

China is facing an even worse demographic time bomb than Japan. Their one child policy completely screwed them. In the early 2020s China's population will begin to shrink and it will occur much more rapidly than Japan's population shrinkage. Either way both are paper tigers with an aging population that cannot support economic growth much longer. The rise of China is a a myth.  https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2017/02/21/chinas-aging-populati…

In reply to by lolmao500

Sanity Bear Mon, 03/12/2018 - 03:21 Permalink

China has repeatedly gotten its ass kicked in a major way by Japan, handing them loss after loss like no other since the Mongols; and Japan has a particular taste for extreme cruelty in war.

The potential of a nuclear Japan is the US' trump card in any dealings with China and NK. It's their worst nightmare.

MusicIsYou Mon, 03/12/2018 - 03:43 Permalink

As the world heads for global war, haha, gosh that's too bad. Hey, have you noticed how the media, academia, and government don't really seem to notice men are becoming Soy boys? Yeah, that's because all your leaders are lunatics who have went mad. That's also why I guaranty it, WW3 is coming.

MusicIsYou Mon, 03/12/2018 - 03:43 Permalink

It's going to be a messy war, because your leaders can't even manage a country without making a cluster fck out of the population. A terrible global war lead by lunatics.

Dumpster Elite Mon, 03/12/2018 - 07:53 Permalink

I'm not seeing anything wrong with Japan being armed to the teeth. Get us out of Okinawa and Japan (and Korea), and let them fight their own battles. People on here seem to think that the Emperor is still in power in Japan. WTF???

L Cornelius Sulla Mon, 03/12/2018 - 09:09 Permalink

At the height of the cold war, Japanese Prime Minister Nakasone described Japan as an "unsinkable aircraft carrier." While his remarks at the time were directed at the Soviet Union and implied US use of his country's airfields, the principle is equally applicable to Japanese planes defending against Chinese expansionism.  The Japanese island chains in the Okinawa and Kagoshima Prefectures are ideally suited to restrict access to the Pacific from China's northern ports.  Equally important to the geographic implications of Japanese normalization of defense research and development and systems deployment are the economic ones.

The United States is decreasingly able to finance its worldwide defense commitments (begging the question of any rational explanation for those worldwide commitments in the first instance).  Return of interest rates to historical norms will consume ever greater portions of the federal budget for debt servicing.  Legions of retiring baby boomers will stretch Social Security and Medicare expenditures past the breaking point.  One of the first casualties of these developments will be US defense expenditures.  In the welfare state that the US has become, butter will win out in the guns vs. butter debate.

If Japan were to increase its defense spending it would relieve some of the burden from the US and provide a headache for Chinese planners.  Even with its serious demographic issues, it will remain the world's third largest economy for some time.  This will enable it to make a serious contribution to Chinese containment, at a de minimus percentage of GDP expended.  Its contributions are not only quantitative.

As the author noted, the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force's "helicopter" carriers are an innovative means of evading obsolete restrictions on weapons systems.  Japan's highly effective Soryu class AIP submarines do not even appear to pay lip service to the notion of limitations on offensive weapon systems.  If the Japanese were to unleash the same research and development creative genius on weapon systems as they have on consumer electronics (and the overlap between the two technologies is not small), then they could seriously deter continued Chinese Pacific-directed expansionism.

The author's concern over Japan pursuing nuclear weapons, however, seems fanciful at this time.  Watching their collective mourning on the anniversary of Hiroshima every year does not inspire particular fear of them embracing nuclear weapons any time soon.  Still, the author makes a compelling case that they have the means to easily do so should they develop the political will.  Would it be such a bad thing for deterrence if Japan had scores of nuclear delivery systems with Chinese targets?        

     

Otiose Mon, 03/12/2018 - 10:24 Permalink

Click through to the website hosting the article and you find glowing descriptions of Russia's nuclear weapons and peaceful intent.  

acheron2016 Mon, 03/12/2018 - 11:00 Permalink

I've heard this refrain for a long time.  Although I believe the article is wrong about Japan's Plutonium.  I thought they shipped it all to the US last year.  I don't know what happened to it after that.

Regardless, you know you are a FIRST WORLD country when you have to DECIDE if you WANT nuclear weapons or not.  Like the article says: no technical obstacles. 

I would sleep better at night with a nuclear armed Japan.  I trust Japan WAY more than England and France.  Within 50 years, longer than I may live but not very long in the global scheme of things, muslims will take control of their national governments.  Unless the last dying French and English do like the South Africans did and destroy their nuclear weapons that will be an apocalyptic day.  At least Russia can still retaliate. 

marsrecords Mon, 03/12/2018 - 14:00 Permalink

"Japan Expands Military Might" ?
Japans Nuclear Weapons might be considered that

As a graduate of the US Naval Nuclear Power School, I always asked about Fukushima "Why didn't they just cover the whole thing in concrete like they did the SL-1 reactor that the Army blew up in Idaho all those years ago?"

Now we find out why. A story of the bravest journalist you have never heard of. Yoichi Shimatsu may possibly die of radiation induced cancers sometime in his life because of this research.

And California is dying because of nuclear weapons waste being dumped in the ocean in Japan.

++++++++++++

Nuclear Warhead Lab Leaks Killed Thousands In The Fukushima Disaster

By Yoichi Shimatsu
Article and Pix at
http://www.rense.com/general96/warhead.html

One of the anomalies from the Fukushima nuclear disaster is that releases of radioactive isotopes throughout the Pacific Basin are far greater in quantity than what’s indicated on the ground in northeast Japan. Reaching across the western region of North America, into the Rockies some 10,000 km distant from Japan, the wildlife count of aquatic species, birds and insects has been plummeting since March 2011.
  
The long-distance effect should be a pale reflection of a huge toll in human deaths in and around Fukushima Prefecture. Although there’s been a decline in the Japanese birth rate  and a spate of sudden deaths on train platforms in Tokyo, the island nation has witnessed only a gradual reduction in population rather than the precipitous drop anticipated soon after the disaster. What accounts for this disparity between the wide-spread radioactivity impact across the Americas versus the moderate toll inside Japan?
  
Sea-dumping doomed the Americas
  
As we learned early on, much of the nuclear releases from Fukushima was being transported eastward by the North Pacific current and the northern jetstream, much of that abetted by years of official tolerance of unchecked venting and wastewater releases. The groundwater outflows were and still are being enabled by the media myth of an “ice wall”, an expensive boondoggle that provided cover for the release of reactor coolant from the Fukushima storage tank farm. The so-called isotope-filtration equipment from AREVA and Kurion of Hanford were ineffective. For all the numbers games played by the “experts”, tossing out round-ball estimates, there’s been no containment of nuclear contamination in Japan, which soon proved itself again to be an eager exporter, this time of radioactive steel, used cars, motorbikes and bicycles. 
  
To spare itself the burden of an effective containment program, Japan has been waging a “soft” nuclear war against its Pacific neighbors. Over the past seven years, I have suggested that boring tunnels into the hard-rock Abukuma Plateau is a proven method for water storage, as done under Kanto region rivers in lieu of new dams, but the government apparently prefers overseas dumping as a type of passive-aggressive vengeance. Considering that the corium, or melted fuel rods, is mostly self-contained in the gravel and rock below the destroyed reactors, the math still would not account for the mega-effects of 311 on the environment of the Northern Hemisphere, which includes the sudden expansion of the Arctic ozone hole April-June 2011, fragmentation of the ice cap, annihilation of the wild salmon fisheries, the West Coast drought and lightning-triggered wildfires, poisoning of milk from dairy cows, and other bleak news that’s gone unreported in the mass media or falsely attributed to global warming, al in the service of course of the utilities companies that operate nuclear power plants. 
  
How then did Fukushima disaster manage to achieve such planetary destruction while Japan itself remained relatively unharmed?
 
The underlying answer to this paradox is center of the most pervasive cover-up in scientific history, authorized at the highest levels of the UN nuclear-energy agency IAEA, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and uranium-producer Canada’s Nuclear Safety Commission. After failing to warn, much less protect billions of their residents, the “regulators” in the US and Canada have been complicit in a cover-up of the rising radioactivity risk to population centers in the Americas due to their idolatrous worship of the nuclear bomb, the Moloch of our modern times. 
 
The total absence of health-related data concerning radioactive ingestion, has forestalled any accurate determination of whether a global “hibakusha” (radioactivity victims) crisis is under way, but certainly the unborn have been sacrificed in their millions through miscarriages from radioactive exposure of ovaries and abortions out of unspoken fear. By the time in the future, or perhaps never, when studies are done on the spike in heart failure and cancers on top of terminated pregnancies, it will be too late for the health-care system to launch effective preventative measures to preserve the humane genome. As in the loss of insects across the Americas due to our inaction, homo sapiens will soon be extinct. And perhaps for the better, since our collective inaction proves the streak of inbred criminal denial in our less-than-masterful species. 
  
Inexorably, as casualties mount and the economic damage spirals out of control, public anger will squarely put the blame not only on TEPCO and the deceitful Japanese political elite but also on the cowardly sold-out American and Canadian governments. Their ultimate responsibility, however, is the direct role of the US and Canada in supporting Japan’s rogue nuclear-weapons program, which lies at the heart of the 311 disaster(s). 

Weapons-grade Plutonium unloosed 
  
On this 7th anniversary of the Fukushima triple disaster, a video on Japanese N-weapons production in the Greater Fukushima region, produced by French environmental filmmaker Phillippe Carillo and myself, based on the disturbing findings from my dozen research visits into the 20-30 km nuclear exclusion zone is being released here at rense.com. Here the key points are summarized:
  
First, the meltdowns at three civilian reactors and related fires at the TEPCO Fukushima No.1 nuclear plant were not the only sources of radioactivity releases. As dangerous as it turned out to be, including the explosion of the weapons-related mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel rods inside the Toshiba-Westinghouse Reactor 3, the rate of isotope releases solely from Fukushima plant cannot account for the grandeur of scale of contaminated seawater and marine-layer moisture that’s been hitting the American shores. 
  
Second, a much greater amount of highly enriched plutonium was released from separate nuclear disasters that occurred at four nuclear-warhead production sites: 
  
- an underground lab inside the compound of the seaside Haramachi coal-fired plant operated by the Tohoku Electric Power Company, less than six km north of Fukushima No.1; 
  
- the TEPCO Thermal (oil-fueled) power plant in Hirono, about 4 km south of the Fukushima No.2 nuclear plant in the Iwaki district; 
  
- a yet-uncovered lab or processing center inside the Fukushima No.1 compound; and 
  
- a military nuclear-weapons test site in Kitakami, near its namesake mountain range, in Iwate Prefecture, north of Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures.
  
In addition, steady releases of heavy water have flowed out of a suspected tritium-extraction facility inside the hollow structure of the Kido Dam, in the hills west of Hirono town. According to local residents, there are several other sensitive sites in the eastern Abukuma Plateau, making the Greater Fukushima nuclear complex one of the largest and the most-advanced warhead production site in the world. 
  
It might be noted here, though unmentioned in the video, that the military-focused nuclear program will soon be resuming at the Oma nuclear plant on the northern tip of Honshu, near the Misawa USAF base and within sight of Hakodate, Hokkaido, across the Tsugaru Strait. The remote area has no major city in the vicinity for the marketing of electricity. One of the ramifications of secret weapons development by Japan is that it compels North Korea to amass a deterrence capability, and unless the Japanese program is officially exposed and dismantled, Northeast Asia will continue to be a center of nuclear-weapons confrontation between at least five countries. 
  
The misdirection of focusing solely on Pyongyang, of course, has not only been hypocritical, it is a massive self-deception concerning Japanese duplicity over its vaunted “Three Non-Nuclear Principles”. When its warhead-production is fully functioning again it will be merely a matter of time before a revanchist faction decides to get its revenge for Hiroshima and Nagasaki, although in the meanwhile the radioactive outflows from Fukushima are doing that task quite efficiently.

Secret Underground Nuke Labs
  
Headquartered in neighboring Miyagi Prefecture the Tohoku Electric Power Company (a regional utility company unrelated to TEPCO) burns North Korean coal at its Haramachi thermal plant. Curiously, none of that enormous power supply is delivered to the nearby city of Soma or to Miyagi communities across the provincial border. All of its 20,000kW output is allocated to the TEPCO Fukushima No.1 nuclear plant or used on-site for indeterminate purposes. Why does a large-scale conventional power plant have to be dedicated to powering a nuclear plant along with its own massive energy consumption? 
  
This question is the key to unlocking the secret vault of nuclear-weapons production. As exposed by my April 2011 interview with a parliamentarian who was trained in nuclear engineering, the earthquake-caused collapse of the power-transmission line from Haramachi resulted in the outage that knocked out the computers controlling the Fukushima No.1 facility, the first falling domino that led to the meltdowns. 
  
Enormous amounts of continuous power are required for the new GE-Hitachi “global laser extraction” system employing gasification, electromagnetic charging and laser-separation of enriched plutonium from spent fuel rods. This novel process defies the traditional view that Pu cannot be separated from the uranium content in mixed-oxide rods, thereby enabling vast arsenals of hydrogen bombs to now be rapidly produced from nuclear waste from civilian power plants. Research and full-on production were being conducted in secret at the three secret underground labs: Haramachi, Hirono and somewhere underground at the Fukushima No.1 site.
  
The satellite photo of the excavated remains of the Haramachi weapons lab, which appears in the video, is on view below in the image collection, together with a slightly wider view of coal-fired plant’s coal port. Photo 1: notice the ship cleansing its bilge of North Korean coal dust. The coal is transferred along a hopper to a trucking terminus, where large trucks (the tiny white dots) convey it to the coal storage area in the upper left corner. That area is now being used for radioactive waste storage, packed inside rows of 3-ton black poly-fiber bag. 
  
Photo 2: The close-up of the rectangular pit reveals the outline of a lab, about 2-3 stories below the surface. During the post-quake excavation, a ramp for trucks was dug out, descending west-to-east, and then turning 180 degrees down to about 8 floors underground to the second deeper lab. In between the two cavernous structure areas, poly bags of low-level waste were being laid to provide a radioactive cover for the highly contaminated site, as a literal cover so that any analysts of data from ground-detection satellites would assume it’s a mere nuclear waste site rather than a wasted nuclear site. 

Why would a nuclear-weapons lab be positioned so close to the shoreline? Obviously  for offloading US-warhead material and to transport the warheads to naval ports for loading onto submarines. In exchange for quiet cooperation in the nuclear blame game, Haramachi could also in the past have secretly supplied the DPRK with fissile materials, to create a strategic rationale for Japan’s own nuclear program. 
  
Deadly Fallout across Minami-Soma
  
The Japanese government claimed that the Fukushima nuclear disaster took only a single life, the death of a nuclear worker. This grotesque deception was perpetrated to prevent an international investigation under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). 
  
At least 1,000 nuclear-weapons technicians and Self-Defense Force soldiers were killed inside the flooded Haramachi lab with no chance of escape or rescue due to the intense nuclear releases. Outdoors in the surrounding Minami-Soma district, high radioactivity levels forced the pullout of police rescue teams, abandoning many thousands of local villagers to die of a combination of radioactive fallout and freezing temperatures. 
  
A longtime media colleague, photographer Takashi Morizumi was in that district three days into the disaster response and then a month later recounted to me: “Despite the risk to their own lives, those local policemen were begging, some with tears in their eyes, for permission to take on the risks of entering the radioactive circle to save their relatives and friends. Their morale was crushed when their appeal was rejected.”
  
On the edge the 20-km earliest exclusion zone, several hotspots northwest of the plan were due to nuclear materials that had been swept inland by the tsunami from the Haramachi nuclear-weapons site. In the Japanese language “hara” means a broad plain, and the stream-laced coastal plain lays flat for some distance into the interior between low hills. Due to the powerful seawater pressure, the front wave rose up the valleys (pushed from behind by tsunami force) and deposited the nuclear materials before receding. A local resident, who worked for state-run soil decontamination project, said the inland sites were left for last, being the most dangerous to health. 
  
About 2 months later, a leak from employees at the Fukushima University Medical School Hospital indicated more than a thousand bodies in white lab coats and military uniforms were being kept inside a walk-in freezer in the hospital morgue. The cynical claim that the Fukushima nuclear disaster claimed only one life omits the deaths from the secret nuclear lab at Haramachi. 
  
J-Village cover-up
  
After frustrating disappointments in trying to set up soil-decontamination projects using phyto-remediation (vegetation-based absorption) techniques that I learned in the Altai mountains from a Kazakhstan expert at Chernobyl, I switched my research activity to the Hirono town region, south of Fukushima No. 2, as the only field researcher in that area of Iwaki municipality, which is a company town controlled by nuclear contractors Hitachi-GE. 
  
Entering the southern part of the exclusion zone by bicycle to avoid radio-frequency detection that identifies cars and motorcycles, I spent a late morning on my first incursion with an evacuee, whose house had collapsed in the 311 quake. When he rested on the stones of a low embankment, he told me: “This place is known as the ‘hot corner’ because the radioactivity has always been high here.” Since Fukushima?, I asked. At the time, I was still naive about the scale of the hidden program.
  
“It’s been radioactive here for many decades” was his reply. “TEPCO claims this is a conventional plant but in reality nuclear work’s been going on here for decades.” It took me the remainder of the day to begin to spot the signs and tracks. 
  
On another bike journey into the surrounding farmlands, I saw daisies bigger than my two hands put together and gladiolus stems twice my height, indicating genetic mutations causing gigantism over many generations. 
  
Despite a massive security presence around the TEPCO oil-fueled thermal plant, and being berated once and expelled by plainclothesmen with the secret nuclear security force, I managed on several occasions into slip into the J-village soccer stadium site, where the Fukushima workers were housed. To my astonishment, most of the young works coming off-duty told be that their entire workforce was assigned to clearing nuclear waste out of the Hirono thermal plant, which confirmed the first old-timer’s claim that this was a secret nuclear production site, which means of course for N-weaponry. ‘
  
Indeed, behind a visual barrier of dense groves of fir trees, huge cranes were working night and day, and dump trucks roared out the gates and through the tunnels of Highway 6 to a loading dock, where waste was transferred to rail cars for outdoor storage in four inland prefectures. I could not help but feel alarmed as trucks blew off dust clouds over groups of children returning home from school. The Education Ministry had issued a nationwide order to public schools not to enroll out-of-town children so these kids were trapped on the edge of the exclusion zone. The saddest sight was to see teenage girls who had recently returned from temporary evacuation riding the local trains, with a quiet forlorn look of acceptance of their fate. 
  
A young store clerk in the inland city of Koriyama, who recognized that I was not a government agent, disclosed: “A lot of guys from the coast moved here after the tsunami and rented the biggest apartments. They all drive around in Mercedes. All they do everyday is drink and gamble at cards. We’ve heard that each received 70 million yen ($750,000 at that time’s forex rate) from the government.” 
  
“For what?” I asked. His answer: “Nobody knows”. Obviously, the payoffs were part of a sweetheart deal for the nuclear-weapons technicians on condition of their silence. Other than late-coming paltry “compensation” for evacuees from inside the exclusion zone, provincial and regional residents living in radioactive homes where the local economy has been impoverished by the nuclear crisis received not a single aluminum yen and zero tax breaks. 

Sea Dump
  
I then began tracing radioactivity levels along local lanes, following a path of high readings to the small fishing port of Hisanohama. When I asked unemployed fisherman about nuclear waste passing through their area, one old-timer told me that they had been told to stay at home when a huge pile of high-level waste was unloaded on the narrow road above the port. “Then one morning it was gone,” he said. “Where’d it go?” I asked. He shrugged. 
  
At the other end of the port, the roadside readings were low, meaning all that high-level waste had been put on barges and towed out to sea, probably for dumping in the Philippine Trench. A seaside neighborhood with a view of boat lanes out to the Pacific had been wiped out by the tsunami, with an estimated (by neighbors) loss of more than 2,000 lives. Yet Iwaki reported only one death in a road accident during the tsunami.  How blatant does it get? 
  
Adding a element of mystery was the lack of a single survivor from that tsunami site, meaning no witnesses were left to tell tales of past secret nuclear shipments out of the little fishing port. Some of them must have been push inshore and could grab a hold on a tree or clamber up a rock. Why was there nobody left to tell the tale of how barges have occasionally been towed toward the horizon, where a line of clouds have become a permanent fixture since 311. On another day while looking at seashells bubbled up by strontium, I noticed along a cape a rectangular band of opaque white fog, one of the unique features of tritium. Soon thereafter, a shore-dwelling couple with whom I had occasionally chatted died right after the government tripled the height of the seawall. 

Tritium Dam
  
On these incursions, I had to camp overnight in the radioactive forest areas, due to the fact that the Economy Ministry and Hitachi-GE had rented every room in Iwaki to deny accommodations for volunteers. Other than myself, none ever showed more because of NGO collaboration with the government. Locals told me not a single bottle of drinking water had been delivered to that company town during the 311 relief effort. 
  
One sunny morning after a chilly night in the “hot” rain, I was investigating how the government was rigging radioactivity detection equipment when a group of grass-cutters approached while clearing the roadsides of radioactive weeds. Needless to say, they were stunned that I had slept outdoors. They warned me to be extremely cautious of the secret nuclear security forces because over past decades many locals who entered the mountainous areas were detained, questioned and ordered never to come back by men in brown uniforms, who were neither with the police nor from the self-defense force. 
  
I took their warning seriously, and on many occasions carried my bicycle and gear up forested hillsides and waited under the eaves of abandoned houses until my pursuers gave up the chase. Then, a few years on, I traveled by car with filmmaker Phillippe Carillo, to a dam suspected of serving as a tritium-production facility. It was up a steep road at the edge of the Abukuma Plateau without human habitation in sight. We were soon joined by a truck, and we were obviously under surveillance. Then cars came roaring up and men in green uniforms ran to the entry doors of two towers on the dam to check if we had broken in. While they were preoccupied doing a full security check on the mystery dam, we tiptoed to the car and drove downhill as fast as possible. This drama was happening in “the middle of nowhere”. The villagers had not been jesting with me. 
  
Beginning and End
  
The video closes with my bicycle journey in southwest Fukushima Province to an abandoned uranium mine run by Bund-1, a joint atomic bomb project of the Japanese militarist government and Nazi Germany in the late 1930s. A physicist at Fukushima University was the world’s first scientist to theorize the immense power of atom-splitting, and so the seed for the nuclear age was planted here, in this accursed soil. 
  
One of the adverse aspects of the video shooting was the burn-out of so many cameras, Geiger counters and computers due to radioactivity and the consequent necessity for ever-cheaper equipment, in addition to clothing. Unfortunately many photos were blotted out by the passage of gamma rays. For example, a group portrait of mating season for golden beetles. Deep in a forest by a stream, I spotted a circle of these shiny creatures lying dead around a femme fatale. 
  
What happened is that when the males closed in around the fertile female, the increasing radioactivity level from their bodies during the convergence killed all of them. The increase of body radioactivity levels during crowding accounts for the mystery of the sudden deaths of commuters inside the Tokyo metro system in recent years. For a survivor condemned to avoidance, and by now we’re all hibakusha, it is a path of loneliness.